I’m a podcast fiend. I find they’re a great way to keep me entertained while I’m doing housework. Over the last few years, I’ve ended up with quite a few shows to listen to. They fall into three broad categories:
Books, Media and Culture
This is far and away the biggest category. It includes podcasts featuring interviews, discussions about fandom, and reviews of books, movies and TV shows.
Fangirl Happy Hour: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Renay of Lady Business and Ana of The Book Smugglers. They review books, movies and graphic novels, as well as discuss what they’ve been reading or watching more generally. They also talk about the state of SFF fandom and often segue into political commentary and discussions of mental health.
Galactic Suburbia: This Hugo-Award-winning podcast is hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Alexandra Pierce. Much like Fangirl Happy Hour, they discuss the state of SFF fandom, albeit from an Australian perspective. The two podcasts occasionally end up in dialogue over vital issues, such as what can be classified as cake. The ladies of GS also discuss the culture they’ve been reading, watching or otherwise consuming.
Not Now, I’m Reading: A new podcast just started by Chelsea of the Reading Outlaw and Kay Taylor Rae which focuses on reviewing genre books and media. As a keen reader of romance, I appreciate that their focus is a little wider than just SFF and the way they’re unapologetic about their passions.
Overinvested: Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Morgan Leigh Davies review movies, TV shows and comics. Most are genre, though not all. These ladies are savvy critics who really know their stuff and are also not afraid to love material they know is rubbish.
The Skiffy and Fanty Show: This Hugo-nominated podcast is headed up by Shaun Duke and Jen Zink with a large cast of co-hosts. They do multiple segments of varying kinds, including signal boosts, interviews and Torture Cinema (wherein a panel reviews a movie deemed to be awful by pop culture).
Radio Free Fandom: Another new podcast, in which Claire Rousseau interviews guests about their fandoms. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far and am still getting a feel for it.
Reading the End: I usually prefer my podcasts to be solidly genre, but I make an exception for the Demographically-Similar Jennys. Gin Jenny and Whisky Jenny do often discuss and review genre books, but are just as likely to be reviewing contemporary literature. They also discuss their favourite instances of particular tropes and occasionally delve into research on space, the sea and Arctic explorers. At all times, they remain utterly charming.
SFF Yeah: Book Riot’s new SFF podcast. Sharifah and Jenn discuss SFF news and favourite literary tropes. I’m still deciding if this one is for me.
Sheep Might Fly: A podcast of serialised fiction by Tansy Rayner Roberts. Tansy alternates between previously published work and completely new stories. It’s a delight to hear them in Tansy’s own voice.
Tea and Jeopardy: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Emma Newman. Each of the guests she interviews has a connection to SFF and each interview takes place in a different (fictional) lair arranged by her morally-dubious butler (voiced by Peter Newman). Guests often find themselves in a bit of difficulty as they leave. The fictional framework doesn’t work for everyone, but I find it fun.
The Math of You: This is a relatively recent discovery from me. Lucas Brown interviews a range of guests about the pop culture that influenced them while growing up. Not strictly SFF; this is geekdom in many flavours. Lucas is a warm and enthusiastic interviewer.
The Writer and the Critic: Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond review a range of speculative fiction. I initially picked this up due to its Ditmar nomination this year and have liked it enough to keep it on. The contrasting perspectives make it engaging. However, I’m also adverse to spoilers, so haven’t yet delved into many of the episodes.
This is the newest category in my podcast list and focuses exclusively on tabletop RPGs (which, I’m sure, surprises no one).
The Gauntlet Podcast: Primarily hosted by Jason Cordova, the podcast interviews game designers and signal boosts RPGs being crowdfunded. The hosts also discuss the games they’ve been playing and what has been inspiring them.
The Gauntlet crew also run several other related podcasts. I’ve not yet listened to +1 Forward, but it has recently been nominated for an ENnie Award. However, I have listened to Pocket-Sized Play. I don’t usually go in for Actual Play podcasts, but I’ve been loving their Monsterhearts campaign, Mercy Falls.
The last category in my list is short. While I appreciate some measure of discussion about craft and industry, I find too much counterproductive for me (it’s hard enough to mute my inner editor).
Ditch Diggers: Hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace. I picked up this one because it was nominated for a Hugo this year and I wanted to judge it fairly. Mur and Matt discuss craft, answer questions and interview other creators. It’s a solid show, though I occasionally find it abrasive in ways that weren’t intended.
Writing Excuses: These short episodes are hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler. Each season has a distinct theme and guest co-hosts. I appreciate the diversity of voices (though it remains sadly US-centric). Each episode ends with a practical exercise.
Altogether, these make up my current playlist. Does anything catch your attention? What would you recommend I check out?
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
So when such_heights and I got engaged in August 2014, I asked my BFF if she would, maybe, perhaps, make us a wedding quilt, too?
It’s now July 2017, the wedding quilt is finally finished, and OH MY FUCKING GOD IT IS THE MOST AMAZING THING IN ALL EXISTENCE COME LOOK HOW TALENTED MY BFF IS SHE’S THE GREATEST THIS IS THE GREATEST COME LOOK COME LOOK COME LOOK OMG!
( Many photos of the world's greatest quilt )
I learned piano very much in the traditional you-learn-pieces-and-perform-them-at-
Dude rocks my fucking world, I tell you what.
Partly, this is because I'm an adult and I've been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings of teaching (I always know when a teacher is using a particular pedagogical technique on me--which interestingly doesn't always make it less effective). I learn differently now and with a different understanding of what "learning" is. This is the place where Csikszentmihalyi has been extremely helpful to me, because I can recognize how a successful learning engagement works. ("Learning experience" would be a better phrase, but it already has connotations that are really kind of the opposite of what I mean.) And the pressure to learn pieces for recitals is mercifully off, which helps, too. But partly it's because this guy approaches music completely differently, bottom up instead of top down.
But the thing that has changed my relationship with my piano is something my teacher said (and I can't for the life of me remember what it was) that made me understand--quite literally for the first time in my life--that fingerings aren't arbitrary and they aren't just put in music so that teachers can judge whether students are obeying them or not. Here's where playing the piano is exactly like rock climbing:
The notes in the score are like the hand, finger, foot, and toe holds used to set a route in a climbing gym. You work the fingerings out yourself, the same way that a climber works out her own solution to how to get to the top of the wall using the holds available. And he said, "This music is for playing." A weirdass chord progression or run is like a difficult sequence in a route; it's a game, a puzzle that a musician who's been dead for 100 years set for all the pianists who came after him to solve. You work out the fingerings (4-5-3-5 WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) so that you don't hang yourself out to dry, the same way that a climber works out her holds so that when she has only her right hand free, the next hold isn't three feet to her left. When you make a mistake, you laugh and pick yourself back up and go up the wall again, because it isn't a pass/fail test. It's a game. You have a sense of glee that you share with the route setter about solving this incredibly intricate puzzle almost--in a weird way--together.
What that means is, (1) playing piano, which I have always loved, is now infused with a sense of fun that it truly has never had; (2) I know what I'm learning--not just "music" but the route up the wall, the game that underlies the performance; (3) when I'm fumbling through a new chunk of music, I know why I'm fumbling. It's not because I'm stupid or the music is stupid; it's because my brain is trying to process so much new information that it gets overwhelmed. That's why I miss easy chords and consistently play that damn C-sharp when the piece is written in G. Because THAT'S WHAT THE LEARNING PROCESS LOOKS LIKE.
But honest to god the idea of music as a game being played between composer and performer, and not a game like tennis, but a game like riddling--riddle set and riddle answered--is a seismic paradigm shift for me. Everything looks different now.
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.
* I cannot finish your urgent project in a timely fashion if you keep interrupting me to ask when your project is going to be finished! Please stop!
* We have already done Thing based on all your requirements (and with your approval!) last quarter. We can just update it instead of spending so much time trying to come up with a new way to do it (only to come up with basically the exact same Thing). There is no need to spend hours reinventing the wheel!
* You have to decide whether you need a meeting to happen ASAP or if you need everyone involved present, because it's July coming up on August, and half the people you need will be out on vacation at any given moment and I have no control of that.
* I don't want healthy snacks in the vending machine. If I am driven to getting food from it, it's generally because I want Frito Lay corn chips or terrible plasticky cheap chocolate, not some sort of chip made from beans or some kind of granola bar! WTF?
As a newly minted 58-year-old, I am not the fresh-faced girl of yesteryear, but still... A stop in at the hallway loo at work this morning made me actually gasp when I looked in the mirror: shadow on the upper lip, purple bags under my eyes, and a yellow complexion.
I exited the bathroom at top speed and asked my colleagues, who can be counted on to be brutally truthful, if things were really as bad as the Mirror of Doom depicted. Nope, they said.
Interestingly, the light in the rarely used bathroom behind the storage room is much more flattering. We can only figure that the light burns out more frequently in the hallway one, which sees the majority of use, and the latest cost cutting measures have included buying light bulbs from the overstock sale at Monsters 'R' Us.
So I went to the "good bathroom," slapped on a bit of make-up, and now look far less scary. :-D
Having looked through his filmography, I see that he was in two episodes of Mystery And Imagination*--The Body Snatcher and Feet Foremost; I believe those are in the portion that are sadly lost. He was also in Jack The Ripper (1988) in the role of Lanyon--that one also starred Michael Caine, Lysette Anthony (Angelique from Dark Shadows 1991), and Susan George (Lucy in Dracula 1968). I have always meant to watch that one, so I’ll track it down. I think I spotted it at DailyMotion earlier, divided into parts.
*Come to think of it, that's two from Mystery And Imagination that have died in the last two months. Peter Sallis was the other one.
(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.
[Grainy photo of a
I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.
There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.
The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.
Shout-out to the folks working at UCSF Mt. Zion -- they've all been both both friendly and competent medical professionals (the super-enthusiastic residents were THE BEST. One of them bounced little on his feet, holding the clipboard for consent signing out to me).
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (www.blackalliance.org) is having two webinars on the State of Black Immigrants.
Part 1 is July 18, tomorrow, at 5pm;part 2 is July 25, both 5 pm EST.
Basically July 19 is just a terrible horrible no good very bad day.
I'm trying to get things done in anticipation of the surgery and whatnot, but it's really hard. Not only is there a lot to do, the bills are starting to come in, and I'm getting really depressed about it. I haven't had enough work so far this year, but even though I suddenly have a bunch of stuff coming in, it's not going to be paid for a while yet. Even with the ACA still hanging on, this country is majorly fucked up about health care costs, and it's pretty easy to go bankrupt even with insurance.
Last night we went to see the documentary Score, about composing music for films, at this teeeny local theatre that was the first art house in Seattle way back in the '60s. I hadn't known it was still in business--it's run by vounteers now, and the lobby is now a restaurant so the actual theatre is about one-tenth the size it used to be. The movie was great--if you have a chance to watch it, you should: there were some really good reminiscences by directors and other composers about some of the legends, and interviews with all kinds of fascinating film composers, plus a glimpse into the process of recording film scores.
My only complaints were one I shared with feochadn, which was that a guy went on and on about King Kong (the first real movie score) being cheesy and stupid, and that the music was the only thing that helped audiences get over the cheesy and stupid, which is utterly, patently false and doesn't understand the audience dynamic at the time the original King Kong was released. And my second gripe was that as they talked about modern scores and unique or avant garde approaches, they interviewed and spent quite a bit of time following the guy who did the utterly forgettable Age of Ultron score instead of spending any time with Henry Jackman, who did the Winter Soldier score, which most people I know still talk about with a certain amount of awe. Especially because I think it would have dovetailed nicely with talking about the "game-changing" soundtrack for the Social Network by Trent Reznor (I'm not one of the people who think it was game-changing, but whatever), and they did talk to Henry Jackman, but only for a microscopically short time. Plus, they didn't list Winter Soldier in his credits, and that was…weird to me. And it's not my own blind prejudice for anything related to Winter Soldier--I've read so many people talking about the amazing things he did with that score, especially regarding the Soldier himself, and it just seems like a huge missed opportunity in the modern section…and instead we got fucking Ultron. I'd defy anyone to remember anything unique or special about the music in that movie. But I still definitely recommend seeing Score if you can, and stay for the credits and James Cameron's dicussion of James Horner's score for Titanic. (It's in a couple cities right now, and rolling around other parts of the country for the next few months--you can find out where on the web site linked above.)
I wish I knew how you find a therapist. I am very lonely and depressed, and there's no one to talk to here, but I just don't know how you go about finding someone you mesh with, and who's competent, and one you can afford (the importance of either can be switched). I mean, I've met some truly shitty people in RL who I find out later are therapists and it's like O.o so the idea of going into this cold doesn't thrill me.