vaznetti: (cooking)
I woke up early this morning, having had a nightmare that Brexit had won, and decided to get up to see the news, since when I went to bed last night it looked like Remain would win. So much for that: it looks like the nightmare is real. (I am devastated and worried; I've also made an appointment to apply for UK citizenship, since I doubt that this vote will make life any easier for non-EU immigrants either.)

I didn't want to go in to work today, so I have stayed hom to make challah; I started to do this earlier this spring when my usual supplier didn't have them, and find it kind of restful to take out my frustrations on some innocent bread dough. I've been using this recipe, which I find very reliable -- and the blog is full of great recipes. But I've made a few tweaks, so I'm writing the recipe out below:

recipe for future reference )

And writing this out I have realized that I left the salt out. Grr. I will have to try to knead it in during the punching-down stage, but that doesn't work very well.

* * *

I don't know. The future is not looking very bright right now.
vaznetti: (god will dance for john)
what the FUCK was that? )

I have a feeling that I need to request this at Yuletide, not in the sense that I need a fix-it AU, but I need to make sense of what actually happened, and perhaps deal with all the hanging threads (like Cat Hartdegan, or how no one ever found out that Victor was reanimating dead people, or how Lily and Ethan never met again)
vaznetti: (cooking)
Due to a disruption in my usual suppliers, and having Fridays free, I have been baking challah. Last week was nutella challah. The recipe (or rather, my execution of it -- it needed more nutella) needs work, but I would definitely make that again!

On the "things consumed" front, I have seen the two Hollow Crown: Henry VI episodes. After the first one I said to A that as far as I could tell the Wars of the Roses were caused a massive game of pass-the-parcel with the idiot ball. As of the second, they seem to have moved on the the crazy throat-slitting ball. Everyone gets a turn! Next week: more Cumberbatch as Richard III, presumably with more crazy throat-slitting fun. Although actually the high point so far has been Ben Miles as Somerset.

With almost as high a mortality count The 100 continues to be entertaining. )

On the subject of other things which are The Aeneid, I am re-reading Watership Down in preparation to reading it to Spartacus at bedtime; I hadn't realized how many narrative beats it also shares with The Kin.

Tonight is the next episode of Game of Thrones, and tomorrow the next episode of Penny Dreadful. I admire the fact that Vanessa's taste in men is so consistent!

Oh, and back to producing -- I crocheted a string bag! It is very stretchy, so stretchy that you could use it as a beach bag more easily than a market bag.
vaznetti: Arya and Nymeria, from A Game of Thrones (when the wolf comes home)
I suspect that, as with The 100, no one likely to see this is actually still watching the show. But now that I no longer have a book canon to compare GoT to, I am really interested again. It can go be its own thing. Still too much (talk about) rape and not enough Frey-related cannibalism, but otherwise it was enjoyable.

Spoilers obviously under here, for books and new episode )
vaznetti: (Default)
If I'm going to start posting more, then I should definitely post on February 29! Our tiny local paper ran a story about a guy who was 72 years old and just having his 18th birthday. (Our tiny local paper is pretty good, considering its size, but it can be hard for them to get more than about 8 pages of news, not counting sports. And that's using the term news loosely.)

It is possible that my awareness the date is a side effect of having a seven-year-old. Further side effects to follow, because Spartacus is really interested in animals in general, and dinosaurs and evolution in particular, so we have been reading a lot of books about these topics. Since he is hardly the only child to be interested in this kind of thing, here are some notes on what we've been reading.

Peter S. Dickinson, The Kin. This is somewhere between fantasy and historical fiction, I think, since it's about a group of early homo sapiens, and so D. has had to invent their culture more or less from whole cloth. He clearly draws on his knowledge of Africa in doing so, which sometimes works well and sometimes makes me wonder whether he overestimates the willingness of hunter-gatherer groups which aren't being pressured by agriculturalists to inhabit marginal land. The novel is made up of four shorter novels, each told from the point of view of one of the children in the core group -- they have survived the destruction of their tribal network by an invading group, and the novel follows their adventures as they try to survive and to create a new social group. There are actually five children in the core group, three girls and two boys, but one of them, Tinu, doesn't get her own novella, although she is central to the plot of each of the others. further notes below )

Spartacus also has been reading the Dinosaur Cove series by Rex Stone; these are aimed pretty squarely at his exact age bracket and interests, so he mostly reads them to himself now. They're about two boys who discover a portal through time in the back of a cave, and go on to have adventures in various different periods and encounter various kinds of extinct animals -- mostly dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. They have a faithful pet, a wannanosaurus, who somehow turns up no matter when they go. Overall these are pretty fun for what they are. My attempt to suggest to Spartacus that he could dress up as one of the boys for World Book Day fell on deaf ears, however, so now I have to figure out how to make a pterosaur costume. (Because of Nosy, the pterosaur in Dinosaur Trouble, by Dick King-Smith, which Spartacus also enjoyed. At one point he suggested going as the lynx from White Fang, which I should have agreed to since I already have a lynx costume from dress-up-as-an-endangered-animal day, but it seemed like such a weird idea, especially because we didn't finish White Fang; I thought it was too gory and violent.)

Our patterns now is that we read him a chapter or two at bedtime, and then he reads for another half-hour or so before turning out the lights; the result is that I often have no idea what is going on overall. But I went back and reread the end of The Abominables, by Eva Ibbotsen, to find out how it all worked out (look, this book totally belongs to the theme if you assume that Yeti are not-actually-extinct giant apes.) It is just charming, about two children who have to rescue a family of Yeti by bringing them to England, to live on the estate of their previous guardian. One thing I found very odd, though, was that although it was published only after Ibbotsen's death, it was very clearly set in the 1970s. Maybe. Or maybe all children's books actually happen in the 1970s?

Also noted: the series of Willard Price sequels (we are currently re-reading Shark Adventure). Spartacus likes these a lot, as they have to do with rescuing endangered animals. They do run to comedy foreigners, so may not be to everyone's taste (although the comedy foreigners are not always comedy foreigner villains, if that makes sense.) These also feature a boy-girl pair of cousins. The original series, about the fathers of these two children, is being reissued and I am tempted to pick them up for Spartacus to look at.

And now: teaching.
vaznetti: (just bomb somewhere)
I have given myself permission not to watch the new XF season; I've read enough reviews from all of you who have. I was half-tempted, because it looked like it was going to call back to a lot of the mytharc stuff that I really liked, like the virus and vaccine stuff. Were there bees? I never did understand what was going on with the bees. But it also seems to have had a lot of the things which I hated about the series by the end -- especially the way it always comes back to Scully's body and its manifold uses by other people. The Fall taught me that there is a limit to what I'll put up with for the pleasure of seeing Gillian Anderson on my TV, and that at least was well-written.

If they'd brought back Krycek and Marita, I would have watched it, though. Possibly through my fingers, but I would have watched it.

In any case there is all of a sudden a lot of TV to watch. The US shows are back (The 100, Agent Carter, Agents of Shield, Gotham, The Walking Dead, Brooklyn 99, probably some other things I can't remember -- oh yes, Killjoys!). Also back, the last season of Fresh Meat, which is still the only thing Jack Whitehall is in that doesn't make me want to hit him. And soon, Raised By Wolves! Also various subtitled things:

Spin, AKA L'Hommes de l'ombre, which is a French political thriller sort of thing. Thriller may be taking it a little to far. It has some very West Wing moments, although since it's French everyone is a bit more stylish and has more affairs. Also, it turns out from Season 2 that that time that Jed was in the hospital and Margaret offered to forge his signature for Leo would have been totally OK in France. (Probably not, I assume, in the real world.)

Occupied (AKA Okkupert) This is hands-down my favorite thing that I am watching right now, although it is very very odd. The idea is that Norway has stopped producing natural gas (for environmental reasons), and the EU has teamed up with Russia to deal with the resulting shortfall -- by authorizing Russia to take over Norwegian natural gas production. So now Russia is occupying Norway. (My real-world questions: why would Russia ever do that? Also, is this something Norwegians actually worry about? A and I do call the show Norwegian Red Dawn) It has all been kind of leisurely, but in a car-crash kind of way -- the prime minister can't remember whether his name is Quisling or not (this is unfair to him), the Norwegian resistance has been a bit slow getting going, but now everything is escalating quickly (it isn't entirely clear how involved the Russians are in this escalation, but there are, conveniently, attacks whenever the pressure on them to withdraw their people gets too heavy.) The characters are a bit broadly drawn but sympathetic, even the ones who are clearly headed for a bad end. Anyway, it is very enjoyable, but I don't think anyone else has watched it.

ETA: Also, Trapped, from Iceland, which I am less sure about because it is another murder mystery and those are a little tiring. But it is very atmospheric and the plot is (possibly over-) complicated.

Not subtitled, but pretty, is The Night Manager. In tonight's episode, I suspect that Tom Hiddleston will stare mournfully at Hugh Laurie, while Tom Hollander looks fed up with everything. Olivia Coleman will, as usual, steal every scene she is in, even from the scenery porn. There is a lot of scenery porn. By the end, we will all feel both worthy and satiated.
vaznetti: (crossovers! yay!)
Just in case any of you thought I lived some kind of super intellectual life, most of our discussions at home recently have been about who would win a fight between the Hulk and an Indominus Rex. Now it's Hulk vs. the mosasaur from Jurassic World.
vaznetti: (things are looking up)
Hello internet! I kind of avoided you between December 15 and last Monday, when I finally got to see the Star Wars movie. I guess it was sort of strange to be so spoiler-phobic, but I saw all of the first trilogy completely blind (because I was something like 7, 10 and 13 when they came out; I remember walking out of Empire and complaining loudly to my father about how we wouldn't know what would become of Han Solo for ages, and how could they leave the story hanging like that?) As a side benefit I also got to see the Dr Who Christmas special with no preconceptions.

But anyway, I had to default on Yuletide myself; this was a good decision, especially because the next day my computer turned into a solid lump of nothing (it got better). But I still received this really excellent story. I don't think it will make much sense if you haven't see Humans, the show it's based on (but this is a show that many of you would like, since it is basically about AIs and what it means to be human, with a sideline in feminism, and is very well-acted and well-written and comes to a satisfying conclusion.)

Existential Issues (2818 words) by Black_Knight
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Humans (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leo Elster & Niska, George Millican & Niska, Niska & Anita/Mia, Niska & Joe Hawkins, Niska & Laura Hawkins
Characters: Niska (Humans), Anita | Mia (Humans), Joe Hawkins (Humans), Laura Hawkins, George Millican, Leo Elster
Summary: Four times Niska talks with a living being, and once with a dead being.

I loved all the characters, but Niska was one of the most interesting to me -- arguably she went through the most and traveled the furthest of all of them. This story does a great job moving her forward again.

Star Wars

Oct. 20th, 2015 10:49 pm
vaznetti: (river song)
... was my actual first fandom, when I was in high school and just finding out what fandom was. I would go to Creation Cons back in the 80s, and sometimes there would be some zines for sale under the table in the dealers' room. Oh, the epic Mary Sue romances, and novel-length stories about the fall of Anakin Skywalker! The plotty fics about that bounty hunter Han ran into on Ord Mantell! And of course this was before there was any hint of the EU or the prequel trilogy, so there was so much blank space to fill in. In fact I never really took to the EU, and none of the prequel trilogy characters or relationship sreally spoke to me, and the whole thing became really sprawling, so by the time I got back into fandom after a long gafiation, I considered myself a SW fan, but not fannish about it.

And I learned some useful lessons, which stood me in good stead when my next fandom turned out to be the X-Files. But apparently not letting hope spring eternal was not one of them, because the trailer is out! And I am not going to get to see the movie until January, unless I go to see it dubbed into Spanish while in Mexico. Which I have not entirely ruled out.

and now that I've seen the trailer I really can't wait to find out some spoilery things )

But I really have to remind myself to stop trying to make sense of all this, because it is a Star Wars movie, and it is going to break my heart and disappoint me. But I don't want it to! I want it to be great! I want a new high point to enjoy -- like the one in the fight with Jabba, when Luke jumps off the landspeeder, somersaults, and catches the lightsaber that R2D2 just shot out to him. I was in the theater for ROTJ on opening day, for an afternoon showing, and the whole theater gasped and cheered, all together. I want my Star Wars feeling back.

What I mean, is that I have a lot of emotion invested in all this Star Wars stuff, and a history of disappointment and fear. I just want it to be good, OK?
vaznetti: (fannish goggles)
Dear Yuletide writer,

Hi! And thank you for offering to write a story for me! I am really excited to see what you come up with – I love all these canons, and I hope you love whichever one we matched on. I’ve tried to give some guidance in what’s below, but it mostly boils down to “I want a story about these characters!” so if this letter doesn’t seem useful to you, don’t worry – write what you love, and I will probably love it too.

general likes and dislikes )

Falco Series – Lindsey Davis
Character: Helena Justina
Read more... )

Humans (TV)
Character: Niska
details )

Nashville (TV)
details )

And now for something completely different...

Strike Back
Characters: Michael Stonebridge, Damien Scott
details )
vaznetti: (Default)
I am writing my Yuletide letter already! This is a huge step forward in terms of organization for me! And in a couple cases, I am even requesting things I nominated!

... is it OK if three of my requests are basically "here, tell me a story about the women!" and one is old-school m/m slash?
vaznetti: (river song)
::leaping back in::

Doctor Who is back! Yay! spoilers, sweetie, below the cut )

No one reading this cares, I expect, but this looks like it will be a very competitive season on Strictly Come Dancing -- it's only Week 1 and already most of the dancers look competent! On further reality TV news, I am hoping that Nadiya wins GBBO, nd I just finished watching a really amusing show called Time Crashers in which a bunch of celebrities are "transported through time" and discover that the past is a really crappy place to live and work. I am always amazed by how many TV shows can be made from this simple observation!

Because I watch things slowly and legally, I am only now seeing S3 of Orphan Black -- up to episode 2 now! But it's all up on iplayer and I expect we'll have finished it in a week or so. (Because iplayer is not very intuitive, the first episode we tried to watch was Episode 10. Luckily we realized during the "previously on"s that this was not the start of things, but for a minute there we were both really confused.)

I have been re-reading things, too -- the first Rivers of London book (there will be a new one, soon!), and Neil Stephenson's Reamde. What I realized the second time through with that one is that Zula's story is far more interesting to me than anyone else's, so I kept having to stop myself from skipping ahead to her next section whenever the story broke away from her, and also that the final confrontation was disappointing for two reasons, which are spoilery )

Also re-reading in preparation for a new installment: Ancillary Justice etc. I found the first 50 pages or so of that book a real slog, and am picking up much more detail the second time around, now that I have a better sense of what is going on. My problem is that I'm a fast reader, but I don't retain well, because I'm always wondering what will happen next -- this is why re-reading is to important for me.

Anyway, that is enough of an update, at least for now! I might do a RL post too at some point. Maybe.

Whoops!

Jul. 17th, 2015 10:25 pm
vaznetti: (lost in the wash)
Dear [community profile] history_exchange author,

I will be away from the internet for a little while! I am really sorry but it may take me longer than usual to read and comment on the story you wrote for me. This is very frustrating, because I am really, really looking forward to it.

Thank you for writing for me!

* * *

In other news, we have been having a fruitful summer -- I made cherry jam, and half the cherries were wild ones I picked from a couple nearby trees. From a friend with an allotment we have so far had redcurrants (for jelly), blackcurrants, and green and pink gooseberries (used to make ice cream and fool). We broke out the ice cream maker earlier this year, and have so far made (in addition to the gooseberry) cherry, strawberry, redcurrant and rhubarb ice cream, and a pineapple sorbet. Fresh fruit ice cream is oddly difficult to find, but it's my favorite kind.

Judging from the trees, we're also going to have a lot of apples to use up.

* * *

Today was Spartacus' last day of school. Tomorrow, holiday!
vaznetti: (wandering albatross)
It's kind of shame that the days of the drabble community are done, because there could be one for The 100, and it could be called The 100 100s! I would have laughed, anyway.

Here are two drabbles, both set post season 2. I would really appreciate some comments before I release them into the wilderness of tumblr, especially as I am only now starting to catch up on Season 1.

Both gen, both suitable for all.

Kane pov )

Lexa pov )
vaznetti: (crossovers! yay!)
...and am procrastinating about mowing the lawn.

I am still going back-and-forth on the idea of signing up for [community profile] crossovering; some of my fallback crossover fandoms did not make the list and I'm just not sure I could pull together enough requests and offers to make it worthwhile. There is also the fact that I have not written anything since Yuletide, although I have signed up for the History Exchange, so I will have to write something soon.

Meanwhile we are reaching the end of a television cycle here -- Game of Thrones is over, and Penny Dreadful and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell will be wrapping up soon. On the subject of the Game of Thrones finale... )

On the "needs more cannibalism" front, Hannibal is back, but I still don't like it very much. I am enjoying Strike Back: Project WNGWJLEO. I am the only person in fandom who has only seen the non-Richard Armitrage seasons of this show, but I absolutely love it. They have reached the "everyone assumes the two protagonists are married" stage of things.

And finally, Nashville has come back to my TV -- we are now up to episode 6. How I love the increasingly poor decisions of every single character on this show! It is the evening soap of my heart. let me babble about it under the cut )

Damn it, I am going to have to put on shoes and socks and go mow that lawn.
vaznetti: (crossovers! yay!)
...Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell continues to be very good indeed! And I cannot wait for Strange's adventures in Portugal and Spain, which were one of my favorite parts of the book.

...I have realized that my problem with this season of Game of Thrones can be boiled down to: too much rape, not enough cannibalism. I just want my Frey pie, is that too much to ask?

...Also, my internet gave up the ghost (or rather, ground to a crawl) about 40 minutes into this week's episode of Penny Dreadful. Which was less gripping than last week (a really great hour of television), but had plenty of amusement to it.

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