sienamystic: (flowermachine)
I am drinking red wine out of a little tetra pack. This is possibly a new low. In my defense, I bought it mostly to put in the beef and barley stew, and it was delicious and I can't let the rest of it go bad, right? Also, my wine glasses are on the high shelf and I don't feel like lugging over a step stool to get them.

My feet hurt from lots of standing at work, but the project that requires standing is really productive so I guess it's still a win. Also, it snowed today and was really pretty, and then it all melted off so I got to enjoy it and then not worry about slogging through it to get home.

I am tempted by all of the delighted people talking about Jupiter Ascending to maybe go see it. I'm hearing that it's a downright goofy and silly and fun space opera with pretty visuals and it sounds like it's worth at least a matinee.

What I really have to say right now is OMG Peggy Carter I love this show and it's almost over and that makes me sad. My fingers are crossed that they'll do another little, tight run like this and keep plopping them in-between Agents of SHIELD. (Also, because I keep tripping over people who are like PEGGY CARTER I LOVE YOU AGENTS OF SHIELD IS SHIT, let me say that Agents of SHIELD is pretty great and lots of fun and actually you don't need to keep pitting the two of them against each other.) Anyway, I don't know how they manage to keep doing such wonderful things with character and banter and plot and people being awesome and interesting and novel ways to descend staircases, but I need more.

In book news, I'm finally getting around to reading Rebecca, and I'm also reading a book about another mystic Italian saint from the early 1900s. The book is by Rudolph Bell and Cristina Mazzoni. Bell wrote the very interesting Holy Anorexia (which I read in conjunction with Holy Fest, Holy Fast by Caroline Walker Bynum,) while I was writing my thesis on Catherine of Siena, and that business is what got me interested in female mystic saints. I've only just begun, but it looks promising. Will also be getting an interlibrary loan of a book about women and greensickness. What triggered all this orgy of rereading was a comment I read by someone who was wanting more Tudor info while they read Wolf Hall, and linked an article by Hilary Mantel to a review of the Bell and Mazzoni book. Since I'm currently stalled on Wolf Hall, I was interested...and, well, here we are.

I think I'm going to go take my box of wine and go watch Face Off now, thank you.
sienamystic: (Anya)
My two most recent pieces of media consumption are...not much alike.

I've been slowly working through Penny Dreadful, which is wonderful and bloody and crazed over the top gothic and sometimes silly and sometimes I have to just listen to things happen while my phone is under some blankets, and thank goodness I got the warning on some moments before I came to them so I could take the blanket precaution. I've got two more episodes to go - they're downloading now - and am interested to see where season 2 goes. And also, Eva Green commits to things, yo. She does not half-ass one damn thing.

And I've also just read Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl for book club. I didn't realize she was the author of the book Eleanor and Park, which has had a lot of buzz recently, but I knew about this one because I follow the artist who did the cover (and have an Avengers print from that artist that my sister bought me last Christmas). The book was heftier than I thought it would be, and I enjoyed it, but was rather disappointed that the setting, which happens to be my current place of residence, was so lightly sketched out when the author is a native of the state and apparently grew up in the larger city about 50 miles away. But while there were a lot of gestures towards establishing a sense of place, it never happened. It's probably because she was trawling through emotional terrain and had nothing to spare for the physical, which, fair enough, I suppose.

Anyway, I liked the book a lot, even though some of the mental illness stuff was played...well, I don't know. Let's just say that I've read some reviews of the book that are all, "aww, Cath's father is so cuddly and I fell in love with him and he was the best so snarky wonderful" and I wondered if people just don't understand how difficult living with a person prone to manic episodes and doing things like locking themselves in rooms and not eating and writing messages on the mirror. I guess I feel like there was a lot of difficult emotional stuff in the book - one twin acting out in a big way, one twin with a truly severe anxiety disorder that is kinda played off as cute, a father with bipolar and a mother who said "fuck this" and left her eight-year-olds as she adioses out the door...it's there, and it's given some emotional weight, but the hospital scenes are, well, I don't know..,perhaps it's too much to ask for in what is apparently a YA book and I can't decide if I feel that if you bring up these topics you have to attack them a little more or if the lighter touch was actually more appropriate because it just presents it and leaves it for you.

Oh, and I'm not sure I liked the whole "insert chunks of Cath's fanfic in-between the chapters" stuff. It felt a little gratuitous.

On the other hand, a book that made me think about it this much probably means it's well-done enough to evoke the thinking, so that's another point in its favor. You can also add the facts that the book is genuinely charming, covers a lot of interesting stuff about the craft of writing. and kept my attention enough to tear through it.
sienamystic: (Joan)
I've been meaning to get around to watching The Bletchly Circle and then discovered that season 1 (three eps) was on Netflix streaming, so I absorbed them also while lying on the sofa in between running to the bathroom to heave. Don't we all need solid, women-centric mysteries where people are smart and awesome in different ways? (The answer is yes. Yes, we do.)

I've been watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries as well, and love those too although in a different way - they're much fluffier and there are more of them so you occasionally hit one where the plot doesn't even pretend to make sense. But they're delightful, and I say this as someone who didn't fall in love with the books.
sienamystic: (flowermachine)
Although I may be botching that particular bit of psychiatric terminology, who knows.

A few years ago, I had one of those dreams that stuck with me longer than a dream usually does. I was some sort of vampire hunter, and there was a portion of the dream where I was fighting one with long silver needles that I held between my fingers. Then a few cinematic flourishes (pretty common to how I dream) - dark forest with figures running through it in the moonlight, that sort of thing. Then the vampire, who has apparently defeated me, sitting in a carved chair as I sit next to him on the floor, my head in his lap. He's stroking my hair, and the emotion that came out of the dream with me was something along the lines of feeling protected and safe (because I was allied to the strongest thing around?) and not particularly worrying that the person I was now bonded to was potentially the evil undead. (I don't know how evil he was - my dream didn't provide any helpful info on whether he was a Bad Vampire Trope or a Good Vampire Trope.) The dream ended with me defending our children (how they happened, I have no idea) against other vampire hunters while he was trying to make his way back to us to keep us safe.

That's one of the central things about vampires that keeps us coming back to them, I think. They can be seductive on so many levels: freedom from death, the freedom from ordinary restraints, the freedom from ordinary fears that plague regular humans, the potential freedom from human ethics.

The reason I'm thinking about this now is because last night's Hannibal (and next week's in a big way, judging by the previews) is tapping into this particular id-quirk a lot. Hannibal in this show is being played explicitly as Lucifer, and while the fallen angel trope is not exactly the same as that of the vampire, they've got a lot of areas of overlap that I think the show likes to draw on. Hannibal doesn't drink blood, but he consumes his victims physically and also emotionally. We've seen in a lot of places where he needs people around him to help him perfect his human suit - he will mimic emotional responses and expressions to hide how alien he fundamentally is, and so there are certain people he cultivates as useful. This isn't the same relationship he has with Will, but it's the one he has or had with Bedelia and Alana and possibly even Jack.

I also saw a tiny bit of resonance with Hannibal learning about how the FBI works to the evil orderly telling Will that once you've been inside an asylum, you can effectively hide out in one as an orderly because you know how the system works, but that's a little off the point. But once you learn the system, you can hide more effectively, and that works for learning human behavior and using that knowledge to help hide yourself among them.

This is all an elaborate way to sum up my internal screaming at the preview scene of Hannibal and Alana, by the way. Something about deeply fucked up power dynamics is just fascinating (and what big chunks of fandom are built on) and the show is masterfully tapping into those things that swim deep down in the dark places. Everyone who is a part of the show: you are all magnificent bastards and I salute you.
sienamystic: (Anya)
With the Chromecast that was my Christmas present and some Netflix streaming video, I've been:

rewatching the West Wing from the very beginning, and loving it
watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, and enjoying them a great deal
occasionally watching Parks and Rec, random episodes of MacGyver, Top Gear BBC, and early Mythbusters
only sometimes watching movies, because most of the ones on my list are not streaming

With the Amazon Prime I accidentally purchased, I've been watching Season One of Veronica Mars. It's a lot of fun, but I hear Season 2 isn't so great? Not sure if I'll continue. I'm about four eps in.

This concludes the state of the Mystic consumption of media.
sienamystic: (Venice)
Oh my gosh, so gorgeous. The art was ravishing, the little spirits such a nice nod to Spirited Away, the story held together so much more. More of this, Korra people.

In other news I have my assignments for Yuletide and the Clint/Natasha Secret Santa, and am excited and am starting to noodle through ideas for them.
sienamystic: (Joan)
So I'm enjoying Sleepy Hollow, but dislike horror. And the show is pretty horror-filled. And I can't explain why it gets to me a little more when I watch Hannibal without really turning a hair. It's probably because the Sleepy Hollow people adore themselves a "quick something jumping at the camera" complete with violin trill, and that's just plain mean to my oversensitive startle reflex.

Anyway. Will continue to watch, but probably mostly through my fingers.

TV and me

Sep. 25th, 2013 09:30 pm
sienamystic: (tempt me)
Hey, fall tv watching season. Tumblr is making Sleepy Hollow look like fun (I'd never have watched it otherwise) so I'm got the pilot free from iTunes and I'm in the middle of it. It's pretty adorable, if ridiculous. Have set it to tape and will see how it goes.

Also watching Face Off, which I had wanted to do previously and am enjoying a lot. I had liked shows like Project Runway, where you see people create things, and this show is refreshingly free of drama, manufactured or otherwise, and heavy on watching people sculpt, make molds, and all that interesting stuff.

I watched the Castle season premier today and...well, I may be done with the show. I still have a lot of good will towards it, but the storytelling just doesn't work for me anymore and I fastforwarded through most of this ep. I held on to this show longer than I did other shows where I am still vaguely fond of the characters but don't feel any desire to watch (White Collar, for one) but I think I've lost interest in tracking the story. Perhaps weirdly, I end up rewatching the pilot most of all.

I was looking forward to Agents of SHIELD and had a lot of fun with the pilot. Not perfect, but definitely enough to keep me coming back. I unhinged my jaw at "shanked by the Asgardian Mussolini" and also swooned at the idea of Coulson spending his recovery time reading Travis McGee novels, even if it may or may not all be real. Whoever designed that memory had excellent taste in beach reading. There are a few bland characters but I think Fitz-Simmons are pretty cute, love Melinda May, and of course am all in for Coulson.
sienamystic: (cactus pot)
I have had no energy for posting. Work has been screamingly busy, but hopefully once we get past the next month or so, things will settle down, at least back down to more normal levels. You know the image of the swan, all grace up top, all frantic paddling below? Well, the swan is starting to look a mite rumpled, let's just say that.

I have seen and loved Iron Man III. It was like...it was just the movie I hoped it would be, somehow. I need to see it again.

I am still watching and being creeped out by Hannibal and wonder why I watch and then watch with a pillow to put over my face just in case but watch the whole thing and aaagh.

The weather has settled into some sort of intermittent rain-sun-rain thing, but it's kind of nice. I like the smell of wet asphalt.

I am so tired, seriously, people. I have a beach vacation in just a couple of weeks and I can't wait. I am seriously needing some time with no brain activity.

I've written most of a certain somebody's Buffy/Esposito fic, but I have to bring it to a good conclusion! Will write the others soon too.
sienamystic: (Joan)
Yay! It's back! And everyone is in a full blown existential crisis mostly, which hey...isn't exactly shocking. But I'm so happy to be peeking in on these people's lives again.

It's raining for the first time in yoinks, and there's thunder and lightning and a cool steady breeze blowing in smelling of asphalt and rain. It's lovely.

I'm reading the new GGK book River of Stars and enjoying it a lot lot lot.

I bought what I suspect will be a very cute dress on me, on sale, from Asos Curve. I have my fingers crossed. Next, shoes, although the ones I like best are pricy, yuk.

I should go to bed but probably won't just yet. Time to go onto Tumblr and look for Mad Men gifs or something.

Jekyll

Mar. 18th, 2013 07:54 pm
sienamystic: (Sophie)
So I've finished watching Jekyll. Is it just me, or did the show not make a damn lick of sense? I can't figure out the reasoning of the organization trying to control Hyde. But there were some good scenes, and James Nesbitt and Gina Bellman had pretty great chemistry. Sadly there was a lot of slogging to get to that handful of good scenes.

The hair

Mar. 8th, 2013 07:31 pm
sienamystic: (Sophie)
So I went ahead and dyed my hair. I was expecting it to run to about thirty bucks (I went to the local cosmetology school, because they're inexpensive and I've actually gotten pretty decent results there since the students are supervised) and it actually came in at $16, because it was a small area of tinting, not my whole head.

I started out pretty happy with it. I love the color - I went with a burgundy that really suits me, I think. My hair is in shoulder-length layers right now, and only the very bottom back layer was dyed, in what they referred to as a peekaboo. My issue now that I've had time to play with it is that it's far more peek and hardly any boo - it's invisible from the front, only intermittently visible from the back, and if I have my hair half-up, it's only a little more obvious. I was thinking that if I didn't like it, it would be because it was too much, and instead it's too little - it's so subtle that it's probably not even going to register with anybody unless they catch it at just the right moment. I wanted something a tiny bit more exciting! So, I plan to go back at some point and have more done. I don't know when, though - scheduling is a bit of a pain.

Hair thing

In non-hair news, I've been watching Jekyll on Youtube, because I heard it was decent and also because of Gina Bellman. It's...good? It sort of swerves back and forth between really effective and creepy and evocative and really campy and overdone. The lead actor, whose name I'm blanking on but who is also (of course) one of the dwarves in the Hobbit, has a bucketload of charisma to spare but frequently chews the scenery like a rabid dog. I don't know quite what I think about it.

I'm also slowly catching up with last season's Game of Thrones since I am HBO-less, although I essentially know the high points thanks to Tumblr and my not being spoiler-averse since I've read the first several books anyway. I'm interested, but also sort of at the point where I'm remembering why I stopped reading the books - why do I want to read/see about all these horrible things happening to people, again? Especially since I know how things progress for the next little while.

1966 style

Apr. 30th, 2012 03:30 pm
sienamystic: (red hat)
Tom and Lorenzo have made the point recently in one of their Mad Style posts (which specifically dissect Mad Men's clothing choices and how they serve the story) that:

"It was a quirk of mid- late 1960s women’s styles – and you could have a field day postulating as to why; many others already have – that they were largely infantilized; like this schoolgirl dress, sporting naive detailing like bold sash details and big buttons. She could add some brightly colored hosiery and a pair of Mary Janes and be wearing something perfectly fashionable for an 8-year-old and a 25-year-old at the same time."

I was flipping through some of my images from a 1966 Spiegel catalog, and boy, ain't that the truth.

big buttons and borders and bows )
sienamystic: (Pete whining)
Really enjoyed the first two eps. Like the way that Don and Megan are a different sort of trouble than Don and Betty were - lots of sexual heat (and some power-play kink) along with all sorts of issues about working together, Megan's place in the office, what she may want out of work vs what he wants from her at work with him...really juicy stuff there. And she bounces off Peggy in interesting ways.

Aww, Joan. And I've always loved how she and Lane get alone. And Lane, don't be creepy.

Pete vs. Roger - ahahahaha. Have fun in Staten Island, Roger!

So much funny flying around, too. Mostly at the expense of Harry.

In short, I'm back in and loving it.
sienamystic: (Joan)
The Unusuals was a sadly short-lived quirky cop drama/comedy that I really wish had hung around for longer. Rewatching the first couple of shows right now and shaking my fist at what should have been a fun few seasons.

Last night's Leverage was mostly a lot of fun, but they always lose me when they do the slow-mo over the top stuff. One time it was Eliot sliding on his knees through gunshots and explosions while he wielded two guns, John Woo style, and tonight it was a slow-mo explosion with slow-mo screaming of Nate's name and Hardison holding the wimmen back while Eliot tended to Nate's bleeding face. I'm sure the Eliot/Nate shippers will be all over it, but when you're shooting for drama and wind up with me giggling about how overwrought it all is, you may want to dial it back a few.
sienamystic: (Bourne)
Test drove our new little cheapie hibachi today, and alas I botched the setup, resulting in a dense smokey taste that will likely stay in the back of my throat for the next year and a half. Burgers were cooked and consumed, but I can't say they were good, exactly. Will try to improve next time.

Did roll up some nice lumpia Shanghai for the dojo picnic tomorrow. Have discovered my big error - egg roll wrappers are just too thick...I've wanted spring roll wrappers all this time. We picked up a slew of them at a nearby Asian market and I'm very happy with the results. They cooked through, and are the right size and texture, instead of being these giant things where the wrapping never quite cooked through correctly.

Bemo's birthday on Monday. We should bring a cake to the dojo picnic in his honor. Will try to remember.

During the cookout today, Bemo announced that I had grey hairs. Well, I knew I had, but apparently they're proliferating around the top of my head with wild abandon, where I hadn't noticed them. Don't know how I feel about that. Well, I do know how I feel, I just don't know how intensely I feel it.

Have read and enjoyed Lev Grossman's The Magicians.. However, following it up with a reread of The Secret History and listening to Marc Maron's interview with Todd Hansen may have been too much bleak/angsty/dark, edgy art all at once. I know it was too much reading about people drinking, anyway.

Also finally got around to reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and found it a pretty thoroughly mediocre book. Will probably watch the new version of the movie on account of Daniel Craig, but the book was stodgy and full of characters without any life to them whatsoever, and endless descriptions of things I couldn't care less about, like computers booting up. I made it to the end only because I plowed through it in a couple of days, and have no impulse to ever reread it or read the rest of the books in the series, because I just don't care one whit about any of the characters.

Have watched a few eps of The Pacific on DVD. Didn't grab me as much as Band of Brothers did, but I was bustling during the second disc, so that may have been part of the reason I wasn't drawn in. Also my problem of telling people apart when they're all dirty and in helmets continues. Also also, either our tv is incredibly sucktastic (a valid proposition) or the night scenes were meant to be so dark that the actors are barely visible.

Also watched a little bit of the first season of The Electric Company. It was really working an interesting vibe, and I'd like to compare it to Sesame Street of the same year (1971). I think TEC must have been more slangy and edgy and hip, but I'm not certain.
sienamystic: (chipper in red)
Watched the second disc of Community and we both continue to love it. I'm sure we're missing a bunch of dialogue because we're not rewatching (at least not right away, I may pick up the DVDs at some point) and stuff goes by fast, but we're both really enjoying the show. It's a well-built thing, too - the characters have more to do, the relationships are beefed up and not just lightly sketched in. There seems to be a generalized internetty dislike of Britta, but I like her just fine, and think that without her some of the balance of the show would really disappear.

I think I've mentioned a bajilion times that they filmed big parts of Salt at my old place of work, because I'm envious that, y'know, I moved out and Angelina Jolie moved in. I had so much fun helping with the filming of National Treasure and The West Wing that I am bitter I missed out on the fun of this longer shoot. At any rate, the movie itself is full of plot holes, both of the smaller "whups" variety and the bigger, "back the truck on through" type, and has a few instances of bad pacing, including some infodumping that's not very well-integrated into the film, but on the whole it's a fun, tension-filled, bad-ass take on the action movie and I enjoyed it a whole bunch.

The bits that were filmed at my old museum are all meant to be the White House, and they must have loved the fact that the hallways of the place are littered with portraits of past President-Generals and random ancestors and patriotic looking plaques and quilts and decorative molding. They used the small staircases behind the library that I used to love running up and down, because you're sort of between floors, and the stairs are little and windy and marble and just really cool - it's funny that their location scout must have felt the same way about them that I did. And frankly, most of the paintings are pretty crappy stuff (we save the good stuff for the actual museum, not the hallways of the larger organization, although there are few gems here and there) but they look just fine blurred out in the background as Angelina Jolie kicks somebody in the face. And the fact that the gory climax of the last big fight comes right outside the children's museum and above a chapel space amused me terribly. It's worth a rental if you like action movies, and I do like the fact that it was written for Tom Cruise but not altered much to fit Angelina.

Castle!

Jan. 24th, 2011 10:26 pm
sienamystic: (Joan)
Castle tonight was excellent. EXCELLENT.
I am unabashedly squeeing my little heart out. FOR SERIOUS.
sienamystic: (Jareth)
Nabbed the first season of Murphy Brown from the library yesterday, and watched the first disk. The show has held up pretty well, actually. The jokes still work. I'm sorry that apparently the first season didn't sell enough for any more DVDs to be put out. I used to be a big fan of the show but haven't thought about it in ages until I saw it at the library and figured it would be fun to have on while I puttered around the kitchen and made my first solo attempt at bread (my first assisted attempt at bread taking place a mere five days previous).

The bread came out rather oddly shaped, and a weird texture, but it was actually pretty tasty. Will carry out more experiments with my remaining two packets of yeast, and then maybe I'll buy a jar of it instead of the little envelopes.

Will probably watch more of the tv show tonight while attempting a second loaf. Also, I've been playing with collage - I hesitate to label the activity as "making art," because it's rather the same sort of thing you see all over Etsy in various forms - but it's soothing to play with the acrylic paints and the various forms of transfer mediums I'm working with. At some point, no doubt, I'll end up with a giant vat of beeswax bubbling away in a crockpot, a mitre box, and all sorts of other heat tools and quilting irons and stamps, but I'm going to wait on those and just continue to play with contact paper and photocopies and so on. I'll post a few photos when I have something to show.
sienamystic: (Joan)
Mad Men, why you gotta leave me?

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