Tell Me Something Good: Open Thread

What’s currently thrilling you – pop culture wise. Books, music, movies, interesting blogs? Share with the rest of the class. Also, why aren’t you reading and commenting on Snarky’s Machine? Tsk Tsk! After Kate’s electrifying post oh yes, I’m most certainly going to toot my own clown horn, baby. You’ve seen me here. You’ll soon see me on Bitch Magazine guest blogging this summer. You want more Snarky’s and I love giving people what they want.

And even though I’m pretty sure this song didn’t come out during the spring, it always reminds me of Spring. Snow be damned! I’m putting on my springy dress and maybe even a big silly hat.

I present Miss Chaka Khan for your chair dancing pleasure.

So as the title says, Tell me (and each other) something good.

Toot your own clown horns, Shapelings! This thread is open and ready to serve you!

277 thoughts on “Tell Me Something Good: Open Thread

  1. Chaka Khan is so freakin’ gorgeous!

    My plans for this afternoon: a gin rickey, Shuggie Otis, and a lawn chair that fits my fat ass. I think it’s going to be good.

  2. Snarkysmachine – I often mean to comment on your blog, but each time I visit it I end up shaking my head in amazement at your bedazzling film mojo, and limping away quietly. I’ve just had a quick look now – and was cheered to see Bruno Kirby getting a name check. Hardcore! I cant look at him without hearing “Reader’s Digest is considering publishing two of my jokes.”

  3. I am in love with fatnutrionist.com blog. Michelle is a FA/HAES nutritionist and is AWESOME! She peeks in here sometimes, too, I found her on a link on this website.

  4. I’ve just had a quick look now – and was cheered to see Bruno Kirby getting a name check. Hardcore! I cant look at him without hearing “Reader’s Digest is considering publishing two of my jokes.”

    AHAHAH. He’s thoroughly missed. Mr. Kirby!

  5. As a longtime reader and almost-never-ever commenter, I’d like to toot my horn for SP and its beloved Shapelings! I’m still working on FA and HAES in general, but never did I imagine I’d find such support, insight, and general awesomeness. So I raise a toast to you all!

    Oh, and, Snarky? Your pen blog is made of THE WIN!

  6. I’m making plans with a bunch of friends and family to rent a house on the beach in August. I plan on unashamedly wearing tank tops, shorts, and swimsuits and encourage my friends and my pre-teen daughter to do the same. We’re going to swim, barbeque, eat a ton of seafood, and talk and laugh until we’re hoarse.

  7. I love that song. And Shinobi’s blatant nudity. Rock on with your naked self.

    My good thing is the surprise promotion and raise I got this week (double digits, y’all). I’m shocked, and so grateful for this to happen in such tough times. It is well and truly awesome. It goes to prove that we ARE as awesome as we stated last week on Kate’s post. Now the universe knows it. I hope the good tidings roll on in for everyone.

  8. Did anyone else watch Great Performances on PBS in the US last night? It was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet with Sir Patrick Stewart and David Tennant.

    … is it spoilery to talk about the performance?

  9. My good thing is I recently started re-learning the language that is, in some ways, my mother tongue even though I’ve never spoken it fluently. (Long story.) It is currently making my mind and my heart and my life explode with amazingness in a way I didn’t see coming.

  10. Last week, I went to hear Lois Lowry speak and give a reading from her latest book. I grew up reading her, and it was very cool to a) see her in person and b) see SO MANY kids there who were excited about getting to meet her. She has an illustrated book about mice coming out, inspired by a mouse in her home that apparently felt it necessary to fill her ski boots with lentils.

  11. treme is thrilling me. steve zahn in treme :D. also, glee. i’m freakin loving glee. i’ve delved into makeup again. and getting my blog up and running? that’s freaking awesome! i left the mag i was writing for because of editorial differences (and everyone hated my FA column) so i decided to write a blog, say eff those hatas.

  12. i’m also going to church again at an awesome church, and getting together with a new group of friends from said church. so, awesomeness on all fronts.

  13. I’ve decided to do one of the silly things on MY LIST this weekend. I’m going to put on comfy shoes and wander around my town (Austin) with my camera and take pictures of all the amusing posters on poles and graffiti and such. No reason, just always wanted to.

    Other than that, I have to do something about the mountain of laundry in my bedroom – I think it ate one of the cats.

  14. :: hands shinobi42 a flamethrower and breaks out the marshmallows::

    My current pop culture good thing is urban fantasy novels…just finished Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison and Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, both of which were very enjoyable, and I’m about to read the 3rd in Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Series. (I know, I’m behind on some of these series…gotta sleep, knit, and do homework!) And I’m eagerly awaiting the latest book in the Harry Dresden series, which I just ordered.

  15. Snarky: I’m looking forward to reading your posts in Bitch! I’m a lurker but not a commenter on your other blogs.

    Completely random recommendation: Last night my friend and I met up for drinks/dinner. We decided to go to the local bookstore afterwards, and stumbled upon Isabel Allende giving a talk there. I’m a huge fangirl, but she’s such an interesting speaker that I recommend it even for people who aren’t familiar with her work.

    I’m going to toot my own horn here. After a crappy year involving a breakup with my long time boyfriend and a job loss due to corporate downsizing/reorganization, I’ve landed my dream job and will be relocating to Ithaca, NY in a few weeks. I am really looking forward to it, although there’s also a lot of sadness to be leaving my hometown. So in the interim I am being a slacker, doing lots of stuff with friends, cleaning up my yard, and dealing with the question of how much stuff to take with me.

  16. About a year ago, I admitted to myself that I really like (well-done, historically accurate) Regency romances. Since then I have devoured a boatload of them, with some detours into Georgian and Victorian settings, and have discovered some amazing books and authors. So I give a big thumbs-up to the oeuvres of Georgette Heyer, Mary Balogh, Mary Jo Putney, Laura Kinsale, Eloisa James, Judith Ivory, Joanna Bourne, and Jo Beverley, whose latest I am reading right now.

  17. I’m a long time reader of the blog but rarely comment. I was so excited when I found out that you are a H:LOTS fan too, Snarky! Your recaps are on my to-read list. One of my good things is that we bought a new lawnmower and now I’m mowing my own damn lawns, thankyouverymuch.

    Also, Laura512, I’m in Austin too (well I work in Austin and live in Cedar Park). I’ll be in Austin proper this weekend so I’ll keep my eye out for someone taking pictures of pole posters.

  18. @Muse of Ire, I recently finished Balogh’s A Matter of Class (loved) Kinsale’s Lessons in French (lukewarm about) and James’ The Duchess Quartet (loved some, hated others) My otherwise fantastic husband has tried to jokingly shame me out of my romance novel love, especially after he has picked up one of my mega stacks at the library. I’ve also recently discovered Phillipa Gregory’s Wideacre series.

    Outside of the romance genre I’m reading Sin in the Second City by Karen Abott and The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt.

    I’m enjoying Nurse Jackie, Treme, Justified and NBC’s Parenthood for unintentional laughs.

    Musically I’m downloading music from my early childhood with Phoebe Snow, Minnie Riperton & Phyllis Hyman in heavy rotation. I’m really sad that my kids won’t get the joy of perusing thru my album covers, I learned a lot of important life lessons combing my parents. TV One’s Unsung is a good starting point for my walks down memory lane.

  19. I just discovered the band Apollo Sunshine. They have a very cool Allman Brothers sound that I really love. I’m never up on music, so it was very exciting to introduce my best friend to a band she hadn’t heard of yet!

    Otherwise, I’ve been working on final papers because I am about to graduate with a Master’s degree! Holy shite you guys, I’m a grownup! (Of course, this means finding a job. Does anyone know NYC based pro-choice/women’s rights organizations that are hiring? I’ve already exhausted idealist.org and craigslist.) This does mean, however, that I haven’t done a ton of blog commenting recently.

  20. I love your writing, but to a large degree your pop culture is not my pop culture and so the kind of high level analysis/commentary you do isn’t very interesting to me, and my comments would probably be even less interesting to you. That’s not to say I never go there… it’s worth checking out for the odd post that does speak to me.

  21. I’ve finally given in to my shameless love for Lady Gaga. And consequently am moping because if I’d known that four months ago I would’ve actually gotten tickets to her now sold-out concert that’s coming here in two weeks. Sob.

    I’ve started reading When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Jane Hirschmann and Carol Munter, and so far I love it.

    I’ve spent half a day browsing through most of Adipositivity’s photos and since then have been feeling a lot better about my body. I suppose I’m a real visual person, and reading about FA doesn’t pack as much of a punch as seeing gorgeous photos of fat bodies looking stunning and sexy.

  22. Melinda and Laura512 -

    Another Austin girl here! Gotta family reunion this weekend…..I would love to be taking pictures of pole posters. There are some posters in the vicinity of Gordoughs, right? Just sayin’.

  23. @fattatgirl – aaaaand, you just added another place to my list – thank you!!

    Have you seen the knitted thingies on Lamar and 5th?

  24. I love your writing, but to a large degree your pop culture is not my pop culture and so the kind of high level analysis/commentary you do isn’t very interesting to me, and my comments would probably be even less interesting to you. That’s not to say I never go there… it’s worth checking out for the odd post that does speak to me.

    Makes sense. I’m pretty picky about the things I choose to write about and my voice isn’t for everyone. I also don’t do a lot of the sort of 101 style writing that most white folks actively seek out from POCs doing blogs, which is confusing since it’s largely what’s expected of POCs.

    I also don’t write about fat very much because I just don’t have the kind relationship to my isms, where I separate them out. I’m very much about intersectionality and that’s a huge part of my activism.

    I’m also very concerned with writing about broad appeal pop culture as “the other”, and most white people just have no idea how to enter that discourse. Well the savvy ones do!

  25. Yesterday this happened:

    Oh Eun-sun became the first woman to climb the 14 tallest peaks in the world.

    She’s FIVE FOOT ONE. Five foot one! *does the end line dance!* She fucking CRAWLED to the top!

    Whooooooooooooooooooo! I find this pop culture, and I find it good.

    This rocks my socks.

  26. I’m a long time reader of the blog but rarely comment. I was so excited when I found out that you are a H:LOTS fan too, Snarky! Your recaps are on my to-read list. One of my good things is that we bought a new lawnmower and now I’m mowing my own damn lawns, thankyouverymuch.

    It’s been really fun doing it. Revisiting H:LOTS has made me thoroughly appreciate Treme – which is so very wonderful – and reignited my love of St. Elsewhere. It’s great there is starting to be a trickle of the complex portrayals of marginalized folks, absent from the airwaves for nearly a decade.

  27. I just (like, moments ago) submitted my final grades for the term — now I’m free from teaching until September! Bring on the books and lemonade!

  28. lemonadeandlemoncake: also, glee. i’m freakin loving glee.

    ME TOO. Due to odd schedule, I haven’t seen this weeks ep (Hulu, here I come) but last week’s Madonna episode? Rocked my world.

  29. Oh, and, Snarky? Your pen blog is made of THE WIN!

    Thanks Kat! I’m addicted to office supplies! The pen blogging world is so fascinating and fun. I love there are so many people who have interests completely different than my own and can write so compellingly about them. I’ve learned tons about fountain pens, which I’m totally getting into. I was so intimidated by them before, but I got a really great starter one and gorgeous navy blue ink and so it’s fun to write with them.

    the Pen Addict is my favorite daily read. (besides this ridiculously comprehensive movie blog, which showcases films I’ve never even heard of and I’ve heard of plenty!) The pen addict does the best reviews of every pen you can imagine and I love his writing samples. He also turned me on to some really great hand made paper makers and Rhodia pads, which are such an unfortunate addiction.

  30. @Snarky’s

    You may not write 101, but you inspire people who never thought they needed it to go hunt it down! I seriously had no idea how privileged I am re:race… what with the privilege of never having to think about and stuff. :o/

    I’ve really appreciated you’re writing and look forward to reading more in Bitch.

  31. I’m thoroughly enjoying Ariana Franklin’s latest, “A Murderous Procession”, part of the “Mistress of the Art of Death” series (imagine Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta in the 14th century). And actively coveting Laurie R. King’s new book, “God of the Hive”. I also adore the blog of another favorite author, Edgar-award winner, Meg Gardiner.

  32. Stephanie permalink
    Did anyone else watch Great Performances on PBS in the US last night? It was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet with Sir Patrick Stewart and David Tennant.

    … is it spoilery to talk about the performance?

    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I am so jealous! I adore Patrick Stewart to an incredible degree.

    Good for me today, hrm. I finally got approved to do 9/80′s starting in July at my work, and I got free lunch (with triple leche cake and veggie lasagne and flank steak!). And last night, I got my first real massage! It was awesome!

  33. I don’t have any major plans for the weekend but two things I am doing that are just for me: 1. pedicure 2. drinks with sister

    It’s those simple things that make the weekend full of pleasure for me.

    And I’m eating peanut butter by the spoonful as I type which is an unexpectedly pleasant tension relief after the day I just had.

  34. @Snarky – I love your voice, it’s just often talking about TV shows I’ve never seen.

    This isn’t a complaint, mind you. I’m always baffled by people who think the fact that my writing doesn’t appeal to them in particular is a problem that needs to be addressed and solved.

    It’s just why I’m not commenting on your other blogs when I get a “OOOOH, SHINY NEW GOODNESS!” thrill every time I see you posting here.

  35. After the Washington Times published an absolutely vile transphobic editorial, my friend Keffy posted this rebuttal. Which is apparently being linked absolutely everywhere, and I’m happy to help spread it further. I’m really proud of him.

  36. The boyfriend and I are planning some fun getaway type things for post-finals next week. My last exam is on May 4 which means I can get crazy and stupid on Cinco de Mayo!! Woo. Anyway, looking forward to maybe hitting Key West for the first time. Living in FL has it’s perks at times. As for pop culture, I am attempting to focus solely on school books for now, but I did hit a very big book sale last weekend and manage to stock up on summer reading. Just two more exams to get through… *sigh*

  37. @Snarky – I love your voice, it’s just often talking about TV shows I’ve never seen.

    This isn’t a complaint, mind you. I’m always baffled by people who think the fact that my writing doesn’t appeal to them in particular is a problem that needs to be addressed and solved.

    I haven’t read your writing, so I wouldn’t exactly know. But I agree with your point.

  38. Things that are good:

    - I’m not a big shopper, but I’m dress shopping for my brother’s wedding, giving me opportunities to (a) think about what parts of me are attractive, so that I can accentuate them (woo!), and (b) have a brief FA dialogue with my mom, after mentioning that I bought a dress from plus-size retailer Igigi:

    Mom: (With obvious alarm.) You don’t think you’re *fat,* do you?!
    E: Well, Mom, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this. Fat is an adjective. Like… brown. There are parts of me that are squishy, because they are made of fat. And I either don’t look good or fit into the dresses I’ve tried on so far, so I’m going for something flattering.
    Mom: Okay, sweetie.

    Guys, do you know what makes my mom say “okay, fine”? NOTHING. This blog – its authors and its commenters – has taught me a lot. Rock on!

    Please enjoy these sugar gliders as a token of my esteem:

  39. Ooh, I’ve got one. (Warning: In what follows, I have completely buried the lead. Can you find it? FUN GAME KIDS!) As you may know, I keep going back and forth between the fact that I really like to write and engage people in conversation, but I really get easily overwhelmed/anxious/emotionally-overfunctioning-ookie-feeling by having to be In Charge Of People in some sort of official capacity. (See also, my reasons for ceasing to blog here and going back to commenting.)

    Well, so I’ve started a new blog that will be blessedly small potatoes compared to SP, but I think that’s probably good for my personality. I’m basically trying to take the tone and norms and expectations of the anti-oppression blogosphere and engage faith, broadly speaking. (And not – and to me this is an important distinction – take the tone and norms and expectations of the lefty religious blogosphere and engage oppression, which is just, wow, something I have sub-zero-level interest in doing. Like, I feel the need to go take a nap when I even contemplate it. Because I know how those conversations tend to go. God, all the EARNESTLY BESEECHING and the VERY SOMBER POSTURING and the self-aggrandizing PRIVILEGE FAILS and the poorly-moderated COMMENTS and the COMPLETE LACK OF LEMURS….zzzzzzz…. )

    But the really good thing is all the leads I have on future co-bloggers… THREE of which (the leads, not necessarily the co-bloggers) I have gotten through the Shapely Prose family. So YAY! I’m thrilled.

  40. A Sarah, I am already floored by your blog! I also love its focus, which personally I find very seductive. I really think any time there’s a chance to engage folks in the concept of interconnectedness and intersectionality it’s always a good thing, regardless of the framework one utilizes to examine it.

  41. My thrills lately have been knocking out grad school assignments. That’s pretty much the same thing that keeps me from commenting at Snarky’s Machine, what with the time-eating coursework.

    I carve out a bit of time to read The Daily Coyote, a blog by Shreve Stockton about how her life was changed when she adopted an orphaned coyote pup.

    I also check out the Astronomy Picture of the Day because I think space and photography are both very cool, and space photography is like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of science. “You got your space in my photography!” “You got your photography in my space!”

    And there’s The Style Rookie which is a fashion blog written by a 13- or 14-year-old girl who is really pretty awesome.

    Other Things That Are Interesting (In My Opinion):
    Digger, Webcomic, “A wombat. A dead god. A very peculiar epic.”

    Moose Head Stew, Webcomic, journal comic by a Native woman in Canada.

    Zahra’s Paradise Online graphic novel, a look at the Iranian election of 2009 and the aftermath with fictional characters and nonficitional events, from the point of view of the protestors.

    Two Lumps, Webcomic, life from the point of view of two cats.

  42. I’m digging the fact that there actually is content out there for kids that gets it right in a lot of ways when it comes to representation. I’m talking like Sesame Street (and Electric Company and the like) level stuff, but I can relax and let my kids watch without having to keep constant tabs so I can Have A Conversation about whatever is problematic, like most pop culture out there. Like, black characters aren’t just there to be magical, or there’s a Latino character who isn’t there just you can instantly understand that they are poor and in need of rescue by the white characters. Fat characters aren’t their for Fat Laughs. Or, there’s a kid using crutches, and it ain’t no thing. She not Crutch Kid, you know?

    For example, I’ve seen How To Train Your Dragon twice in the last couple of weeks, and apart from the fact that all the older Viking characters inexplicable have Scottish accents, I thought it was pretty refreshing. Disability is treated as essentially a natural part of the human, (or actually animated fantasy Viking, but you get my drift) experience. Disabled characters are valued and active members of the society, with little comment. When a main character loses a limb at one point, rather than being seen as this huge tragedy, it’s more like an excuse to manufacture cool aids. It’s a small thing, but also kind of a huge thing too.

    I know these are just a small corner of the universe, but it makes me a hopeful for future generations.

  43. We went to the Gainesville Big Booksale this past weekend, which is one of the highlights of my family’s year – twice yearly, 50,000+ volumes, cheap used book heaven. Highly recommended for any book lovers within driving distance.

    Anyway, I am indulging in my love of well-written, non-squicky historical romance novels.

  44. I love this song! Its so hooky, and prolly one of my favorite stevie wonder songs :] I remember at an artsy camp I went a few summers ago, a couple of people recorded a really great cover of it, ( minus the hilarious breathy noises). Snarky, I read your blogs often but don’t usually comment because I don’t have much to contribute more often than not. I love pop culture a lot, but my knowledge is kinda lacking.

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow a lot. I’ve been going through a rough patch lately, and I’m about to start therapy, and I’m pretty hopeful that it’ll help.

    also, this isn’t an attempt to dethrone lemurs, but dik-diks are as adorable as their name is unfortunate.

  45. Sometimes, in the middle of the day, I’ll think that somewhere out there is a table named “Many Patinkin” and in the moment, all is right in the world.

  46. @ lemonadeandlemoncake: Oh, good, I thought I was the only one who didn’t know.
    @ Kia: LOVE Phillippa Gregory–saw her a couple of years ago at a book signing of Other Boleyn Girl–what a classy lady!

  47. It feels a little embarrassing to have to point out my “Why aren’t your reading me…” was a rhetorical question.

    lemonade – H:LOTS = Homicide: Life On The Street a television show created by Paul Attanasio (House) , produced by Tom Fontana (St. Elsewhere), executive produced by Barry Levinson (Diner, Wag the Dog) and based on the book “Homicide: A Year on the killing street” by David Simon (Treme, The Wire, The Corner)

  48. @Emsy – Which Igigi dress? Glad you decided to look there.

    Generally, what I’d said before is that I discovered the band Apollo Sunshine last weekend – they’re reminiscent of the Allman Brothers. Also, I’m not super on these days because I need to finish my papers so I can actually graduate with my master’s in less than a month.

  49. @KellyK – Aw, thanks. It’s under my own name, which for professional reasons I don’t want to link up with “A Sarah,” but if you email me (teenageradiostar at g) I’ll give you the URL. @Snarky’s – Floored, seriously? I… well… Dang. That’s not just any old yahoo saying that, it’s Snarky’s Machine, so… thank you. Made my day (which has so far sucked, but still).

  50. So I stayed up until 4 am last night watching the first season of Dexter on DVD. I’m a little bit embarrassed by that since it has some… problems? (really? A show about a lovable serial killer has problems? Who would have thought?) but I really loved watching it… although then I had dreams about horrible killing things, and had to wake up at 8am to be a normal person, but still… so much slightly shameful fun.

    I also just discovered Glee (the Madonna episode is the first I’ve ever watched) and it’s next on my library queue.

  51. AlexandraErin wrote:

    I love your writing, but to a large degree your pop culture is not my pop culture and so the kind of high level analysis/commentary you do isn’t very interesting to me

    This might not be your intent, but I read that statement as saying you don’t find Snarky (or what she has to say) of interest because she’s “the other.”

  52. Missed “Hamlet,” but did get my Patrick Stewart fix last night. And my Jane Austen fix. And chocolate. What if they had him read Regency novels on CD and it came with chocolate? Just a thought.
    I will be celebrating my dog’s good health with walks this weekend. He had to have a suspicious lump biopsied–inconclusive, but all the other signs point to an infection (elevated white cell count with everything else normal; usual activity level; eating; engaged with the world). He’s 13, and I want him to wake me up by banging his head on the bed for as long as possible to come.
    And being grateful that I have a hubby who enjoys Jane Austen and costume drama and brings me a piece of chocolate at bedtime. I wonder how many models can say that ;).

  53. I am grossly involved with LOST at the moment. Talk about intersectionality….this show connects all kinds of unlikely people, places, and events. I started watching it in the beginning, lost touch with it for a season or so, then picked it up again. The complexity of this show’s storyline weaves an interesting tapestry that I don’t believe has been done before in television….at least not to this degree.

    I’m more a fan of out-there or risque shows such as True Blood, Big Love, Treme, Six Feet Under and other HBO documentaries and political commentary. I loved H:LOTS when it was on, and L&O Criminal Intent is a smart show when Vincent D. is the lead.

    As for books, I just finished PUSH and found it filled with hope, in spite of the tragedy of it. It appeals to my social worker nature, as did Hope’s Boy, a biography about a child who grew up in the foster care system of California.

  54. Missed “Hamlet,” but did get my Patrick Stewart fix last night. And my Jane Austen fix. And chocolate. What if they had him read Regency novels on CD and it came with chocolate? Just a thought.

    Fran, I absolutely support this proposition.

    It’s sort of like this (Alan Rickman reading Sonnet 130) but different.

    Also more chocolate.

  55. I’ve thought about it and decided Alexandra’s comment needs thorough parsing.

    I love your writing, but to a large degree your pop culture is not my pop culture

    Take out the word “pop” and look what we have here. OTHERING. Alexandra positioning herself as the “default” and me as other.

    and so the kind of high level analysis/commentary you do isn’t very interesting to me

    Derailing for dummies “Why are you so analytical/why can’t you be more analytical”

    and my comments would probably be even less interesting to you.

    Silly brown girl, you wouldn’t be able to understand me!

    That’s not to say I never go there… it’s worth checking out for the odd post that does speak to me.

    Every so often I don’t mind a little cultural tourism.

    So basically what we have here is textbook NWL race privilege fail all around. Moreover, someone who clearly does not understand that pop means POPULAR. Therefore there is no such thing as “Your pop culture vs. My pop culture” there is only popular culture.

    Unpacking privilege is hard, but necessary so you don’t end up sounding like an ignorant bigot when you merely meant to sound like a passive aggressive jealous person.

  56. I just bought some delicious chevre, french breakfast radishes and mangoes! Bread, cheese, radishes & chives for appetizer, mango, chili & lime for dessert. YUM.

  57. Ithacaaaaa is aaawwwesome. I went there on a day trip from the camp I was counselling, where I was practically getting hives from having to be relatively quiet about being a giant gay since I was living in a cabin of teenage girls and I didn’t feel like dealing with any of that (though when it did eventually come out, as it were, it turned out they were mostly awesome about it and one of them had two moms, and now I feel like maybe I could have mentioned it earlier, but maybe the only reason it did go so well is because they adored me first? It’s such a hard line to walk, I never know).

    POINT: we went to Ithaca for the day and it was so fucking magical to see rainbow tshirts and “Ithaca is gay” postcards and Cornell having an “LGBT safe space” thing prominently on the front of the art gallery (I was only in there to use the toilet; it was still awesome) and it made me so happyyyyyy. And also it is beautiful and set in beautiful scenery. Ithaca wins.

    Pop culture I am loving: Season 3 of Skins. Skins is…not really a good tv show, so far. It tries too hard and I don’t find any of the boys interesting or funny in the way I’m meant to (except maybe Freddie, who makes me <3 even so often) which is a problem since they're half the show. But the girls have some really interesting dynamics, which is fun, and then obviously Naomi/Emily is rocking my world. They are so CUTE. And SMALL. And OBVIOUSLY GAY.

    But I keep catching myself when they kiss or have teenagers-crushing type conversation, and remembering that yes, this relationship actually happens. These two girls, who I find adorable and want to get together, actually are going to get together in this show. That almost never happens. (The last time was Dana and Alice, and that was on The L Word FFS.) It’s so common for me to be fangirlilly gleeful over two women who are only a couple in the most subtextual of ways (because the presence of women who are actually a couple is minimal to non-existent, most times) that when my sister looked at my screen and Naomily were kissing she was like, “Wait. The characters you were talking about are ACTUALLY together?” Good times.

    So anyway: the best-bits edit of S3 Skins (stopping only when Naomi and/or Emily are on screen) is making me very very, very happy.

    Also look! Cute cute cuuutttte photos of women who took each other to prom. Woooooge.

    This has apparently been your Happiness Rainbow Update for today.

  58. Thanks Kate. It’s weird – an unusually high number of my emails have been disappearing into internetland these days, too. As long as it doesn’t happen with my final papers, I can handle it.

  59. This weekend, I’ll mostly be waddling around, probably with some sighing and grunting when i have to bend down, not to mention some heavy duty belly rubbing.

    Yep, I’m gestating Big Foot here. 8 weeks to go.

    I might mix it up a little and put in some watching of the wall being put up in my bathroom by my partner and his dad, and internally snickering while i watch the thought bubbles pop up above partner’s head (“Get yer own damn wall Dad …”).

    If it’s not raining, i’ll also take the six year old girl to the skate park with her new skateboard, to save my walls from being rammed as she scoots around on it it flat out like a lizard drinking.

    Yeaa, I live in the fast lane fer sure.

  60. Sometimes I’m blinded by my own boring-ness! I realized after re-reading my post that the “risque and out-there” shows are only that in my small circle of ruminations…i.e. Soccer Moms often too busy to catch anything but shows on the big three networks and PTO moms caught up in fundraising. Most of which I feel don’t get me and identify with me solely through the mommy lens.

    The crowd here helps me see the bigger world and I consume it passionately…..nomnomnom!!! Thanks for making my world of interesting things that much bigger and reminding me how out of touch I have become.

    God…sometimes the box is just too damn conventional.

  61. So I stayed up until 4 am last night watching the first season of Dexter on DVD. I’m a little bit embarrassed by that since it has some… problems? (really? A show about a lovable serial killer has problems? Who would have thought?) but I really loved watching it… although then I had dreams about horrible killing things, and had to wake up at 8am to be a normal person, but still… so much slightly shameful fun.

    Oh geez, Dexter. Husband and I are chomping at the bit for season 4 to be released on DVD. Yeah, it’s a mess, but it’s a fun mess.

  62. My big thrills include packing up my entire life and painting every room in our house in order to sell aforementioned house before we get foreclosed upon. My husband and I and our family of pets will then be moving down to the Raleigh, NC area. We have wanted to live there for over 10 years and now seems like a good time to just GO!

  63. Oh geez, Dexter. Husband and I are chomping at the bit for season 4 to be released on DVD. Yeah, it’s a mess, but it’s a fun mess.

    How gory is the show? I want to watch more of it, but I always feel like each time it doesn’t completely freak me out to watch another ep would be pressing my luck. I thought to book was really interesting and I enjoyed it.

  64. @regina T: It’s all relative isn’t it? You may be the most out there person you know in real life, but then you reach a little further and there’s always – ALWAYS – going to be someone … more.

    Case in point – I’m planning a homebirth, which is shocking to most everyone i mention it to in my circle (most people get that tight sort of expression of ‘uh huh…’ which means they disagree but can tell by the look on my face that they shouldn’t go there), but then at the midwife visit yesterday, she was watching a video on Ocean Births.

    Yep, giving birth in the OCEAN. In a rock pool. With nekkid midwives, partners, friends and little kids, chanting, and seaweed caresses.

    … and i’m back in Conservative Town.

  65. Also, yes, i am aware that i am all about the bebbies at the moment. Promise there’s more to me than that 99.9% of the time (I’m not even barefoot rigtht now). It’s just these days, EVERYTHING relates to bebbies to me… or at least i can twist it to be about them given a few minutes.

    And that i seem to be allergic to capitalising the letter i.

  66. @emmalito
    Thank you for your comment! I just sometimes feel as if I am the most boring person on the planet….but as you said, it’s all relative.

    I wanted to do a home birth with my now 10 year old. My second and hubby’s first, so his fears won out over flipping the bird to the whole American OB system. I had such a degrading first birth experience as a 19 yr old that I just didn’t want to endure that again. Single, unwed teen treated like I had no sense….in spite of doing it all on my own and following every instruction to the letter. Long story.

    Complications in my second pregnancy 14 years later forced my hand, but in a less fearful environment, I would have pushed for the home birth and dammit, I’m sure I would have given birth in our garden tub! The state of the art hospital I delivered in seemed so impersonal, despite the curtains, sofa, and flowery wallpaper designed to fake a homey atmosphere. For me, childbirth isn’t about how nice the room looks..it’s just so much more than that…..

  67. @Caitlin and meep – Thanks for your Ithaca impressions! I am totally looking forward to moving there. I even found myself missing it a bit after I returned from my house hunting trip. I’m currently in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where I grew up and is pretty nice too.

    @Paula: Good luck with the move, and have fun in the Raleigh area! I lived in Chapel Hill for a few years and loved it.

    and now, back to baking my kick-ass biscotti…

  68. @ Snarky’s Machine – Congrats! I have loved Bitch for so many years for so many reasons, and you’ve given me yet one more.

    @ Emsy – OMG those sugar gliders are abolutely killing me with their tiny pink noses and little stripey heads!

    @ A Sarah – Your new bloggo sounds intriguing. I would love to experience the kind of space you’re describing, and faith-related exploration is really one of those final frontiers that needs it.

    Stuff I’m totally enjoying:
    Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” and the Hurt Locker Soundtrack are pretty much the only things I listen to these days. Oh and Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but he’s been regular rotation for years for me.

    Reading a book written by a friend, the first member of the genre “vampire sex novel” that I have ever really enjoyed. It’s got such fantastic satirical humor infused throughout that offsets the “dull sexy” vibe I get from most books like this. Check it out – Necking by Chris Salvatore.

    And I made a new fantasic fabulous friend! Like, instant-magic friend, like this hasn’t happened to me since my teen years. Super happy about that. And not only is he a totally awesome person who I could talk to forever, he’s probably going to be the scientist who CURES BRAIN CANCER. Hello!

  69. Muse of Ire: have you ever tried Carla Kelly? She’s one of my favorites.

    Paula: Raleigh? But Durham is where it’s at! Fortunately for the rest of the Triangle, Locopops has expanded and has locations all the hell over the place. You haven’t lived until you’ve had one of their chocolate lavender popsicles. Or the strawberry balsamic, or the cardamom pear… the spearmint lemonade is pretty good, too… oh, and they’re only about $2.

    Damn. Now I want popsicles, and they aren’t open this late.

  70. I cannot stop watching Janelle Monae’s video “Tightrope”. You can find it on Youtube. It is just 17 flavors of awesome.

  71. I really loved this season of Rupaul’s Drag Race.* And the first one. Even though I have to see it via dodgy means (being outside of the US and without pay-TV).

    I’ve just started reading Nancy Mitford’s Love in A Cold Climate, and I adore it already!

    *Haven’t seen the finale yet, but.

  72. Something good would be me finishing my spring cleaning over the weekend, writing up 2 reviews – one of a talk on Korean traditional music in the 70′s the other of the amanda Palmer gig i went to, writing some fiction and watching Korean dramas and catching up on films i bought months ago and rewatching Brendan Fraser films because he’s the most delicious in Hollywood (ok, well he and johnny depp are fighting that one out, but this weekend Brendan wins hah)

    i am totally having a girl crush on Amanda Palmer – she is so awesome and confident i think i am going to adopt her as my role model :)

  73. @snarkymachine…Mupcakes. Oh my sweet lord. In the event of me ever marrying, you have just sorted out the cake issue for me. I think I must have Muppet DNA because even looking at them can on occasion make my almost teary….Bless Kermie’s wee green heart.

    @Krishji – I ADORE Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn. Fantastic!…I’ve been listening for years and it just gets better.

  74. @snarkysmachine. I’ve just thought. Your table Mandy Patinkin, made me ponder if perhaps a Raul Julia seat might be a heart warming addition?

  75. @ emgee – it’s always nice to have a good experience at a book signing.

    @emmalito- I’ve had two home births & I’m 5’5″ and started both of my pregnancies in the 240 lb range. Was the video at your midwives of women giving birth in the Black Sea? Years ago I watched an older film about Soviet era water babies that emphasized their superior strength & stamina. It was a funny contrast to the common US perception of home/water birth as being the domain of off the grid types. I’m always happy to share my experiences, I hope that you are having a happy, healthy pregnancy.

  76. This week I have been mostly watching: Outnumbered. I missed the first 2 eps of series 3, but luckily, ahahahaha, they were available on BBC iPlayer for anyone who wanted to do a catchup.

    It’s (yawn) yet another sitcom about a Nice White Middle Class Family. It’s yet another show where the kids say (you wouldn’t believe this) TEH FUNNAYEST THINGS. It’s absolutely chuffing brilliant. The writing has an awareness that here we are, pathetically acting out the Nice White Middle Class tropes. And the kids really do actually say teh funnayest things.

    Loud, sharp-witted, mendacious, preoccupied with violence, the kids are fabulous. The production is semi-improvised, Curb Your Enthusiasm style: the child actors get an outline of their scene just before a take and improvise around it, with some ideas and lines fed in from the writer/directors. This is how kids act (act as in drama, not act as in behave) when there are no adults around — this is how we did our playground Westerns and soap operas when I was little. This is why it works.

    Ooh, and Alex Macqueen (Julius Nicholson from The Thick Of It) had a small part in S03E03. I stood up and cheered when he appeared, as is my habit. Goals have been celebrated with less leaping up and making a Y shape than the appearance of the shiny bonce and just-about-to-be-intensely-annoying face of Mr Macqueen on television. Nobody expresses a wry and quietly gleeful imminence of a sidestep and disregard of social rules like Alex Macqueen.

    (I understand that people already on the Outnumbered bus are saying that this series may not be as good and as fresh as the previous two. I’m new to it, having told myself I must bother to watch it after enjoying the short sketch they did on this years’ Sport Relief. There’s plenty on YouTube to catch up on and make a judgement.)

    (Oh, and it isn’t free of problematic language. This doesn’t pass without awareness, though, if not explicit analysis. For sure there will be differences of opinion on whether appearance of problematic language without explicit analysis serves to condone problematic discourse, when consumed by viewers with unexamined privilege.)

    This week I have been mostly listening to: Disco Inferno EPs (mainly Summer’s Last Sound), Metallica, Danny Baker’s Afternoon Retreat on BBC Radio London
    Today I am mostly listening to rally radio because it’s Rally Islas Canarias. They play I Got A Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas so often in between the live stage coverage and the service park interviews that I am starting to get it confused with the actual rally radio theme tune.

    This week I have been mostly reading: a long piece from 2008 by Disco Inferno’s Ian Crause about how the records were made; a really long and heartbreaking conversation from back in 1999 between then-Christian musician Doug Pinnick and another Christian on the topic of Doug being gay; bits of a book about Latin American history.

  77. I’m having a rather interesting time currently adjusting to the fact that my mother’s cousin, Diana Athill, has become a major celebrity in my native England. I grew up with her (she lived in my mother’s house), and I hadn’t realized, being over in the US, that she’s as famous as she is (my mother told me about dealing with filmmakers at her house in the country, where Diana was staying). It’s one thing to peripherally know lots of famous people (through my parents), it’s another thing to adjust to being intimately familiar with one. :)

  78. @Krishji: That sounds like a fun book. I’m all about the satirical humor, and the idea of vampire novels being written by actual vampires and werewolves is hilarious.

  79. Krishji (thanks Krishji! and congrats on your new friend!) reminded me that I also made a new friend the other day! She moved to my city in the past year to be near family, and prior to that she helped manage Second City in Chicago. She has a group of friends! My age! Who get together! And are progressive! I am very excited about this since I’m so much younger than my colleagues. (They’re great, but I sometimes feel like I’m speaking Martian.)

  80. @KellyK: LOVE those series! Just started the Sookie Stackhouse series myself (on book one) so you’re not the only one behind!

    @annimal: Congrats on the dream job attainment!!

    @Teaspoon: Okay, now I’m hooked on TwoLumps. Darn. Too funny!

    @Snarky’s Machine: I enjoy your blog but since I don’t read much of anything really on pop culture at all (I just suck at names and never read up on stars’ lives sort of thing; no matter who they are or why they are famous) I feel inadequate to comment most of the time! But I should get over that and just start getting into the conversation, nay? :D

    Books I’m loving:

    * Artemis Fowl (2/3rds finished and it has me completely enthralled)
    *Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series (Just started the first book again, this time as an audiobook and damn it is so much better in audio!)
    *Pandora Gets Jealous (and whole series I think. Fun twist on seeing the whole Pandora’s box myth from the point of view of the young/teenage Pandora who is remarkably like modern girls ;)
    * Tamora Pierce’s “Immortals” series was awesome. Daine is a fantastic character to read about and had all the powers I always wished I could have.

    Movies/TV:

    *Watching old Dr. Who and LOVING Harnell. “Hee Hee”. He’s so perfect as that first Doctor and some of the stories are really good (though some are really slow and uninteresting)
    *Just saw Napoleon Dynamite last night. For the first time. Not really my thing. Few funny parts but I think that the Uncle just reminded me too strongly of my bio-dad for me to really enjoy watching his ass-hattery in action.

    OTHER great news: I have a belly dance recital this Sunday! If you’re up in New Hampshire near Salem (that’s Salem, NH, NOT Salem, MA) around 1:30 and want to see some dancing for $8, then let me know if you want info for the locale :)

  81. It’s been a long difficult head-asplodey kind of week but I FIXED THE TOILET! With a part I had to special-order (omg thank you internet I love you forever). Victory is mine! I always feel a similar sense of accomplishment whenever I get the laundry all-the-way-really-done and kill Bob (the shower mold). Bob’s winning this week, though, so I have to take what I can get…

  82. Our old place only had one toilet, and when it broke and started backing up, we put crime scene tape across the door in a big ‘x’ to make ourselves feel more exciting than just having a few toilet rolls jammed in there (thanks kids).

    We had to go to the petrol station to use the toilet for about a week – it cost us a fortune in junkfood/misc crap because we felt too stink to just head straight for the toilet; it would always be an overly-casual-end-to-the-trip-request to use the facilities.

    We made the kids use the garden.

  83. The day before yesterday I had enough oomph to get six loads of laundry washed and dried, which involved at least a half dozen trips on the three flights of stairs from my apartment to the laundry rooms. I had no knee pain. Yesterday when I woke up, my back was a bit sore and that was it! I may actually have enough juice to get most of the spring cleaning done on my own. This is huge, normally I can’t do a sink full of dishes without a big dose of ibuprofen.

    I might even get to wash the cat. Little guy needs some help shedding, though I doubt he’ll thank me for it.

  84. @Godless Heathen, good luck washing the cat…that sounds like a thoroughly scary task. My husband has gotten scratched up pretty good just cutting our cat’s nails. I shudder to think what a bath would involve–possibly an ER visit.

  85. I totally missed the part about it being something good about pop culture because I am suffering from an acute case of fuzzybrain. I apologize and offer up something else: I’m not sure if it counts precisely, but I’m bouncing in my chair waiting for the promised gloriousness that is (omg yay!) Julia Child re-runs on the new Cooking Channel.

    Does that count as pop culture? It’s an old show but a new TV channel, so I’m not sure… and I’m not sure if it being an old show disqualifies it, or, um, I just confused myself again. Crud.

    Well, I’m also enjoying Kitteh Roulette!

  86. I know what a cat in a bath would involve – and its lots of mopping up blood and shredded flesh.
    When I was about 8 I was in the bath and my cat was sat on the edge when she suddenly became fixated on the bubbles. So, keen to play (and sort of to see what would happen) I flicked some at her, and continued to do this until she leapt wildly into the bath to exterminate all bubbles. On discovering water underneath the bubbles, she went utterly hot batshit crazy and started thrashing around like she was on fire, claws ahoy, and used my bare flesh as something to propel herself out with.
    I was found later, a whimpering lacerated wreck, only to be met with “That was your own fault,” which of course it was. Bah!

  87. @emelito – yess that Brendan *nomnom* Fraser

    @valerian – i think i missed it too about pop culture. *oops* I just saw ‘good thing’ and ran with it!

    pop culturewise – hmm… how about Dr Who? I love David Tennant but i am like the new incarnation of Matt smith ok as well. I’m mostly into korean pop culture which seems not to have heard of FA :( much to my continued distress

    @paintmonkey – my friend once had to wash her cat in my bathroom when she was visiting as it had decided its carry case was an excellent place to show its displeasure at being transported. Until then i never knew cats could growl quite like that!

  88. Has anyone else ever read any works by Madeline L’Engle? I’ve been reading through A Wrinkle in Time (all of the full series) and The Austin Family books, and so far, the only one I haven’t fully loved is A House Like a Lotus, because it’s a struggle to get through. The others I got through in a couple hours, this one has been half finished for weeks. I don’t know why. :(

    I just wondered if anyone else liked them – I find them a beautiful read!

  89. Mea culpa – “your pop culture” was terminally poor word choice. I was trying to use “[one's] pop culture” as shorthand for the media an individual personally consumes, but that’s not what culture implies.

  90. Cat bath time is coming near for me as well – yikers!

    @Valerian – I think Julia Child is having a resurgence in popularity thanks to Julie & Julia. That movie reignited my love for Stanley Tucci, big time. It’s almost to table naming heights!

  91. @BrieCS, I absolutely love Madeleine L’Engle and yes, she does write beautifully. The Time series is among my favorite books ever, for sure.

  92. How gory is the show? I want to watch more of it, but I always feel like each time it doesn’t completely freak me out to watch another ep would be pressing my luck. I thought to book was really interesting and I enjoyed it.

    I think the first season was the goriest, actually. The second and third seasons were more psychological. Of course, there is some gore, as required in a show about a serial killer, but the characters (the live ones, at least) are the main focus.

  93. @BrieCS and KellyK: I’ve read pretty much everything I can find by Madeleine L’Engle (including a couple weird ones that have been out of print for a while). She is awesome, on a lot of levels.

    My favorite is A Ring of Endless Light, but I actually do quite a bit like House Like a Lotus.

    (Although I realize there are a lot of people who would not enjoy them in the least, due to a lot of Christianity included.)

  94. OOO – back to the Pop Culture brief. I’ve always been a Prince devotee, and am currently re-embracing the Sign O’ The Times album….that man just is fabulousness personified in heels and eyeliner as far as I’m concerned.

  95. The day before yesterday I had enough oomph to get six loads of laundry washed and dried, which involved at least a half dozen trips on the three flights of stairs from my apartment to the laundry rooms. I had no knee pain. Yesterday when I woke up, my back was a bit sore and that was it! I may actually have enough juice to get most of the spring cleaning done on my own. This is huge, normally I can’t do a sink full of dishes without a big dose of ibuprofen.

    That’s awesome. I was in a terrible car accident when I was 19 and have had pain issues on and off since then. Some days I can get a lot of things done and other days – like today – I’m on the couch propped up by pillows and trying to ride it out. I hope today is better!

    @paintmonkey – I love Housequake.

  96. To others. The first line of the post says this:

    What’s currently thrilling you – pop culture wise. Books, music, movies, interesting blogs? Share with the rest of the class.

    and well, it’s just not a long or involved post. Hope that helps.

    It’s an open thread. So even processing whether or not it’s an open thread is fair game.

  97. Stephanie and KellyK:
    Awesome!

    Stephanie: What do you like about A House Like a Lotus? It’s tearing me up pretty awful, I’m so confused.

    I’ve found all of the Austin and Time books EXCEPT A Severed Wasp (weird one) but dude, some were crapton expensive. I really need to try to find more obscure ones. If you’re ever interested in a temporary book exchange of her work (or maybe something else I’d have that might interest you), I’d be up for it!

    I’m also WAY into Fullmetal Alchemist right now, and Supernatural. I got lost on Smallville because it’s utterly confusing. Ooh, and Iron Man 2 coming up right now.

    Also, George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire work is amazing and I can’t wait for the television show. AND Warwick Davis’ upcoming television show and newly released book are on my list!

  98. Pop culture – well, I’m not sure if Scandinavian crime fiction traditionally counts as such, but I have 25 odd euros burning a whole in a wallet to spend on the last Henning Mankell ‘Wallander’ book, which is released here on the weekend. Yippeeee!

    Also, I’ve been invited to a Eurovision Song Contest party. Am trying to work out what to wear (and was alarmed to discover I have notes and scoresheets from previous years going back quite a while…)

    Wish I had an English-language cinema nearby – I’d love to go to the movies more often, but it’s too far to do regularly.

  99. @Brie: I found a lot of them in the library system in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, but not the Cleveland Public Library), like A Winter’s Love and Ilsa. I’m fairly certain I own A Severed Wasp, which is actually also a sequel to The Small Rain (didn’t love The Small Rain; liked Severed Wasp) but I haven’t been able to find anything but the dust-jacket for a long time.

    I also own When Both Were Young, Camilla, and A Live Coal in the Sea, of the random kind of single titles.

    It’s been a long time since I read House; I think it handled growing Polly from the precocious teenager in Arm of the Starfish to an adult fairly well. Is it the structure that is confusing you, or the plot, or …. things that happen that I don’t really want to spoil since I’m not sure how far along you are?

    You also can contact me via email at avengangle AT yahoo DOT com, if we don’t want to clutter up this open thread much more.

  100. @snarkysmachine – I LOVE Housequake too. That and “I could never take the place of your man” are my outright favourites on the album.

    Incidentally, I had a instant shiver of cold horror when I realised I’d posted “@Snarkysmachine – Shut up already, damn!” without any qualifying reference to Housequake…it made me swallow a panicked gulp of tea down the wrong way.

  101. @ Annimal & Other Becky – thanks for the well wishes & Locopops info! We aren’t sure exactly whether we will be renting in Durham or Raleigh – it all depends on where we find a house to rent that is affordable & accepting of a whole boatload of pets. We really are winging this but are so darn excited!!!

    As for popular culture, I’ve been enjoying the return of V, FlashForward & Glee. I really think this has been one of the best seasons for television in a loooong time. I’ve kept a list for years of books that I want to read and now I have actually been working through the list since my own books are all packed up. I’ve been requesting 3-4 at a time from my local libraries and keeping track of what I’ve completed on Goodreads. Currently I’m reading “The Great Stink” and I’m enjoying a lot.

  102. @Loz Ooh, yes, it’s Eurovision in a few weeks. I will be supporting Finland and getting absolutely pie-eyed. It’s not quite the same without Terry Wogan, but we’ll cope.

  103. @BrieCS and Stephanie

    I third you on Madeleine L’Engle. She is totally dope. If you like the YA fic, I recommend Garth Nix, Keys to the Kingdom series (he just released the last book so no long wait). It’s for middle-schoolers but the books are a fun and fast read. And Maureen Johnson, Suite Scarlett series (just released the 2nd book), for high-schoolers. Got that for free on the Kindle and really enjoyed it.

    For adult books, I’m digging Tad Williams’ ShadowMarch series. And Michelle West’s House Wars series. It’s a prequel to her Sun Sword series, which also rules. Can you tell I like epic fantasy? Like a LOT.

    I’m going home to watch Masters of the Universe. And I’m going listen to some She Wants Revenge while I make the dinner.

  104. Paula — if you have any questions, you can email me. I’m rec3 at (Durham’s major university).edu, and I have lots of information about where the good thrift shops, cheap restaurants, and used book stores are.

    Both Durham and Raleigh are generally cheaper than Chapel Hill, Carrboro, or Cary, but you’ll want to check the crime reports for the neighborhood and the proportion of undergraduates living nearby. (We decided to go with a neighborhood with a slightly higher level of property crime but 0% undergrads; installing a good dead bolt is a one-time affair, but late night drunken parties are a whole different deal.)

  105. This may be indescribably cheesy, but I’m currently in thrall to Yahoo chess. Mainly because I’ve finally gotten good enough that I can keep my rating at average or above if I pay attention.

    Also, my contribution to pop culture, namely, my mystery novel Nine Days, is nearing completion. Ill be pimping it as the ‘first’ (though I doubt it really is the first) non-sexist mystery with a fat female protag. I’m not calling it a feminist mystery, because it’s not specifically advancing a feminist agenda — I’m simply avoiding the use of those tired misogynist tropes that the industry lackeys I know assure me are necessary in popfic novels. Will it publish? Will it sell? Who the fuck knows?

  106. This may sound shamelessly pandering but I just got ‘Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere’ in the mail and I’ve been devouring it in big ‘Hell-fucking-yes’ punctuated gulps all week. I needed this book. No, I NEEEDED this book. Yes, with three ‘E’s.

    I also bought lip gloss. Because that never fails to please.

    Aaand…we’re latecomers to the whole Glee thing, so we’ve been watching it from Netflix. I love that my husband will watch it. I love even more that he’ll watch it and sometimes cry.

  107. I just got some amazing news.

    A very good old friend of my mom has been in the hospital for about three weeks after a sepsis that went undiagnosed to long made open heart surgery necessary. He had been doing really badly, with his white-cell count still to high and them having to keep him sedated because the intubation made him panic everytime he woke up and his blood pressure got dangerousely high.

    So over the last couple of weeks, my mom has been visiting him a lot, and every time she was close to crying when we talked about him, because he just didn’t seem to get better.

    But I just talked to her, and she told me that he had actually been awake and alert the last time she visited. And his cell count is finally going down. And they turned of the ventilator for several hours. And the doctors are really optimistic. YAY!

    Also, I love that his son has been there the entire time. They were rather estranged for a long time because my mom’s friend got divorced after he came out and his relationship with his son suffered because of it. But they have been getting closer over the last year, and now he and my mom were taking turns visiting and- I am just so happy to know that his son will be there to help him recover from this ordeal, and that they get a chance to continue mending fences.

    I am feeling incredibly optimistic right now. This is a very, very good thing!

  108. Pop culture – well, I’m not sure if Scandinavian crime fiction traditionally counts as such, but I have 25 odd euros burning a whole in a wallet to spend on the last Henning Mankell ‘Wallander’ book, which is released here on the weekend. Yippeeee!

    I’m gonna need to get the judge’s ruling on this.

    OH MY GOD, please TELL ME MORE. Google is teasing me about this crime series.

  109. @lauren. That sounds amazing, yet of course rough too. The tube is bane of my existence and I do recall the nearly innate response to its presence being panic/anxiety and since the goal is breathing assistance things like ativan (in the doses required to alleviate symptoms in those circumstances ) are contraindicated, cause they mess with breathing. And around we go!

    I’m glad it’s better.

  110. I haven’t read the Wallander books, but I made the mistake of watching the Kenneth Branagh tv series adaptation. I loved the cinematography and the fact that it’s shot on location in Sweden, and there were times that Branagh really sold me on the character. I just think it’s a wee too much screen time for a man who likes to stick his enormous face right into the camera. (His Hamlet was torture for me.)

    So from what I heard, the original Swedish Wallander film adaptation(s?) are much better, and the books are excellent, and the Branagh version is really only for people who have a fetish for him. I’ve only seen the first series of the UK version, I think “One Step Behind” was probably the best in that, and there’s every chance that it’s gotten better since then.

    I look forward to reading the books, if I can ever get finished with the Honor Harrington series so I can get my husband off my back about it. I’m up to half a page per day before I start dozing off.

  111. I’ve seen a few of the Swedish Wallender adaptations; they show them occaasionally on one of the local PBS stations. They are definitely better than the Branagh ones!

    I’m currently loving this Hanson video which is a tribute to The Blues Brothers film. Great song, called “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’”–really catchy!

  112. @Godless Heathen I share your pain re: Honor Harrington. All of my friends absolutely adore those books and I am being forced to limp through them with gritted teeth and thoughts of England. I can’t decide whether I hate the space battle writing or the characterization worse. You’re not alone!

    @snarkysmachine It’s mostly that by the time I read all the comments I’m a little fuzzy on what the original post said. This is totally my fault and I’m instituting a new personal policy of read post, read comments, reread post, then comment (or shut up, depending).

    @paintmonkey As a kitten, my cat jumped in the shower with me. I still have the scars.

    @Bridgie The movie is totally what did it to me, but I promise to make up for my late arrival with disgusting enthusiasm.

    Aaaaaand now I’m off topic again, so I must make another offering. I catch up every so often with the awesomeness that is Jeff (of What Jeff Killed fame), the Giant Orange Cat. I love orange cats.

    I’d recommend a TV show or something but currently all I’m watching is NCIS reruns. The DVR has made me worse, not better, at keeping up with TV… because now I can procrastinate! Mwahaha!

  113. I’d recommend a TV show or something but currently all I’m watching is NCIS reruns. The DVR has made me worse, not better, at keeping up with TV… because now I can procrastinate!

    My mom got me hooked on NCIS last fall, and thanks to my dvr and YouTube, I think I’ve managed to watch all of the episodes at least once! I do know that I’m watching more tv now than I did before getting my dvr cable box, which I excuse by thinking that, since I’m fastforwarding through all the ads, I’m not actually spending more time watching more shows.

  114. I’d recommend a TV show or something but currently all I’m watching is NCIS reruns. The DVR has made me worse, not better, at keeping up with TV… because now I can procrastinate! Mwahaha!

    Which one? I watched quite of few of these when I was helping out my Nana after she had hip surgery. She lives for cop shows and fashion documentaries and Oprah and anything on the Civil Rights.

    Anyhoo, I couldn’t believe that Mark Harmon is like old now. I remember him from Summer Schooll – the best movie about summer school EVER.

  115. I remember Mark Harmon from St. Elsewhere and when he played Ted Bundy in “The Deliberate Stranger” (verrrry creepy!). It’s startling when you look at him and David McCallum and realize that McCallum is about 20 years older than Harmon (he’s nearly 80!!).

    On NCIS, I like McGee, so my dvr has a lot of saved eps that are McGee-centric, such as “Probie” where Tim shoots the cop, “Witness” with Danica McKeller as the MIT grad, and his first ep, “Sub Rosa”.

    On Wednesday, they had some good mid-show eps, “Stakeout” and “Bounce” (which is the one where Tony and Gibbs swap places since they have to revisit one of his cases that he led while Gibbs was on his temporary retirement).

  116. @Kathy_A: I’m not a fan the way I was during my teenage years, but I keep tabs on Hanson, so it made me giggle when I saw your link to them here! The video also makes me giggle…never thought I’d see them “dancing” in any video.

    I am also watching the current season of Dr. Who and really enjoying it; I’ve never seen any Dr. Who before, I don’t know much of anything about sci-fi or fantasy outside of Buffy, but it has definitely been brightening up my Saturdays.

    I finished a book the other day called “The College Girl,” which I mostly enjoyed except it had a typical Fat Character in it. Her weight was only mentioned once, the first time we meet her, and there is only one dig about not being able to resist food, but she is oblivious to the fact that people don’t really like her, as fat people in the popular media often are. She throws herself at men who only want to fuck her in secret. People avoid her and yet she thinks they are happy to see her. It is one thing to create a character like this, but I felt like the author was just lazy.

  117. Doctor Who is so fun! I’ve been watching it since 1980, and was thrilled to see it return to TV in 2005. I’m still debating over the new Doctor–I like him, but I don’t love him yet. However, Amy Pond is awesome so far. Oh, and last week’s ep had a terrific one-shot character in Liz Ten:

    “Basically, I rule.” Yes you do, Your Majesty!

  118. I remember Mark Harmon from St. Elsewhere and when he played Ted Bundy in “The Deliberate Stranger” (verrrry creepy!). It’s startling when you look at him and David McCallum and realize that McCallum is about 20 years older than Harmon (he’s nearly 80!!).

    Whoa! Yes, I remember both of these roles. I wrote about Harmon on St. Elsewhere and the depiction of AIDS. I also vividly remember him as Ted Bundy and how I couldn’t watch him in anything else (except Summer School, which I mentioned totally loving)

    Wow, taking me to the all the way back.

  119. A couple days full of cute critter-viewing is making me happyhappy! Saw a Catagoula (sp?) leopard hound on the street yesterday and rescued a small frog from my shop where it was drying up and going hungry. Got to pet a little pup today who was the coolest mix of Dalmation, Shar Pei and Lab. Then when we went to buy some more plants at the nursery we checked the tree where we’d seen the hummingbird’s nest last time (at eye level in a tree for sale!). SQUEE! Two little hummies almost ready to fly! They’d somehow survived hatching out in a very public spot.

  120. Now I’m wanting to see St. Elsewhere and Summer School (because I just can’t get enough Mark Harmon). I’m watching the original, I’ve seen a couple of the LA episodes and I just haven’t gotten into them yet. I’m considering getting ahold of JAG too, I’m curious.

    We got into NCIS from seeing it on TV and then recognizing Harmon from his role on The West Wing, which I started watching because I adore Allison Janney, and… well, you get the idea.

  121. Valerian, I haven’t seen The West Wing and I can’t wait to watch it. I have seen a couple of episodes of Sports Night and I also adore Janney.

    She rocked me so hard as Alda’s wife in the otherwise terrible – The Object of My Affection.

  122. @Snarky’s Machine: Which one? I watched quite of few of these when I was helping out my Nana after she had hip surgery. She lives for cop shows and fashion documentaries and Oprah and anything on the Civil Rights.

    My grannie lives for Wheel of Fortune. If you go visit her during that or Jeopardy, you won’t be able to have a conversation with her until her show is over. Maybe I should try The September Issue out on her and see how that goes down at the home.

    I have been enjoying re-reading the novels of Christopher Brookmyre, Scottish author of comedic violence in the finest tradition of the Tartan Noir. He’s by no means without flaws as a writer, but he also named an MD character “Sarah Slaughter” and criticizes politicians, so that’s okay.

  123. By “that’s okay” I don’t mean “does not require unpacking.” Just “has imperfections but is still interesting and fun reading.”

  124. @Godless Heathen & Valerin – My dad absolutely loves the Honor Harrington series and while I like the idea of the books, especially the tree-cats!, I too find them a bit dull. I haven’t finished one, BUT I did thoroughly enjoy a book of short stories my dad gave me that are about the Honor Harrington universe-Worlds of Honor. If you don’t like the series, you probably would like the short stories book, especially if you like the tree-cats, as it has several stories just about them and their world.

    As to my own reading, I have discovered the author, Octavia E. Butler. Fabulous feminist science fiction that is not cliched! I can’t get enough of her stuff! And I discovered Butler because it is talked about in the book my friend, Monica Coleman, wrote (I can’t believe I can say that!) “Making a Way Out of No Way-A Womanist Theology,” which is amazing.

  125. Hey, everybody! I’m doing a read-a-thon in May for the awesome Chicago literacy-org-slash-bookstore Open Books. The reading starts in forty nine minutes, and will begin with Staceyann Chin’s “The Other Side of Paradise.” She came and spoke at our big LGBTQ activism conference in March and was just the awesomest thing ever, and I bought her book but didn’t have time to read it, because, activism. But in May, I shall read it!

    You (yes you, fellow commenter!) can sponsor me, and if you give enough, you can even make me read a book you pick, and do a video review of it. This is perfect for the person who has a certain book they love so much they think everyone should read it, right? Details if you click my name. (I think the last time I tried to post this it got spam-binned because I put a URL in, sorry. And sorry if this gets double posted too.)

  126. The boyfriend and I just mainlined half of Firefly with his mother – she had not watched it before. We went up to visit her for a couple of days, and started her out with “The Train Job” followed by “Our Mrs. Reynolds” to give her a taste of the good stuff.

  127. I’ve been devouring (by I-never-read-for-pleasure-in-grad-school standards) Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan books. She has an unfortunate habit of populating planets entirely with white people (not all the planets, just the one the main character is from and spends lots of time on, so, you know, the really important one), but she handles things like sexuality and gender identity and disability and even a touch of fat acceptance in feminist ways that is so, so lacking in science fiction. I’ve been dying to unpack what she does well and not-well, but being thin and white and cisgendered etc etc, what I really need is some different perspectives on how she handles her shit. I mean, I think Komarr and A Civil Campaign involve a sensitive and nuanced portrayal of gaslighting and the experience of recovering from a long abusive relationship but what the hell do I know about it? Shit, is what I know. I see no obvious victim-blaming, and a subject no one ever writes about in sci-fi, and I get all excited like it’s a thing I know about.

    But it is nice to read rollicking over-the-top space adventures that are not full of obvious infuriating fail every ten pages like the vast majority of rollicking over-the-top space adventures. So many books I read as a child that I just cannot go back to anymore.

    I’ve also just started reading The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt (no relation to the movie), after a friend of mine pointed me to her blog and then she posted on her blog about how she’s afraid it will go out of print. It is…an extraordinary novel. Anyone interested in linguistics will like it, I think. I can only imagine what I am missing out on by not knowing more about classics, and never having seen Seven Samurai. But I still get utterly drawn in by the voice and the writing.

    Oh and earlier this week when I was too sick to think straight I sorta started a blog about Fraggle Rock. Within two episodes I’m calling Gobo a warmonger and talking about people who put the confederate flag on their trucks because they believe in “states rights.” I hope it will be funny and interesting but we’ll see!

  128. Doctor Who is so fun! I’ve been watching it since 1980, and was thrilled to see it return to TV in 2005. I’m still debating over the new Doctor–I like him, but I don’t love him yet.

    We haven’t gotten those new episodes yet down here on the Third Coast of the U.S., but I’m ready for David Tennant to go. He was good at first, but the most recent season went completely Hollywood-blockbustery — all noise and explosions and gasping realizations — to the point where I lost interest. I think I really preferred Christopher Eccleston in the role, and I’m looking forward to the new guy. Is it veering back into quieter territory again? I hope so…

    OH and hey, while we’re at it, when are we gonna get a diversified version of the Doctor? I mean, I know the lore is that he always regenerates as a white guy ‘just because it’s easier,’ but with everything else that goes haywire in that series, you think that just once the universe would fuck up and park him inside a female asian garment worker or something. I’d love to see that series explore race — though, given that the entire production team seems to be composed entirely of generic british white dudes, maybe I wouldn’t.

  129. I should add, re: Dr. Who, that I’m by no means a lifelong fan, so the series may indeed have explored race and I just missed it. In case any of you fanatics are reading.

  130. @minervaK I think the new doc is quieter but more bonkers than david tennant’s version and just a little bit more angry too, but yes, Amy Pond is an excellent character who isn’t afraid to stand up to him!

    @Regina T – i have yet to see seasons 5 and 6 of LOST but i’m the only one in my family that persevered with it! I do like its interconnectivity too and am itching to buy the box sets really soon.

    @loz – the wallender books sound in triguing! I really enjoyed The Millenium trilogy by Stieh Larsson and Lindqvist’s ‘Let the right one in’ so I would definitely be keen to try wallender now :)

    @SloeBurn I’ve just finished reading tad williams ‘war of the flowers’ i do like his style and humour in this, so will be starting the Otherland books soon :) Do you like Neil stephenson too? a series i love that noone seems to know is Chung Kuo series of 8 books by David wingrove which i really do recommend, especially to people who, like me, never wants a story to end.

  131. all i’m into lately is writing Skins fan-fiction. this might undermine my credibility when possible writing employers peek at my blog, but i think it is fun.

  132. Snarkysmachine, thanks for the judge’s verdict! Slightly serious note first – I will always defend Scandinavian crime fiction as pop culture, if only to tackle the sense I sometimes get from other media sources that because it’s translated from Swedish/Danish/Icelandic it’s “better” and “classier” than Anglophone crime fiction. It’s different, certainly, but saying that it’s by definition better means a) ignoring all the variety of fiction in English (some good, some bad, some indifferent – just like the translated stuff, in fact!) and b) privileging people with access to the translations, which are not nearly as widely available, often more expensive if imported, and frequently published out of order and thus requiring a lot more background knowledge to work out what to buy and where to start.

    I mean, I’ve never met a melancholic Swedish detective I didn’t like, but I’m not going to pretend they’re vastly superior to melancholic Scottish/Californian/Melbournian ones. And the tendency to praise the social realism in Scandinavian texts also bothers me – firstly, they’re not the only books that do it, and secondly, it’s a rather neat way to avoid looking at problems closer to home. In any case, I live in northern Europe, and on the ground, I wouldn’t say that the problems tackled in the local crime fiction are necessarily the ones I see around me…

  133. Have split this, since it was getting too long.

    That said, I love the stuff, or I wouldn’t be as critical of it.
    Henning Mankell’s character Kurt Wallander is probably the driver of the current boom. (There was some pivotal stuff in the 70s, but Mankell reopened the English market, I think.) I found the first two books in the series a litle slow, but the characters are great, and things get more and more gripping. The global elements (particularly Africa, where Mankell has spent half the year for many years) can feel a little forced, but it all seems to work. Certainly fans of Stieg Larsson should like the books – be warned they’re somewhat slower and minus most of the sex.

    Can only agree that the Swedish series is better than the BBC effort – Branagh wasn’t actually bad, but he was just too much. And the minor characters, who did have Swedish accents (why, when Branagh didn’t?) were really underdeveloped. The Swedish series is more inspired by the books than versions of them (there are other movie adaptions, but they’re not easy to find, particularly with English subtitles), but cleverly put together, and I just like seeing the collection of ordinary faces. Not to mention that the end of series two had some genuinely shocking moments. (Sadly the actress playing Linda Wallander committed suicide, which is also the reason Mankell is finishing writing the series. He was going to write about Linda’s career, but felt he no longer could.)

    On Stieg Larsson, I love the Millenium trilogy, but it does tend to generate strong reactions. Useful to know – the first book was originally titled “Men who hate women”, which puts a different slant on certain scenes. I’m still ambivalent about some of the sexual violence (and in the film version it was definitely pushing it), but the lead female character is fabulous.

    Other authors to try: Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum, Hakan Nesser, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, Arlandur Indridason and Camilla Lackberg.

  134. @interfacings I enjoy Bujold’s work, and I was actually just thinking about the Vorkosigan series…

    My personal experience comes closest to Mark’s. With that said, the element I recall the most annoyance with was her explanation of Mark’s weight*, and indeed some non-trivial portion of the written aftereffects of his abuse in general**.

    *She clearly outlines that being overweight is a choice HE’S making, as metabolisms are alterable by Science in this universe. The other characters also don’t (that I remember) negatively judge him for or shame him about the weight, but I felt she sort of countered any cool points she got for that by invoking really ignorant tropes on the subject (the idea that fat people are “hiding behind” their fat).

    **But I don’t think I can explain why in a comment-friendly word limit.

    I’ll leave it as, “I like the books and they’re a fun romp but they’re definitely not perfect”.

  135. @snarkysmachine I would totally offer to lend you the whole show on DVD but I realized that comes across as creepy. Plus with my luck it’d get lost in the post. Oh well, hurray for Netflix!

  136. I have four completely adorable foster kittens living in my bathroom. They’re making a wreck of it, but they’re so damn cute I can’t hold it against them.

  137. My happy thing is I’m almost done with my first stippled quilt. I’ve stippled small projects like an Advent calendar, but this is the first time I’ve stippled a full-size quilt, and I love it. It goes so fast! It looks so modern, and yet it’s actually traditional!

    I know there are quite a few Shapelings who knit, crochet, spin, and sew garments, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else mention being a quilter. Am I the only one?

  138. @ annimal: OMG you are so lucky! I love Isabel Allende and can’t imagine stumbling upon a personal appearance! WOW! Good for you!

  139. I mean, I’ve never met a melancholic Swedish detective I didn’t like, but I’m not going to pretend they’re vastly superior to melancholic Scottish/Californian/Melbournian ones. And the tendency to praise the social realism in Scandinavian texts also bothers me – firstly, they’re not the only books that do it, and secondly, it’s a rather neat way to avoid looking at problems closer to home. In any case, I live in northern Europe, and on the ground, I wouldn’t say that the problems tackled in the local crime fiction are necessarily the ones I see around me…

    This passage is taking me everywhere I want to go!

  140. I’m lucky enough to get MHZWorldview courtesy of one of the local PBS stations. I can’t get into “Wallander,” not so young these days, but have been and always will be a more sensitive. However, I look forward to tomorrow’s “Maigret” (I’m a diehard Francophile). And when “Inspector Monatalbano” is on, I turn off the phone. Just enough blood to get a flavor of what happened, but still within my tolerance level. And Luca Zingaretti…OMFG…I can go back to producing my own frickin’ estrogen and progesterone. :)

  141. @Fran: Luca Zingaretti, oh my! I am eternally grateful to SBS in Australia for giving me access to so many wonderful shows from elsewhere, and Montalbano is right near the top of the list. (Plus for their support for people with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, but that’s a different thread.) I really enjoy the books too (and they’re a bit harsher on the critique of Sicilian society), but I think television Montalbano is my favourite. Bald men wouldn’t normally be top of my swoon list, but in this case…

    If you like French detectives, I know there’s a few film versions of the Fred Vargas Inspector Adamsberg novels, and you may want to look for those. (Incidentally, Vargas is female.)

    Incidentally, I’m typing this while watching a new episode of Inspector Rex (in the version set in Rome), and my higher brain function is definitely not engaged, but the main detective…whoa!

  142. @Valerian – yeah, I was conflicted about Mark too. I mean, on the one hand, she’s at least writing about weight as something that is metabolic, and that for Mark to be thin at all required either technological intervention or anorexia, but…and then another but…

    And I really don’t know what to make of how she handles his reaction to/recovery from the abuse he suffered. (I’ve managed to read the books in a completely nonsensical order, and have read Mirror Dance, Komarr and A Civil Campaign but not Brothers in Arms or Memory, so there’s probably a lot of Mark things I am missing, too) The multiple personality-but-sort-of-not thing really throws me. I could ramble on a lot about dissociative identity disorder and cultural construction of mental illness, but this is not the place.

    “I like the books and they’re a fun romp but they’re definitely not perfect” is my sense too. And I love having long conversations about the nuances, but sadly my friends who read ridiculous science fiction and my friends who enjoy feminist cultural critique do not overlap much.

    @KC Jones, I missed your comment earlier, but I too love Octavia Butler! I was so upset when she died just a year after I started getting really into her work.

  143. I apologise for the bouts of double-posting, but it’s either that or unreadably long and disconnected entries. And that was one “incidentally” too many last time.

    @snarkysmachine, I often feel that praise of the recent Scan-crime boom has an unpleasant undertone of “Nordic crime fiction: critising the decline of the welfare state since 1993 so we don’t have to.” Plus it gets characterised as ‘serious literature’ when English language-works doing the same thing are still ‘only’ genre fiction. (And relative quality debates ignore the fact that translations are such a small proportion of the market that things often have to be more striking to be noticed in the first place, but this top level is then assumed to be typical.)

    (Actually, the role of non-English material in English pop cultural discourse is really interesting. I may not like German dubbing, but one unexpected (for me, at least) side effect is that more things are fair game for the mainstream – and can thus be panned as well as praised.)

    On European crime having a higher claim to social realism, I just read a highly praised book set down the road from where I live. It might as well have been set on Mars. I won’t say I can possibly understand life here perfectly given that my background is completely different, but I see enough to know when something is that far off beam.

    And then there’s the fact that the fiction often seems to be a vehicle for coming to terms with the Nazi past. I’m Jewish, I don’t deny that’s crucial, but as a basis for any number of modern crimes covering things up? In multiple ‘critically acclaimed’ novels? That isn’t social critique from where I’m sitting.

    But. My bookshelves are overflowing with the stuff. Mankell/Wallander is a great place to start, both for the good and the bad.

    (I really need to finish my PhD so I can blog about this stuff…)

  144. @MinervaK About Dr Who exploring race by showing the Doctor regenerating into a significantly different race – while companions and assorted supporting characters have been of more than one race from the planet Earth, I do not recall that Gallifreyans have “races” in the same way that we humans do. Considering that the concept of race is, as I understand it (in a NWL kind of way) a social construct rather than a biological one, I am not certain it is necessary to depict a different species from a completely different planet as having races. While Time Lords have been shown to have the capacity to learn how to choose the forms of their new bodies, it has also been shown that the Doctor himself failed to acquire that knowledge. The only hint we have ever seen of him being able to influence his own regeneration outcomes is the younger looking, Estuary-talking Ten, who may or may not have been a result of the emotional imprint he took from Rose. Realistically speaking, it’s silly to expect that any other intelligent, technologically advanced species from another planet would look remotely human. Time Lords have two eyes, two ears, one nose, one mouth, ten fingers, ten toes, but they also have two hearts, senses (and one imagines the requisite organs) that are vastly different than humans, and a respiratory by-pass process which allows them to survive for extended periods independent of the atmosphere upon which we humans depend. Is it simply my unpacked privilege which tells me it is only slightly more farfetched for that species to have the form which appears so much like a privileged form of our species? Maybe. On the other hand, the show has had black characters of many strengths and virtues, with character arcs that show they were not mere placeholders. On various spinoffs, there are reasonably well-rounded characters of Asian and Hispanic backgrounds. I would like to think that it depicts a fairly colorblind future. The shows also speak to the principle that justice and freedom are not merely for those who look and talk like us. It does not do so perfectly. And I’m not entirely certain that what it does say about the humanity’s race relations is sufficient to excuse the casting of the major authority figure/main character of the show as such a privileged-looking human.

  145. I think I left off an actual conclusion to that epic post – which is, I’m not entirely certain what Doctor Who says about humanity’s racial issues justifies the continued and repeated casting of The. Main. Character as a white male, because I have definitely not gotten to the bottom of my own white privilege. But I do tend to think it’s ok. Then again, one of the problems is, if we take each and every sci fi show, and excuse the casting of the main character as a white male because of the diversity of the peripheral cast, we end up with precious few sci fi lead characters as anything other than a white male. We’ve got Katherine Janeway, and we’ve got Benjamin Sisko. Now, I don’t watch all sci fi, but I can’t think of any more Main Characters who are not white males.

    Yeah. Ima shuttup now. I just talked myself out of my point.

  146. @MinervaL

    Did you know that one of the major contenders for the eleventh Doctor was Paterson Joseph? It would have been a wonderful casting decision (he was amazing in Neverwhere, playing a quite Dr-Who-like character).

    For the reason Windsparrow outlines above (And I’m not entirely certain that what it does say about the humanity’s race relations is sufficient to excuse the casting of the major authority figure/main character of the show as such a privileged-looking human), I’ve never been at all comfortable with the Doctor as a character, or with the series itself. However, just to stop this post from being deraily, I am currently awfully happy with this essay

    http://londonkds.dreamwidth.org/378900.html?format=light

    which goes into questions about why the frame of narrative in most Hollywood films and TV series tends to present one character’s emotional experiences and viewpoint as more important than everyone else’s, and why this is particularly problematic given the frequency with which that character is a Privileged White Dude.

  147. Oooh!

    Will Smith in I, Robot
    Lando C
    Morpheus

    But definitely point taken and great conversation happening around race. I am enjoying reading about it, particularly as it relates to Dr. Who. I’m just starting to get into the new version and I love the show, so that means in some ways I turn off the social justice part of my brain in order to really engage with the material.

    I haven’t formulated many thoughts about Dr. Who except to say I really like it.

  148. I love Doctor Who but speaking of turning parts of the brain off, most of that show and it spin offs seem to have some deep seated hatred of fat people. We are usually aliens who eat others and fart a lot or human idiots.

    Of course both Rose and Donna were criticized for not being thin enough……the fans had a hard time accepting them.

    Still, when I can ignore the truly awful bits, the show is really wonderful most of the time.

  149. You guys, I am trying to get into the habit of saying that I am K fuckin’ C, and part of that is telling people when I do something I feel super good about, like the cha cha I danced Friday night with my instructor:

    Me dancing!

    Did I get a spray tan and wear a short red dress? Hell yes I did! And when I saw the video, my first thoughts were super negative and all self-hatey, but then I thought about you guys, and I went, Hang on a damn minute! This is actually pretty good! And I have improved a lot recently, so SUCK IT HATERS. So here I am, tooting my own spray-tanned clown horn. How about that. The only thing I legitimately regret is wearing lip gloss instead of matte lipstick because my hair kept sticking to my face when I spun fast.

  150. At thirty, I’ll be graduating with my BS in electrical engineering this semester. I just started playing piano a few months ago and my first recital is Swan Lake. Echoing Loz, I need to graduate so I can have free time to read for fun, and I will definitely be returning to this thread when I do.

    @valerian and @interfacings, yeah, I really loved the Vorkosigan series, then I read about Bujold’s epic NWL fail on during MammothFail. Ugh, her stuff IS hella white. She’s great on the topic of gaslighting. Ekaterin’s confusion and pain seemed really authentic. (Btw, another great portrayal of gaslighting for me was in the movie What Lies Beneath).

    Plus, one thing that has always troubled me is how there was no revisiting of Ivan as the guy who would try to corner Elena in the halls. For all I know, he’s still a creep whose bumbling and occasional heroism is still played for laughs, and it seemed like Bujold was hinting that Ivan played dumb so he wouldn’t be seen to be a threat to the throne, so he has some sort of sekrit genius? Bah. But also in that context, Ivan was also sadly/hilarious given credit for being the criminal mastermind by the Cetegandans precisely because he’s a handsome, strong, white male. Miles: But, I’M the one who foiled your dastardly plot…sadly resonates from being part of the less than 10% in my major…the mansplaining phenomenon alive and well.

    Eek, I didn’t actually have time to write this.

  151. Ok, just a few more minutes @K fuckin’ C…may I call you that? You look super hot on the floor.

    There’s this paradox that I’m trying to internalize as time goes past me and I come more into myself. Don’t wait! and It’s never too late! Basically, I never want to have any shoulda-dones or never-will-does.

  152. Da-yum, KfuckinC’s got moves! That was a pleasure to watch, ma’am.

    @Snarky’s, I had been only thinking on television shows, trying to think of those sci fi shows I have watched. Hadn’t gotten around to pondering sci fi movies. That does help the tally. Come to think of it, Mr. Smith has several sci fi flicks to his credit.

  153. My brain is going all pretzel shaped trying to figure out if there really is only one pop culture. I mean, I think there are lots of cultures that intersect in various places; and it seems a bit sad to me that there would only be one popular culture. I envision cultures as a bunch of hula hoops scattered over a floor with some intersecting and some not. I could see a lot of ways to section popular culture, by age, by media, by language, by geography, by oodles of things. I’m not musical, so I tend to just listen to a few stations that mostly play what I grew up with, my latest branching out is, in fact, to the past; listening to a forties/fifties station. Not sure music from that era is still pop culture, though it was then. I like some computer games (Dragon Age Origins is my latest) but I don’t use any online games or FPS’s, so I can’t really join in any discussions of those. But is only something that is popular with a certain percentage of the population (over half?) part of popular culture? Is something that’s fallen out of favor, but used to be popular still part of popular culture? Are the people polled worldwide? In the US? In the US and Europe? India? China? I know these are popular culture 101 questions; but I am hoping this is okay, because I think we’re working above 101 on feminism and fatphobia and racism here, but not everything?

    My current read isn’t really pop culture, but very interesting so far; The Gift of Fear. Some Shapeling recommended it, and it’s fascinating. I keep comparing it to the Nice Guy and Schrodinger’s Rapist posts here. It may not be pop culture, but it certainly should be!

  154. OOh! I just went and watched KC’s video, beautiful. I’m mesmerized by the hem of that dress and how it floats, and KC is so graceful and confident looking! Hurrah for KC!

  155. I’m not entirely certain what Doctor Who says about humanity’s racial issues justifies the continued and repeated casting of The. Main. Character as a white male

    I tend to think that this comes from the perception of the core sci-fi audience as white male, and the corresponding fear that the nerdboys won’t support shows carried by people who don’t look like them (or with whom they don’t want to have sex).

    I don’t think that fear is entirely unfounded, either — geek culture likes to think of itself as very accepting of diversity, so long as that “diversity” falls within some very narrow parameters. Polyamory? Awesome! Transgender? Notsomuch. Geek girls? Great, as long as they’re hot too! It’s somewhat better about fat acceptance than mainstream culture, but it still gets back to fuckability pretty quick. My impression as a NWL is that racism is expressed a little differently, but of course it’s still very much there.

    By scifi standards, I think Doctor Who is actually pushing the envelope as much as they think the perceived core audience can reasonably handle. Compare to Torchwood, which has gotten no small amount of pushback over having an openly and actively gay lead.

    BTW, a major non-white scifi lead you didn’t list: Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica. Of course, he’s white-looking and -sounding enough that the fans don’t have to think of him as an Obvious POC, but he still counts.

  156. Some more good things…

    I have instigated a musical theatre flash mob which will unleash itself on my institution’s awards banquet in a week and a half. (We have permission. It’s actually sort of a gift to the community. But it will be AWESOME. It’s to the tune of “One Day More” form Les Mis.)

    On I just mentally composed a ditty in my head that goes “Somewhere, somebody’s not behaving in precisely the manner that I like. HALP HALP!” [clown horn] It is SO much fun to sing. And so potentially useful, in so many situations!

  157. I have instigated a musical theatre flash mob

    This is a sentence (or part thereof) that I determined to bring to fruition in my own life sometime soon. DETERMINED.

  158. Windsparrow: your Dr. Who knowledge obviously outstrips mine by several million iterations, but I’ll go ahead and engage with your point (even though you eventually talked yourself out of it).

    The Doctor being unvaryingly white, male, and apparently heterosexual (WMH) reads (to me) like a mindless ‘left-over’ from the original series, when everybody on TV was white. The world in the new series does indeed contain a lot of well-rounded characters of different races and genders, but the main character is, still, always a WMH. It feels unquestioned to me, and I wonder if it’s an ‘accidental’ artifact of the predominantly WM production team — i.e., they were all like, “oh, yes, let’s get some black, asian, hispanic and female actors in here, diversify THE BACKGROUND a bit so it won’t look old-fashioned,” but missed the forest for the trees.

    I mean, if the Doctor really is somehow ‘stuck’ with being a WMH, it would be fun as hell to watch him struggle with it, because it strikes me as something he wouldn’t like very much. He seems to enjoy having a broad variety of human experiences, but never seems to question how his WMH shell limits or shapes those experiences. I mean, come on! Realistically (which is actually a ridiculous word to use in the context of discussing this show, but what the hell), that strikes me as almost the first thing that character would notice and try to mess with. When Martha first showed up, wouldn’t he be all, “You’re very brown, aren’t you? What’s all that about?”

    The show almost went somewhere interesting with the bisexual Captain Jack character, but ended up focusing on his ‘can’t be killed’ thing almost exclusively. Such a shame! Just imagine the Doctor navigating an ongoing relationship with Captain Jack if the bisexual angle were left in place.

    OK, it’s not my show, and maybe I’m trying to make it do shit it was never meant to do, but the white-guy thing is just starting to stick in my craw. I only started watching when Christopher Eccleston came in — I never watched the older ones — and maybe I got spoiled by him.

    Snarky, if you do end up getting into Dr. Who, I hope you’ll do some dissection of it. I’d love to hear your take on it.

  159. also, reading the perks of being a wallfl0wer for like the eighth. time. ever. LOVE THAT BOOK!

  160. I picked the name “Zoe” back in 1968 – from the Dr Who companion. It was obvious that some silly mistake had been made, classifying me as a boy…. I figured it would all be corrected in the end. Didn’t think it would take so long though.

    If you want to know what it was like, listen to Janice Ian’s “Seventeen”. Everyone has teenage angst, mine was supercharged because it had a rational basis.

    Anyway, amongst mundanes, the fact that I’m Intersexed, and used to look male makes dating difficult. But what really puts them off is that I’m terminally Geeky. A Rocket Scientist doing a PhD in Genetic Algorithms – an abstruse branch of Computer Science.

    Guys are still scared of intelligent women, and I never did learn how to pretend to be the kind of Ditz so many of them like. I can be remarkably stupid for someone supposedly intelligent, but that’s not what I mean.

    Of course the guys who make the grade, that aren’t scared off, are just the type of guy who I’m attracted to, so it works pretty well.

  161. My brain is going all pretzel shaped trying to figure out if there really is only one pop culture. I mean, I think there are lots of cultures that intersect in various places; and it seems a bit sad to me that there would only be one popular culture

    I’m pretty sure the term is a circus tent/umbrella rather than a box. It’s quite inclusive. Obviously sovereign borders might encompass different things under the circus tent, but the hula hoop metaphor is only apt in so far as the discussion relates to geopolitical regions and their own contributions.

    The term describes what has become popular within a culture. It says nothing about the how or the why. Only what and when.

    Rod Stewart and MST3k are both examples of pop culture, despite having very little to do with each other, besides perhaps having intersections in terms of fan interest.

    Pop culture like the word fat is descriptive, not prescriptive. It implies no judgment. I mean if one digs on something and they are the only to do so, it is not in fact pop culture. The term implies no quality control stamp, it just suggests that something is consumed and enjoyed by a large number of people.

    I give no prizes for folks engaging in snobbery regarding what they consume. This is often an attribute associated with those who like Sci-fi, which by the way tends to be the MOST problematic in terms of othering, which makes sense because for the most part it has limited appeal beyond its fanbase, which is mostly white males.

    The best place to find diverse range of people depicted in non othering ways is action films.

    This offends folks who like to think of themselves as cultured, when really they’re merely just privileged and simplistic in their thinking about how important it is for others to find themselves reflected in the pop culture they consume.

    You know why Bruce Willis films – and therefore the man himself – is more popular than say Dr. Who. It’s this one simple truth.

    I have NEVER seen a Bruce Willis movie without serious amounts of diversity, but I’ve seen TONS of Sci-fi and fantasy completely devoid of it.

    In Die Hard alone, there are FOUR different black male characters who are completely diverse in their depictions of black malehood and ALL are positioned as “neutral” rather than neutered.

    How many black males are on Dr. Who? Firefly? BSG? How are they depicted? What about WOC? Are they there in a magically delicious othering role? And the woman? Career woman and mom kicked Willis to the curb in order to pursue her exciting career opportunity. Oh yeah she gets rescued by him, but you know what, if terrorists seized my place of employment and Bruce was hanging around the air shafts, I’d let him rescue me too.

    Hell, everything I learned about sci-fi diversity I learned from watching The Fifth Element. God = a woman. Pres = black. Gender variant = HERO, religious leader = HERO, Flight attendants = Multicultural.

    It’s not rocket science.

  162. @K fuckin’ C I am completely floored by your video, you look amazing, and so coordinated and the timing is perfect and… wow! I love your dress and am dying of dress envy. I am bouncing up and down in my computer chair like a little kid. You win one whole Internets.

    @interfacings I developed multiple personalities as a child in somewhat similar ways to Mark, so that wasn’t really my beef with it… but I appreciate your viewpoint. His were kind of exaggerated, in my opinion/experience. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try to sum up: I had what is usually called an invisible friend for most of my childhood that got to be “good” at everything I wasn’t allowed to be, like math. My mother has a very narrow worldview and is extremely strict (and cruel) about enforcing it, so I had to put all of the interests that didn’t fit her views away somewhere safe. I don’t have the expertise to really put labels on that experience, but maybe you’ll find it interesting/useful.

    @burbly I hadn’t read about her terminal NWL-ness, but I’m looking into it, thanks for the heads-up. Is it sad I’m kind of getting used to my childhood icons turning out to be really ‘bleh’ people?

    As for Ivan- I’ve never liked Ivan, and you reminded me of exactly why. Lots of wtfery there.

  163. Re: the doctor and race.

    I call BS on him being “stuck” with it somehow. I mean, how great would it be to take the line “Lots of planets have a north!” and have him just blithely use that, changed a bit, when he comes back black or Indian or Pakistani (thinking of big minority groups in the UK?).

    If you’re *writing the show,* there is no bit of “canon” that cannot be fudged, for pete’s sake.

  164. “Hell, everything I learned about sci-fi diversity I learned from watching The Fifth Element. God = a woman. Pres = black. Gender variant = HERO, religious leader = HERO, Flight attendants = Multicultural.”

    SQUEE!!!!!! Yes to everything you just said Snarky, oh my! Maybe you should make that into a whole seperate post because that was awesome! I have nothing more to contribute besides another SQUEE!!

  165. Dude. The Fifth Element ranks at the top of my favorite movies of ALL time. It was one of my first positive introductions to futuristic multiculturalism, and I think that it still holds as one of the best Sci-Fi movies.
    I <3 Ruby Rod.

    Here's MY question RE: Pop Culture-
    What popular films do you think best represented homosexuality, transsexuality, and transgenderism? (I swear to google I tried to make sure I used the appropriate suffixes on those)
    I ask because I have seen quite a few movies that featured them, but I'm not sure which is really the best representation, since all I've got is my experiences with bisexuality.

  166. BrieCS – there are a wealth resources out there and I find in situations like these it’s best to go searching for them. Like with any identity there’s no one monolithic experience, but folks who share said identity framing things from their unique perspective.

  167. Snarky’s Machine: I actually have been looking it up, I was just wondering about the opinions of the individuals here, to be honest. Thanks, though!

  168. I don’t get to see much telly, because my housemates hog it to watch sport, and I’m not currently reading anything except Pratchett, because I want to finish the entire Discworld canon before the Con in August, so my only pop culture is on the Internet, where I have recently discovered Tim Minchin. Can we say absolutely awesome? He’s a musician, comedian, sceptic, intelligent Australian. And he’s awesome. Am I repeating myself?

    And White Wine in the Sun really should be a Christmas #1 single. If any song deserves the honour, that’s it.

    Or does Pratchett count as pop culture too? The first and third of the Johnny Maxwell series are both excellent takes on racism, and they’re YA novels. And Men At Arms and Jingo in the Discworld series also take on racism. And he’s never yet written a weak female character (well, except Magrat, perhaps, in certain lights). Angua, Sybil, Gytha Ogg, and Esme Weatherwax are hardly weak, and nor is Ptraci by the end of Pyramids. The novel Witches Abroad has female leads, a female villain, and hardly any male characters worth mentioning. I’m currently half-way through Maskerade, which introduces Angus Nitt as a main character (she previously had a walk-on role in Lords and Ladies).

    And his standalone YA novel Nation is one of very few books that have made me cry.

    TRiG.

  169. While trying to tiptoe around “Lords and Ladies” spoilers, I’d certainly argue for Magrat being a strong character – in the final conflict, especially, she remains an inspiration to me. Damn, it’s hard to get specific without ruining it for anyone, but I’d certainly recommend it! Also in Wyrd Sisters, with the dungeon and the breadknife… Okay, she’s working from a different base point than Granny, Nanny or Agnes, but, like Sybil, another “nice” character in normal circumstances, when it’s required she has a backbone of pure steel.
    Okay, back to my Pratchett collection to renew my acquaintance with his lovely ladies.
    PS -in case you haven’t read it yet, check out his current latest, Unseen Academicals, for the wonderful Glenda, another brilliant Pratchett female.

  170. Count me in on the Pratchett love. He does write good female characters, and his treatment of Agnes Nitt’s weight is much better than average. His Sam Vimes Boot Theory of Economics beat Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed by some years in explaining, in very simple and easily understandable terms, that one of the reasons poor people stay poor is in having to spend a lot more money on basic necessities, and Granny Weatherwax’s explanation of evil — treating people as things — makes him one of my favorite moral philosophers. I’ve been amazed that he’s still able to write, given the trouble he has reading (courtesy of the Alzheimer’s), but I guess different parts of the brain handle those functions.

  171. His Sam Vimes Boot Theory of Economics beat Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed by some years in explaining, in very simple and easily understandable terms, that one of the reasons poor people stay poor is in having to spend a lot more money on basic necessities, and Granny Weatherwax’s explanation of evil — treating people as things — makes him one of my favorite moral philosophers.

    Yeah, as far as explaining it to clueless folks with class privilege. Poorer folks didn’t need either to explain that which they already knew from experience.

  172. Snarky’s Machine:
    Good point. When I first started reading Pratchett, in my early teens, I was a highly sheltered clueless person with class privilege. (I like to think that I’ve made a little bit of progress, from “totally clueless” to “sometimes clueless, but working on it.”) The idea that being unable to afford a good pair of boots would lead to a lifetime of having to constantly buy replacement cheap boots, and thus to spending enormously more on boots than a person who could afford a good pair to start with was actually (this is going to sound silly) what got me interested in social justice work. Realizing that our society is structured in a way that makes poverty self-perpetuating was an enormous shock to my middle-class, white, teenaged self, having been raised on the “if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything you set your mind to” legend.

    Then I started reading and asking questions and finding out about urban food deserts and week-to-week rentals that end up costing way more but don’t require a down payment and so on. I sort of already knew, through volunteering with my church and Girl Scout troop, that life in my nice, sheltered, middle-class white suburban neighborhood was different from other people’s lives, but I hadn’t known that the social and economic systems that governed it all were actually set up to keep it that way. It blew my tiny little mind.

  173. @Snarky’s Machine: I was wondering what happened to your most recent post, There Must Be Better Songs to Sing? I had just finished reading through it a second time on your wordpress blog and was getting ready to dig into the analysis and try to come up with something to add to the discussion here at SP, only to find the post missing! :) At any rate, if it isn’t coming back, I just wanted to say that I very much enjoyed your analysis and am now pretty excited to watch the movie with a critical eye.

  174. @Jerome, folks didn’t seem interested in engaging in the material. based on the initial comments, so I opted to keep it over at my blog where my comment policy is much more draconian.

  175. @Saharial
    I loved Otherland. So much that I bought the series in paperback and hardcover. One copy for traveling and one for curling up with on the couch. I haven’t yet bought the series for Kindle, but I’m trying to diversify.And I love Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash changed my life. And my older brother named his new baby after Hiro Protagonist. Religion as an actual transmittable virus? Earth shaking. The Diamond Age was also awesome. I haven’t read David Wingrove, but I’ve lifted your comment so I can check him out later.

    @ Timothy
    As for Pratchett’s Magrat character, she is totally awesome. And I think a fairly strong character. She just has a lot of self doubt. Who doesn’t? So Sarah T, I’m with you and the Magrat love. And the awesomeness of Sybil (Night Watch springs to mind here). Plus, I love that I can depend of Pratchett to be there when there is nothing else in the bookstore I want to read. And

  176. Hot pink fake nails. Does that count? Lots of books on evolution lately. My hula hoop. Flowers. Flip flops. Destashing. Getting the last volume of Sandman that I need. Batman.

    Count me in for Pratchett love as well.

    I’m bookmarking this for future hobby absorption.

  177. I love Neal Stephenson

    I love Stephenson too in many ways, but there’s a lot of Fail in Cryptonomicon. I think it’s his tightest-written book, and I love many things about it, but wow is there some hard-to-swallow stuff in there.

  178. @ Other Becky. It’s funny how that works isn’t it? A friend of mine had a college roommate that didn’t know what that “white stuff” on chicken was. He meant the fat. He’d never had to prepare food for himself. Blew my mind that someone could be so well educated and yet had never seen a piece of raw chicken.

  179. Emma B: I was never able to get into Cryptonomicon. It’s probably Mr. Other Becky’s favorite book ever, but, with a few exceptions (like the Waterhouse family’s way of dividing up the deceased’s estate), it just never grabbed me. I liked that he included some of the weird-but-true stuff about Turing, like the bicycle chain thing, but didn’t understand why he fictionalized William Friedman (the man who broke the Japanese code, Purple).

    For those who haven’t read Cryptonomicon, the way the Waterhouse family divides up the possessions of someone who has died is to take everything to a big empty parking lot and impose a coordinate grid on it, with one axis representing perceived financial value and another representing sentimental value. (Something that would cost more to fix than it’s actually worth would get a negative financial score, etc.) Each member of the family in turn assigns every item a position on the coordinate plane by physically moving it to the corresponding spot. The locations of everything are noted, all items are returned to (0,0), and it’s the next person’s turn. All the assigned coordinates for each person are then fed into an algorithm that determines who gets what based on how highly they value it. (It should surprise no one at this point that the Waterhouses are a family of engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers, and physicists. The engineers are looked down upon by the rest for having pursued a less intellectually rigorous occupation.)

  180. @Kate, I had a vision of upper lips becoming de-hirsute when I read ” destashing”. As a terrible yarn, fabric, art supply stasher I know how great it is to return some of it to the great river of creativity, but my original visual was much funnier.

  181. @Zoe Brain, forgive me if I make you feel uncomfortable at all, but I remember you from the piece on Hungry Beast. Oh, and it’s not like you need me to tell you or anything, but a Rocket Scientist doing a PhD in Genetic Algorithms =badarse.

    Even though I’m not as badarse and accomplished as you, I do understand your point about some men’s attitude re. women’s intelligence.

    Some men prefer women who are smart enough to make them look good, but not so smart that they outshine them/know stuff they don’t. And some like women who are only “funny” in the sense that they laugh at their (the bloke’s) jokes.

    /Again, I apologise if I’ve made you uncomfortable or put my foot in it.

  182. Hi Perla!

    No need to apologise – I’d have to have an unreasonably thin skin to get upset in the slightest by your kind reply.

    BTW it’s five years ago tomorrow that the first signs of my unusual and late puberty appeared… five years ago today, I was still pretending to be male, because that’s what I looked like. As you saw on the program.

    I think all women have body image issues – but I had a lifetime subscription! :-D

    I’m still getting used to looking normal. So many things I didn’t learn as a teenager, and 52 is a bit late for it. But yes, my (limited) experience matches your own. It’s fine to be bright – just not too bright. And a good listener, not a good communicator, is often what’s really wanted.

    I think if my life history had been a bit less unconventional – I’d still be pretty much the same person I am today. Maybe a bit more intolerant, a bit less empathic. And maybe a bit less assertive too, I haven’t been ground down by years of living under the glass ceiling, being talked over at meetings and passed over for promotion. I have hit the glass ceiling – but I did so from above, SPLAT!

    But I’d be just as Geeky.

  183. @MinervaK – They are showing the Doctor as wishing for a certain hair color, yet being unable to attain it. Other Time Lord have been shown as having the ability to voluntarily regenerate into the forms of even different species. I read “Lots of planets have a North” as a BS throwaway line, covering his own discomfort at being unable to avoid completely random effects. Of course, that is internal to the show. The meta reasons for repeated casting of the Doctor as a white male probably do lie in either the showrunners being steeped in their own privilege, or in the assumption that the main audience are white males and therefore most accepting of the Doctor as such.

    As for Captain Jack’s sexuality – how much exploration of anybody’s sexuality is appropriate for a family show? Bear in mind that Doctor Who spent the first thirty years or so of its existence as a Saturday morning serial. In its current incarnation it is a Prime Time (or Pre-Watershed) Saturday evening family show. Jack has been shown on Doctor Who, flirting with members of both genders and at least two species, and he has reminisced about bisexual liasons. And maybe the point of emphasizing his immortality is, that is the unique characteristic – millions of people on this planet enjoy sexual diversity, but just how many of them come back from being killed by Daleks? There can be only one. For a more in-depth exploration of Jack Harkness’s sexuality with a diverse assortment of partners, I would refer you to Torchwood, which is a Post-Watershed (post-Prime Time) show. Er, well, as I rarely watched Torchwood, all I can say from firsthand evidence is that there is a scene in which he mentions a specific sex game he intends to play with a specific character. Ooooh, there is also an episode in which he dances with the real Captain Jack Harkness, can’t remember if there is actual liplock in front of all those other WWII British Army officers.

  184. Snarky’s Machine: Just wanted to say that I’ve been inspired to add Educating Rita to my mental to-get-from-the-library list. (No Netflix queue.) Based on your analysis of it, it sounded really interesting. (And I luuuuv Michael Caine.)

  185. Educating Rita is well worth a watch….Michael Caine AND Julie Walters. She is just cool, no questions asked. Even back in the days when she was Mrs Overall in the deliberately crap spoof “Acorn Antiques” .

  186. Incidentally – anyone who does like Julie Walters, if you go on to Youtube and tap in “More Girls Who Do Comedy” you’ll find a series (it might not have aired in the US) where Dawn French interviews lots of funny women, one of whom is Julie Walters. There’s also Whoopi Goldberg,Catherine Tate, Joan Rivers and loads of other people, and they are good fun to watch.

  187. @Windsparrow–

    It might have been just a throwaway line–but why does the doctor’s whiteness get to “stick” as canon, when RTD’s “canonical” comments about how Romana was president of the Time Lords during the war get chucked out when zomg look how cool it would be to have famous! white! male! actor! (Tim Dalton!) step in to play the President instead of a woman.

    RE: 5th element. You know how little girls have BFF clubs, and the BFF clubs have secret passwords and all that jazz? ALL OF OURS WERE FROM THAT MOVIE. We LIVED for that film for a good three year span. *squee.*

  188. @Chava: Precisely how canonical is RTD’s statement that Romana was president during the Time War? I don’t recall it showing up on the show. My memory isn’t perfect. But if it was a statement RTD made during a Confidential or an interview, well, that’s at least as canonical as the novels, which is to say, not so much. RTD doesn’t own the course of Gallifreyan history and the Doctor Who mythology the same way as Joss Whedon owns the Buffyverse. Was the statement that Romana was President of Gallifrey throughout the entirety of the Time War? Not having seen it myself, I can’t parse for you how broken the canon is by showing the Time Lords led by Rassilon at the very end. Could she have issued the order to the Doctor to MAKE an END of it, and then been deposed by the machinations of THE Time Lord of all Time Lords? I mean, when they get around to making historical documentaries about the war with Iraq, are there going to be some people going around saying, that Dubya was a white dude, why are they casting a multiracial guy as POTUS?

    As far as the Doctor’s whiteness being supported by canon, I have already conceded if TPTB wanted to cast the doctor in a color and gender blind fashion, why, they certainly could? The fun thing about sci fi fandom is that whatever the meta reasons behind a casting or plot decision, there is always plenty of handwavium to fuel the fanwankery.

    They have had female presidents shown in the classic series. If memory serves,

  189. The new Doctor Who has quite a lot of POC characters, including my favorite companion, Martha, who is portrayed by an English actress of African and Iranian descent. The last episode of the new Doctor Who that I saw had Sofie Okenodo (sp?) of Hotel Rwanda playing a queen of a floating island UK. Rose’s boyfriend (a recurring and important character), Mickey, was black. Some really important episodes of the last season involved an incredibly rich billionaire type with a wacky daughter – both black. Another companion, Donna, entered the show getting married to a black businessman who was above her in class, and exited the show getting married to a different black man, who was currently underemployed. A Christmas special from last year called The New Doctor, I believe, featured another black woman playing companion/aid to a man who thought he was The Doctor. And there have been other black men playing roles of, if memory serves me correctly – president or premiere general of the United States, medical doctors, and scientists. There has also been a black female head of covert operations. And young black males who were college-aged, and an older black couple. That is just what I can think off of the top of my head in five minutes. I’ve noticed other POC, namely Asians, but I have to admit I didn’t take as much notice of the Asian characters.

    On Torchwood, which I’m a little embarrassed to say, I’ve seen the first three seasons of (it’s a bit lurid), Jack’s sexuality is gone into in quite detail and he carries on lots of flirting and sex – mostly with male characters. He gets quite hot and heavy with the Torchwood assistant guy.

    All that being said, I totally agree with Snarkysmachine that action movies and shows are generally where you see the most racial diversity.

  190. Bother, I’m running out of time, have to get ready for work. I forgot about some of what I was going to say.

    When I started this line: “They have had female presidents shown in the classic series. If memory serves,” I was about to say, “the President of Gallifrey immediately preceding the Doctor’s own term was female.” If you need a reference for that, it happened during Peter Davison’s run as the Fifth Doctor. But seriously if you think being President of Gallifrey is all that important, well, do consider that the Doctor’s scholastic record is significantly *worse* than Dubya’s, comparitively speaking, and he bloody well stole his TARDIS out of a junk yard. That lot’ll let anybody be president.

  191. p.s. I am not a science fiction fan, by the way. I just happen to like Doctor Who. I am a fan of speculative fiction, but I read that far more than I watch it.

  192. uggh – correction: Donna entered the show getting engaged to a black businessman; aliens crashed their big engagement party.

  193. @ Windsparrow–

    *shrug*

    I think it was supposedly about on the novel canonicity level. But my point is that really, these things are all pretty darn fluid, and given the choice, they chose not to go with a woman as President on the new show. Which, you know, whatever, and if you’re into the show, you know that “President” for DW=not such a big deal–but if you just got into New Who, or you’re a child–yanno, probably not going to make that connection so much. And yeah, Timothy Dalton=yum, but I’d rather have seen Fred, thanks (yes, a little of this is just that I like Romana that much, lol).

  194. They are showing the Doctor as wishing for a certain hair color, yet being unable to attain it. Other Time Lord have been shown as having the ability to voluntarily regenerate into the forms of even different species.

    Gah! See, to me, that makes it worse — he’s got the ability, and he doesn’t use it? WHY? Also, re. hsofia’s point that there are quite a number of excellent POC characters in the new series: I agree, and I think that it points up the Doctor’s unvarying white-male-hetero-ness in a not-good way. Not in the sense that the actor playing the character is doing it badly, understand — I’m talking about looking at the series as a cultural artifact.

    I don’t know if it would bug me less if I were a dyed-in-the-wool sci-fi geek, and I’m suspicious of that as an argument — I think we’ve all heard “you just don’t understand the history/tradition/reasons/background/whatever” used to justify worse things that this.

  195. I don’t want to threadjack here, but I’m trying to reach A Sarah, and I’m not sure how to do so.

    I just went back and re-read the Thread of Fucking Awesome, and I saw that she was interested in talking w/me about democratic education. This is one of my very favorite things to talk about, and I would love to share some of the resources that I’ve found over the years.

    But it strikes me that email might be a better place to do this than the comment of this fine blog, so…

    A Sarah, if you should happen to be reading this, could you send me an email at:

    erinpoetchica AT gmail DOT com?

  196. Thank you Snarky’s Machine, I’m going to put that in my slow boil brain and let it cook for a while. I’m a slow thinker.

    A show I like is Cold Case, many of its shows are set in the past and deal with issues of racism and sexism. I really like that the lead detective is a woman too.

    I adore Pratchett also, he values humanity and inclusiveness.

    On the whole, turn the world on its head genre of SF, Lion’s Blood by Steven Barnes. He postulates an alternate history, where Europeans are enslaved by Africans.

  197. @MinervaK See, to me, that makes it worse — he’s got the ability, and he doesn’t use it? WHY?

    He doesn’t have the ability. I’m sorry, I must not have made myself clear on that point. When the Doctor was at the Academy, learning how to be a Time Lord, he barely passed. He did not graduate with flying colors. He graduated with no colors. He can barely operate his stolen TARDIS, regularly making phenomenal errors while doing so. The Time Lord-y skills required to deliberately choose a bodily form during Regeneration are skills he is utterly lacking. Romana has that skill. Other Time Lords have it. Shoot, even the Master played jiggery-pokery with various bodies during various regenerations. But when it comes to chosing a body, the Doctor’s got nothing. If the Doctor ever regenerates into a body which is other than white male, it will not be because he has elected to use his mad regen skillz to explore the meaning of race in human experience. The forms the Doctor gets at each regeneration are either random, or due to some form of subconscious imprinting, or some unfathomable combination of the two. If ever there is a meta decision to cast the Doctor in the form of a different race, the internal reasoning won’t be because he suddenly remembered the lessons Romana gave him in the back rooms of the TARDIS.

    unvarying white-male-hetero-ness

    White, yes. Male, yes. Het? Does flirting with, and getting a bit jealous around Captain Jack possibly indicate some varying of the hetero-ness of the Doctor? Thousands of slash-fic writers think so.

    Muahahahaahahahahah! Yes, I brought slash fic into the discussion. Now, is that derailing? Or just plain fun?

  198. A show I like is Cold Case, many of its shows are set in the past and deal with issues of racism and sexism.

    OHMYGODYES. I’ve only seen a few eps because I didn’t have Sky at uni, but one of the first I ever saw turned out to be about an interracial lesbian relationship in Prohibition-era Chicago and I was like “THIS IS THE BEST SHOW EVER”. It was so wonderful, and true and sad and awesome, and it contained the glorious line “She’s a queer, Rose. She’s trying to get you sauced and take advantage” which my sister and I still say to each other from time to time. And there was another one set in the 50s where a guy and his friend were fighting and I was like “KISS HIM” and then he totally did (which only encouraged me to keep yelling “KISS HIM/HER” at my tv, which lord knows I did not need encouraged). I really like that show. It hits topics that need to be hit. And the flashbacks at the end make me cry every single time; I am a sucker for a musical montage.

    I also like, as you pointed out, that the lead detective is female — Lily Rush, yes? And that she gets (from what I’ve seen) to be the complex, damaged, interesting character that usually only male detectives get to be. Maybe there are a bunch of problems with her portrayal in all the eps I haven’t seen, but I really liked her in the ones I have.

    Zoe Brain, the only one I’ve read with Tiffany Aching in it is Wintersmith, and I was too busy being…I don’t know, somehow offput by the Nac Mac Feegles to really enjoy it. I think it’s because they’re Scottish but also not? It’s weird. But she definitely has the potential to grow on me. I didn’t love Granny Weatherwax until about the 4th book I read with her in.

  199. Caitlin,

    Wintersmith is the third Tiffany Aching book. Read The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky first and you’ll appreciate it better. Tiffany Aching is an amazingly beautifully written character. And an amazing person, as any young witch being trained up by Granny Weatherwax would have to be.

    TRiG.

  200. I’ve been reading Janna Levin’s A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which I’ve been wanting to read since I heard an interview with her on Speaking of Faith, and have been enjoying it. It almost makes me feel like math is interesting. ;)

    I’ve been listening to Sandra McCracken’s In Feast or Fallow, a collection of old hymns she rearranged and rewrote plus some new ones. It’s beautiful. It reminds me a bit of my favorite album of 2008, The Nield’s Sister Holler, which did a similar thing with folk songs and spirituals.

    I’ve been rewatching Jeremiah on Netflix when I’m up with the baby at night, and I still like it the second time. It’s a dystopian sci-fi drama, and I love that kind of stuff. Plus, it’s got Malcolm Jamal-Warner (who has aged very well).

  201. @hsofia I meant to mention this before, but on DW, Mickey’s character arc is a brilliant one. It is one of my favorite aspects of the way the modern show handles the Doctor’s companions. While Rose’s character in some ways becomes less appealing during her association with the Doctor, Mickey’s growth from clingy, incompetent, immature man through to useful “tin dog” (his own words) and on past that into tough, intelligent fighter of hostile aliens and leader of others of the same tough, intelligent ilk.

  202. Caitlin, that’s one of the episodes I was specifically thinking of, those two were so cute and devoted to one another. Not all the episodes are that good, but many are. Lily isn’t all cuddly and forgiving either, someone tries to kill her and gets off; then she goes all stalker/I’m going to get you on him. Which isn’t *good* behavior, but the only other times I’ve seem women do stalkery things on TV is because of irrational sex obsessions. Lily actually has a reason and it’s definitely not sexy. She’s allowed to make a huge mistake like that without being flattened into two dimensions. I also like that each show starts with a song from the era the case goes back to, and the scream/shout (?) in the opening creds.

    The Mac Nac Feegle are a Pratchettian interpretation of Smurfs; they also happen to fit some of the Scottish stereotypes, which I don’t mind; but I can see how they could be an eye-roll for someone who was familiar with the real Scots. Tiffany is a wonderful character, and I heartily second the recommendation to go back to the beginning of the trilogy and read it from the start. I love the way he plays around with the concept of the Chalk. It gets to something in my heart.

    It just occurred to me, one of the other things I love about Pratchett is the lack of ageism. He doesn’t just make women strong characters, he makes old women strong without being evil; while all the time showing how a strong character could be evil, but makes the moral choice to be good. Think of how Black Alis is a reflection for Granny Weatherwax.

    I am utterly convinced that Pratchett is writing for the ages.

  203. Disclaimer: I have yet to watch the older Doctor Who series, so all my knowledge is based around 9 and 10. I also haven’t watched 11 yet because NetFlix is being a jerk and won’t send me End of Time.

    White, yes. Male, yes. Het? Does flirting with, and getting a bit jealous around Captain Jack possibly indicate some varying of the hetero-ness of the Doctor? Thousands of slash-fic writers think so.

    I was wondering if someone was going to notice that. I think the 9th Doctor was more into Captain Jack than the 10th was, mostly due to him not falling for Rose quite yet.

    On the subject of the Doctor constantly being white and male, I’ve managed to justify it with the idea that he’s intentionally designed to be the embodiment of Privilege under the clever guise of being an alien to throw us off. Look at him. He’s white. He’s male. He’s older(Ageism doesn’t hit as hard with men as it does with women, IMO). He’s smarter than his companions. Every time they have to go undercover, the companion is never his equal. Rose was a cafeteria lady while he was a teacher. Martha spent two episodes as a chambermaid, and she’s the one with the degree, while he was a teacher again. Somehow it wasn’t as blatant with Donna, possibly because she’s the one who’d spent her adult life being someone’s assistant, but it may also be due to the fact that they never had to split up during her run as companion so she never had to fully develop a separate cover story that would manifest that sort of class distinction.

    I didn’t really start think about this until Martha came along. (Not to invalidate Mickey, mind you, it’s just that I spent more time worrying about his relationship with Rose than anything else.) It kind of hit me in the face when the first place the Doctor takes her is Elizabethan England, and she says something to the effect of worrying about being carted off as a slave. He promptly blows it off by telling her to act like she’s supposed to be here. Granted, it works, but it’s still filled with all sorts of Unfortunate Implications.

    Overall, though, it drove me crazy that Martha spent the whole season being the Rebound Companion after Rose got sucked into an alternate universe. She was doing the exact same things that Mickey was doing with Rose in the previous 2 seasons, only less angry and gender-swapped. In both cases, it makes Mickey and Martha come off as extremely one-dimensional and underdeveloped, and it took both of them being nowhere near the Doctor to shine on their own.

    I think that’s an interesting thing, though. Characters who didn’t really have a lot going for them(Rose and Donna) were improved by being around him, but the ones who did (Mickey, Martha, and, to an extent, Captain Jack) were actually stunted by being around him.

  204. I think I’m going to lose my geek card, but I haven’t actually watched Dr. Who. It sounds like the sort of series (like Babylon 5, or more recently, Lost) that you need to see from the beginning, in order, for things to make sense.

  205. Piffle: That’s another of the (many) things I love about Pratchett — that two of his strongest characters (Granny Weatherwax and Sam Vimes) are highly aware of their own capacity for evil/rage/destruction and so keep an even closer watch on their own behavior than on anyone else’s. They aren’t good and moral because it comes easily to them, but because they’ve decided to be.

  206. @KellyK – not at all – that’s the nice thing about switching doctors … the new season has a new doctor and no previous experience required. Not like Lost at all!

  207. @Kelly K – alas, you can’t watch Dr Who from the beginning; some of the earliest episodes are still lost.

    I remember turning on the TV – and waiting the 5 minutes for it to warm up – to watch the first episode. But some guy called Kennedy had got himself shot, and that’s all that BBC were showing. Yes, it’s been going for 47 years.

    My favourite companion was Zoe. Hence the name I chose. It was a different world, a different time, and female medical students were still forced to sign contracts saying they wouldn’t get married in order to be accepted.

    Zoe Heriot was an Astrophysicist and Pure Maths genius. Bright, sparky, not the usual Bimbo. Just exactly the kind of Geek Girl I wanted to be (though I thought her treatment of a computer trying to confine her was a bit cruel and heartless). She inspired a lot of girls to take up science and mathematics, at a time when this Was Not Done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoe_Heriot

    Interestingly… it was Jamie who wore a kilt, where she wore slacks… there might be something deep and meaningful in the psychology of that…

    My BSc was in Pure Maths and Computer Science – there were few jobs for Astrophysicists, and I found computers fascinating and fun. The fact that you had to be in the top 3% of the course to pass was a bit daunting though. I just scraped in.

    Oh and I second (or third or fourth) the remarks about Tiffany Aching. You really have to read “A Hat full of Sky” first.

  208. Kelly K and Zoe Brain it is possible to watch reconstructions of the missing Who episodes but they are rough to get through just watching a few screen-shots and the audio track. The hubby and I have been watching things in order and just made it to the first doctor’s transformation into doctor two. My curiosity on this whole Doctor as white, male, hetero, etc is to what extent it is done just because you can be a white, male, hetero, etc and travel through time with basically the same outfit/suit and not really raise any eyebrows. Sure, he has all these costumes but his companions always seem to be the ones who have to dress to suit the time period; never the Doctor who skates through on the privilege of being The Doctor (aka, not out of the ordinary no matter where he goes). Then again I’ve not gotten to the middle Doctors and have only see Hartnell and these recent revamped series episodes.

  209. @Caitlin- Michael A. Levine is the composer for Cold Case, so he deserves credit for the musical montages.

    Most of the pop culture I’ve been steeped in lately is kiddie TV, due to having a 3-year-old who loves TV. But actually, a lot of the more recent Nick Jr. and PBS Kids stuff is way more enlightened on issues of race, gender, ability and even sexual orientation than adult-oriented TV. Not so much on FA unfortunately, but even that is no worse than on adult-oriented shows.

  210. Late to the party but then I”m also always behind in tv shows and such as I don’t have cable etc and I always try and get the BBC shows in reg 1 if I can. Soo I’m watching:

    “Pie in the Sky” with Richard Griffiths (whole series is avail in the UK, but series 1 and 2 were just released in reg 1.) I like the show as it’s not a typical cop/detective series. Griffiths’ character (the LEAD I might add–and sadly there’s not too many fat people in that role) has a passion for cooking and he’s a reluctant detective as his boss won’t let him retire. It’s nice to see a show, especially with a fat person, unabashedly and unashamedly enjoyed food, and it combines the two–cooking and crime solving nicely.

    “Murphy’s Law” Yay James Nesbitt who I think is a wonderful actor, but it’s the accent that gets me every time…. Again, a different kind of cop show in that he’s an undercover cop and so it goes into great character detail of the baddies. He’s a rogue cop from Northern Ireland working in London. If I could, I’d do a bit of recasting of the lead female (his boss), as well as some others, but really the show, as with Griffiths is all Nesbitt.

    “Clatterford” (US title) / “Jam in Jerusalem” (UK title). Pretty much anything French & Sauders’ does makes me every kind of happy! So I’m eagerly waiting for season 3 to be avail in reg 1! The show is about small town life country life in England and the lives of the women, esp. those in the “women’s guild” that live there. Also, I wish there were another season of Jennifer Saunders’ “Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle”, a visciously wonderful satire of the talk show industry.

    “Bottom” is still my favorite show (avail in reg 1), especially the Live shows (only avail reg 2) but then this is not surprising since I’ve been in love w/ Rik Mayall for half my life! LoL!

  211. Since we’re all on the Pratchett love, can I say that yes, Magrat is strong (the line I’ve had practiceat the end of Lords and Ladies springs to mind), she just seems weak sometimes. Also, I have an illustrated edition of The Wee Free Men and it’s stunningly beautiful.

    Has anyone here read Nation? That’s a novel I put down and said “The world should read this”.

    TRiG.

  212. Kelly, I second hsofia’s recommendation to just jump in on Doctor Who. Most DW fans have “their” Doctor – for instance, my Doctor is the Fifth, played by Peter Davison. David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, did a Children In Need special short episode of Doctor Who with Davison, and said in that mini-ep that the Fifth Doctor was *his* Doctor. More than one of the guys I have dated have seen Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor as *their* Doctor. Generally speaking, we fans usually glom onto the one we see first. For some, it makes watching a new Doctor less pleasurable. For the rest, we just sort of get used to the changes. The only Doctor I really couldn’t bear was Colin Baker as Six. Bleurg. Possibly he got the short end of the writing stick, however. Eccleston’s Nine was a big departure in personality and mannerism from those who went before – much of that was chalked up to the psychological damage he suffered in surviving the Time War, and being the one to End. It. Tennant’s Tenth Doctor was a gorgeous synthesis of classic Doctor characteristics, blended with some of Eccleston’s Damaged Doctor, and a helfty handful of his own manic brilliance. Eleven, as brought to us by Matt Smith, has a different synthesis of those characteristics, very enjoyable to me, so far.

    Right. That paragraph got away from me. But do listen to hsofia. She knows whereof she speaks.

  213. @diane ““Bottom” is still my favorite show”

    Oh! I’d forgotten that – good old Bottom! And Blackadder too, all great stuff. I bet you loved Lord Flashheart…WOOF! WOOF!

  214. @Timothy (TRig) Yes it’s supposed to be like the WI except that in the show they call it the Guild. And they changed the title of the show in the US to “Clatterford”.

    @Paintmonkey Oh yeessss…. Lord Flasheart… WOOF!!! But ooh Bottom’s Richie… such vulnerability and lonliness–not to mention Rik’s funny as hell and a fab actor, oh and absolutely georgous!! In the words of Flasheart he “can give multiple orgasms to the furniture just by sitting on it”. LoL!! (and I never would’ve left Drop Dead Fred — just can’t watch the end of that movie.) Loved “The New Statesman” too. His Alan B’Stard–what a bastard! And “Grim Tales” should be released on DVD. Nobody tells a story quite like Rik! Okay…enough Rik crushing… he has a new song that just came out last week “Noble England” it’s avail on Itunes and a new film called “Just for the Record is out in a week or so. But oh, I do miss Rik and Ade…. I wish they’d write/do a new show together. Oh well, I can dream though….

  215. Glee is on tonight. And I had 200 people view my blog today. 114 viewed a specific post. I got 8 comments on said post. HA. I AM ON TOP OF THE WORLD, INTERNET.

  216. First, KC, you are a fucking excellent dancer.

    Next, I do love Doctor Who. From way back, on PBS, late night, LOVE IT. And I think Eccleston is up there amongst the best Doctors. My problem with the new Who was articulated nicely by Terry Practchett (whom I adore): basically, new Who (exemplified by Tennant–I haven’t seen any Matt Smith eps) is God. Benevolent, protective, personally concerned about Earth and humans and our well-being. To which, as an old-time Fan, I say, Bullshit. The Doctor is mysterious, and powerful, but that’s where the similarity ends. He is self-interested. Not that Tennant isn’t, to a fault sometimes–hi, Martha?–but he ultimately chooses to act from altruism more often than not. Also, (spoliery for season 3) Martha was the Doc’s missionary, literally walking across the world to propogate belief in him. That ep was where my Doctorlove broke down. The Doctor is not Jesus.

    The Doctor–and I am talking about Tom Baker here, because that’s my Doctor–is kind of a dick. He can act to save his friends, but he will usually satisfy his own need for one-upsmanship at the same time. He does tend to act towards the greater good, not because humans are sacred and must be protected, but because he can and he wants to.

    All the same, I did love new Who a bit. Tennant’s eps generate so much HoYay squee.

  217. Fnord – I agree with you that Tennant’s Doctor was getting VERY god-like and eventually went too far, learning several tough lessons (several times) before his end. I liked Eccleston’s broody Doctor, but as yet have no favorite.

  218. Just bought and am thoroughly enjoying Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane, his take on Italian orchestral pop from the ’50s and ’60s. [If you don't know who Mike Patton is, he's the lead singer of Faith No More, Mr Bungle and a million and one other bands and has collaborated with everyone from Norah Jones to Massive Attack to Bjork to Alan Moore (yes the Watchmen guy).]

    Lush, romantic and *that* voice singing Italian. Sigh.

    I got back into Faith No More after seeing them live earlier this year and am very thankful otherwise I would’ve missed out on this treat.

  219. @Fnord. Yep, RTD was turning Ten into a Messiah, and I didn’t really want to be on that bus, so I didn’t bother watching the last series with David Tennant. All that “hold hands and believe in the Doctor” business. Eleven on the other hand is a “Proper” Doctor — enigmatic, flawed, a bit of an arse. For me, Matt Smith is going to be up there with the best. He’s got something of Chris Eccleston about him and something of John Pertwee about him.

  220. Thanks for the advice everybody. :D I guess I’m going to read the other Tiffany Aching books, then.

    Cold Case is actually on right now, and I’d forgotten Tracie Thoms was in this. HOW COULD I FORGET TRACIE THOMS? I saw her in Rent on Bradway and she just….She does this thing with her eyebrows and I fall over. Uh. So much talent. So much pretty.

  221. This is a good thing for fat kids, someone is noticing that they get bullied more than other kids and is calling for us (everyone, not FA people) to watch what we say about being thin and being fat. The title is unfortunate, in that it implies that kids are doing something to create the bullying, rather than placing the blame on the bullies for their actions.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100503074251.htm

  222. Yep, RTD was turning Ten into a Messiah, and I didn’t really want to be on that bus, so I didn’t bother watching the last series with David Tennant. All that “hold hands and believe in the Doctor” business.

    I saw the ending of Season 3 as being less Messiah and more Tinkerbell. It was all way too “If you believe in fairies, clap your hands” for me. Pretty much the only way I got through that ridiculousness.

    That said, I think Season 4 dialed back the Messiah complex a bit, mainly because Donna was there to stomp all over his massive ego on a daily basis.

    Also, I have read some of the Discworld books. Everyone tells me that I don’t have to read them in print order, but I have to because there are things that happen in a very obvious order within character arcs. For example, I had to skip Sourcery because I can’t bloody find it anywhere, so I read Eric which starts me off on the “minor” detail that Rincewind was stuck in another dimension.

  223. Cold Case is actually on right now, and I’d forgotten Tracie Thoms was in this. HOW COULD I FORGET TRACIE THOMS? I saw her in Rent on Bradway and she just….She does this thing with her eyebrows and I fall over. Uh. So much talent. So much pretty.

    I wish they would hurry up and release seasons on DVD! I love that show. What they do with music is pretty spectacular.

    I’m still haunted by their use of “All Through the Night”. It was so moving.

  224. ChloeMireille,

    It’s not absolutely necessary to read Discworld in order, but I’d recommend it (with the caveat that Mort, the fourth book, is the first really good one). I’m surprised you couldn’t find Sourcery but could find Eric. In my case, Eric was the hardest to get hold of.

    TRiG.

  225. I wish they would hurry up and release seasons on DVD! I love that show. What they do with music is pretty spectacular.

    It really is. I just checked ’cause this conversation was making me wonder why I don’t own boxsets of this already, and apparently there aren’t ANY SEASONS available on dvd in the UK? Whaaaat?! Tracie Thoms, people! And hasn’t it been on air for years? I throw up my hands. I was really looking forward to that.

    Everyone tells me that I don’t have to read them in print order, but I have to because there are things that happen in a very obvious order within character arcs.

    Yeah. While Discworld as a whole doesn’t need to be read in order, each group of books focussing on certain characters (Guards, Witches, etc) really does benefit from having read what comes before. The problem with that is that it means reading the earlier books, which aren’t that good compared to the later. I read The Colour of Magic in my teens because people were always mentioning the Discworld, and I was like “Guys…this is shit”, because that book kind of requires a background in fantasy and its tropes that I don’t have. As the series progresses its scope gets wider and it becomes more about what it means to be human and hits AWESOME somewhere around…hmm…Moving Pictures?

    I don’t really enjoy the wizards so I skip them entirely, but like Timothy I’m surprised Sourcery was harder to find than Eric. Sourcery I’ve seen all over the place, but I had to order Eric online. Weird!

  226. For Pratchett-ing I did read them in order- but started with Mort and “filled in” the others. Not that the first three don’t have their moments, but The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic aren’t his best (though it’s lovely to see Twoflower again later in Interesting Times!) and you’l never recognise Granny Weatherwax in book three – the definitive version doesn’t appear properly until Wyrd Sisters (book 6) in my mind. After a few ‘trial books’ where the parody element was fairly strong, Mr P seemed to find his footing and increasingly used the world he’d constructed to deal with the themes he himself wanted to address.

    ChloeMireille, I have an embarrassingly comprehensive Pratchett collection so if you’re in the UK like me maybe we can work some lending system out? Let me know…

  227. I’m going to bed the intention of this Open Thread, but I need to ask Shapelings this. If it’s inappropriate I won’t be at all offended if the mods strike it down.

    I recently broke up with a casual girlfriend, by which I mean she suddenly unfriended me and my friends, and her friends also unfriended me. Baffling (she was happy the last time we talked) but fine, totally her prerogative. The thing is . . . she has a lot of books I loaned her and need back. I also have a couple of hers. Can I pass a message to her asking that she leave my books with our school’s lost and found and letting her know I’ll do the same, without violating her right not to bother with people she hates? I really really really don’t want to be a stalkery ex, I certainly don’t want to communicate with or see her, I just want those damned books.

  228. Aleks, I would say send her a direct message requesting that she return the items loaned to her to a neutral location and give her a reasonable, but firm deadline.

    It’s not stalkery to want your books back. You’re not a game show and those books aren’t “lovely parting gifts”.

  229. Thank you SM. I left a note on her blog asking that she leave them with school’s lost and found and promising not to try to contact her in the future.

  230. Here’s my “I read books and say roughly what I think of them without spoilers” conversation: F1749279?thread=7220122. At the moment, it’s entirely Discworld. It’s also a little behind. I’ve just finished Jingo, but I’m only up to Lords and Ladies over there.

    TRiG.

  231. Re: finding Sourcery vs. Eric

    I borrowed Eric, Witches Abroad, Mort,and Thief of Time from a friend of mine. She doesn’t have Sourcery, either, and she wound up checking it out from the county library.

    I probably should have mentioned that I haven’t attempted to look for Sourcery in a full-price shopping venue or anyplace online that involves shipping costs. I’d been doing just fine with Half-Price Books.

    Re: Discworld reading order

    I had people tell me to skip the first two books, but I didn’t listen. It was like eating your first biscotti, good but no one warns you about how dry it is. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t get until I NetFlix’ed the movies.

    As for Equal Rites, I actually thought it was a vast improvement over the first two. But having read the two subsequent books with Granny Weatherwax, I can see where things were a bit off. I’m also annoyed that we never see Eskarina again, since theoretically she’d be in her mid-20s with the timeskip.

    Also, Sarah T, I’m in the States, but constantly wish I was in the UK for a variety of reasons.

  232. Equal Rites is an odd one. This is what I had to say about it when I reread it recently:

    Reading Discworld in order is odd. This book introduces Esme Weatherwax, but she’s not the Esme Weatherwax we know and love from the later books (just as the Death in the first two novels is not the Death we know and love from the rest of the Discworld canon). There are several ideas played with here which are never seen again in the Discworld. It’s a funny book, and is still, in “early Discworld” style, a simple parody in places, most notably the magical dual between Granny Weatherwax and Archchancellor Cutangle.

    It sparkles, though. It’s a very funny book.

    Also, some ideas introduced here do come into play throughout the universe: The difference between witch magic and wizard magic is introduced, as is the idea of “borrowing”. Esk instinctively knows that Granny hasn’t turned herself into a rabbit, and that you can’t just “magic stuff away”.

    Not solid Discworld, but no effort to read. And worth reading, if only for the broomstick.

    TRiG.

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