langwidere: a john uskglass pixelbuddy (i came to my enemies in a RAIN OF QTE)
So, I waitedwaitedwaited patientlypatientlypatiently for Apple to squeeeeeze out that new Mac Mini, and then it finally appeared! Last month! Hooray! I ordered it like this: CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! FAINT! And then it came, and it was the worst computer I have ever seen in my life. It appeared to have been assembled by a committee of those weird, embittered Mac-haters who used to troll Daring Fireball back when it allowed comments. It has no optical drive! The specs are weird! The only included monitor cable is three inches long and 100% useless unless applied to Apple’s new $999 screen! It has four USB ports! It is pointlessly tiny! Why is it so fucking tiny! It’s not like I’m going to be carrying it around! It’s supposed to be a desktop computer, isn’t it! You know, if it were slightly less tiny, you could’ve maybe fit a fucking superdrive in there, couldn’t you! Speaking of which, it has no software component! It relies upon the Magic of the Internet to back stuff up/repair problems, in the event of an inevitable (if you’re me) catastrophe! So let’s imagine a scenario in which I attempt the upload of my 450GB of pure binary shit onto some fantastic ephemeral Apple Data Cloud in the middle of the night as my computer gently weeps, and think of the many exciting new dirty words I will accidentally invent! And what happens when the system wakes up cranky one happy Sunday morning when I am supposed to be vetting thesis topics and it can’t find its start-up disk! Those nakedly grasping brilliant Apple engineers! What a bunch of fucking cards! They should just start selling branded computer cases and let us put the parts in ourselves!

Also, ALSO, I bought the ($77! At Amazon!) Apple-approved optical drive that was supposed to complete the Mini, Cameron Crowe-style, but it had such a short cord I couldn’t even plug it in. Well, I mean, I could plug it in, but it looked like this, and obviously I couldn’t exactly sit the fucker on top of the computer itself. (The wifi antenna-thing is still in the top of the case, right?) Also it ate up one of my four (4) (IV) available USB ports, leaving me with three (3) (III) open USB interfaces and approximately nineteen USB devices, including hubs. Really amazing cool idea, you guys.


Also, speaking of which, I have been trying to Write Something for the last nine days, and Things Are Not Exactly Going As Smoothly As Expected. So, rather than wangsting tenaciously over that (MY BRAIN CANNOT CONTINUE COCKBLOCKING ME FOREVER, CORRECT? I MEAN, EVENTUALLY AFTER MANY YEARS I WILL HAVE TO DIE OR SOMETHING?) I thought I would do that thing I do where I write strange long whiny ‘reviews’ of movies everybody else saw eighteen months ago. And that’s what I did: Ta-da!


That was really long! Probably I should post more often, so there’s less chance of these huge tumescent word-monsters escaping unchecked into the unwary wilderness.


Now I am going to go address my e-mail situation. (“HELLOOOOOO, E-MAIL SITUATION!”)


langwidere: a cintia dicker editorial (diet coke makes you beautiful)
I can’t get my Kindle to work. Well, I mean, I can get it to work, but I don’t know what it’s doing. I have somehow managed to use it to purchase The Collected Works of Jane Austen, though, so that’s probably not a good sign.

I made this with IOGraph:

It is cool!

Here is a link to the sort of competent, even-handedly critical movie review I am incapable of producing — in this case, specifically because I had no idea any of this stuff was happening at any level of the text. Deep down in my doughty Amurrkin heart I honestly do not believe that there are now (nor were there ever) people in the world who are analogous to Malfoys. To me, the Malfoy family are figures of such uniquely baroque, decorative absurdity that I have little use for them beyond watching fan-authors play Barbie games with their dirty parts. Anyway, this essay is really, really excellent, and I even liked Cristopher Hitchens's linked review, which is nearly miraculous given its origins.

(Hitchens is the world-class dickhead/idiot who wrote that deplorable article in Vanity Fair about how women aren't funny, because of the Holy Uteri, or something, and horseshoe teeth. I later saw the interview he gave to Charlie Rose about his cancer/latest autobiography, and alas! He did not come off as the uncomplicated doucheface I was expecting to see. I mean, he is politically sophomoric, and he loves Tony Blair and he hates Bill Clinton and he believes in 'honor' [?] and in the notion that war is something the Big Boys simply must do when called upon by destiny to liberate the downtrodden, whether the downtrodden are into it or not, which aaaaaaaaaagh. Aaaagh, man. But! While I still would not want him on my Quiz Bowl team, I'm not as interested in seeing him publicly defenestrated.) (Also he is a famous and irascible atheist, which is kind of cute.)

This review, which describes and then demolishes the unwatchableness of the Watchmen movie, is also the sort of thing I am incapable of producing. Mostly because I lack, um — stamina? That's the one.

(I think that Watchmen is unfilmable because it is already more or less a dismantled movie, presented shot-for-shot in the guise of a comic book, and it can go just that far and no farther without becoming something very unlike itself — so "filming" Watchmen, as such, is a bit like trying to make a movie out of, like, real life crime-scene photos. Or this. It already happened!)

January is National Appreciate Some People Who Are Way Smarter Than You Month, though, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to show a little love.

Oh! Also, too — speaking of admirable smart people, Helen posted a new fic! It's alternative-universe baby Kirk/Spock, but I don't see why that should stand in the way of your enjoying it as much as I did.
FUN FACT: The very first slash fanfic I ever read, way back in, like, 1998, was Kirk/Spock. It was not quite so good as this one, let me tell you. I think they had sex, at one point, on the bridge. And giggling may have been involved (not mine) :[

1. I would shank a bitch to get to see this. Arcadia is my favorite play.
2. Weird, but funny.
3. This Is My Taste In Women: Socially-acceptable proxies of naked WASPy teenaged boys, with freckles! Looking at that many photos of anemic, nekkid white chix will give you snowblindness, dude. Also: Gross!

Now I'm going to stop posting every 48 hours and go back to the naked-man comics. Don't cry, don't cry! You'll ruin your make-up.

ETA: YAAAAAAAAY!! (h/t The Brit List)
langwidere: sailor moon, sailor mars, and sailor mercury (ラブリイー)
I had a very nice Christmas — I got a new baby Kindle, a Threadless teeshirt which is not overtly humiliating, and a giant amazing Hokusai book that I have been humping nonstop since I unwrapped it. So, during Christmas, I had the fun — but after Christmas I was forced, by the Politeness Monster (and also the Obligation Monster), to visit some of my adoptive father’s relatives, who somehow always manage to make me feel as though I am the Venus Hottentot and they are all positively astonished I can use my silverware so adeptly. This is no mean feat, considering the intensity of my personal dorkiness. (They are, on average, essentially the figures depicted in American Gothic; when my father’s father was alive, my father’s sister asked my mother to keep me away from him because my blackness made him "uncomfortable.") (Really!) (I didn’t find that out until a couple of years ago, because naturally Mom was too awesome to let something so stupid affect me at the age of eight.) (She did keep me away from the weird old idiot for clearly related reasons, however.)

I'm not getting you down at all, am I? Don't take it personal. I was the designated excuse-generator on this particular excursion; I agreed to accompany my father (who hates his family, of course) specifically in order to feign illness and get everybody out several hours early. I am the very soul of self-sacrifice! Don't I know it.

I watched some things!

Should I cut? It's pretty long; I’ll cut.

But everything you learn there will help when you return there. )

Hey, I am retarded and I like children's movies! I think that goes without saying, though. Adult movies are insultingly loud and misogynistic, or insufficiently full of Alan Rickman as Hwæt the pansermøøse, or boring pointless depressing love stories about long-dead dumb white people who wrote lovely poetry and made pretty hats but failed to notice that they were all going to die sooner or later anyway, so please stop crying already. I mean, come on, lady — what are you, a talking animal? Now, they have real problems.
langwidere: a john uskglass pixelbuddy (i came to my enemies in a RAIN OF QTE)
Well, I got my copy of A Truth Universally Acknowledged and I read the Susanna Clarke essay, which is called "Why We Read Jane Austen: Young Persons in Interesting Situations." Generally I am loathe to read things Clarke has written which are not fiction, because I am terrified that she is a jackass. Or, rather, that she is something that I would perceive as a jackass, which would then cast a pall over my fantardian ecstasies* re: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Which is not to say that I can’t enjoy a novel if I can’t imagine myself being besties with its author — but, then again, this is not "a novel." This is THE novel. This is the only living writer whose autograph I would actively pursue for entirely personal reasons. WHAT IF SHE’S A TORY?

But! This essay, even terrifyingly Austen-centered as it is, is stereotypically amazing. It begins, wonderfully, by calmly insulting the institution of marriage, and it contains this statement:

There is a logical connection for Austen between clarity of vision and true humility (a virtue so unfashionable nowadays that we scarcely believe it exists and use it as a synonym for "hypocrisy").

That is true! Humility is a entirely fictional state-of-being. Much like ninja-turtledom.

I also read the first two paragraphs of Harold Bloom’s foreword (he also contributed an essay, which is titled "From 'Canonical Memory in Early Wordsworth and Jane Austen’s Persuasion'," and with which I have no intention of torturing myself), and I wanted to punch him in the face. I’ve only read one of Bloom’s books, The Book of J (I like it that one of Amazon’s suggested-reading links on the The Book of J page is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), but I think his ability to randomly irritate people is unparalleled in the modern world. I want to disagree with everything he says, even if I have absolutely no idea what the fuck he’s talking about. Bloom could write an essay on the theme of 'I Like Pie!' and it would be hotly debated on the blogs of English professors for years and years (English professors are famous for their ability to hold grudges) (as is Harold Bloom) (who is an English professor).

The essay that appears right after Clarke’s in the collection is called "The Radiance of Jane Austen," and it was written by Eudora Welty. I LOVE Eudora Welty! I am going to have to read it :<

Which means, at some point in the near-ish future, I’m going to have to read something Austen actually wrote.

So, if you are sitting on the fence about A Truth Universally Acknowledged, for some reason, I would highly recommend it. Even though I don’t really know why and I hate Austen novels.

Lastly: Someone is making a teevee movie version of The Crimson Petal and the White, but there is (as far as I know) still no movement on the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell film/miniseries. Just thought I’d mention that.

* I spell like a teabagger, by the way. I couldn’t get "ecstasies" right to save my life because I kept insisting that there’s an "x" in there somewhere, and I had to rely on the spellcheck. Also, as I was cleaning my top-secret translation yesterday, I was completely flummoxed by the word "obediently," which does not look to me as though it should have an "i" in it. Speaking of wanting a wife!
langwidere: a cintia dicker editorial (diet coke makes you beautiful)
So, Glee was actually really good tonight, probably just because I said it sucked — although I think it should probably change its name to We Love You, Kurt, Because You Are So Very Adorable and Also Good at Acting. So, it is exactly like Buffy: The Crap Years: every fourth episode is great enough that you forget how bad the other three were, I adore exactly one character and I want to split-kick everybody else in the face, and imaginary gayness is still far more entertaining than imaginary straightness. Dude, I’d better go refill my Accutane prescription! Don’t wanna run out of that stuff :[

Here’s the always-awesome BTB on Glee’s use of the word "tranny." Glee is possibly the only show on television that enrages both fundamentalist Christians and vagina-necklace feminists in equal and constant measure, which is actually kind of comical, sadly enough; I don’t find it transgressive (usually), because it is almost impossible for me to be "offended" by anything that could be even generically classified as art. Also, I am pretty chill with the idea that all Americans — black Americans, gay Americans, Asian-Americans, whatever other kinds of Americans may be hiding out there who have yet to receive their convenient, easy-to-apply identity-politics labels in the mail — labor under stereotypes which can be fruitfully engaged and mocked in public, without hurting anybody. So if, say, Asian-Americans find themselves battling the deeply insulting notion that they all look alike and are indistinguishable from one another (which is just weird, anyway), and then someone on a popular teevee show (Glee, remember) refers to an Asian-American character as the "Other Asian," that doesn’t twist my knickers into an anchor knot at all. Not because I am a hipster racist! (I promise!) But because, you know, at least somebody finally noticed. I can understand why other people might be sort of put-off by it, though. This is America! A lot of brave men died in the cold at Valley Forge so that you could be offended by anything you like. But, I cannot understand why these already-angry people continue to get so het up about every possible 'controversial’ topic that ever appears on Glee, nor do I understand why they keep watching it if it’s so terribly, terribly abusive to their fragile psyches. Turn Glee off and find something else to do with your time, kids! It’s fun and easy. I turn the teevee off five or six times a day. Just, please don’t get all boycott-happy on me and start accusing me of being a bad feminist because I won’t stop watching Glee myself. That’s some Rush Limbaugh shit right there, is what that is. It’s only a teevee show! Just like Sarah Palin.

Anyway, my renaissance of Glee love is not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about this:

Or, I will want to talk about it (I’m sure) after I’ve read it. I am a little worried about it, quite frankly; Dream looks very muscular and competent and butch in this comic, as though he's the one who goes around opening all of the other Endless's pickle jars. Also, he is sporting a relatively restrained hairstyle, and he is wearing a very restrained (and incredibly un-Japanese) outfit. With a color on it! That is a little unfortunate for him, I think. Dream is engaged in a hot, highly-constested race for Biggest Hater of Colors on My Clothes with his bff/soulmate Angelina Jolie, and I would hate to see him lose just because of this one story. You know how Angelina gloats.

But, what I really wanted to talk about was this thing I found on Demonoid while I was futilely Googling Sandman comics as I waited for my copy of Dream Hunters to be shipped to me. It is called The Song of Orpheus, and boy, does it ever suck.

Let me explain why, because I can tell by that look in your eyes that you care. )

Yes, yes, of course I will find this thing in the comics store and buy it. I am not like that. You know what I am like! I learned Japanese so that I could stop subjecting my precious, precious eyeballs to the illegitimate whore-bath that is scanlations. I will totally give Neil Gaiman his richly-deserved Orpheus money, because Gaiman is still kind of hot, and who wants to make hot people sad? I am a total masochist who likes it when Daddy hits me.

langwidere: a fox-eared lamento character (キツネ耳)
So, as we all know, I can complain about anything — and that, in fact, I prefer whining to commonplace gratitude. It makes me feel safe and happy. I could walk outside tomorrow and see the fragile dome of the daylight sky stretched above me, slack and content as a satisfied cat, and my reaction would be: Ugh, this fucking sky is so blue! Why is it so blue? Is this like some kind of an insulting paean to the marketing campaigns of the 1950s or something? I am not impressed with your homage to Americana, God. It hurts my delicate eyes!

So, of course, it will surprise no one that I am kind of down on the fall 2010 teevee season:

Lastly, I am still struggling, lady Hercules-like, with my awesome translatory surprise. So keep your calendars open (MOM).
langwidere: a john uskglass pixelbuddy (i came to my enemies in a RAIN OF QTE)
I am always having really bright ideas for blog posts while I’m sitting around in the backs of cabs staring out the window or painstakingly explaining to one of my students, yet again, what a preposition is and why we do not end sentences with them when we are writing research papers (MIDTERMS!!), and then I log into DreamWidth and my brain goes: RIBBIT.

Currently I am entertaining the dramz, which I will describe in loving detail once I’ve dealt with them, but I did learn a valuable lesson: Do not ever attempt to edit a freshly-made translation while you are having a panic attack. It does not end well for anybody (especially the commas).

Also I am translating five or eight different comics for The Heart Goes Nine, which I am hoping to have online sometime in the Christmas/New Year’s tunnel. I know I said exactly the same thing last Christmas, but luckily for me I am a prize-winning procrastinator: Last Christmas, I did not have any idea what the fuck I was doing. My concept of "の" as a nominalizer did not exist, for example. I did not know that から, when it shows up after a て-form verb, means "after," etc. (If you don’t give a shit about Japanese, you should know that these things are, like, super-elementary stuff a tiny Japanese child would be embarrassed to hear from a kindergarten teacher.)

But, I am much better now! Now, I am only surprised by things like the fact that "ってゆうか," which is one of Japan’s many exciting quotacular postpositions, can be shortened to "つーか," especially if you have animal ears.

I still want to babble about Sherlock, which I am going to watch for possibly the fifth time this weekend on PBS, and I also have a colossal post about the newer wave of "licensed" manga — but right now: RIGHT NOW YOU GET LINKS!

» This guy is going to be Dirk Gently! Which is a little odd, given that Dirk Gently is supposed to be a short, rotund, ethnically Scandinavian man, and also Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is utterly unfilmable, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that somebody is making a Dirk Gently movie!

» I was poking around Edroso’s archives last night because I was bored/flipping out, and I found this thing and loled for ten minutes.

» Benedict Cumberbatch said some words and then somebody wrote them down. This doesn’t happen enough.

» Google keeps taking The Song of Lunch off YouTube because, like the new Final Fantasy trailer, it is highly sought after by copyright-disregarding, record industry-bankrupting, adolescent digital pirates? Really? That’s an interesting idea, Google. I think you may have missed a memo somewhere. Anyway, here’s the trailer. NOTE: I downloaded The Song of Lunch off TPB, and it was horrible. Really horrible. Boring. Stupid. It wasn’t even a real poem, anyway; it didn’t rhyme and there were no shipwrecks or anything. Everyone is all, nobody has filmed a poem on teevee for like a million years! And I’m like, dude, there’s a reason for that. (And you know I would watch Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman stir spaghetti sauce for an hour with stars in my eyes, so it can’t be my fault.)

» We are T-minus 33 days until the deployment of something Susanna Clarke wrote into our mailboxes. Yes, it is an essay about Jane Austen novels, but desperation has lowered our standards considerably.

I also have a new, readable layout, which I got from here and did not edit like at all.

Next week, then?
langwidere: two characters from a gay-themed web comic embracing (melons in love)
I don’t think that I’ve looked at my 'reading list' once since I’ve opened this blog. I’ve visited people’s DW accounts, of course, but I’ve never technically patronized my 'circle.' Ooops! The point: I missed it. I’ll get on that, though :[

But, my breathtaking selfishness aside, Happy Toshizou Hijikata’s Hair Day! I think it’s really amazing that so many Americans are willing to put aside their differences on this most special occasion to commemorate something that’s near and dear to every patriot’s heart: Toshi’s beautiful, beautiful hair. Yes, Toshizou died a painful, untimely death because he was a total dumbass, and he apparently enjoyed killing his own men when they annoyed him, and he relished torturing enemy agents in unthinkable ways — but Jesus Christ, did you see that hair?

In Hakuouki, the writers understand that Toshi’s hair is his most precious and important virtue. When he’s bitching about something, his hair is sympathizing with his subordinates. When he’s snarling, his hair is grieving. When he’s fighting oni like an oni-fighting machine, his hair is also fighting oni like an oni-fighting machine — because it is Toshi’s hair, and Toshi’s hair is nothing if it is not a metaphor for a big, sharp sword (see example #2 below). That’s the reason there are so many extended shots of the back of his head; it’s far more emotional than the front. Without further ado, I give you:

It is, of course, the outrage the renegade oni commits against Toshi’s hair that gives him the strength to fight on, in the face of such critical disappointments:

How inspiring!

Hakuouki 12: I Spent Almost an Hour Making All These Gifs (Or, I Think I Need to Look Into Getting Laid, What Do You Think?) )

10 out of 10, where "10" represents Toshi’s hair.

ETA: Changed the title. Turns out I used that one before. (Oops!)
langwidere: two characters from a gay-themed web comic embracing (melons in love)
I was planning to post an elaborate review of three angel-related, smutty romance novels that I just read (I am a $2 whore for dirty angels) — but I can’t find one of them at the moment. I’m sure it’s around here somewhere? It was the worst one, though, so maybe I threw it out the window at some point and I just don’t remember.

As a consolation prize, I offer you: A few tiny movie reviews!
(All these movies are out on DVD; I seldom go to the theater anymore, because it gives me splitting, week-long headaches. After Avatar, I was literally in bed in the dark for a whole day, and not a very smiley person for most of the following week. Currently I’m trying to collect all my extra pain cards so I can punch them for the new Alice in Wonderland movie sometime this week.)

9 — I really liked this, although it was nowhere near as "adult" as it seemed. Pixar movies in general are heavier, more upsetting, and more emotionally mature — if also less scary-looking. Speaking of which, 9 did in fact look and sound gorgeous, and it was just as scary-looking as it should’ve been considering its provenance and style. If there had been 25% less action and 65% more character development, I would’ve loved it, but as it played I can only muster up some like. Also, had I seen this movie as a child, I would’ve had nightmares about it every night for one million consecutive years. Recommended :]

District 9 — I found this one both dull and yucky. It’s very easy for a movie to make me hide my eyes because something on screen is gross-looking, and much harder to make me avert them because something on screen has reminded me of the many ordinary ways in which I am a giant asshole. District 9 was trying for the second, and only managed the first. And I genuinely hope that I never see another over-earnest fake documentary as long as I live; I now associate the format with The Office, which puts preachy crap like District 9 at a distinct disadvantage. I also felt that I’ve been reading a version of the movie’s plot once a year, every year since I was eleven, in every new edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction. And the "lesson" with which the movie wished to bludgeon me to death was unspeakably lame, and better learned from other, more subtle teachers; I learned it, for example, when I was about 12, from Kevin Anderson’s story Human, Martian — One, Two, Three. Not recommended.

Inglourious Basterds — My mother is a huge fan of Tarantino movies, so she forced me to watch this one with her while I was visiting last month. It was really good! In a bad way. Before I saw this movie, I had never actually considered the fact that the past — a series of events which actually happened to real, human people — is a place, like fairyland, about which we enjoy making up stories. For fun. Weird? Also note-worthy for fans interested in extracurricular work is the wingnut response to what the tiny, politically-conservative mind tends to view as Tarantino’s point (read: KILLIN' THE EVILDOERS BUT GOOD). Recommended, and Oscar-worthy.

Angels & Demons — This one was far better than the book, which is like saying that gonorrhea is far better than syphilis, but still. Angels & Demons reminded me that, if there was a time when I didn’t want to kick Tom Hanks in the teeth, I can’t remember it anymore. Everything about this movie was vapidly stupid. It made no sense. It was offensive on a very fundamental level — the level that sat through high school history classes, for example. Also, Ewan McGregor was supposed to embody a human metaphor for the traditional model of Lucifer, the beautiful, light-wielding angel cast out of heaven for his misanthropic hubris — which McGregor could’ve done in his sleep, with one hand tied behind his back, and pantsless. Instead, he looked sort of ruddy and uncomfortable, possibly because the movie had robbed his character of any real motivation. Awfulness. AWFULNESS. Not recommended!!!

Hogfather — As with the Harry Potter movies before it, anybody not already familiar with this story would’ve been left behind, scratching their heads, in the first fifteen minutes. The script was ungreat, Teatime was very badly cast, Death overacted like a community theater veteran, and the existential denouement was so retarded and off-kilter (and off-plot) that it made my eyes water — but against my better judgement, I actually kinda liked this one. I liked Susan and Banjo and Albert, and I was really fond of the novel, so I kind of gave it a season pass. What the hell, it’s Christmas. Recommended (especially if you love Pratchett novels).

I’m sure I saw other movies, but I can’t remember what any of them were. Which probably doesn’t bode well for them. Or for me :[