so that Dune trailer…

October 5, 2020

I’m a couple weeks late — a couple centuries, actually, the way the viral news cycle runs on social media — but I wanted to talk about that trailer for the new Dune movie that everyone is so excited about.

I’m not that excited.

We’ve been down this road before, everyone losing their minds over a fantastic-looking trailer. And then a year later no one even talks about the movie anymore. We’ve been down this road before with Denis Villeneuve, even, and Blade Runner 2049, which in the final analysis was not a particularly good movie (my long review here) and pretty much no one talks about it anymore.

So here we are again, with a visually spectacular tease of a greatly anticipated movie based on a classic book that’s already been adapted for screen twice before.

One of the things that’s got me cranky is that I love the David Lynch movie. It’s weird and gonzo and fun and visually really interesting. Part of why so many people are so excited about this new version is there’s this idea that it will correct what’s wrong with the Lynch film and be a better adaptation of the book. This is where I really get people’s dander up by suggesting that maybe it’s the book that’s not that good and not particularly suited for adaptation. But okay, let’s see if we can get a more faithful adaptation.

Guys, the trailer looks just like the Lynch version. I mean, it’s modern production values and all but it’s a lot of the same scenes, a lot of the same framing of the same scenes… for something that’s supposed to be new and better, it sure feels familiar.

So, either this new one isn’t going to be any closer to the book than the Lynch version, or the Lynch version is closer to the book than people like to admit.

But I still want to see it and I’m still excited about Timothée Chalamet because casting a really good actor as Paul may be the one thing no one’s tried yet.

Meanwhile, I can name ten classic science fiction novels right off the top of my head that deserve screen adaptations that would make better movies than Dune. And we’re not getting them, and that makes me cranky. (The Stars My Destination, Dragonriders of Pern, The Left Hand of Darkness, Ringworld, Downbelow Station, Neuromancer, Wild Seed, Gateway, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Doomsday Book.)

 

 

Worlcon Masquerade

August 19, 2020

Hey! I just realized I never talked about the Worldcon Masquerade! Like the rest of Worldcon, it went virtual. Which meant I could actually enter it. Usually, I’m so over scheduled at Worldcon that I don’t even consider taking out the chunk of hours it would to participate. Never mind packing costumes across the country and world. But this year, the organizers requested videos, prepared ahead of time.

So I went for it.

I entered in the Journeyman category. This was my very first masquerade, but I have so much experience, the judges and I agreed I should probably enter in the more advanced category. And I won the category!  You know what this means? I’m going to have to figure out how to do this again.

Here’s my video:

 

I’m being really good and drinking tea during programming, rather than the Old Fashioned I was thinking about. No booze until after I finish programming. I don’t normally have to make these decisions when I’m at a convention and don’t have the kitchen literally ten feet away.

I’m enjoying Worldcon so far, even though I’ve only dipped my toes in. But it’s also a bit strange. Conventions are usually literally a different world — I’ve traveled, I’m in a hotel, I’m in a strange place, it’s an adventure!

At Virtual Worldcon, I have to remember to take the trash out because it’s trash night and make sure I walk the dog before my programming item starts and maybe no one will notice if I’m eating a cheese snack off camera. And while I’m not going No Pants, I’m definitely not wearing my usual convention polish.

Not good or bad, just an observation.

One thing that I’m not sure I mentioned:  I entered the masquerade. We all know I love costuming, but I’ve never entered a Worldcon masquerade because, well… no time. Transporting costumes takes more energy than I usually have, and managing a masquerade on top of my other programming is a bit much.

Well, this year it’s all via video. No transporting costumes required. I submitted the material last week, and I can do all my regular programming without worrying about showing up all dolled up in person. The masquerade is tonight, AND I’M VERY EXCITED. I might have to sneak an Old Fashioned in for this one.

Eeeek!

 

Global Big Day 2020

May 11, 2020

Saturday was the Global Big Day bird count, in which birders all over the world try to spot as many bird species as they can in a 24 hour period. I’ve participated for four years now. I really look forward to it, even though every year I end up feeling like I’m not a very good birder.

This year, I was worried about going to my usual birding spots, which are popular public parks and likely to be crowded. So in the interest of social distancing, I picked a spot on private land that I’ve been wanting to birdwatch at for awhile:  the farm where I ride horses. It’s got a stand of cottonwoods along an irrigation ditch, which is excellent bird habitat. I got up early, was out there with my binoculars by 7:30 am, which is virtuously early for me.

It was a good plan. Then the wind started blowing. Then it got cold. The sun was shining, but I was shivering and battered within an hour. And the birds just don’t come out when it’s that blustery. Only logged 14 species, and I was a bit disappointed. Highlights:  western kingbirds and a blue-gray gnatcatcher.

I seem to be doing worse and worse at this each year. But hey, at least I got out there at all, right?

I’ve just about decided not to wait for the next official Big Day, but at some point pick a nice, warm, sunny, beautiful day and do my own personal Big Day, no pressure.

 

masks

April 27, 2020

Like lots of cosplayers and historical recreationists, I have been sewing masks. It takes me a long time to sew them, so I haven’t been making a lot. But I managed to get my whole family masked up, and now I’m making them for donation.

I haven’t had to buy new supplies to do this. It’s all from the pre-existing stash. I might finally be making a dent in it! Which feels pretty good, especially for such a good purpose. I’m making my own bias tape, which is tedious (even with the tricks I’ve been learning, and the bias-tape gadget a friend 3-D printed for me), but it’s saving me from having to order or track it down elsewhere.

I’ll probably keep making them, a few at a time, since we’ll likely be at this for awhile.

quarantine cosplay

April 16, 2020

I found a fun game to play. It’s a pale substitute for actually being at conventions and hanging out with my friends, but it’s something.

Question: What new character can I pull together to cosplay with stuff I already have at home?

Answer:

happy holidays 2019

December 24, 2019

I have a confession:  I’ve really been enjoying the holidays this year.

And I’ve been trying to figure out why, so I can maybe replicate this feeling. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

I’ve focused on the process rather than the day itself. So often it feels like the holiday season is a frenzy aiming toward this single moment, this single destination — Christmas, or Yule, or whatever — and it turns out to be a bit of a let down to spend all that stress and preparation for a single event that is over and done with just like that. All of us sitting there with the chaos of wrapping paper and presents and cold spiced cider thinking, That’s it? It’s done?

Instead, I did a lot of baking and thought about enjoying that. Putting together gift bags. Wrapping presents and eating food and going out with friends — it’s all part of the holidays. It’s all part of the celebration. There is no preparation — the preparation is the holiday, if that makes sense.  All of this is what I like about this time of year, not any one moment.

Which brings me to. . .why? I’ve been thinking about why I actually go through all this gift giving and decorating and music and concerts and parties and the rest. And it really is about the time of year, about distracting myself during the dark of winter, giving myself something to look forward to during these short cold days. Giving myself a stretch of time that isn’t ordinary, that marks a transition between this year and the next. A liminal space to mark the passage of time. To put away what was and prepare for what will be, and celebrate all the good things in my life.

“The holidays” aren’t a thing. They’re a process. It’s ongoing.

And just like that, a weight comes off, and I can enjoy all this a whole lot more.

Happy Holidays. I hope you all get a chance this season to take a moment and breathe and simply be.

 

the trees have eyes

October 28, 2019

In the category of “do something that scares you,” I signed up for an online nature journaling and drawing class. I’m looking for ways to be more engaged with my birdwatching, and also to practice art — I haven’t really done anything with the visual arts since I was a teenager. So, I’m dipping my toes in.  It’s been a little frustrating and slow going — the class started in early October, the same month that I had trips/conventions for three weekends and I’m on deadline for a novel revision. And the weather turned utterly crappy, so I haven’t been able to get outside to actually, you know, nature journal.  But slow going is still going, and my backyard is pretty cool. The juncos are back at my feeder, so some time this week I hope to sit by the window with a cup of tea and my sketchbook and see what I can record.

One of the points of the class is that through observing, journaling, and sketching, you’ll notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise. By taking time to really observe, and really look at and record details, you’ll see things you wouldn’t by just taking a photo and moving on.

For example, I did a sketch of some of the aspen trees in my backyard. And discovered that my aspens have eyes. This whole time they’ve had them. I can’t not see it now.

 

this year’s cosplay

October 21, 2019

I’ve been cosplaying at MileHi Con for several years now, and I really love it. I went to my first conventions way back in high school and college and dressed up a lot then, and I missed it, and now I’m back.

This year, a friend of mine really really wanted to be Crowley from Good Omens.  I wasn’t going to let her do it by herself…

Lebowski Thor

July 8, 2019

I’d meant to post about this earlier but then June got completely out of control. So I’ll post about it now. By far the most popular cosplay at Denver not-Comic Con was “Lebowski Thor” from Avengers: Endgame. There were dozens of those guys walking around in bathrobes and overgrown beards, guts hanging out over pajama bottoms.

It’s as if thousands of dudes with the proverbial “dad bod” watched the film with growing elation realizing that yes, finally, they can cosplay a superhero who looks just like them!  (And as I saw pointed out elsewhere, now maybe some of these guys understand the importance of inclusion and representation just a little bit more now.)

I guess San Diego Comic Con is this weekend. I won’t be there, but maybe someone can let me know if “Lebowski Thor” is as a big a thing there.