coffeeandink: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeeandink
These are very gossipy shallow reactions, but maybe I will get back into the swing of posting, who knows.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S03E01 )

Jane the Virgin S04E01 )

Duma Key, by Stephen King

Oct. 14th, 2017 11:39 am
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Of all the new-to-me books by Stephen King that I’ve read in the last year, this and the middle Dark Tower books are the ones I’ve re-read the most. I’ve re-read Duma Key three times in the last two years, and I can tell it’s a book I’ll keep coming back to. Here’s the first page:

How to draw a picture


Start with a blank surface. It doesn't have to be paper or canvas, but I feel it should be white. We call it white because we need a word, but its true name is nothing. Black is the absence of light, but white is the absence of memory, the color of can't remember.

How do we remember to remember? That's a question I've asked myself often since my time on Duma Key, often in the small hours of the morning, looking up into the absence of light, remembering absent friends. Sometimes in those little hours I think about the horizon. You have to establish the horizon. You have to mark the white. A simple enough act, you might say, but any act that re-makes the world is heroic. Or so I’ve come to believe.

Imagine a little girl, hardly more than a baby. She fell from a carriage almost ninety years ago, struck her head on a stone, and forgot everything. Not just her name; everything! And then one day she recalled just enough to pick up a pencil and make that first hesitant mark across the white. A horizon-line, sure. But also a slot for blackness to pour through.

Still, imagine that small hand lifting the pencil ... hesitating ... and then marking the white. Imagine the courage of that first effort to re-establish the world by picturing it. I will always love that little girl, in spite of all she has cost me. I must. I have no choice. Pictures are magic, as you know.


On the one hand, this is my favorite prose passage in the book. On the other hand, the entire book has that same atmosphere and themes: the magic of art, the bleakness of loss, the terror of opening a door into darkness, human empathy and connections, and, always, how making a mark on paper is both simple and difficult, the dividing line between nothing and everything.

Unusually for Stephen King, Duma Key is set in on the Florida coast – an incredibly vivid and atmospheric Florida, which becomes enough of a character in its own right to make the book a very satisfying sea-soaked, sunset-lit Gothic.

I am pleased to say that this is one of the least gross King books I’ve read, bar a rotting ghost or two. It’s also one of the scariest, in a very classic “terrify by keeping the scary stuff mostly off-page” manner. The Big Bad is never quite seen directly, and is one of King’s creepiest and most mythically archetypal figures.

It’s also one of King’s most heartbreaking books. Almost all the characters are really likable, and if not likable, than still very human. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon opens with, The world had teeth and it could bite you with them any time it wanted. Duma Key is about the beauty and magic and redemption of the world, but also about the teeth.

It begins with a wealthy self-made man, Edgar Freemantle, getting into an absolutely horrific accident while visiting one of his job sites. He loses an arm and gets some brain damage; he’s barely out of the hospital before his marriage has ended, his life as he knew it has ended, and he’s on the brink of suicide.

After some talks with his psychiatrist, he ends up taking up art, which he’d enjoyed as a boy but never pursued, and moving to a cabin in the Florida Keys. There he meets a chatty guy, Wireman, who’s the caretaker for Elizabeth, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s – both of whom have pasts which slowly, heartbreakingly unfold over the course of the book. Edgar finds that painting is his new passion and genuine talent… but his paintings are odd. Eerie. And they can change things…

The first half of the book follows Edgar as he recovers from his accidents, explores his new talent and gains critical and commercial success, and loses some old friends and gains some new ones. The emotional and physical recovery from the accident and its fallout (which doesn't mean he'll ever be the same as he was before) was incredibly well-done and vivid. I don't know if it was technically correct, but it felt very believable.

In classic Gothic fashion, there’s creepy stuff going on simultaneously, but it’s comparatively subtle. I found this part of the book hugely enjoyable even though tons of scenes are just Edgar painting or eating sandwiches and shooting the breeze with Wireman. On the one hand, it probably could have been shorter. On the other hand, I could have happily gone on reading just that part forever.

And then the creepy stuff gets less subtle. A lot less subtle.

This has an unusual story arc. I’m putting that and other huge spoilers behind a cut, but I’ll also mention that even for King, the book has some very tragic aspects— ones which he’s explored before, but there’s one I’ll rot13.com (feed into the site to reveal) because it’s a specific thing that people may want to avoid. Gur cebgntbavfg’f qnhtugre vf xvyyrq. Fur’f na nqhyg ohg n lbhat bar (n pbyyrtr fghqrag) naq irel yvxnoyr, naq vg’f gur ovttrfg bs frireny thg-chapurf va gur fgbel.

If that’s not a dealbreaker, I suggest not reading the rest of the spoilers because even though if I’d sat down and tried to figure out where the story was going, I probably could have, the experience of reading it feels unpredictable; you can guess the outlines but a lot of the details are unexpected.

Read more... )

Also, have some brighter things

Oct. 13th, 2017 03:43 pm
rachelmanija: (Firefly: Shiny Kaylee)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Femslash Exchange 2017 is open! The original fiction stories look especially tempting; also, there's Jane Eyre/Helen Burns. Off to read my gift story (resistance fighter/glamorous '40s singer) now!

Also, have two cats hugging:

Pull The Football - Save the World

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:57 am
rachelmanija: (I wrote my own deliverance)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.

Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.

Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.

But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!

Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) Passing those bills may literally save the world.

How to save the world:

1. Contact your representatives in Congress. Ask them to co-sponsor the bill NOW, before it's too late.

2. Contact EVERYONE in Congress who might want to prevent a nuclear war. Usually people only speak to their own representatives. But with the fate of the entire world is at stake, it's worth contacting everyone who might listen.

3. Promote the Pull The Football campaign on social media. Trump isn't the only one who can use Twitter. Get on it and start tweeting #PullTheFootball.

Share this post on Facebook or Dreamwidth. Put up your own post on whatever social media you use. Ask your friends in person. If you know anyone in the media, contact them to get the word out. If you're not American, you can help by publicizing the campaign on social media that Americans follow.

How do I contact my representatives?

1. Resistbot is a free service that will fax, call, or write your representatives for you. Just text the word "resist" to 50409 to begin.

2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the representative of your choice.

I've contacted everyone. What now?

Contact them again. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. One water drop can be brushed away. Many water drops make a flood. Call, fax, or write as often as possible. Set aside 15 minutes every day to make as many calls or faxes as you can in that time. Relentlessness works - it's why the NRA is so successful. If they can do it, we can do it.

What do I say?

Page down for a sample script. Or speak or write in your own words.

Democrats to contact:

Every Democrat not currently sponsoring one of the bills. Thank them for their courage and service to the nation, and ask them to act now to save the world.

Thank the Democrats currently sponsoring the bills. There are 57 in the House and 9 in the Senate. Especially, thank Congressman Ted Lieu (sponsor of the House bill) and Sen. Edward Markey (sponsor of the Senate bill). Encourage them to step up their efforts to make it pass.

Republicans to contact:

The Republicans listed below are the most prominent who have voiced concerns about Trump. This is not an exhaustive list. There are more Republicans who might be receptive. For instance, all the House Republicans who just voted for more aid for Puerto Rico, and all Republicans who are retiring from their seats and so not worried about getting re-elected.

Sen. Bob Corker (202) 224-3344) warned us that Trump is setting the nation on a path to World War III. If you only contact one Republican representative, contact him. Thank him for his courage and urge him to follow through on his convictions.

Rep. Walter Jones (202) 225-3415 is the only Republican to support the bill. Thank him for his courage and urge him to get his colleagues onboard.

Other Republican senators to prioritize contacting: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio, and Bob Sasse.

Sample Script

Hello, my name is [your name.] I'm calling to ask Representative/Senator [their name] to co-sponsor the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.)

I believe Republican Senator Bob Corker when he says we're on the brink of World War Three. No one benefits from a nuclear war. But we can stop it if we choose to. This may be the most important action Representative/Senator [their name] will take in their entire life. It may literally save the world. I urge them to co-sponsor the bill restricting first use of nuclear weapons. Thank you.

Thank you for reading this far! Please share the post before you go.
coffeeandink: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeeandink
The Good Place is such a delight I don't even know how to talk about it. All I want to do is burble.

If you're not watching it, it's a half-hour afterlife comedy about a slacker (Kristen Bell) who has been accidentally misassigned to the "Good Place" (Heaven) after her death, and has to keep the mistake secret from the powers that be (Ted Danson), while trying to figure out how to be a good person -- or at least a good enough person not to stick out. Fortunately for her, she's assigned a soulmate (William Harper Jackson) who was an ethics professor in life.

I don't know how to convince you to watch this. The show is so much stranger, more surreal, and sillier than the setup portends. It is hilarious and moving; it burns through plot like a brushfire (avoid spoilers, I mean it); and the cast is so good, I mean, they are so amazing, not just Bell and Danson, but newcomers like Jackson and D'Arcy Carden as an omniscient database and Jameela Jamil as a socialite philanthropist and Manny Jacinto as a surprising sweetheart. The first season is streaming on Netflix and the second season is airing now.

Spoiler note: the numbering for this season is confusing, since some sources consider the first hour, aired together in a single night, as a single episode. I don't. The latest episode I discuss below the spoiler cut aired 10/12/17.

Spoilers have a thirteen-point scale where eight is the highest score )

Most people still don't get it

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:10 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
I've been reading a lot about the Weinstein sexual harassment saga these days. And I've seen a lot of wrong opinions.

The first set is some version of, we need clearer boundaries between work and personal life. Or, men are spooked and therefore won't meet casually with women employees. This group continues to assume the Weinsteins of the world are a product of some kind of misunderstanding - men and women get their signals confused, and whoops, a woman feels harassed. That's incorrect. Men know exactly what they are doing; they claim it was a misunderstanding after the fact to absolve themselves. When other men buy into the myth - by refusing to, say, meet privately with women for fear of being falsely accused - they not only stall women's careers, but shore up the narrative that predators are simply men who are awkward at expressing benign sexual interest.

The second set of wrong opinions suggests that Weinstein was only able to get away with it because he's powerful. This column is an example; it suggests that Hollywood is too deferential to talent. I mean, maybe that's true to some degree, but you also have stories like these, where Blake Lively couldn't get anyone to take complaints about a makeup artist seriously. Powerful men might be able to harass more easily, but fundamentally, this is not about worship of power or talent; this is about men who feel entitled to women, backed by other men.

Help Whovians

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:08 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
Mostly because I'm just curious but I haven't been keeping up with Doctor Who lore. IIRC, the Doctor is supposed to have thirteen lives, right? So this new one is the last one (until they find a way around it)? Wasn't there a thing about a missing regeneration somewhere, played by John Hurt? How does that factor in to the numerical limit on regenerations?

Reading Wednesday

Oct. 11th, 2017 04:48 pm
brigdh: (Default)
[personal profile] brigdh
What did you just finish?
The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward. The Villarca family has lived in Rawblood, a great Gothic mansion isolated in the bogs and mists of Dartmoor, for generations untold. The Villarcas are also haunted by… something. Exactly what it is depends on which generation of the Villarcas you ask: the ghost of a murdered woman, a curse, a predisposition to madness with episodes brought on by strong emotions, an autoimmune disease, a tendency to sicken and pine if they move away from the house of Rawblood, a history of murdering those they love.

The story is told in segments from different slices of the family's history, though at every moment the characters think they are the last of the bloodline, not realizing the reader has already met their descendants. In 1910 we have Iris Villarca, a young girl living alone with her father and Tom Gilmore, the stableboy she is closer to than she should be. As she grows older a series of tragedies condemn her to an insane asylum, where she rots in the care of doctors more concerned with the larger devastation of World War I than with her. In 1881, Alonso Villarca is determined to solve his family’s problems through medical science, a goal that drives him to experiments involving vivisection, opium, blood, and a notable lack of ethics. In 1839, Mary Hopewell fades away from consumption in Italy, living on an independence that just barely keeps her above poverty. She doesn’t know, of course, that she will soon meet Don Villarca, who will marry her and buy back her long-lost childhood home of Rawblood. There are other narrators too: Meg (someday to become Iris’s mother but when we meet her enduring a childhood raised by strangers and believing herself to have the powers of a witch), Charles Danforth (Alonso’s companion in medical experiments, who sees the ghost Alonso swears isn’t there), Tom Gilmore’s letters from the trenches, and nameless Villarcas back into the dark depths of history, medieval monks and tattooed pagans. All of these stories interrupt and influence one another, circling around family secrets and unavoidable consequences and the connections across generations. The future and the past become indistinguishable, and by the end of the book time has circled back on itself.

For all the obvious horror tropes – a haunted house! a ghost! a witch! – I wouldn’t really call this a horror novel. It’s not particularly interested in scaring the reader. Instead, more than anything, it’s a tragedy. And a tragedy in quite the classical sense: you’re told right at the beginning how it’s all going to end painfully, and yet the characters keep making the choices you know they have to make, setting the plot on unbending tracks toward the inevitable crash. There’s a bit of a mystery in figuring out what exactly haunts the Villarcas, but the central pull of the book isn’t in solving those clues (though I do have to say that I absolutely love the ultimate reveal), but simply in the loss and sadness of their downfall, and Iris’s in particular. Her loneliness, her trauma, the way she is both abandoned to her fate and the creator of that same fate – ah, it’s great.

I absolutely loved this book. It has a very Victorian feel in some ways – the setting, the ruin of a noble house, the situations of the characters – but the author has set very modern eyes on these old tropes, giving them a new and powerful turn. I really recommend it.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.

What are you currently reading?
Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Another in the spate of recent novels and short stories using H.P. Lovecraft's monsters and settings but with the explicit goal of subverting his racism. Can it possibly be as good as The Ballad of Black Tom? Probably not, but I'm enjoying it anyway.

New SPN fic

Oct. 9th, 2017 12:47 pm
rivkat: Dean: green-eyed monster (green-eyed monster)
[personal profile] rivkat
I wrote a new Sam/Dean story:

Stars Keep Marching (3811 words) by rivkat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Dean Winchester/Sam Winchester
Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester
Additional Tags: post-episode, Episode: s12e23 All Along the Watchtower, mentions of Dean/Castiel - Freeform
Summary:

Dean was royally drunk within an hour of their return to the Bunker.

Yuletide Letter

Oct. 8th, 2017 10:56 pm
brigdh: (Default)
[personal profile] brigdh
It's Yuletide time! Hooray!

Hello and thank you for offering one of my fandoms! I'm looking forward to whatever you write, and if you want to completely ignore the rest of this letter, or pick and choose just a few things, that's totally fine. I've tried to write a shorter letter this year. If you want more information click here for previous years' letters. Anything I've asked for before I would still love to get.

AO3 name: Brigdh
Tumblr: Brigdh

Basics
– I love all ratings, from G to NC-17. A lot of the prompts I give below are focused on ships, but feel free to write me the characters as platonic friends instead if that's what you prefer. Gen and PWPs are both awesome!
– Feel free to include injury, illness, major character death, infidelity, racism, homophobia, classism, general dark and depressing tones, etc, as needed for your story. Or feel free to ignore such elements of the canons below and write me fluff! I'm good either way.
– A lot of my requested canons are historical fiction. I DO NOT require you to have done research to write them. Trust me, I won't care if you use a modern word or describe the wrong style of clothing. I'm not an expert either.
– For each of my requests, the characters are very much OR instead of AND. Want to write a story about Rose without Hannibal, Chime without Consolation, etc? Go ahead! You could probably guess this from the prompts I give below, but I wanted to be clear about it.
– Weird stylistic writing choices, like second person POV, a series of linked drabbles, unreliable narrators, five times fic, etc, are all totally okay. I enjoy reading experiments!

DNWs
– amnesia
– de-aging
– mpreg (I do love A/B/O fic, so if you choose to write that, feel free to mention mpreg in the worldbuilding. Just please don't make it the main focus of the fic)
– Groundhog Day AUs
– 24/7 lifestyle BDSM

Yes, please!
– AUs, especially: modern AU, historical AU (as in, any historical period other than the one in canon), A/B/O, pirates, Wild West, cyberpunk, postapocalypse, circuses, canon-divergence
– found families, families of choice, and loyalty kink. I especially love it when there are reasons why it's difficult or unusual for the characters to have a relationship, but they defy expectations by being devoted to one another anyway.
– I LOVE one character risking their life/sacrificing themselves to protect another. "I thought you were dead!" is also an excellent trope
– casefic would be great, especially if you could combine it with slowburn get-together of one of my ships. I realize that’s a lot to ask of a writer. But just in case you want to write long casefic: I would love to receive it!
– hurt/comfort of all kinds, especially if the comfort leads to a deepening relationship. People getting ill, people getting beat up, people choosing to be tortured to protect someone else, people hiding injuries while trying to soldier on, people enduring long-term poor conditions (especially cold! I HATE being cold, and so I deeply identify with a character barely avoiding hypothermia), last minute rescues, confessions of feelings due to thinking they're about to die, caretaking, giving the hurt character a bath (especially hair washing!), and characters learning to be loved.
– iron woobies, always and forever
– established relationships are my jam. Show me how comfortable people have gotten with each other, how they know one another well enough to know all of their jokes and triggers and erogenous zones. And established doesn't have to mean problem-free! There's all sorts of troubles that tend to come up in relationships long after the first time. For example, I'd love a story about a fight and working through it.
– arranged marriages/marriages of convenience and fake dating are some of my favorite stories. I love all of it: the awkwardness, the enforced intimacy, the pining over 'my feelings are real but yours are pretend', the trust despite the difficulty, the teaming up to put on a good show for outside observers.
– slice-of-life, domesticity, missing scenes, and curtain-fic are all wonderful. I am totally fine with a very low-stakes story, as long as I get to see my favorite characters going about a normal day, enjoying themselves with one another, making jokes, etc.
- I adore all sorts of silly fanfic tropes, but here are some of my favorites: Genderswap (particularly of the "always-a-girl/boy" type rather than "woke up one morning" type), crossdressing, roadtrips, huddling for warmth, masquerades/disguises/undercover, trapped together (snowed in cabin, handcuffs, etc), friends-to-lovers and especially FWB to more, sex pollen, and platonic bed sharing.

Porn: I love everything from PWP to fade-to-black to gen. If you want specifics, here's a link to my Yuleporn post.


Fandoms are Benjamin January, Underground, and Books of the Raksura )

[Daily happiness]

Oct. 8th, 2017 01:40 am
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
[personal profile] oyceter
1. Got to walk around the Panhandle, which was fun, and found a game store and an indie comics store—will have to remember to go there again to get Christmas presents for CB's niece and nephews.

2. Rewatched the musical sequences of La La Land, which are really great (Except the singing! Why?!). The opening number in particular is really impressive and all in one take too! There's something about lots of people dancing in unison that is extremely satisfying on a very deep level for me.

3. Went to CB's friend's place and had tasty prime rib and creme brulee mocha cake from 85°C and was social, which was nice.
giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
Vid: Oh Boy (2 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Anne of Green Gables (TV 1985) & Related Fandoms
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Gilbert Blythe/Anne Shirley
Characters: Gilbert Blythe
Additional Tags: Fanvids
Summary:

She'll never slow down for you. Anne/Gilbert



Such nostalgia!

Did anyone watch The Gifted?

Oct. 6th, 2017 04:54 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
I mean, I'll keep watching to see how it unfolds, for now, but I'm so very, very tired of these racial/gender dynamics.

Really not even spoilers, if you know the premise )

(no subject)

Oct. 5th, 2017 09:03 am
nestra: A still from the cartoon "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (you're a mean one mr. grinch)
[personal profile] nestra
Yuletide placeholder.

A note: I'm out of the country until October 15, and then I will be jetlagged. For several of my requests, thoughts are available in previous Yuletide letters, along with general likes and dislikes. Otherwise, I promise I'll get to it.
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