langwidere: i am repulsed by wholesomeness. (i made it! it is true.)
[personal profile] langwidere
It is alleged by the internet that Apple intends to come out with the latest in Mac mini technology later today. Oh, fingers crossed. Hopefully they won’t have moved the price point into another tax bracket and I will be able to afford a new one, and I can finally put poor malfunctioning Eugenie out to pasture. [EDIT: THE INTERNET LIED.]

I have been busy, sort of, but (dammit!) not busy enough. Also I have been a very bad DW citizen. I am sorry, I was reading actual books instead. A poor excuse, I know. Here are the things I would’ve posted, in order, had I been able to marshall the effort —

WARNING: This post is disturbingly long, even for me. Behind every one of those cuts is a 'normal-sized,' Emma-style entry. Even if you really love me (MOM!), do not attempt to read it all at the same time. Especially if you hope to keep loving me. And I really want you to keep loving me, really I do.

So, Sherlock has started filming again! We are all so excited. And, given that I’ve already treated you to some purple praise of the series, here are a list of all the annoying things about it that I hope don’t make it into the second season:

1. Enough with the fucking gay jokes. The first one or two (or fifty-six) were mildly amusing — those crazy Victorians! didn't even have a word for "gay," did they? how many of them lived miserable lives or actually killed themselves because they were prevented from expressing the most fundamental aspect of their personalities? harhar! — but they began to wear a little thin after awhile. We get it, really. Holmes and Watson are lumberjacks, and they're okay. You don't have to keep telling us. Also: Gay jokes? Really? I would think you, the United Kingdom, more than anyone else, would be over the gay jokes by now.

2. You know that scene in the morgue in the last episode when Sherlock's analyzing the little dead dude's shoes and then all of a sudden, to illustrate his point, his monitor helpfully displays a bunch of strangely telegenic, unbiological-looking fungus molecules, along with the words "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" "MATCH FOUND" in big red letters? Please, no more of that. Hilarious imaginary computer programs which embody in three dimensions plot points your audience are too stupid to pick up for themselves belong on Law & Order: NCSI, and nowhere else. We will all totally take Sherlock's word for everything from now on, I promise.

3. I am resigned to the fact that any man/idiot who ever produces any sort of visual treatment of the Sherlock Holmes stories is going to subject his audience to an overwrought pop psychology-inflected fanfic-style reading of the Irene Adler case, forever and ever and ever amen, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Can I make this observation, though? When you mix heterosexual romance and Sherlock Holmes, you get House, which I think we can all agree became possibly the worst show on teevee once House fell in, er, "love." With a "woman." I mean, cooties for sure, you guys.

4. Please, let's kill this retarded "Sherlock is a sociopath" meme before it gets loose in the second season and takes hostages. If there is one thing we can all be 100% sure well-loved 130-year-old fictional person Sherlock Holmes is most definitely not, it is a sociopath. I am pretty sure that nobody who is involved with Sherlock is actually dumb enough to genuinely buy this theory for realsies, anyway, so that must mean they think they're being Clever by continually suggesting that maybe Sherlock will succumb to the Dark Side, like Anakin Skywalker, or Lucifer, or Colin Powell — while simultaneously battering us with all these stupid 'SHERLOCK DON’T CARE ABOUT NOBODY!' cliches. I mean, really. Wow. That is dumb. (FYI: I don’t care about them, either.) What I am most afraid of, though, is that Sherlock will somehow find 'redemption' onscreen, and become a 'good man,' and then Sherlock will win eleventy-one gold medals in the Shark Jumping Olympics and I will have to start watching it with the sound off :[

5. Moriarty. I know he is a fan favorite, for some really odd reason (possibly many fans have actually gone blind wanking to all the porny fanfic?), but there are few things in life or in fiction more boring than a criminal mastermind. Also, I am just going to flat-out pretend that Sherlock is fatally hydrophobic like the Wicked Witch of the West, okay? Because then everything will be beautiful and nothing will hurt.

6. Speaking of which: I have never found the writing for this show to be particularly great?* Cute, possibly. Funny! But am I weeping with the beauty of the dialogue? I am not weeping with the beauty of the dialogue. Also, I hope I am not hurting anyone's feelings by calling your attention to the fact that Sherlock's cases are really pretty awful? Like, they're really amazingly bad. No wonder Sherlock is always complaining about being bored! I feel you, my man. So far, the mysteries have run the gamut from painfully obvious ("A Study In Pink"), to retardedly unsolvable ("The Blind Banker"), to uninteresting to the point of physical pain ("The Great Game"). I enjoy seeing the actors fart around on camera for almost any reason, don't get me wrong, and I would avidly watch Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch play charades together for 90 minutes every week for the rest of my life — but I'm not tuning in for the writing. If you're tuning in for the writing, here's another show you might really like. It's called Sesame Street. You may feel a little lost at first, but I'm sure you'll catch up eventually. (Keep your eye on that Oscar the Grouch fellow, all you Mortiarty fans; he's quite the shifty character! I'm sure you'll like him lots.)

Thus concludes my Sherlock whining. As a reward for sitting through it, you may now gaze longingly upon a photo of Benedict Cumberbatch's freakishly beautiful face:

And here are two gifs of Martin Freeman dancing:

You are welcome.

* I thought, in the first episode, when Watson was desperately chasing down the convoluted trail of what he thought was Sherlock’s murderer and he came up in the wrong place at the right time, and then he pierced the mortal distance between them with a bullet (thus saving Sherlock’s life), not only was it a perfect, poetic visual metaphor for the entire Holmes/Watson love story, but that the scene carried a nearly canonical amount of homoerotic weight. I haven’t seen anything like that since. Maybe it was an accident?

Guess what I found? No, wrong! It’s a Good Omens fanfic writer whose stories do not make you want to claw your own eyes out and then put them down the garbage disposal to punish them for the crimes they have committed against you. I’m pretty sure she’s a unicorn with access to the internet.

I haven’t read all of these Good Omens stories, of course, because there are like 275,000 of them (yay!), but I can strongly, strongly recommend A Better Place and The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse and all their associated fic. They are really, really great, and somehow they fit consistently into the dauntingly amazing Good Omens canon laid out by the intimidating prose stylings of the Gaiman\Pratchett Voltron.

Naturally, they are Aziraphale/Crowley slash. (If I want gen, it’s hard to beat the book.) Most of them aren’t all that dirty, but they are sort of… romantic. I know, right? One of the reasons that I like this author so much is that her stories don’t seem to be retardedly prejudiced in favor of Crowley. Nearly everybody likes Crowley better than Aziraphale; I don’t know why. Maybe because Aziraphale is a miracle-stingy hardass who expends his small quantity of natural sympathy on books rather than on the humans he was intended to shepherd, and Crowley is cuddly and befuddled and so inept at being evil that the only things he ever manages to gain dominion over are some houseplants? Or because Aziraphale appears in the guise of a middle-aged androgyne, while Crowley takes on the shape of a handsome young man? Hard to say.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, right: Most Good Omens fanfiction tends to to feature Crowley suffering agonies of (momentarily) unrequited love for Aziraphale, which is a little odd, but probably if someone among the cast and crew of Good Omens is going to suffer an agony of unrequited love Crowley is more or less your only option.

The very first time I tried to look up Good Omens fanwork — this would’ve been, I don’t know, 2002 or 2003 I guess — I found the fandom totally repulsive. I understand why people take the book too seriously (I also take the book too seriously), but there is no excuse for taking fandom, any fandom at all, too seriously ever. Like, this one time I stumbled upon some people on Yahoo!Groups who called themselves "Crowley's Angels," and, um. I understand that as fantards we are accustomed to hiding our very real yearning under a thin candy-coating of self-deprecating irony, and you know I hate to rain on the parades of digital strangers and all, but if there were ever a male character in the entire canon of Western literature who would turn down a harem, it would be Crowley. Crowley is not what you might think of as a ladies' man, unless the ladies you're thinking of are the cast of The Golden Girls. I mean, really. I am embarrassed for you. (So is Crowley.) Secondly, in order to join their dumb group and see their (probably) dumb fanwork, you had to take a test. HAR. NO. NO WAY, JOSÉ.

Also, I seem to remember that lots of the old-school fanfic in which Crowley and Aziraphale had hott sexy buttsexy sexxx featured many scenes of the two of them giggling in bed afterward. What is it with the pan-fandom bad sex fanfic and the giggling in bed? Who giggles in bed? That is stupid. If giggling really dampens your face flannels so thoroughly, Lady Hypatia Penhaligon, have the characters giggle someplace normal, like at a televised memorial service for the world's oldest WWI veteran or something. Now that’s love.

I kind of have some problems with the thought that Crowley and Aziraphale would want to have sex, with one another or with anyone else, to begin with. Really: Why would they want to have sex? Clearly they love each other very much and are profoundly attached to one another, but sex seems like kind of a pedestrian way to express that attachment, especially if you are an individual who has lived forever and will continue to do so ad infinitum. On the other hand, Aziraphale and Crowley are largely defined as characters by their deep adoration of human comforts and pleasures, so maybe sex, if they decided to try it out, would become their very favorite thing in the whole wide world. (I understand this is the way it works among the nonfictional proletariat.) Also, Watchers are the sexiest angels ever, even sexier than the Hashmallim, so I suppose there's that working in their favor, too.

(NOTE: This writer also does pretty famous Sherlock fic, which veer wildly between 'mid-90s Harlequin romance novel' and 'heartbreaking, professional-grade literary art'; most of these are worth checking out, too — especially the ones that warn of main-character death and/or that involve Mycroft, who becomes a fratriphilic human miracle in her stories.)

I am always going on and on about how I never read Susanna Clarke interviews out of fear that she is somehow a stupid jerk (this was one of my favorite topics at my old LJ account, where I often appeared to be kind of mad at her for no visible reason?) (to be fair, in the early days of my idolatry I was bidding a painful farewell to the authors of my childhood, in the form of cringe-reading Stephen King’s horrible sub-long form tumblr posts in Entertainment Weekly every week) (also, if I remember correctly, in those days we were still being tormented by constant, semi-credible assurances that a sequel to Strange & Norrell would be out, like, any minute now), but you guys — I don’t know what I was afraid of. She is totes adorable. She loves comics and modeled the scenes of emotional conflict in her epic literary fiction on Buffy. In one of the interviews (the 'Fractal Matter' one, I think) she mentions that her books have been translated into thirty languages, including — awww, awwwww! — "simplified Chinese and complicated Chinese." You guys. Anyway, relevance: I recently realized that was down for the count, so I bundled all of the site’s linked interviews together and put them up @ Cynn Corvus. Yes, you’re welcome, all three people who visit it regularly! (MOM!)

I also just now found the Susanna Clarke Seminar at Crooked Timber, too. It is pretty good! I wish I had seen it, I don’t know, maybe five years ago? Most of the essays are fairly awesome, but a few of them annoyed me, like the one in which a guy suggested that Clarke’s form of "magic" is a snarky metaphor for class-based English societal unrest. I mean, clearly magic is THE CURE for class-based English societal unrest, as it is the most democratizing force in the imaginary universe, but I don’t agree that that makes it a metaphor for anything. If I wrote a novel about Hurricane Katrina decimating New Orleans, the unrelieved misery that followed in the disaster’s wake would manifest itself in the form of folkways-challenging chaos, rage, and dissent, but the hurricane itself wouldn’t become a metaphor for uneasy race/class relations in America, no matter how talented a writer I might be. I mean, really. College professors, eesh.

I suppose it could’ve been worse, though; at least he didn’t mention Napoleon.
(NOTE: I’m not trying to make light of how awful Katrina was by comparing it to English magic, of course, but you don’t hear a lot of people laying out these sorts of condescending theses when it comes to critical reviews of, say, Zeitoun. Or anything else, for that matter. Many people really do seem to harbor a genuine anti-fairy animus. Weird! Most of them suffer no such prejudices toward oversexed super-spies, or successful businessladies who look like Catherine Zeta Jones but who somehow still can’t find Love, or reluctantly closeted gay circus performers with Oedipus complexes, ginger curls, and aphasia. Or vampires.)

So, my Kindle. I have one of these models, with a red rubber case on it and a flimsy stick-on plastic screen protector (if you use a paper towel with a little rubbing alcohol on it to apply the flimsy stick-on plastic screen protector, you can reduce your final air-bubble presence by 90%; this is true of all screen-bearing devices, not just the Kindle). I really, really like it. It took me awhile to get used to it, but once I settled in with it and stopped idiotically pushing on the screen all the time, I noticed how useful it could be. I should also say that I have a (minor-ish) visual disability, which makes my fondness for the Kindle even greater — when I first got my iTouch I downloaded an app called Classics, spent a couple of hours in it reading The Iliad, and then developed a blistering headache that hurt so bad I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital in the middle of the night to have it treated. Nothing hurts my eyes worse than long-term focus on a backlit screen, especially in a darkened room; for this reason, I see maybe three movies a year, have the brightness turned down to about 35% on the iTouch, use an app called F.lux to dim & halogenize my monitor anytime I plan on starting a large computer project, and avoid all prime-time teevee marathons (well, I mean; what would I marathon, anyway). The Kindle, though, hurts me not at all. It causes the normal amount of eye fatigue that you would expect from a regular book. Honestly, it’s pretty much my only shot at using an e-reader for longer than a few minutes at a time. I could never handle a Nook Color or iBooks on the iPad or that other thing, the B00B or whatever it is.

Navigating the Kindle’s OS is a pain in the ass. I’m always tapping at its screen, forgetting that it isn’t an iAnything, and then getting a little irritated with myself. The buttons on the built-in keyboard are tiny and somewhat difficult to push; the keyboard is QWERTilY nonintuitive. You have to press a weird little shift key that looks like this "↑" to get capital letters; this is why all my notes are in lowercase. Punctuation is offered on a floating palette that you access by pushing on a button that says "sym." You have to navigate through the exclamation point and the question mark to get to the semi-colon (annoying), but there’s a separate period button next to the letter keys. Oh, speaking of which — you can highlight books and make notes in them, and then search through all your own notes and/or through the marginalia of all the stupid people on Amazon who have also made notes in the book. You can turn the 'other people’s notes' function on and off, and choose whether or not to make your own highlights and comments public. You can also search through the books themselves, which is probably the thing I like best about having a Kindle. I can usually remember a few words of any passage that I want to find in any given novel, but I often retain temporal plot specifics poorly. With the Kindle, I can just add terms to the find function and look up any quote I want without wasting time flipping through chapters.

It’s easy to turn pages once you’re in a book, but sometimes I accidentally press the left/right arrow keys when I want to highlight something, and doing that takes you to the beginning or end of whatever chapter you’re reading. This is also very irritating. (To make a highlight, you press the up/down arrow keys and then click the button in the middle of the arrow pad to begin and end the excerpt. This is the only way to do it, I think. I wish there were discrete, separate highlight keys. I use this function a lot.)

As for the bookstore itself, using it is very easy. The Kindle syncs to your Amazon account (I don’t know if you can even use a Kindle without an Amazon account), and buying books is pretty painless. You can also immediately send a book back if you bought it by mistake. I don’t know how or if Amazon credits returns. Most books are decently-priced and there are a lot of free, interesting public domain titles, too, but you can spend $75 in the Kindle store in an afternoon if you aren’t careful. There is no "library" service available to the Kindle, either through Amazon or through the public library system. You can’t even use it to read EPUB files. I consider this a major, pointless flaw. I would gladly pay a reasonable monthly/yearly fee in order to have Netflix-like access to a semi-infinite list of random titles.

Many of the books that have been digitized for the Kindle were treated with sloppy disrespect in the process. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Foucault’s Pendulum, for example, are rife with typos and misplaced content. Some of Strange & Norrell’s footnotes are fucked up. This infuriates me.

There’s a web browser in the Kindle, but it’s buried under three submenus and I seldom use it. When I do take it out for a spin it’s in 'article mode,' and I use it to read fanfic epics. Navigating webpages with it is unpleasant and semi-impossible, anyway, and also sort of dumb because they’re only displayed in weirdly-formatted shades of grey. The Kindle also gives you access to Twitter, but I’ve never used that option at all.

It is relatively difficult to change the orientation on the Kindle, and every time you want to re-orient your content you have to go through the process again; it’s not like an iPhone or iPad. It displays manga art decently, but fudges the text — that might be because I’ve only used it to read scanlations, whose text is by necessity displayed at a different resolution from the art. Sandman looks a little weird on a Kindle. Japanese text displays properly; I’ve never downloaded a Japanese-native comic or Kindle book to see how it works out officially, though. You can plug the Kindle into your computer and drag PDF and RTF files onto it; they’re usually readable, but they tend to display haphazardly (mostly, the less in-document formatting the better). You can also charge it this way, too.

When you get a Kindle, you get a free Kindle-specific email account from Amazon as well. You can send content to the Kindle using the email address for a 10¢ fee/delivery. I have never done this. There are several services designed to help you send web articles and other ephemeral content to your Kindle using this email address, too. Never done that either. You can also use your Kindle to subscribe to blogs, newspapers, and magazines. Nope! (I use my iTouch for those things.)

The Kindle comes with a charging cable that has both a wall-outlet prong head and a USB head. It is pretty neat. It can take the Kindle awhile to fully charge, but you can use it for a long, long time afterward (and while it’s charging), especially if you turn off wifi capabilities. The Kindle has nice screensavers, but there’s no way to tell it which ones you’d prefer to see (as far as I know). Once you’ve bought a book from the Amazon store you can remove it from your Kindle if you like, but it just goes into your Archive. The only way to permanently delete a book you’ve bought is to log into your Amazon account on a computer and get rid of it that way.

I will buy another Kindle when mine gives out or breaks, assuming I have the money.
If Amazon adds a "library" feature, even for pay, I would save up and buy the big one.
I hope that helps!


@ A giant Martin Freeman downloads post, wow.
@ Another really great article, this one about misunderstood literature, from Cracked? I’m scared. I knew about The Jungle and Farenheight 451, but that Alice in Wonderland is meant to be a critique of experimental mathematics is a new one for me. Although I suppose that would explain the perplexing undertone of contempt that cuts through the subtext of the novel?
@ Your token, gorgeous big girls story for Vogue’s token yearly 'We Care About Actual, Real Human Women' issue.
@ Roger Ebert talks about losing a certain percentage of the world’s literary greats to apathy. (I hadn’t even heard of about a quarter of the authors he mentions here, let alone having read their work, so I guess he’s right.) (Or I’m even dumber than I look.)
@ Florence Nightingale was hip to the modern need for accurate chartage.
@ A neat-looking 'fireplace’ screensaver (that crashed my dying computer, oops)!
@ A lengthy report on mysterious-yet-shrill Nobel prize-winning economist-creature Paul Krugman. Read the whole thing so you’ll be able to recognize this beast if it ever breaks into your house in the middle of the night and forces you to subsidize the Poor.
@ How Glenn Beck Managed to Manipulate This Country’s Plunging Average IQ and Make a Mint: What "They" Don’t Want You to Know
@ I think we can pretty much write down the date the GOP finally jumped the shark; it was the day they went after fucking Neil Gaiman. This actually made me pretty mad! I mean, I find certain elements of Gaiman’s writing to be kind of irritating, but the world is a measurably better place for his having lived in it — in stark contrast to the measly contributions made by most of the rest of us, such as, to pick a name at random, Matt Dean of the Minnesota GOP. [EDIT: LOL.]
@ A Whitman’s Sampler of Ray Morimura’s stunning, stunning artwork.
@ 'That is, you see a picture of Jackson Pollock smoking a cigarette and looking intense and you think “smoking and being super intense are part of what made Jackson Pollock the artist he was”. And then, worst of all, “if I were to start smoking and being all intense then I would increase my ability to create great art”. And worse again if we begin with “Jackson Pollock was an alcoholic and frequently an awful person to be around”, so…'
@ Something Noam Chomsky wrote about… something… foreign policy, maybe? I’m sure it is very important and truthful and everything but it gives me flashbacks to college and I’m afraid there’ll be an exam afterward and I’ve never finished it :[
@ Neil Gaiman’s The Price
@ Thirty seconds of Benedict Cumberbatch singing something in Italian in a funny voice.
@ Tennessee is AWESOME, y’all! Let’s all move there together and then go on welfare simultaneously just to piss everybody off.
@ BREAKING: Ronald Reagan was actually a total cunt! I know, right?
@ Videogum finally got to The Real Worst Movie of All Time: Garden State!
@ Again, the Krugmonster proves its untrustworthiness and gender-inappropriate fondness for lolcats.
@ A bookmarklet that allows you to see what fonts people are using on their webpages without having to try and dig through their code to find a stylesheet.
@ An interesting article about the King James Bible by Christopher Hitchens. (Really!)
@ This is one of the most beautiful, brilliantly executed, gorgeously illustrated comics I’ve ever seen. Also it is one of maybe four stories in the world that’s focused on romantic love that doesn’t give me the hairy voms. (h/t [personal profile] starburns)
@ When I make my first mill, I’m going to hire an animator and some musicians to rebut this Tim Minchin video. Mine will be called "Agnotology," and it will feature a conversation with a bizarrely dim and easily-confounded science-club dork who attempts to defend his favorite institution against allegations that it had its roots in the very saddest expressions of male chauvinism/ignorance, pointless, appalling animal cruelty, and genuine criminal activity, and has degenerated from those inauspicious origins into a for-profit legal-drug racket. Also, anybody who has managed to convince themselves that this misery-inflected, war-plagued, shit-covered planet is some great big beautiful mystery just waiting to be hacked apart discovered by some fucking awful scientists is at least as delusional as anybody who thinks the Pope is holy. Not that I’m bitter.
@ A Japanese crow says, "Good Morning!" Of course, it is a little-known fact that the Japanese word for "good morning" is SQUAWWWMP.
@ Gee, that’s a lot of Salon links, isn’t it?

Also, I just received this book in the mail. I’ve been trying to get it off various specialty Japanese bookstores for years, and then on a whim I searched for it on Amazon, where I found it for sale for, like, $10 used. FOILED AGAIN, CAPITALISM! YOU ARE A WORTHY OPPONENT. It is the most perfect Japanese grammar book I have ever seen and I am kind of excited to get the chance to study it; the authors wrote it specifically to aid people who are interested in doing academic research in Japanese, and it features sentential structures that I’ve never seen anyplace else. Except in actual Japanese, I mean. (I hope to use it to — among other things — bring you some gay-themed comic content that does not involve, say, the presentation of love-rape as an adorable courtship ritual.) (Or that features some female characters who are not toxically obnoxious!) (Assuming such content exists, of course.) It also has an entire index of nonintuitive Japanese expressions involving "気," one of which (気を付ける, which means "be careful" or "pay attention," or more literally "fasten your essence," haha, what? what??) left me scratching my pointy head for a week when I saw it in a Suzuki Tsuta comic (I can’t remember which one, they’ve all merged together into one giant run-on sentence strung together with でs and のs that’s made of understated masculine angst and misconstrued regret with a light grey background and a cat on it, like a fictive, gay Voltron).

(Parentheses!) (Parentheses?) (Parentheses…)

Okay, done.
See you in July!
(Of 2015.)

Date: 2011-07-04 08:06 pm (UTC)
ohveda: (veda)
From: [personal profile] ohveda
And then I read your Good Omens post!

That fanfic you recced is rather lovely. It's also the only Good Omens fic I've read so far! When I get time, I'm going to have to read the rest of the author's stuff.

I kind of have some problems with the thought that Crowley and Aziraphale would want to have sex, with one another or with anyone else, to begin with.
You know, if we're talking sexy fanfic, I can't help thinking that the most fun part would be the conversation where they consider giving sex a go. Because, of course, when you're a demon, I doubt anyone has a problem with it, but when you're an angel, suddenly morality rears its ugly head. Cue Aziraphale saying that he's not sure why, but he's pretty sure that the whole sex thing is an explicit no no. But, counters Crowley, surely it's just the sodomy that's looked down upon; wouldn't God be ok with it as long as you leave the anal cavity alone? There would then follow a long and awkward pause (a...anal cavity?), at the termination of which it becomes clear that Aziraphale, despite having been around for thousands of years, has politely and entirely avoided learning about the actual mechanics of the birds and the bees.

Doubtless someone has already written this :D