April 1, 2016
The quest to completely learn to knit continues. Behold, I have knitted a pair of socks!
There are some mistakes and things I would change, but I’m not going to point them out. The important thing is — socks! There are knitters who only ever knit socks. It took me years to finally work up to it. But I have done it.
And I will probably do it again.
March 7, 2016
I’ve just gotten back from a trip — I spent a few days at Lake Quinault in Washington at the Rainforest Writers Retreat. I got quite a bit of writing done — 7500 words on the new novel. Did not get quite as much hiking done as I wanted — it rained probably 80% of the time. Which I expected, so ah well. They don’t call it a rainforest for nothing. But it just so happened the window of my room overlooked the lake and some of the water birds obligingly hung out nearby so I could get a good look at them.
One of these moments made me feel like I actually knew what I was doing as a birdwatcher. It was kind of a birdwatching conundrum, if you will. There was a small flock of four duck-like birds hanging out on the water. Two of them had light bodies and dark heads, two of them were brown. Two different species. However, three of the birds were one species and one of them was a different species. So what was going on?
Three of the birds were common mergansers, two female — the two brown birds — and one was male — light body, dark head.
The fourth bird, also with a light body and dark head, was a lesser scaup.
I realize this is a super high level of nerdiness, but I was just so pleased with myself for sorting out the flock and confidently ID-ing them all.
I’ll try to post pictures from the weekend later on. The Olympic National Forest and Park really are magnificent. I’d never been and I want to go back, and get out to the coast, which I didn’t do this time.
March 2, 2016
February 29, 2016
Guess which character from The Lego Movie was my favorite. Go on, guess. I’ll give you a hint:
Space Corps personnel assembled for duty!
So yeah, with three generations of family all doing the purging and decluttering All the Things thing, a whole lot is coming out of storage. My brother Rob and I loved space Lego. Loved them. I went with Rob when he sold the entire batch of Star Wars toys to a dealer. That was a little traumatic, but he got decent money for them, and we immediately went to see The Force Awakens together which was a good reminder that it’s about the movies and the stories, not the Stuff.
When I mentioned that I’d gotten custody of the space Lego, the dealer made noises that he might be interested. NO, I said. Just no. I love these guys.
And I’ve discovered that re-acquiring all the old Lego sets is keeping me from wanting to buy any of the new ones. This is an extremely important function.
So, for now at least, I am 80’s Lego Space Guy’s biggest fan. LOVE YOU!
February 12, 2016
I’ve been noodling around with this idea for awhile. Especially two months after The Force Awakens, and watching how the fanfic, the memes, the theories, and the love show no sign of slowing down. Especially after grappling with my own difficulties in figuring out how to approach reviewing the movie. How can I possibly separate my love of the world and judge the movie simply as a movie? And now, there’s an amazing fever pitch surrounding the release of Deadpool. All the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies of the last couple of years have had this immense hype and love around them, and as I mentioned in my review of Ant-Man, I’ve pretty much given up approaching these movies with any kind of objective detachment. Moreover, the movies don’t actually care about being considered as movies. They don’t really stand alone. They’re chock full of inside jokes and easter eggs. They have a laser focus on their audience, and in giving that audience what it wants: a really good time in the worlds that they love.
Star Wars, the MCU, Harry Potter, maybe a couple of others but those are the ones that stand out for me: these aren’t really movies anymore. They’re communities. The movies have become the periodic rituals that these communities celebrate.
There are lots of media fandoms and fannish communities. The phenomenon’s been going on since at least the first Star Trek conventions in the early 70’s. And in most cases the communities persist even if no more movies or episodes are forthcoming. (Captain Power is 25+ years gone but there’s still a small group of us who can’t stop talking about it.)
But this is something else. Something different. Something spawned and fueled by the internet, huge and pervasive. These franchises seem to have reached a tipping point where these aren’t just movies that we’re excited to see. They’re events. The anticipation is part of the experience. We’re not just looking for entertainment, we’re looking for new information to add to what we know, to fuel more fan theories and musings that will go on long after the film is out of theaters. It helps that so far these movies have generally been good by most standards. But I’d argue: they don’t stand alone, really. They wouldn’t exist without the fervent devotion of these tremendous communities.
And it’s a feedback loop: the communities support the movies; the movies fuel the communities. That loop generates power.
There’s more thinking to be done with this idea, but for me it’s helping provide a framework for why my critical approaches to Star Wars and the MCU have been changing, becoming different than my approach to other movies. I love these worlds and characters, I consider myself part of the communities that are bound by them, and that changes my thinking about them.
Must ponder some more.
February 5, 2016
February 3, 2016
This is yet another Star Wars post.
So, I’m really enjoying the outpouring of love for Rey, Finn and Poe that’s cluttering up the internet right now. Like, these three are such an endearing ensemble of heroes, we just can’t help but wallow in it all.
Except: Rey and Poe never actually interact in The Force Awakens. When the Falcon returns to base after the big climactic thing, Poe glances at Rey, registers her, acknowledging that she’s the one Finn was so desperate to rescue. But he doesn’t know her, and a second later he’s totally focused on the unconscious Finn and that’s where he goes. Rey of course doesn’t know who the hell he is or why she should be interested in him.
Later, they’re both standing in the room when the pieces of the map get put together. One presumes they’ve been introduced by this point. There was no reason to show this introduction — it’s got nothing to do with the story, really. From a story perspective, it’s just fine that we never see them interact. It wouldn’t add anything, and it would clutter up an otherwise slick narrative. But gosh, wouldn’t it just be so neat?! And that would be the only reason to show that scene: because fans like me want to see it. Note: narrative flow ought to trump fan service. So, I’m glad the movie is the way it is. But still.
I mean, I can totally imagine it. They both arrive in the infirmary, waiting for news about Finn. And Poe introduces himself because that’s what he does. “Hi. I’m Poe Dameron. You’re Finn’s friend, aren’t you?” And I can just see the look on Rey’s face as she realizes that yes, she is Finn’s friend, and he is hers, and she’s never had a friend before, and she kind of wants to freak out a little. But she doesn’t. “Yes. He saved my life.” And Poe smiles and says, “Mine, too.”
And now they’re friends, too.
GAH!!! *falls over and fangirls a little more*