killerkaleidoscope: close-up centered on a violet daisy on diagonally-cracked gray pavement (Default)
2012-07-27 03:45 pm

Three books, an argument, and an apartment

Yesterday I went to the library this afternoon to renew some books for a friend. I did not actually get to renew them because the woman behind the counter took them from me and set them down behind the counter without another word. I didn't have the nerve to ask again, when it was so very clear she did not approve of my request. True, they were weeks overdue, but they were also Calculus textbooks. I did, however, see Guardian of the Dead, Ash, and Huntress all on the shelves in the YA fiction section, and took them home to tear through all three in quick succession.

very vague spoilers for said books )

Recently my stepmom has declared she's not speaking to me anymore (and wasn't that a fun conclusion to a long week) but for now she's still in charge of my finances because Dad's too busy with business to function as intermediary. While I'm still out and about looking at furniture a lot, I'm going to be very careful with how I spend anything, at least until I'm settled up north in Berkeley.

One good thing out of this mess: I really, really like my new apartment. It's clean and fairly sizeable and I have my own room, and between the two of us it is going to be FILLED with books and art. My dear friend doesn't mind if I date anyone, or if I come back at weird hours, and in most ways she's easy to share a space with. The landlord's letting my dear friend keep her bird with her, which is pretty cool--I really do love her bird, and at some point, I'll be able to get a parrot of my own to keep her company. That will be wonderful. I feel like I'm gearing up to begin my actual life. I can't wait.
killerkaleidoscope: close-up centered on a violet daisy on diagonally-cracked gray pavement (Default)
2012-06-27 03:10 pm

Questions I ask that the show doesn't answer

Finally finished up Book 1 of Avatar: The Legend of Korra. I am full of questions. And disappointment. (And spoilers.) Hit me up if you've got answers, or more questions.

Republic City )

Air Temple Island )

The World )

Sports )

Bending )

Industry )

Style )

Yakone )

Amon )

Mako and Bolin )

Asami )

Korra )
killerkaleidoscope: close-up centered on a violet daisy on diagonally-cracked gray pavement (Default)
2012-04-03 11:56 am

spoiler-free praise for Cold Magic

If you're looking for a book in which people make sense, consistently using their wits and making decisions that are perfectly in keeping with world and character all the time, I highly recommend Kate Elliott's Cold Magic.

The book was advertised to me as steampunk. As an aesthetic, it can be quite pretty, but as a prose setting it often gets on my nerves because the book becomes about the stuff first and the story second. Not so with Cold Magic, to my pleasant surprise. The setting informs the story in a million different ways, from the heritage of the main character to the reason she winds up in serious danger, but only ever as highly appropriate, well-integrated set dressing, not scenery porn with a plot.

And what an intriguing plot this is. I had to read it cover-to-cover twice through because once I got the hang of what various things meant I suddenly had a wealth of tiny, subtle cues to pick over anew. The worldbuilding is--lemme put if this way: if history is a ballgown, then this is not the kind of update where the sleeves are trimmed and the ribbons are swapped out in keeping with season and fashion. This takes the gown of history-as-we-know-it and rips out every single seam before ditching two-thirds of the fabric and then putting together something new and sleek that one would scarcely recognize as being related to the old gown at all. And it's glorious.

I love the main character, Catharine. She's wary and quick-witted, proud of her oft-slandered heritage and the skills that have come with it. She thinks fast, holds her temper until she can't, speaks sharply without saying a word that isn't plain truth as she knows it. When she makes a mistake, she marks what it was so that she won't repeat it and moves on. Her highest priority is her cousin Bee--who is equally sharp, equally smart, with no apologies for her crushes on handsome young men. However, it isn't out of plain unfettered filial duty, but because they have always been there for each other and earned each others' unconditional trust. (I have issues with the 'family comes first; you owe everything to your elders' themes so common to YA lit. Cold Magic is blessedly very much not in favor of those.)

The one thing I will warn about is that it is definitely the first of a series. (The cover says a trilogy, actually.) There are threads that do not get wrapped up. There are things and people that I suspect will only be clarified a book or two in the future. The book is excellent on its own and the future books will definitely be worth it, but if you are utterly uninclined to bother with multi-part prose I would suggest you pass on this.

Myself, I love a good series. A series of smart books where people do smart things and make total sense is the gift I never dared ask for. Cold Magic and the promise of its sequels have more than earned the right to be on my 'forever favorites' list for the rest of time.
killerkaleidoscope: close-up centered on a violet daisy on diagonally-cracked gray pavement (Default)
2012-03-28 08:43 pm

thoughts and theories about Ghost Story

It's one day and a few hours until the due date for a whole stack of college applications and I'm... stalling. Stalling like a stalling thing. I'm tired of being a responsible adult, so I'm wallowing in fiction. Specifically the latest Dresden Files book, Ghost Story.

Wow. Weird, weird book. I picked it off the shelf at the library, sat down on one of the chairs near the exit for just a little taste of it before I had to leave, and then three hours later I turn a page and find myself staring at the Author's Note going what the hell?

a million spoilers for Ghost Story )
killerkaleidoscope: close-up centered on a violet daisy on diagonally-cracked gray pavement (Default)
2011-12-16 12:05 am

Shiny and feelings

Today was the second time I've seen Thor. As much fun as I had curled up on the asphalt of the drive-in, I gotta say it's much prettier (and more comfortable!) to watch on a real TV while sitting on my bed. It's just such an incredibly shiny movie.

Forget the plot (pretty good), the writing (nearly perfect), the cast and acting (actually perfect, although I have some minor quibbles about Jane Foster). Asgard, Bifrost, the armor, and the Aesir's outfits are ridiculously pretty. Even Jotunheim and the frost giants are pleasing to the eye, although I have to say that the delicate blue of the frost giants really only works in the low blue-tinged lighting of the frost giants' realm or the Secret Doomsday Weapons room.

It seems the mellow goodness of my day has put me in a receptive mood to ~feelings~. Which sucks, because I hate feelings, but at least they're pretty good ones. Now, I've been following Gunnerkrigg Court for... a long time. Since shortly after it started, I think--before the art had evolved much, before any of the big plot points had been dropped, before the first chapter had even finished, if I remember right. I've loved these girls since they were tiny little first-years: solemn Antimony with her deep well of a heart, bright Kat with her enthusiasm and fierce intelligence. They've grown so much since then, realistically, with fights and bouts of immaturity and moments of real damned poor judgment. They're beautiful, flawed, genuine people, in an artistically and thematically gorgeous setting with well-plotted stories that have actually moved me to tears, something which almost never happens.

As the comic has progressed, there has been a lot of subtext between these two main characters. Really, deliciously queer subtext.

I didn't dare hope. Okay, I did, but every moment that I mentally underlined as being Relevant To My Lesbian Interests, I also privately acknowledged to myself that it's a heteronormative world out there and that subtext was all I was ever going to get.

And then... it kept happening. And things didn't contradict it, and more often than not even bolstered the possibility of them being a couple. And it started looking less like the queer fan-favorite ship that'd never happen and more like the thematically appropriate endgame of the whole damned comic. And right now I am all but certain that two girls who have had marvelous adventures together all their days in school are actually going to wind up as together, because what used to look like fan-created subtext and wild speculation is starting to feel a whole lot more like fucking text and honest-to-god foreshadowing.

It's a beautiful thing, and it's goddamn pathetic that one piddling webcomic hardly anyone has even heard of has me near tears.
killerkaleidoscope: close-up centered on a violet daisy on diagonally-cracked gray pavement (Default)
2011-08-05 06:47 pm

gods and captains: the ultimate drive-in experience

First of all, I gotta say that if there was ever a line-up to ensure my presence at the drive-in, this was it. Seeing both these films on the big screen while barefoot, curled up in a blanket on the pavement next to my dear friend, the two of us eating cheap grocery-store candy and joking to each other as much as we liked, was basically the best idea I've ever had. The drive-in is my favorite thing of all things for a reason.

Time for the inevitable post-film review, breakdown & revision. First up is the first film of the evening: Captain America: The First Avenger.

Does HYDRA recruit from some kind of evil marching band tournament? I want tickets. )

At intermission (because drive-ins, being awesome, have intermissions) we got up and stretched our legs a bit. I have a dim memory of trying to discuss the prevalence of mysterious-blue-things-that-glow in film and having it fizzle out because I am the only person who cares. I ate some more of my chocolate-covered pretzels. We shifted everything inside the car, turned on the radio (so much easier to hear dialogue this way at the drive-in, even if it's less fun) and then were were off to our second film of the evening... Thor.

Thor (& His Asgardian Super-Friends), a film I was expecting to halfheartedly tolerate and instead grew to love )

Despite my gripes, it was a good experience. Even when AAA couldn't make it before the drive-in's gates closed and we had to call up my dear friend's dad at two in the morning for a lift home, I don't regret it in the slightest. Next time I'll know to forget the leave-the-car on thing and bring a radio that runs on double-A batteries and we'll be good to go.