Meme via everyone

Apr. 24th, 2017 07:15 pm
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[personal profile] naraht
Reblog if it’s okay for your followers to leave you an ask telling you what the one thing is they remember you for as a writer. Is it a scene or a detail or a specific line? Is it something like style or characterization? Is it that one weird kink they never thought they’d be into, but oh my god wow self-discovery time?

Please, just let me go – Alejandro

Apr. 23rd, 2017 08:18 pm
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Spent the afternoon watching Alejandro Valverde annihilate the rest of the competition at Liège–Bastogne–Liège. I tell a lie, he did it in the last minute, but it was conclusive. No sign of him for the whole race, and then he cruised majestically ahead on the final climb as if no other outcome had ever been possible. He's won six out of the eight races he's entered this year, and the two that he lost (coming in second and ninth) were very minor prep races.

And he's achieved this at thirty-seven, which is distinctly over the hill by cycling standards. All you can say is that the two year doping suspension in 2010 does not seem to have cramped his style.

When asked by an interviewer afterwards, "at thirty-seven years old, how do you explain your physical form?" he just grinned and shrugged and said "nature."

The terrible thing is that I'm rooting for him. I loved watching him slug it out with Alberto Contador, another aging (read: my age) former doper from days of yore, at the Volta a Catalunya earlier this year. Because whatever you may say, they're both characters and they both race like they mean it. I'm starting to feel that my hatred of Lance Armstrong is primarily because he's a jerk and not because he was a doper. (With a side of reaction against the sentimental adulation that he got in the U.S.)

Anyway, it's cycling, what can you expect? Sagan has had a mediocre spring, so I have to root for someone. All I can say is that the Tour is going to be interesting.

More observations

Apr. 23rd, 2017 08:22 am
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[personal profile] naraht
• There is now, finally, a YoI community on Dreamwidth, [community profile] yurionicefans.

• Pressing onwards with French learning, or at least with Lingvist, which I'm actually enjoying. Last time I tried it, I felt like I got bogged down in endless variants of "peux, tuer, veux, viens..." (or words of that shape), but I seem to have pressed on past that now. It tells me I've learned 538 words so far. If you devote 15 minutes a day, it's really easy to add 20+ words a day, which adds up. We'll see how it all hangs together.

• Waiting with bated breath for the results of the first round of the French Presidential election. Among other things, looking for informed discussion has reminded me how American-centric Metafilter is. The US Presidential elections produced 5000+ comment threads, every few days, for months. The corresponding French thread has 33 comments. So I am watching BFM TV via Worldbox (a fantastic resource hidden within the depths of channel 834 by Virgin Media), even though I don't really understand it.

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Apr. 22nd, 2017 09:55 pm
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Iron Cast

3/5. Boston on the brink of prohibition. Two girls – one black, one white, one the poor daughter of immigrants, one the daughter of wealthy socialites, one an empath through her music, the other able to bend reality with poetry – exercise their powers for good and for profit as the political tides turn against them.

I liked this. And, unusually, I liked it more the more I thought about it. I did spend the first third grumbling to myself about why this wasn't the queer romance it so clearly should be, but ultimately both of the male love interests turned out to be acceptable. Well . . . 1.5 of the love interests turned out to be acceptable.

This is jazzy and a bit flimsy to start, with more speakeasy! Gangster! Atmosphere than, you know, actual book. But it grows and turns and deepens as our heroines start to question themselves and the things they do. I mean, it could have deepened a lot more – for a book partly about bigotry, this one comes down awfully hard on the personal responsibility side of the scales, without giving adequate shrift to the role being the object of discrimination plays in a person's choices. But. I liked this.

Content notes: Some frankly disturbing depictions of institutionalization, medical torture, medical experimentation, etc.

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth

Apr. 22nd, 2017 09:28 pm
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Kinda Like Brothers

3/5. It's all well and good for our protagonist's mom to take in foster babies. But the most recent baby comes with the baggage of an older brother, and that just doesn't work for our protag thank you very much.

I think this was a disabilityinkidlit rec? It had to be a rec from somewhere because I don't pick non-specfic YA lit without a prompt these days. But this is great. Well, okay, it's cringily great. Our protagonist is terribly eleven – he's convinced everything is criminally unfair and he's a little shit roughly 90% of the time, with the other 10% being overwhelming sweetness. And he's eleven, and this book is super honest, so there's enough social embarrassment going on here to make me use my one-minute audio skip button more than once.

But really, it's great, particularly if you have a thicker skin than I do. Non-traditional families of all sorts, relationships that don't fit a tidy box, complicated adults doing their best. And there's a lot in here about being a community of color, from the overt – a totally wrenching scene in which an older man teaches a roomful of pubescent black boys how to act when they are stopped by the cops because it might save their lives one day – to the more subtle work embedded in the unfolding of everyone's backstories. I'd definitely buy this for a kid.

P.s. The commercial audio is A+++. John Clarence Stewart is hilarious and pissy and sad and just perfect.

Observations

Apr. 22nd, 2017 11:55 am
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[community profile] rareshipsonice is now open for nominations. I swore that I wasn't going to take part in any Yuri on Ice!!! exchanges, but the minimum for fic is only 500 words, so you know. I was deeply saddened to apparently be the first one to nominate Yakov/Lilia.

• You haven't lived until you've seen a very tall, very substantial female opera singer, still in costume at a break in rehearsal, vigorously shaking a vending machine to get it to dispense her crisps. Shades of Elsa Strauss.

• Same opera company: I love how formal (if binary-gendered) their backstage calls are. "This is a call for Act Three beginners. Mr. Robertson, Sir Mark, ladies and gentlemen of the orchestra, ladies and gentlemen of the chorus. Act Three beginners, please."

• A British man said to me recently, "you have an interesting accent, where are you from?" and then looked surprised when I said "New England." He was apparently going to guess "in the vicinity of Belfast." This is not entirely surprising, as Northern Irish accents often sound oddly American to me, but I'm flattered to be guessed to be within the compass of the British Isles at last.

• Usually I find it challenging to find jeans, or any kind of trousers, that actually fit. For some reason, at the moment, I'm on a run of good luck at Oxfam. I have too many jeans now, but I can't pass anything up if it suits me, because who knows when this profusion of choice will come again?

• Interestingly, and partly relatedly, my local Oxfam seems to have acquired the dead stock of a women's skateboarding shop from 2005... I don't even know. I now have two pairs of jeans, bought as new with tags still on them, which... I almost want to call them breeches? They're quite roomy around the hips and thighs, and cropped just below the knee, where they narrow down quite dramatically. You might say that they tread that narrow line between 'interestingly eccentric' and 'total fashion disaster,' but I quite like them. 100% cotton, too, which you can never get these days!

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