cinnamon sparrow

... And Somewhere Else the Tea's Getting Cold

Come on, Ace. We've got work to do.

Monday is dreaming
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
I've started writing this post about three times now - I didn't post earlier because I was still on the end of having a flu thing and not quite feeling like putting words out into cyberspace to stay there for ever and ever. Or just because I didn't feel like doing much, even though I wasn't achey all over.

Reading: Wayfarer, Lili St. Crow. It was really good - a punky Cinderella retelling with an abusive stepmother. Not sure what to read next.

Writing: not much, because I wasn't feeling like doing very much, but in the last week there's been some songwriting noodling. Listening to Seanan McGuire's album Wicked Girls and having someone in the house playing Crisis Core is an interesting combination.

I love how the more I listen to her songs, the more I get out of them. I think I've picked up another layer or two to 'My Story is Not Done', and another layer to how the album fits together thematically as well. So many of the songs are a metaphor for something else, even when you know that a certain song is about character x from series y.

Gaming: Housemate has started playing Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core, and we've had this odd spoiler standoff wherein I don't want to know much detail about what actually happens in the game, but I know roughly what shape it will take because I remember most of the original FF7 in a pretty good amount of detail.

Watching: No tv, since it broke (no Doctor Who D:) but housemate and I have watched about half of the first season of Continuum, which is really good. It's a time travel thing - cop gets dragged back in time with members of a terrorist organisation from 2077 to 2012 - and it asks questions about the morality of changing the past, hints that the bad guys might actually be in the right, and all that. I do hope the bad guys are in the right - most of the group are ethinic minorities - they look like a terrorist group from a Hollywood movie, and it just seems a bit too cartoony for the rest of the everything they pull.

Saturday Runs Rings Around Everyone
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
Reading: I have finished A Natural History of Dragons and started The Blood She Betrayed by Cheryse Durrant. Wasn't a fan of the first chapter, due to dude being too oogly, still read to the end of chapter 4 because it was pretty fun. I was expecting it to be more otherworld-fantasy from the cover and the blurb on the back, but it's urban fantasy, with third person dual points of view between the hapless but rich dude and the warrior-magic chick lady.

Dragons continued to be really good right to the end, and also dealt with some of the things that come up when White Imperial Europeans go off to Exotic Lands to further the cause of Science.

Writing: Going slowly, but there has been some, mostly on The One that Formerly Wasn't Going to See the Light of Day, But Now I'm Not So Sure. I'm going to need to do proper plot outlining for Officemancer - I keep on writing fragments that don't have an ending, and this is the usual fix for that. TOtFWGtStLoDBNINSS has a vague outline, though I don't know why the bad guys are doing the things of bad yet.

Movies: I watched the Third Indiana Jones movie with housemate last night. As much as they're fun, they're also very much a litany of 'imperialist, imperialist, racist, racist, let's throw in some sexism for good measure, racist, imperialist again' - it's kind of vilely fascinating. And I know there's implications of things that I'm not picking up.

Oh, um, of Guardians of The Galaxy - for a movie where the main character sleeps around and has little respect for those he sleeps with, where the lone female protagonist is a defector from evil and is really good in a fight but still has to be rescued, where the lone female antagonist is the big bad's 'daughter' and also the 'sister' of the female protagonist, and generally pretty sexist, it's a really good movie, and I really enjoyed it.

Life: Uh, the berry trees that I thought were going to die did not die, in Pokemon? And the tv finally decided that giving us vision was too much hard work, so my laptop is now the primary source of entertainment in the house, which kind of isn't great for writing. I am going out for birthday dinner tonight, and I hope the clothes that I washed last night are dry by then.

Listening to music makes me feel more scattered than usual. Not that I'm doing that now - I wouldn't want writing a blog post to take hours, and if I was listening to words, it might.

Links:

The Story that needs to be told probably doesn't On inspiration and privilleged writers, or just because you can doesn't mean you should

7 August, 2014
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
It's my birthday.

I'm listening to Aqua and Icehouse and LadyHawke and Seanan McGuire on my new MP3 Player. I've just bought a handful of Disney movies, a couple of sci fi series, and the first series of Digimon from JBHiFi, and saw Guardians of the Galaxy at the movies.

It's been an excellent day.

Saturday has time. Usually.
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
My housemate has installed some point-and-click puzzle solving games on my computer, after I played some on hers. This has turned out not to be my most brilliant idea.

On the other hand, there's been more writing? Plotting for the thing that may not see the light of day gave me some ideas for Officemancer, and I ended up plotting out the end of it and figured out that I may have to write it from the end forwards, mostly because it will be easier to lay in the groundwork going backwards. And also because the actual plot I had planned out was only mildly interesting to me. It might just be that only the ending part is actually the thing that I have any interest in getting working, so I guess we'll see.

Haven't nudged the short story again yet. I should do some of that as well.

Housework has also been houseworking somewhat? I've put the tea towels and stuff on the line outside, at least. Need to wash the dishes. Again. And water my bedroom plants. I have a garlic, an aloe vera, and a rounded noonflower, and they're all looking a bit unhappy.

Thursday is a fish
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
I've kind of been around but I haven't been anythinging much. I notice that I tend to withdraw from the internet when I'm feeling overpeopled, and just that some of the parts of my brain that work oddly probably aren't very conducive to the business parts of novel writing.

On with the onwardness!

Reading: I am about a quarter of the way into A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, which is the awesomest thing, and if I ever sit down with it during the day, it is very quickly going to be finished. It's basically Victorian Tamora Pierce with dragon-seeking instead of knighthood-seeking - the earlier part is about the main character's struggles with reconciling what is expected of her as an upper-class woman with her unladylike interest in dragons. It's awesome.

I have also finished reading Shadowbound by Dianne Sylvan, which was very cool and 'why are you being evil, author' and interesting but also weird. The story had started to take a turn towards the tertiary-world fantasy in the previous book, and it only solidified in this one. It probably could have been handled better? I really love this series, I love that it has multiple viewpoint characters and was written in third person, I love that it's not afraid to kill people off, I love that sometimes the characters just get really silly with each other, and I'm sad that this is the last book that was contracted for. The author said that she plans to complete the series, and I'm hoping that this is a thing that happens because her writing is awesome.

Writing: Finally, there's been some movement on the writing front: some on a short story that should help with figuring out how vampire hunting works in Chained, and some on another thing I'm mucking around with and may never see the light of day.

Life: I moved one of my volunteering days so that both my days would be consecutive, and I'm starting to feel like I'm getting my head back, on the second day of a five-day weekend. There has been washing of bedding and towels (but also rain- it was warm and windy until the skies opened up), saucepans soaking in the sink... and that's mostly it. But it felt busy. Does that count? I also practised some guitar. I'm starting to get rusty at some of the songs I like a lot.

No Madoka :(
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
No Madoka tonight :( I've been watching it on the tv, and the tv hath moved it. Bad ABC3.

Sword Art Online is still on, but later.

The other reason I've been quiet recently is that I've been actually plotting fanfic (as opposed to considering writing fanfic but not actually doing anything about it), which has mostly been figuring out what symbolism is happening in a particular work, chasing down what the symbolism means, and figuring out how to tweak it. While also condensing plot.

So, you know, possibly chasing down screenshots of this movie to figure out if a particular flower that shows up could be the kind of flower that I think it is.

... I have a thing about not liking to google things unless I'm fairly certain that I know what's going to come up. As if googling the wrong search string will cause spiders to rise out of the keyboard? My brain is weird.

More Madoka
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
I think I'm going to need to weed the backyard more today. :( There was going to be An Outing (with the plant group, to Serendip) but it has been postponed, so I played Pokemon all morning (I have a bulbasaur now?) and went to the shops to get bread and margarine.

~

I'm starting to understand why Sword Art Online is on before Madoka - it is not a nice world. All of the episodes I've seen so far dealt in some way with the deaths of other avatars - and when a avatar dies, so does the person playing them.

I have started to notice that Puella Magi etc is being intentionally creepy with camera angles. And the opening credits. Is it odd that the girls don't actually seem to have magic so much as weapons that break the laws of physics? The series is kind of - it makes you wait. It drip feeds you new pieces of information every so often - kyubey in particular seems to only give out any information when directly asked, and I'm pretty sure that's by design, in-universe - but it kind of hedges its payoffs as well. If you're there for pretty fight scenes, they're all eldritch animation like reality has lost its grip on itself. If you're there to see a team of friends working together, there's only Madoka and her friend, and both of them are kind of dealing with their own issues too much to help each other at this point.

Me? I think I want to see how this plays out - I'm waiting to see the man behind the curtain, how all the pieces fit together.

Reading. Story.
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
This morning I finished Indexing by Seanan McGuire. It is a para-governmental agency who stop fairy tales from playing out. Seeing as most of them end up with people being dead, or staying dead if the narrative isn't completed.

It has given me thinky thoughts about the nature of story, that story is as much who we perceive ourselves to be and the narratives that news media tells as fairy tales and the stories that never leave us, even after we realise how broken and damaging they are.

One of the latter has been slowly creeping back to me - though it's not damaging so much as that I've been always trying to rewrite it since it declared itself mine, and have been coming to an understanding as to why I've been trying to rewrite it.

Everything's story. Every sequence of events that people want to give meaning to is story. Just that some of those characters are flesh and blood, and others are words or pixels.

~

Also finished a book from an author I like very much and trust very much with her representations of people who are not her, with a secondary character who was Australian and annoyed me with her 'I am Australian and I can handle snakes and crocodiles and other big scary things because I'm Australian'-ness. I ended up enjoying it eventually, when plot kicked in, but yeah, it was kind of disappointing.

How do you get a pikachu onto a bus?
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
So. Things have been busy recently - after the thing with the plumber, we got a letter from the real estate asking us to de-weed the gardens before thursday, which was done. Eventually. Mostly. And then we got a phone call asking us for a time to be avaliable to let people in so they can valuate the property. Oh, yay.

~

I have borrowed my housemate's DS to play Pokemon X, because I have not pokemoned since Gold and I wanted to play at something that wasn't Rocksmith. I've only been on it a few hours and I have about 15 pokemon already. Or 20. A lot. Or a lot more than I'm used to having this far into it.

(She bought a PSP and some games including Crisis Core. She has been informed that I will be playing it. Because there is no conceivable way that there is a Final Fantasy 7 game anywhere in the house that does not end with it being played by me. Especially because the mad science. Even though there will be 'but this is not canon' face-noises from me.)

~

I have been to a lesson of Irish and it was... declensiony? I can say hello, I think, but I can't spell it. And it has no accusitive case. I think it was good that I ended up going on the night where they started working declensions and cases, because such things are handy, even if they can be hard on the brains.

Madoka and Sword Art Online
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
There was more Madoka. The end of the episode (episode 3) surprised me, because I thought that uh, that event would stop the plot from progressing. Except that the pacing is a little bit slow - not meandering, just showing what needs to be shown when it needs to be shown.

I don't really care much about any of the characters? Or I sometimes have trouble remembering who is who, and that makes it harder to form attachments? Which might be a good thing, really.

~

There was also a Sword Art Online. And it's... it's own kind of nasty. The premise is that all these teenagers are stuck in a virtual reality MMORPG until someone gets to level... something, and if they die in the game, they die in real life. So far I've seen the end of episode 2 and all of episode 3, the latter of which I don't want to talk about because I don't think I can avoid spoilers, but the main character is a young guy who's both rather angsty and rather disinclined to form real attachments to other characters because of the cause of said angst, and I think that the combination of those might be enough to have me give up on the story eventually, but not yet. I'm familliar with that character type and I can enjoy them but I'm used to seeing them with an ensemble to prod them out of it.

Otherwise it looks interesting. I love the idea of exploring video game tropes in media that are not games, and the series has moments that would be fourth wall breaking in an actual game. I will have to see about this one, I think.

Ninja Real Estate and Schrodinger's Plumber
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
I haven't been on LJ because a) weekend was busy and b) the saga of the ninja real estate agency and schrodinger's plumber. The saga being, that the agency managing our property has changed three times in two years and the current one doesn't have a listing in the yellow pages or a website. (solution - they have properties listed in places, and with properties comes a phone number. Courtesy of uncle, who came in the afternoon for a regularly scheduled not-guitar-lesson and witnessed the outpouring-of-tears)

Ninja real estate - you can't find them unless they want you to find them. And you still have to look really hard.

Um, oh, shrodinger's plumber was the call to the ninja real estate this morning and then not hearing anything back for several hours, until they texted to say 'call this plumber', and I did, and the plumber should be here in... half an hour? So maybe not schrodinger's plumber after all.

(temporarily exeunts for lunch)

(and also for the plumber's visit, and also for Judging Amy)

Schrodinger's plumber was pretty uneventful.

But yay! Happy toilet!
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Warning: may contain traces of research
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
After a few minutes trying to figure out how the hell my vampire hunters are going to vampire hunt, I discovered a thing: magic fixes everything. Well, it won't fix the organisational problems (the why do people do this and why do they do it as a group and how does that group function) but it fixes the 'how the hell do the humans stand any sort of chance of even being able to make a pest of themselves to the vampires without attracting the human authorities'.

Goodgood.

While I'm on the subject, have a thing that I wrote a month ago (literally, on the 21st) when I was trying to insert the first two lines of the Odyssey into said novel:


I really want to whine about deciding to put classical greek into the MS, but the only part that is actually hard is that I would like an actual translation of those two lines, my verry rusty Classical Greek-fu, and that the version of the Odyssey that I own is artfully translated into poetic form.

And I'm also mildly confused by the lack of wine-dark sea, which I swear was in the Odyssey, but that's not really relevant to anything.

#writerproblems

This is not weird at all, I swear
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
So, yesterday morning while idly watching an episode of Power Rangers Megaforce, as you do, my houssemate commented that the original series was a lot less silly than the newer ones. I said, more or less, I doubt that.

I later sent my housemate a text message ending with the phrase 'I regret nothing'.

(Incidentally, she was right - they didn't have a lot of the over the top calling and posing that the newer seasons have. We did only watch the first episode, though.)

(Incidentally, the phrase 'I regret nothing', may have had more to do with the ukulele, or that I bought several disney movies as well as Equestria Girls)

(Incidentally, I have now seen Equestria Girls and like it more than FiM, though why exactly may take an entire post on its own)

Fungi and Puella Magi Madoka Magica
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
Is tired after party in Ocean Grove with the fungi*. I remember none of the names. Except for rootyshank/ roudiman-something gigantisporus. Or something. Fungi are new as far as seeing them out in the wild is concerned. There was a specific fungi called a she-oak punk that only grows on dead she-oaks. Lots of looking at dead woody things, there was.

*I bad-punned, please excuse

~

I watched the second episode of Puella magi madoka magica last night. I have been spoiled for the series, but a) I wasn't that interested until I got spoiled and b) I'm not going to be handed a rude shock later on. And seeing the second episode reminded me why I wasn't so impressed with the first - it had two scenes that happened at different times intercut during the first half of the episode, and the animation on the witchhunt gets pretty trippy. Takes a bit of getting used to. I think the other reason why I wasn't immediately into it in the first episode was that it didn't get into the magic or how the magical girl thing worked until the second episode, so I am happier with it as a thing now.

Please no spoilers - I know the shape of what's going to happen, but I don't want to know the specifics.

Kickstarters? By other people?
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
There are a couple of kickstarters I've been following, and I thought I should maybe get a word out.

Resurrecting River Wolfe A wolf gets bitten and turns into a human. Author is pretty bad-ass. River was her first novel and she wanted to rewrite and rerelease it if there was enough interest, and it seems that there is- the campaign has funded enough so that there's going to be a rerelease of the sequel as well. (I haven't gotten around to her work yet, but she's been doing this for a while and there's free serials on her site.) It's got 2 hours left as of now, so if it sounds interesting, get on it now.

Chains and Memory People in the real world started manifesting The kickstarter is for the sequel, but you can get the original as a backer reward. I have not read the first novel, but I am very much a fan of Brennan's work - she does good brain things with alternate worlds. This kickstarter has funded as well and it's got 3 days left on it.

Who doesn't want a musical set in a world where magic is sung, and those that can sing magic are barred from doing so? Too awesome for words. It's about 10K from funding, and it's got 19 days left, but I really, really want it to fund. This needs to be a thing that exists in the world.

Continuum, and bloggery
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
I am going to be at Continuum, despite thinking it was going to be a week later than it was and being utterly unprepared. I found some cheapish accomodation closeish with a week's notice, and figured out where the convention centre is and how to get there from both the train station and my hotel.

(Part of me thinks it would be a good idea to write up a thing on cheapish accomodation re Continuum, not that it's hard to find if you look. Not that I want to reveal where I'm staying when the entire internet could see.)

I am being sad at myself for not using LJ/DW/ talking to internet people more. I've been not engaging for a long time - lurking, and sometimes posting but not checking back - but not really commenting. And not *really* posting, either. (The Eurovision semifinals post is still on my desktop)

LJ isn't what it was when I started, and DW isn't what LJ was when I started, either, but I miss using it. I have a tumblr that I haven't actually used, because it both scares and confuses me (whyyyy does it not display all posts from the people you follow?), and it seems easier to just look at other people's main blog than go through the site.

Eurovision - spoilers, if you haven't already seen who won / don't want to see who won yet
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
So, I've been watching Eurovision over the weekend.

And EEEEEEEEEEE! Europe said 'we believe in you' to the bearded woman, and she got so many points they called her win early. It wasn't a complete landslide - there was a small pack of countries sitting near the top, but Austria was ahead in the tally during most of the count.

And it meant so much to her. It was beautiful, just watching her react each time another country gave her 12 points, that she couldn't believe that Europe was supporting her so clearly.

I teared up watching it.

~*~

I took a whole heap of notes over the weeekend, and I have most of a post for the first semi-final done. I may as well write them up and post them, though I don't have a lot for the grand final. (I got to sit and watch properly. The downside of this note-taking thing is that you miss a lot what's actually going on.) It's not like I wouldn't have been posting well after any information was actually of use, anyway.

Tired person is tired, boneseed is evil edition
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
Reading: Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Daughter of Smoke and Bone 3, Laini Taylor.

Writing: Working on plot outline of first Chained book again, hoping that having a detailed outline will make the process of writing go a lot smoother

Life: This morning I went weeding boneseed at Dog Rocks, and the surrounding vegetation decided to award me with hair decorations, some of which I have returned home with. They also had a speaker who is a wildlife rehabilitator specialising in birds of prey, who was pretty cool, and they provided lunch. Really good reward for an hour and a half of weeding.

I have a garlic plant sprouting in my bedroom. I was afraid it wasn't growing for a little while there, but now the sprout is starting to point up instead of away from the window.

Update of the things
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
My brain has been feeding me poo recently, which is kind of why I haven't been posting, or reading LJ/DW much at all: I haven't been feeling like being interactive much.

Writing: I kind of got to the point on the unicorn novel where I decided writing a unicorn novel was a terrible idea. I started working on a novel thing where the main character is unemployed has gone on a holiday to her childhood holiday place to unravel all the things, and then fairies. Or something. It's a 'writing is opening a vein' kind of story, and also I'm not sure that I actually like the story. Or the experience of being that raw with the page. If I continue, I think it will be hell to edit, for that reason, as well.

Also, on the writing front, I've started poking at Lunaris again. I think it would be good to work on, because it plays with most of my literary kinks (magic! almost-but-not-actually-killing-people! worldbuilding like whoa! characters who don't feel like my personal sock puppets! the main characters are all friends and work as a team! unethical sceientific experimentation!). It's the funnest thing ever, and that means I kind of don't mind so much when the story decides I need to make a conlang for it, figure out how sexism and racism actually work in the setting... research stem cells and spinal fluid on wikipedia... :D It's terrible, but going to be so fun. If I can get the science to stick in my head.

Reading: I have finished both Parasite, which was awesome, and The Raven Boys, which was really really good. I'm about a third of the way into The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making. I like it, and I like the book's habit of being shockingly blunt about the ways in which fairyland is like modern western society, and how very much it is a modern Alice in Wonderland and also commentary on that genre of books. It's also not doing the things I like a story to do when I read it. It's being too languagey and not characterey enough for me, I think. Too narraterey? The narrator takes over the story too much for me, I guess.

Parasite was kind of not like Mira Grant's other novels but a lot like them? Sally, the main character, is not a Mira (or a Seanan) type of main character. She's not in a profession where she would be likely to have trouble land on her. She's not an idealist out looking to right wrongs and save the world. Oddness has happened to her out of nowhere - the 'should have died in a car accident, but inexplicably woke up', but she's mostly an average-person kind of protagonist, and the story really starts when she gets a note saying 'want to know what happened to you? meet me'. It's actually really cool. (not to mention, she likes carniverous plants, and the dog is awwwww)

Movie review - Vampire Academy
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
Yesterday I went to see Vampire Academy at the movies. This is the second time I've gone to see the movie of a book where I've had a big emotional investment in the movie being good (the first being Catching Fire), and the first coming into it blind (ie, saw The Hunger Games, loved it).

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it dealt with the worldbuilding as quickly as possible, for a world that has three different types of vampires and a vampire society with it's own social mores. It doesn't have nearly as much emphasis on Rose's training to be a guardian, her want to become one at the expense of nearly everything else, and the fight scenes in general, as the book does (that I remember - it's been a while since I've read the series).

On the other hand, it's really, really funny. And it's funny in ways that are true to the characters and the book. It pokes fun at itself being another-vampire-movie, a little bit. The main characters are very quick witted and come back with a funny retort very often. Particularly Rose.

I did enjoy it once I stopped trying to make it into the-book-in-my-head and let it be what it was. I'd like to see the next movie, if it ends up being made. I think I still would have preferred a more action-y movie, though. I have a couple of other problems with it, mainly that Dmitri is way too old-looking to be the love interest - he's meant to be older, but he's meant to be around 25, and he could pass for 35.

Also, Rose is described as having olive skin in the books, and in the movie she's white.

(though while we're at activism, it does the bechdel test so well I think it actually fails its reverse - I'm not sure if I can think of an instance where two men in the movie speak together about something other than a woman. I might be wrong, but there aren't a great deal of male characters who have a lot of screen time. I was mildly annoyed that all the novice guardians apart from Rose seem to be male students, though.)
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