Leave Out All The Rest.

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:38 pm
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (Default)
[personal profile] rionaleonhart
Chester Bennington has died.

I'm devastated.

You were a big part of my early teens. I thought going to see Linkin Park in concert would just be a fun nostalgic thing, but you were so good on stage. I've been hoping I might be able to see you perform again ever since then. I can't believe it was only on the third of this month.

I'm glad I was able to see you once, at least.

Thank you for giving me so much joy over the last fortnight. And, on a less intense level, thank you for the joy you've given me over the last seventeen years. Also, fuck you slightly for being the reason I've been sitting here and crying for the last hour? (I'm trying to proofread this entry right now, and I can't see the screen through my tears.)

But 'Leave Out All the Rest' asks us to forget the wrongs that you've done. So I'll forgive you, I suppose. When I'm not quite such a wreck.

It also says, 'Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed.' I think you left behind your own reasons.

There'll never be another.

God, I fell so hard for you and we never even met.


Confusing What Is Real.

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:21 am
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
[personal profile] rionaleonhart
Hmm, I thought. As I love the music video for 'Heavy' so much, maybe I should check out some other Linkin Park videos and see whether they spark any writing inspiration.

(Did I forget for a moment that I'm supposed to be trying not to write Linkin Park fanfiction? Er, possibly. I maintain that music video fanfiction doesn't count.)

I'm now deeply conflicted over the video for 'Leave Out All the Rest', which depicts the band on a spaceship that ends up drifting into a star. On the one hand, hey, an interesting AU setting! On the other, it's an interesting AU setting that I never want to write about, because it sets off my fear of space very badly.

I'm also intrigued by the 'In the End' video, with its charmingly turn-of-the-millennium graphics and young Chester being an attractive little shit (his smirk in the bridge!), in which they sing a desiccated wasteland back to life and for some reason there are flying whales. It's a strangely hopeful video for a song with hopeless lyrics. You tried so hard and got so far, in the end it doesn't even matter, but the video is telling you that you can move past this. Your life still has the capacity for beauty and flying whales.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #14: The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

A real book! An actual, proper book that non-fannish people have read!

This is not my usual reading fare, but I enjoyed it! I was interested, but not invested, if that makes sense. Most of the time, when I was actually reading it, I was gripped. When I wasn't reading it, though, I didn't think about it at all. So I'd tear through a hundred pages in a sitting, and then I wouldn't touch it for days; there was never any point where I thought 'wow, I can't wait to get back to that book' or found myself speculating on the solution to the central mystery. This was a book that only existed when it was in my hands.

The main character struggled with self-loathing, made terrible decisions and couldn't trust her own perception of reality, which are all qualities I enjoy in fictional characters (I repeat: the music video for 'Heavy' is so good). I also liked the way she made her own personal fandom out of the people she saw from the train, and then basically self-inserted. Everyone in this book is very difficult to like (poor Cathy is the only half-decent person in a sea of arseholes), but I did end up with a touch of fondness for Rachel, and I really liked the scenes between her and Anna towards the end.
selenak: (Default)
[personal profile] selenak
For once, I manage to write my book reviews on a Wednesday.

Sam Bourne: To Kill the President

It was to be expected: the first Donald Trump era thriller (that I've read). Which takes full advantage of the fact that when previously any critic worth their salt would have complained about the one dimensional characterisation of the villains and the lack of realism in the US voting someone like that into power and then the Republican Party falling in line, followed by no checks and balances from any institution after even the Supreme Court caves due to the stolen seat being filled by the new President's choice, now all this looks like, well, realism.

Spoilers from an age where reality beggars caricature )


Philip Kerr: March Violets.

This is the first novel of a mystery series which I heard/read about via The New Yorker. The article in question was enthusiastic enought to overcome my instinctive squick at the premise, to wit: hard-boiled/noir detective novel set in the Third Reich. Basically, what if Philip Marlowe was German? Wandering those mean streets as a cynic with an ethical core takes a whole new meaning if the authories aren't just corrupt but a dictatorship preparing for war and genocide. Our hero is Bernie Gunther, former policeman who quit the force in 1933 for the obvious reason given that the novel positions he has ethics, and became a private investigator instead. Kerr serves up all the usual hard boiled/ noir tropes - untrustworthy millionaire clients, corrupt cops, shady dames -, complete with Chandleresque language, and he did his research - the novel's setting is Berlin in 1936, around the Olympic Games, and in addition to the well drawn Berlin geography, there are some great nods to Fritz Lang's movie M via some of the supporting cast, gangsters (given that Bernie Gunther originally gets hired to recover some diamonds, though of course it turns out it's far more complicated and what everyone is after is something else altogether. The brief appearances by historic figures (Göring and Heydrich, to be precise) are drawn credibly, which is to say their vileness comes across without Kerr employing sledge-hammery moustache twirling; in fact, he uses Göring's bonhommie manners to make him chilling.

As opposed to To Kill a President, this actually is a good novel. But. I still struggle somewhat with the basic premise. This is the first novel of what according ot the New Yorker article I'd read are twelve so far, and already I'm having to suspend disbelief about Bernie's continued survival. There's no reason why Heydrich at the end of this first novel shouldn't have gotten him killed, for example. And since we're in 1936, Bernie would still have the possibility to leave the country, and given what happens to him in this novel, it's hard to wonder why he doesn't, given he has no dependants who'd suffer for it. Yes, the decision to emigrate wasn't as easy as hindsight would have it if you weren't rich and didn't have friends abroad, but again, some truly harrowing things happen to Bernie in this novel which would serve as an incentive to get the hell out of Germany if ever there was one beyond the general situation of the country.

With this caveat, I'll keep reading.

Spider-man: Homecoming (Film Review)

Jul. 18th, 2017 05:43 pm
selenak: (Henry Hellrung by Imaginary Alice)
[personal profile] selenak
Okay, that's it. As Civil War made me suspect, Tom Holland is my platonic ideal of Peter Parker, at least in his teenage phase. Also, while I had liked the first Raimi/Maguire movie and parts of the rest while increasingly disliking other parts of those films, and liked the first Garfield without thinking it needed to exist while extremly disliking the second one, this latest cinematic go at Spidey was a complete delight to me and I love it.

Ramblings beneath the cut )

Doctor Who and Orphan Black 5.06.

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:03 pm
selenak: (Missy by Yamiinsane123)
[personal profile] selenak
Spoilery Doctor Who talk about the big casting spoiler. )

On to Orphan Black. Which was a good spy hijinks hour that moved the plot forward.

Read more... )

Pinewoods 2017 report

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:00 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Pinewoods 2017 report

If I were really good, I would try dividing it up into chunks of ESC, Session 1, and Session 21, but I'm not that good. So have a jumbled together report of my last two weeks. I'm not writing it in any sort of order, so the footnotes might beare all jumbled up.

AWESOME:
*So um redacted redacted redacted hour kissing on the dock redacted redacted. Also this is the second time in three months where I have taken photos of me kissing a cute girl and sent them to her girlfriend.

*Dave Wiesler is the absolute best at writing music. His bandleading night in session 1, I mostly couldn't actually dance due to a twingy ankle (and I am gentler about that when there's five more nights of dancing than I would be otherwise), but that meant I spent some good time just hiding behind the bandshell catnapping and listening to just fucking magnificent music. I want want desperate want a recording of his Joie de Vivre set, it was just *magical*.

*FOUR SQUARE ON THE RAFT IS THE NEW BEST GAME AT PINEWOODS! And of course, we invented/found this game and the weather immediately got grumpy and rainy and Scottish and no one wanted to go play in the water anymore so we never played again. But there was like an hour and a half of it on Sunday.

*Also redacted details but one of my favourite comets3 and I get to see each other at Pinewoods every year, and this year was just _super_ good for it. Also, yes, it is absolutely possible to fit two people into the single4 bed in Kitty Alone, you just have to be very friendly and accept that one of y'all might have the windowsill digging into their leg the whole night. Luckily no one is sleeping very long at camp.

*Fred is SUCH AN AWESOME HIGHLAND TEACHER! We covered two dances in two days during session 1, and then refined one of them and learned another two dances in session two. Somehow I have now reached the point where I was in the demo set for things, which is terrifying, considering that everyone else in the demo set is either Triona (who started at the same time as me but actually practices and is good at Highland) or people who've been competing for like fifteen years.

*I mostly did not go to any classes except Highland, but I did make it to the cross-step waltz class, which was really good! It had one variation that I'd never seen before, some more practice on grapevines (which I suuuuck at), and there was about a ten second "and also pivots exist" near the end which I managed to corner Keira and get actual info about and then I did some real pivots with Val and internalized them well enough to teach them to Stephen and Alex. Now, these are all three super competent dancers, but I still felt pretty proud of myself and will try to throw those in next time I lead cross-step.

*The hardest part about doing secret rehearsals for secret Abbots Bromley is then not whistling the tune for the next three hours and giving away the secret. Also, our fool was complimented both times on their ability to hit the triangle in an appropriate and not overwhelming manner. Alsoalso, the fact that the Abbots Bromley is traditionally taught to Scottish dancers by being dragged into the woods by a veritable wizard is basically the Best Thing. Alsoalsoalso, I don't know what you are talking about I was definitely not part of any of this weird English ritual nonsense.

*I GOT TO DRESS LIKE ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX AND HIT ON EARTH PEOPLE FOR LIKE AN HOUR AND A HALF AND IT WAS AMAZING AND I HAD SO MUCH FUN IT WAS SO GOOD EVERYTHING IS SO GOOD!

GOOD:
*Spent like four hours in what felt kinda like a con panel where we talked about old drama (and I (re?)learned a story that's important for me to know and now I have a clearer picture instead of just details) and the progression from gamergate to trump supporters and a bit of just tragic personal history of a friend of mine. It was a cozy night! Sad that all the stories were sad, but the greater world is sad right now, and Callahan has an adage about the importance of shared pain.

*Had very _very_ low amounts of polydrama/jealousy going on. This doesn't *always* happen at Pinewoods, and I swear there's a lot of camp beyond kissing people, but when you consider that I actively resisted camp for at least two years before originally going because I didn't want to be a seventh wheel, it's cool to have a year where all the relationships were able to be content with each other.

*I taught a workshop about "SCD for Crew"! It was about an hour, and I went into it wanting to cover five main things: the five basic Scottish steps, quicktime pousettes, allemandes, at least one corner figure, and dancing something without cues. We got through all those things! It helps that crew tends to have a crazy high dance ability!

*Speaking of crew, there were two nineteen year olds who I spent time with, both of whom make me very confused since I'm pretty sure I was in no way that chill or competent when I was nineteen. I want to be friends with both of them and am not sure I am cool enough to be so, also they apparently told other people I was awesome which just ???!??!!?

Apparently I'm getting old enough to have people look up to me, which is kinda nice and also ??!??!???.

*RAPPER RAPPER RAPPER I GOT TO DO RAPPER AND IT'S MY FAVOURITE DANCE FORM AND GODDAMNIT I WANT TO FORM A RAPPER TEAM GUUAHHHHHHH. Okay I just looked it up and it's like £35 a sword but I'm actually weirdly okay with the idea of sometime dropping $230 on this once I have a Real Job in order to facilitate having a team I want to do rapper _that bad_.

*Also our rapper teacher tried Scottish for the first time at ESC, and he did well and it was very charming and fun, *and* our Scottish teacher tried Contra for the first time and she had fun and THIS IS WHAT ESC IS FOR AND THIS IS WHY IT'S THE BEST SESSION!

*During Scottish I had two separate moments where I felt the need to subtweet about someone and instead just went ahead and told him because that makes more sense and is less drama-inducing. Plus, I only have one ex-boyfriend who's since gotten married, so like, if I talk about feeling compersion towards him and his wife, that's not really subtle and he knows it's him.

(The second spoken subtweet involved the phrase "bad decision hot" and no I'm not telling you any more about it.)

*I had two separate trips to Little Long Pond, both excellent in their own way. The first involved taking newfriends Austin and Phoebe during ESC, at which point we found out that the canal was much lower than normal and we had to tie up our canoe and wade through (this was awesome). On our way back, we touched two separate bouys in regular long pond. It is worth noting that due to pub night exhaustion, we were definitely only going to touch the canoe, not get into it, and definitely not paddle clear to the other side of the lake.

The second time was jere7my and I kayaking, which meant we were able to get out and port the kayak over the little waterfall and then do the canal properly. We saw a frog, and a tiny turtle, and we chased a green heron a bit and then we saw AN OTTER!!!! jere7my took some pictures!

*For the Star Wars vs Star Trek ball, I had Lise do up my hair in exquisite Leia buns, and I wore glitter and my Leiaish dress. I looked very beautiful and the buns did not come out despite doing Scottish dancing and later stilt-walking.

*The number of people catching and using my pronouns was magnificent. Also, I'm quite amused by some friends asking if it was okay if they used "she-shit-they" as my pronoun, as it was inevitably what happened. I will absolutely accept sheshitthey as my pronoun, yes, as I have used it myself occasionally by accident.

(Misgendering yourself is weird.)

MEH:
*I had a job interview on changeover day between session 1 and session 2. It was...I mean, it was a phone interview and it only lasted about twenty minutes but I think I answered all of their questions well and I think I asked good questions of my own. I should be hearing back from them sometime this week upcoming maybe.

*Was in a ceilidh act attempting to hexify a Scottish square. It went solidly okay. Extra difficult in that one of our people didn't show up so I pulled my dance-sister Connie in on absolutely zero warning. I think this would make a better workshop than ceilidh for the future.

BAD:
*Fucked up both my acts in the session 1 ceilidh, neither in ways anyone else would notice or care about. Felt...really bummed out about it, and got super quiet and brainwarped, which eventually culminated in me vanishing for a long while and eventually sobbing on the dock for a bit at one AM, because that's kinda what you do at Pinewoods at least once.

*I always feel a little weird that I basically never go to classes at Pinewoods. I think I pretty consistently average 1.5 classes a day or less, and inevitably the bulk of that is either Highland or Rapper.

*People seemed pleased by my classes on basic SCD technique during ESC, but I very much did not. I don't think I prepared well enough for them or did a good enough job teaching, and I especially fucked up the last day something thorough (in no small part to the complete lack of sleep beforehand). I suspect a lot of this is me being Too Hard on myself, but I also suspect that me being Too Hard on myself counts as bad even if sucking at teaching doesn't.

*Speaking of rapper, I managed to hit someone I like and respect very much in the face with a rapper sword because sometimes this sort of shit happens but also god_damnit_. She was very gracious.

*I managed to put my open water bottle into my bag at one point, which was a Dumb Idea. My camera got the brunt of the damage --it's completely broken, despite spending most of a week in a tub of rice (thank you crewwww). So I'll have to look into a new digital camera, siiiigh.

UGLY:
I am really sad that I have to put any notes into this category, because this is significantly worse than the bad category. But there you have it.

*There was a pretty blatant transphobic joke made by the bandleader and two of the musicians Wednesday night. Like, two dudes dressing up as women, being introduced as "our guest musicians [feminized versions of their names]" by the bandleader and a lot of wink-wink-nudge-nudge laughter involved. It was not okay, and I'm not looking forward to having to fight at the next TMC2 meeting about how this was Not Okay and how we need to explain that to the people involved.

(But I'm looking even less forward to being a part of a community where transphobic jokes are able to be the norm.)

*************

Overall I had a REALLY REALLY good time, which is pretty typical for me. I enjoyed myself and played games and saw and made good friends and fucked about in a canoe and swam and so much dancing!

I am already looking forward to next year. <3

~Sor
MOOP!

1: ESC = English Scottish Contra session at Pinewoods! Also called ESCape. Session 1 and Session 2 = the two official Scottish sessions at Pinewoods.

2: TMC is the Teaching and Music Committee of the Boston RSCDS branch. RSCDS is the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. I'm a part of TMC both naturally and because someone from the Highland Ball needs to attend their meetings. We're the peeps who pick the MCs, Musicians, and Teachers for events like Pinewoods.

3: Comet is a term starting to appear in some branches of the poly community. It refers to someone who briefly comes into your life on a periodicish basis, and who you don't really date or communicate much with in between, but are always happy to pick back up where you left off. This particular comet started as my "James Dean relationship"3.a, and I adore him something fierce.

3.a: Live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse. We went from zero to sexytimes in about a date and a half, we broke up after six months (both knowing it was coming; he was moving far away), we stayed friends. And sometimes more than friends.

4: Did you know that there is a name for the size of bed smaller than twin? Yeah, it's single. Singles are _very_ small.

Versailles (Season 2)

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:09 pm
selenak: (Max by Misbegotten)
[personal profile] selenak
Since the other Borgias left me in the mood for over the top historical melodrama, and since it was available, I marathoned the second season of Versailles. (My first season review is here.) Aka, the show with the general accuracy of The Tudors (which is to say more than than the all around anachronistic crack like Reign, but generally not that much, though the occasional clever use of historical fact actually happens), produced by Canal just as Borgia, with the main selling point to internet fandom that there’s canon m/m prominently featured, courtesy of Louis XIV.’s brother Philippe d’Orleans, aka Monsieur, played by the increasingly gorgeous Alexander Vlahos. The second season tackles the affair of the poisons, one of the most notorious events in the reign of Louis XIV., but just as it did in the first season with just about any historic event fictionalizes the hell out of it, including, mystifyingly, changing the name of the main supplier of the poisons in question. Instead of La Voisin (first name Catherine), we have “Madame Agathe”. (Otoh the black mass celebrating renegade priest gets to stay Father Etienne Guibourg, which means the first time he is introduced in a seemingly benign undercover identity, the more historically versed parts of the audience know who he is and what he’s infamous for.) In terms of historical characters, we also get introduced to the delightful Liselotte von der Pfalz, the Princess Palatinate, and may I say that I was hugely relieved the Versailles version is great, because the original is one of my favourite figures of the era, due to all those vivid letters she penned for the folks back home, and as Versailles’ first season unfortunately reduced Monsieur’s first wife Henriette to a very passive, agenda-less character, which the original definitely was not, I was a bit afraid something similar might happen to Liselotte, the second Madame. But no. She’s blunt, no-nonsense, determined to make the best of a bad situation, as all versions of Liselotte should be. (Mind you, this show still obeys the Hollywood rule of plain and beauty, so when Monsieur’s lover, the Chevalier de Lorraine, ridicules Liselotte’s fashion and looks, it’s not clear what he’s on about since the actress is pretty – whereas historical Liselotte cheerfully admitted to her plainness in youth and weathered stoutness in age, comparing her looks as a middleaged woman to a roasted pig – and so is her wardrobe.)

On to more spoilery musings beneath the cut. )

Nominations and observations

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:32 pm
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
[personal profile] selenak
Emmmy nominations: as a fan of The Americans, I'm pleased that Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright were all three recognized at last. Will root for them accordingly, which is all the easier since frustratingly, Bates Motel' final year went without an Emmy nomination again. Freddy Highmore has been fantastic throughout, and especially in this last installment where the show had to at last enter the same narrative territory as Psycho, and succeeded with flying colours, very much because young Highmore has managed to make an iconic role his own. (Very Farmiglia would have deserved nominations in all preceeding years, but I can understand she didn't get one this year, since she played "only" Mother, not Norma anymore.) My loyalties might be slightly split for best actor because of Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul, and I'd be happy if he wins, too, but if I had to decide and push came to shove, I'd go with Rhys over Odenkirk. Speaking of Better Call Saul, I call fail on the nomination of Jonathan Banks for best supporting actor over Michael McKean (Chuck). Or for that matter Michael Mando (who plays Nacho). Look, I get the Mike cult, and Banks is always solid, but Mike really did not have all that much to do this season. Whereas Nacho got core emotional dilemma stuff, and the actor rose to the task. And McKean may have played the most disliked character on the show, but I don't think the most fervent Chuck hater on the planet would dispute he did so amazingly, and this season, it was a lynchpin performance, with Chicanery and the s3 finale as the two particularly outstanding episodes in this regard. As for the utter lack of nomination for Rhea Seahorn as Kim, don't get me started. Though, again: makes it easier to root wholeheartedly for Keri Russell and for Alison Wright in their respective categories.

_____

Yesterday there was a lengthy interview with Christopher Nolan in one of my regular papers, apropos his upcoming movie Dunkirk. Two issues caught my particular attention: a) he mentions having written the script for a movie about Howard Hughes, only to be foiled by the Scorsese/Di Caprio movie "Aviator", which made it unlikely for a few years studios would finance another movie about Hughes, and now when the time would have been right again, Warren Beatty struck first and made Hughes a non-subject for a few years more. But, quoth Nolan, he hasn't given up and swears this script is the best he ever wrote. To channel some writerly frustration, he added, he put some of his Howard Hughes characterisation into Bruce Wayne in his three Batman movies. And suddenly Bruce's utterly self indulgent hermit phase between movies II and III as well as his bizarre rewriting on why things didn't work out with Rachel in I as voiced by him in II appears in a new light. :) Or maybe Howard Hughes' decades in Las Vegas hotel rooms do - clearly the cover for a secret vigilante identity. Come to think of it, old Hughes sueing unauthorized biographers does resemble the Frank Miller version of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns somewhwat, no?

Anyway: b) the other particularly interesting-to-me Nolan statement was that in preparation for Dunkirk, he watched All Quiet on the Western Front (classic 1930 film version of Erich Maria Remarque's WWI novel, directed by Lewis Milestone) and was amazed such a movie was possible in 1930. But, says Nolan, it probably only was because it was an American movie based on a German novel, because an American director would never have presented American soldiers in this way, and the Germans wouldn't have made the movie to begin with, "so hooray for one culture speaking for another in this case", ends Nolan. Thinking about it, I concluded he was right that the German film industry would not have made All Quiet on the Western Front in the early 1930s - the book had been a big bestseller in Germany, but the movies were utterly dominated by the UFA by then, and the UFA was owned by Alfred Hugenberg, hardcore conservative who'd go on to support Hitler in his 1932 and 1933 election campaigns. As it was Goebbels orchestrated an anti All Quiet on the Western Front campaign when the movie was released in Germany - SA guys loudly protesting in the cinemas, white mice released, I kid you not -with the result that the movie was quickly withdrawn and most Germans saw it only once the Third Reich had come and gone. (My paternal grandparents back in the day did see it in the cinema, but they had to travel to Belgium to do so, which they did because not only did Granddad own the book, but he regarded it as a matter of local pride - he was born and raised just a few streets away from where Remarque, the author, had been born and raised in Osnabrück. And my grandfather, who'd lost his father in WWI when he, Granddad, was still a toddler, always regarded the book as a way to figure out what his father might have been like.)

Last year, when I heard a lecture by Elizabeth Bronfen on war movies in Zurich, she compared the aesthetic and thematic treatment of All Quiet on the Western Front with what WWII movies and news reels quickly established as standard in US movies, and it really is strikingly different. Not being an expert on war movies, my lay woman opinion would be Nolan is right in the American part of his statement as well, that an American movie about US soldiers like All Quiet on the Western Front at the time and for some time to come would never have been made. Probably not until the genre of Vietnam movies started, and that came and went again; more recent US movies, no matter about which war, which present US soldiers being lured into a war by propaganda and then fighting pointless battles and dying with no heroic justification or reward whatsoever (i.e. not even saving a comrade's life or turning a battle, or getting an epilogue declaring that their cause lives on or their sacrifice is remembered or what not), don't come to mind, either. Or am I missing something?
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
[personal profile] rionaleonhart
Okay, look, this doesn't count as Linkin Park fanfiction. It's fanfiction for a music video. It's completely different.

(I never thought I'd write fanfiction for a canon that's less than three minutes long.)

I had to tie myself to a door when researching this.


Title: Keep Spinning
Fandom: the music video for Linkin Park's 'Heavy'
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,900
Summary: Two broken people, trying to hold each other together.


Keep Spinning )

The Other Borgias

Jul. 11th, 2017 05:49 pm
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
[personal profile] selenak
Aka the European-produced series which debuted exactly in the same year as Neil Jordan’s The Borgias did, and got three seasons as well. I had seen the pilot back in the day and hadn’t liked it much, but as Amazon Prime put it up, I thought, why not. Also back in the day: at least two articles proclaiming Borgia (with each of the seasons having subtitles “Faith and Fear” (s1), “Rules of Love, Rules of War” (s2) and “Triumph and Oblivion” (s3)) being the superior show with more “historicity”, which put my back up, since I happen to be fond of The Borgias (well, fond of the first two seasons and two or three s3 episodes). That was another reason why I delayed watching Borgia beyond the pilot until this year.

Having now accomplished this, here are a few impressions: Borgia on the one hand does use a lot more actual events from the historical characters’ lives than The Borgias did (including such very Renaissance trivia as Lucrezia’s later father-in-law, Duke Hercole d’Este of Ferrara, collecting nuns with stigmata, I kid you not) , but on the other hand is no slouch when it comes to breathtaking dramatic license. (Cesare Borgia did many gruesome things, but I don’t think ordering pants made of the skin of his enemies was one of them. Also, I really doubt that a bunch of 15th century cardinals would have conspired to replace the Pope with his daughter, no matter how impressive a job she did when the Pope made her regent while he was indisposed. Michelangelo creating the David in Rome instead of Florence is almost harmless as an invention by comparison. And then there’s the drug addiction plot complete with cold turkey conclusion…) The first season suffers from several instances of telling over showing when it came to some important relationships. However, this was mostly remedied in subsequent seasons. And it was really interesting to see both the differences and similarities in the storytelling choices based on the same basic material. Not to mention that the series Borgia actually includes the decline of the family fortunes; Rodrigo dies mid s3, and the rest is Cesare’s falling apart until the series finale ending with his historic death and some other spoilery (not for history) stuff.

One of the biggest differences is the overall emotional arc for the Borgia family. In The Borgias, we start with the featured members more or less affectionately close to each other (even the Cesare-Juan relationship isn’t yet worse than mild fraternal rivalry), and end with them having outwitted and outplayed all their enemies, but lost each other in the process, or have their former closeness turned dysfunctional. In Borgia, otoh, we start with the Borgias dysfunctional and estranged (this Rodrigo hasn’t yet admitted to his children that they are his children but still employs the “niece and nephews” excuse even in private), it gets worse except in one regard from there until Juan’s death at the end of the first season… and then it gets better. From mid s2 onwards, there are family reconciliations all around, and for the rest of the show, the strong affection the Borgias have for each other are often their saving graces, so to speak. When near the end of the show Lucrezia’s third husband, Alfonso d’Este, ruefully observes to his wife that the D’Estes are worse than the Borgias and that she can show them how to be better (as in, a family), he’s not kidding.

A lot more spoilery ramblings and comparisons ensue )

Orphan Black 5.05

Jul. 10th, 2017 03:44 pm
selenak: (Cosima by Karlsefni)
[personal profile] selenak
Wherein we get a Cosima episode and find out what Neolution wants from Kira.

Read more... )
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
[personal profile] rionaleonhart
The sudden flood of Linkin Park posting will die down eventually, I promise! I love being into something in an enthusiastic, 'compelled to talk about it constantly' way, but my real-life friends who are into Linkin Park are more interested in normal 'what's your favourite song?' conversations than in 'let's discuss the strange intensity of Chester's eyes for seven hours', so I just end up throwing all that enthusiasm into my Dreamwidth.

I'm starting to feel that Linkin Park are personally poking needles into my resolution not to write fanfiction. I've only just watched the music video for 'Heavy', and !!!!! it features Chester screaming at himself and beating himself up and then being dragged out of his psychological breakdown and comforted by an equally broken person, HOW DID YOU PUT SEVERAL OF MY FAVOURITE FICTIONAL TROPES IN A MUSIC VIDEO.

'Heavy' isn't one of my favourite Linkin Park tracks, but it's catchy and I like it and it worked really well live. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I first heard it, because for months I'd been seeing 'this is so good, UNLIKE HEAVY, THE WORST SONG EVER MADE' comments on every Linkin Park song I listened to. I had to brace myself to listen to the song; I was confused but pleased to find myself enjoying it!

'Heavy' and the other songs on One More Light are very different from Linkin Park's older work, certainly, but they're not bad, and I like the band's willingness to experiment with new genres. They don't want to keep putting out the same album endlessly, and that's a good thing! I love Hybrid Theory to pieces, but if I want Hybrid Theory I can just listen to Hybrid Theory again. 'Breaking the Habit' would never have existed if they hadn't been prepared to go lighter than their 'signature' sound, 'Guilty All the Same' would never have existed if they hadn't been prepared to go heavier, and both songs are fantastic.

I mean, yes, sometimes they make genuinely bizarre decisions (did you really release a concept album designed to be listened to from beginning to end in 2010, you maniacs?), but their willingness to take risks has resulted in a huge, diverse, interesting collection of tracks. I like 'Crawling' and I adore 'Numb', but they're very similar songs, and it would be unbearable if they'd just been releasing songs in the same style for the last seventeen years. I wouldn't love 'Numb' nearly so much if they'd diluted its impact with a hundred songs that sound exactly the same. So, even if I'll happily listen to that song ten times in a row, I'm glad One More Light is something new, rather than 'Numb' Again, Ten More Times.

Wait, I'm not supposed to be talking seriously about music. I'm supposed to be daydreaming about scenarios inspired by that music video. Chester and his duplicate, circling each other warily. Getting under each other's skin (CRAAAAAWLING etc.). Maybe angrily making out a little. Look, it's not as if nobody knew I was thinking it; I might as well say it out loud.

Incidentally, this weird but endearing clip, which I assume was born of Mike being insecure about his height, is the most strangely beautiful I've ever seen Chester being (from the moment he stops stooping). Apparently 'filmed slightly from below, in profile, in black and white' is his best angle.

why have I got it so bad for Chester Bennington

this is EXTREMELY EMBARRASSING

In The Memory You'll Find Me.

Jul. 9th, 2017 03:00 pm
rionaleonhart: twewy: joshua kiryu is being fabulously obnoxious and he knows it. (is that so?)
[personal profile] rionaleonhart
Cut for a couple of GIFs (it will shock you to learn they're of Linkin Park) )


I'm not planning to put GIFs in all of my entries from now on, I swear. I'm breaking the habit tonight. But somehow I can't stop staring at sweat-soaked, exhausted Chester and Mike, and I'm popping these here to facilitate that staring. Send help.

I'm not tinhatting, I should clarify. I'm not even 'shipping them romantically. That's a genuine promise, as opposed to the insubstantial 'I know very well I can't be trusted' promise that I won't end up writing a terrible Linkin Park/Pokémon crossover. I think they love each other a lot; I absolutely don't think they're pining desperately over each other, held apart by the evil record industry. But I do feel their dynamic is adorable, and, I'll be honest, I find Chester unsettlingly attractive in these GIFs.

My first reaction on looking up pictures of Linkin Park was 'huh, Chester's got a bit of a weird face, hasn't he?' His face still looks slightly odd to me. And yet.

(My last celebrity crush was Charlie Brooker, so maybe I'm exclusively attracted to people with weird faces. Mike's right there next to him, being all handsome, but my tastes refuse to make sense.)

My promise not to write a terrible Pokémon crossover is now looking more insubstantial than ever. I cannot believe nobody told me about this exchange on Chester Bennington's Twitter.

Fan: if lp never got together, what career would you have pursued?
Chester: Pokémon trainer
Fan: if not Picachu, who will be your favorite?
Chester: bulbasaur

Oh, God, he even included the accent on 'Pokémon'. I think I'm in love. I was already trying not to write fanfiction about your Pokémon-training adventures, Chester; don't do this to me!

(Although Chester's taste in Pokémon cannot be faulted, Bulbasaur can't learn Roar, which scuppers my 'every Pokémon in his team knows Roar' suggestion. I suppose his Bulbasaur could know Growl, at least. Oh, hey, it can learn Echoed Voice via TM!)

And Your Voice Was All I Heard.

Jul. 8th, 2017 11:23 pm
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: riku, blindfolded and smiling slightly. (we'll be the darkness)
[personal profile] rionaleonhart


strangely adorable Linkin Park GIF from linkinparkftw on Tumblr. Some of you may already have seen this, as I put it in the comments of my last post, but too bad; it's cute and I want it in an entry.


Linkin Park is still happening to me. I'm very sorry.

A couple of my favourite short clips from my apparent quest to watch every Linkin Park video on YouTube: I very much enjoyed Chester talking about his most embarrassing experience on stage while Mike cracks up (from this interview, about forty seconds in), and this extremely silly acoustic version of Numb (I'm so sad that the full version is nowhere to be found, but Chester's stupid dancing is brightening my day).

I'm finding it a little difficult to pin Chester down as a 'character', which I suppose makes sense, as he's not a character; he's a person. A few things do stand out. He's very openly affectionate; he talks a lot about how much he loves the band and his bandmates and his family. For all the anger in his singing, I've only seen him express anger in an interview once, talking about fans who call the band 'sell-outs' for experimenting with new styles, and he reflected on his comments and apologised a couple of weeks later.

Chester Bennington is intense and ridiculous and apparently possessed of boundless energy, he's built his career on screaming, and yet one of the first words that came to mind when I tried to list out his characteristics was 'quiet'. Is he quiet? Is that right? It seems unlikely. One of the first non-music videos of him I watched was an interview where the interviewer focused much more on Mike, which started me off with the probable misconception that Chester was shy, when in fact he just wasn't having much directed at him to respond to. Maybe the 'quiet' in my head is a holdover from that?

I'm still not going to write fanfiction. I'm not going to do it. My RPF days are behind me. I'm just trying to pin down the band members' characteristics as an innocent mental exercise. Don't give me that look.

A couple of specific fics I'm not going to write:

- Pokémon AU. Chester has a Loudred and every Pokémon in his team knows Roar.
- Supernatural AU where Dean is secretly a huge Linkin Park fan, he uses a haunting as an excuse to go to a gig, and he is very confused when Linkin Park take care of the haunting themselves. Turns out they're actually a team of hunters, fighting ghosts using the power of song somehow. This is an atrocious concept.
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
[personal profile] selenak
[personal profile] chelseagirl asked me for comments on my Penny Dreadful story “Falling Towards Apotheosis”, which you can find in its entirety here. Since it is a lengthy tale, I’ll dissect only one chapter, but before that, a few general words: The title is of course pinched from Babylon 5, and was irresistible to me given Vanessa’s story both in the show and here. This was one of my most ambitious enterprises in fanfiction, since I wanted it to be not just a worthy follow-up to the show which brought the various themes and character arcs to a conclusion more narratively satisfying to me than the finale was without ignoring anything that happened in the finale, or in the seasons preceding it; I wanted it to be the definite Penny Dreadful story. (The reason why I wasn’t as angry about the finale as some when it was broadcast was that I thought it was the perfect set up for the conclusion that immediately occurred to me re: Vanessa, and what could have been her true goal.)

As such, it is an ensemble tale, using both past and present characters and the relationships they’ve formed through the show. (Exceptions: Lily, whom I had wanted to use originally, but there was no way I could have included her in this particular story without a complete emotional detour once Ethan finds out what Victor did; Dorian Grey, because there was neither thematic need nor personal interest on my part.)

On to the second chapter, featuring Malcolm Murray and Vanessa, and later Dr. Seward )
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