December 16, 2015
I have tickets to see the new Star Wars movie at 1:30 am Thursday/Friday. I wasn’t determined to see the movie straight out of the gate, but friends acquired these tickets and who am I to say no? Let’s just say, as someone who camped out (briefly) for Episode I, I am completely and totally enamored with the modern convenience of online ordering and assigned seating. I will take a nap and head over to the theater a half an hour before curtain, because I am getting too old for this sort of thing.
In the meantime I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach the movie. Has there ever been a movie with so much cultural baggage attached to it? So much expectation before a single digital frame has even played? After the culture phenomenon of the first trilogy, the rather brutal failure of the prequels to live up to the acclaim of their predecessors — what the heck do we do with this? Also, I have a paid gig to write a review for this puppy, and I’m trying to come up with a framework for that — a grading rubric, in a sense. What constitutes success for The Force Awakens? Is it enough that it entertains? Does it have to be objectively a good movie? Does that look different than a good Star Wars movie? What do I, personally, as someone who grew up with this franchise as part of my core programming, want out of this movie? I want it not to suck, of course. But what does that mean?
Add into that the immense amount of commentary — visceral, emotional commentary — playing out on social media. People who are exploding with excitement. Other people who are exploding with disbelief that anyone could be excited about these movies. Plus that really hard-core group of Star Wars fans who ought to be excited about this movie but are so upset that the Expanded Universe is now alt-canon that all they can do is foam at the mouth. And I’m like, really? You can’t keep a couple of different universes in your head at the same time? I was never attached to the Expanded Universe. There are great big chunks of the EU that I’m ecstatic about not having to pay attention to. Seriously, is there anyone who liked the Yuuzhan Vong and thought they were a good idea? They were so clearly an attempt to inject 90’s grimdark into the Star Wars universe — which wasn’t built for grimdark. So much of the EU doesn’t feel like Star Wars to me. (What does? Rogue Squadron. Tales of the Jedi.) And that leads me to. . .
What am I looking for in a Star Wars movie? Amazing feats of derring do. Engaging characters who are brave and charming. Engaging alien characters. Banter. Sense of wonder. Planetscapes and spaceships. An epic sense of story. Innocence and optimism. Respect for the original trilogy’s story — but something new. Show me corners of this universe that I’ve wondered about but haven’t seen yet. Build on the world without bashing holes in what came before. I want a movie that makes me happy.
There are those who believe this movie will fail to deliver anything resembling a satisfying experience, by whatever measure. They can’t understand why my friends and I are so stinking excited for this, but I know why: We have the makings a classic redemption story here. I’m not saying we’re going to get it — but what if we did? What if we got a new Star Wars movie that we could be excited about instead of apologizing for? That actually overcomes the negative expectation established by the prequels. Redemption. One of the most classic, satisfying story archetypes there is.
Yeah. That’s what we’re looking for.
December 11, 2015
I usually do a lot of baking and cooking during the holidays, and give away the products as gifts. Because what do you get for the people who have everything? Cookies is always a good answer. But I also try to find unusual and fancy (but not too difficult!) things to make, for the wow factor.
Last night, I tried a new-t0-me recipe: Almond-Pistachio Nougatine. It looked intriguing. It’s basically sugar and nuts with a little butter. But somehow, that thing where you carmelize sugar is often intimidating, because if you get it wrong it just goes burnt and kind of gross. But, I tried it.
I totally did it! It totally worked! And oh my gosh, you guys, this stuff is amazing. Yeah, it’s just sugar, butter, and nuts, but it comes out like a light candy, sweetness with a toasted nuttiness. I’ve cut it into bars here, maybe half an inch across, and can wrap them up in cellophane to give them away. Talk about wow factor! This looks so super fancy but I did it all in maybe 15 minutes.
I’m so stinking proud of myself right now.
November 30, 2015
Here’s the roast chicken I did for family Thanksgiving:
It’s got a thyme-garlic-lemon rub on it and it was just as spectacularly yummy as it looks. Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside.
Craft-wise right now I’m making a new brocade doublet and knitting a bunch of gifts. I had a realization this week: I really like being able to make things. Roast a whole bird for the table, make cool clothes and things — it’s so tactile and functional.
It’s like I might actually survive after an apocalypse or something.
The finale of The Last Kingdom: holy cow, people. Just fantastic. That battle needs to be required viewing for all SCA people everywhere. I want more.
And I finished Jessica Jones: There was some real boneheaded idiot plotting between about episode 7 and 11. But it managed to pull it back together for the finale. Can’t say this is a favorite — it went really dark, even for me. But I’m glad this show exists.
November 20, 2015
November 13, 2015
So this week I got to thinking about cryonics, and the big underlying, unspoken assumption held by cryonics companies and those who actually take the steps to make sure they’re properly preserved at the moment of death (ideally, my skimming research tells me) so that they might be revived, repaired, and restored at some future date when medical science has solved All the Problems.
And the assumption isn’t the basic notion that they can be revived, that medicine will someday be advanced enough to unfreeze them safely and then repair whatever killed them. The huge, unspoken assumption is that future medicine will care. I’m sure cryonics companies are working hard to have the financial endowment and administration to keep their clients frozen safely, for whatever values of “safely” they’ve established. But do they have the administration and future management in place to advocate for their clients to the medical community? To monitor medical science to keep track of when future medicine might have the ability to successfully revive their clients? Are they doing research into cryo-revival themselves? Will they keep track of not only revival, but when medicine might have the cures their clients need? And do they have a system in place to actually go to doctors/hospitals/whatever and say “Hey, we’ve got this frozen body here we want you to work on.” And why do they have the complete and utter faith that those future doctors and hospitals will say, “Why yes, of course, come right on in?”
Because that’s what they’re depending on. Not the future medical technology, but on the benevolence of those future medical practitioners to want to spend the time and effort treating clients who’ve been effectively and legally dead for decades or longer.
So that’s what I’m thinking about this week.
November 6, 2015
November 4, 2015
After a topsy turvey couple of months, I’m finally settling down, getting in some good word counts, starting some knitting projects, and feeling like I’m making progress. This is good. This is nice. Deep sigh.
We’re scheduled to get our first snow over the next couple of days. This is long overdue and will be most welcome!
Halloween: I did end up going out, though I almost changed my mind about what to wear a half an hour before I was supposed to leave for the party. I almost wore my Regency gown instead, which I think would have been great and different. But I went with my original plan:
I sent this picture to my niece, after she sent me one of her in her Zita the Spacegirl costume (she looked fan-freaking-tastic by the way. And she had so much fun!). According to her mother, this was her response: “She squealed and then whispered “she’s a FAIRY.””