eilonwy2017: (Fox licking glass)
An appropriate subtitle would be Evidence My Brain is Messed Up and Why I Don't Have an Ordinary Life...

So, one of the courses I'm teaching this semester is Introduction to Literary Criticism. It's... not my most comfortable subject, but it's going pretty well. (My students tend to leave the classroom saying things like how the class makes them think about things they've never had to before, so I think that's a plus.)

Last week they read Althusser. One major aspect of what Althusser talks about, very very simplified, is the Repressive State Apparatus (RSA) and the Ideological State Apparatus (ISA). The RSA is made up violence or threat of violence-- people stay in line because RSAs threaten them with injury. This would be stuff like the police, the army, large men with big baseball bats, guns, etc. The trouble with using just an RSA to keep people doing what you want is that you need a lot of other people willing to hurt other people (or threaten) and it's just not consistently feasible. But, ISAs take over-- people are influenced by the ideology in which they live-- they are influenced by family, church, school, politics, etc. So in a sense, people police themselves and their own behavior because they do things that they think they should (and don't do things they think they shouldn't.)

I showed the King Arthur and the peasants scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to illustrate this to my students. The peasants and the king are talking from two completely different ideologies (ISAs) and when Arthur gets irritated enough, he physically attacks Dennis (the peasant) who even points out that he's being repressed (RSA). My students thought this scene was hilarious and most of them had never seen the movie before (tragedy!!! sacrilege!) but planned on seeing it as soon as possible. (Success!)

At any rate, that's been somewhat on my mind. Meanwhile, as you know from an earlier post, I've been watching a lot of La Femme Nikita. I've been enjoying it, of course, or I wouldn't be continuing to watch. I've enjoyed the good stuff and enjoyed snarking at the stuff that hasn't aged as well (although hey, by episode 9, Madeline's hair shrank down to half its previous size, so someone figured out that much.) And the episode I'm watching as I type this, "Rescue", is amaaaaaaazing because it's had 1/2 naked Michael and also Madeline and Nikita off to rescue him in an almost-buddy-filmesque romp through "Eastern Europe" and OMG that would have made an incredible spin-off. But for all that, I've also got Althusser in my head.

A brief background to the world of La Femme Nikita, so that you can see what I mean:

The show centers around a clandestine organization called Section One (or just Section.) It's probably American (once in a while the US government is specified and in an early first season episode they investigate a rogue faction in the CIA) although the show was filmed in partnership with and in Canada, and most of the actors are Canadian. Section is ruthless, not particularly worried about collateral damage, and have no trouble working with the bad guys as needed, if just shooting them (which is what usually happens) doesn't work best. The field agents/operatives are sometimes undercover (Nikita often is) but are even more likely to just be dressed in black and sent someplace to shoot a lot of people.

What makes up the interesting tension of the show is that Nikita was recruited in the first episode (just like the French movie by the same name that the show is based on and like the American version of that film, Point of No Return.* Nikita was a street kid who was wrongfully accused of killing a cop and sentenced to death. Section removed her from prison, but to the rest of the world, she's dead. She the has zero choice but to work (read: spy and assassinate) for Section or be killed by them (euphemistically known as being "canceled"). Since Nikita was not actually a killer, and she still has her morals, she's frequently at odds with what Section wants her to do and bends/breaks the rules to save people, running the risk of Section deciding she's not worth the trouble.

And you find out over the course of the season that ALL, or at the very least almost all, of the operatives were recruited the very same way. Nikita isn't the only one torn and certainly not the only one who wants to leave Section One.

In other words, except for the people at the very top (Madeline and Operations), everyone is there because if they don't do what they're told, they'll be killed. The system is entirely a Repressive State Apparatus. (Nikita almost joins another operative in order to escape during season 1, and Michael essentially seduces her into staying because he knows she'll be caught and killed if she goes, as the other operative was. He frequently covers for her, in fact, because of course another major point of the show is the will they/won't they tension of their relationship, but also because if any of the operatives get caught doing anything they oughtn't, they'll be killed.)

My point is that it seems to me a really unstable way to run an organization, particularly a clandestine agency full of high tech weaponry. If enough people chose to go against the RSA, they could succeed because there would be more of the rebels than the people in charge. (I assume that the people in charge have actually bought into the ideology-- if there's no one above you to keep threatening you with cancellation (execution), you wouldn't keep doing things you morally disagreed with.) Once in a while the show will have a character say something about how, since they did the crime they were sentenced for, this is a life they wouldn't otherwise have had and thus they shouldn't complain but a) that isn't human nature and b) they do complain.

Almost never does the series show people trying to convert the recruits/operatives based on ideology (a "we get rid of bad guys/keep the general populace save unless they're in our way" kind of thing), presumably because... well, why? Wouldn't having true believers, ideologues around be the best way to get stuff done and not have to spend resources and time on policing (via RSA violence/threat of violence) your own people?

The other way to look at Section is through Foucault. (Because as I mentioned above, I am a NERD and because the two work pretty well together.) One thing Foucault is really known for is "panopticism". Super simplified, it applies the idea of the panopticon to society. The panopticon was an idea for a prison put forth by Jeremy Bentham (and actually created in some places, albeit much later) where all the prisoners each have a cell in a cylindrical, hollow prison. Each cell has 3 solid walls and one that's a window facing the center of the cylinder. In the middle, there's a guard tower that can see into every single cell, but the prisoners cannot see into the tower. This means that prisoners never known if they're being watched, but they know that they can always be watched or seen. Since any activity could be seen, they act as if every activity is seen, or, in other words, they internalize the police state. Big Brother isn't necessarily always watching but he absolutely could be and probably is, so don't do anything wrong. From the idea of a physical prison, Foucault takes this to a much wider perspective, that of society itself. And he was writing in 1975-- can you imagine if he were to write now, when there really are cameras nearly everywhere and the NSA can listen in on civilian phone calls and home appliances (like tvs) can be equipped to turn the camera on the household constantly?

(I take comfort in the fact that I'm too damn boring for anyone to watch. The fact that I'm writing this post should, frankly, illustrate that fact...)

The world of La Femme Nikita, particularly within but not restricted to Section, is a panopticon. Partway through season one, Nikita finds out that there are cameras in her apartment (she tears them out and tells Section she'd rather be cancelled than spied on, but who's to say there aren't more cameras? She has to have thought of that, too.) Surely Section itself is full of cameras, not to mention other people within the organization willing to tattle on a colleague in the hopes of buying themselves some privileges or maybe saving that information until they need it (if they're in danger of torture or cancellation for some other indiscretion.)

But the panopticon of LFN is still part of Althusser's RSA, and no matter how much the characters internalize the policing, they aren't internalizing the ideology, which means they continue the tension between Section's ideology and directives and their own ideology and morals.

This makes for excellent television, but a really terrible way to run your clandestine organization which is supposed to keep the world safe from terrorists and the like.



------
*The show even uses a few seconds of film from the American movie in its pilot and recycles one of the film's story lines in a first season episode.
eilonwy2017: (Kittens looking!)
(Hello LJ, it has been ... a really long time. And there's no way to recover that amount of time. So I'm just going to write an entry as if I hadn't ignored this platform for years.)

I've been rewatching La Femme Nikita this week. I found a copy of the first season on DVD while I was in Phoenix (by the way, I don't live in Phoenix anymore) for Spring Break, used. And since the show isn't streaming, and the DVDs have been, every time I've looked, astronomically expensive, I scooped up the season. (I, uh, may have ordered seasons 2 and 3 as well as of today...)

I don't know why I'm suddenly on an LFN kick. I watched episodes when they were on USA back in the '90s, although not in a regular kind of way. I've seen at least the first few seasons via Netflix (back when you could only get DVDs in the mail, before all this high tech streaming stuff, heh) but I can picture where I did that-- my first apartment in Phoenix, so that would have had to have been pre-2010.

Anyway, I'm being obsessive with it, which is weird for a show that's been off the air since 2001. At least, it seems weird to me.

So I was texting with [Bad username or site: corruptviridian" @ livejournal.com] and I thougth I'd post some of these observations here...

I'm not sure which makes me giggle more-- some of the '90s hairstyles (oh my goodness, Madeleine's hairstyle does not translate well to 2015) or the use of a floppy disk as a main plot point.

It doesn't help that in this particular episdoe, which for those of you playing the home game is season 1, episode 4, "Charity", the costumer dressed Nikita in purple, very '80s dress (and hair) and Michael in what, I swear, looks like a '70s maroon tux and ruffled shirt. How can I not laugh? And the villain appears to be wearing a vest under his tux that looks like it was made from a Cosby sweater. As [livejournal.com profile] corruptviridian pointed out, you have to laugh. Or cry. Or both.

At least in this episode, I got to see Michael act like a drunk American (because otherwise he'd've been caught with the aforementioned floppy disk). I would have expected seeing that to be funny, but honestly it just seemed really odd because Michael is Michael... is almost-humorless, emotionless Michael...

He also saves a truck full of children. And honestly, that's just about as out of character as acting like a drunk American... Although he did let Nikita burn to death a child trafficker, and that part is pretty much par for the course.

I think this episode was a misstep in that it was first season and directed by someone who appears to have never directed another LFN episode. The writer of the episode did more, though, so here's hoping that this was just a single misstep as I'll be happily downing more episodes soon. It just seems to me that not only was wardrobe a misstep, but also Michael in general in this episode. I mean, I don't know if anyone reading this (if anyone is) remembers the show, but in the very previous episode, Michael discovered that his wife, Simone, was still alive and had been being tortured by terrorists for 3 years, and by the end of the episode, she kills both the terrorist and herself. So it seems a bit soon that Michael appears to spend this episode being jealous when Nikita is flirting with her target (the aforementioned child trafficker-turned-crispy critter). Then the episode ends on a weird note, too. Nikita asks Michael why she shouldn't kill him (while she's holding a gun to his throat, otherwise just casually chilling in her apartment) and he says he can't think of a single reason why not, then kisses her hand, and leaves. She turns and picks up her cat, which earlier in the episode he had told her to get rid of, and the episode ends. I cannot recall if the cat ever shows up again-- I will report back. But Michael's reaction here--- with the hand kissing, not the nihilistic stuff--- seems too soon post-Simone-death.

(In episode 3, "Simone", Nikita has to physically pull him out of an about-to-explode building because he's so distraught in trying to save Simone.)

On the other hand, Michael's hair (which is ocassionally bordering perilously close to a mullet) and floppy disks notwithstanding, the show actually holds up pretty well, in my opinion. This is in part because what made the show so good wasn't the storylines or technobabble but watching Nikita come to terms with this life she's been forced into. But also, the aesthetics still work because most of the time the characters are dressed in all black and appear in very open rooms, often made of white tile. And while white tile may evoke industrial bathroom facilities, since those rooms are usually used for beating people up, it kind of still works. Sure, sometimes you look at the severely tucked in shirts and belted pants on the male character and go, "Oh dear" and once in a while Nikita's bangs edge into "holy crap '90s" territory, but otherwise it still completely works.

(Except for, as I mentioned, Madeleine's hair. If it weren't 12:30 am I didn't have to go to work in the morning and thus should be asleep, I'd find you a picture. But this is my return to LJ so I'm not even sure I remember how to post pictures or whether you still have to host them on LJ or whatever. So go do a google search, you'll see what I mean.)
eilonwy2017: (Think Sam)
I'm still thinking about 6.01, as you can tell. And I'm not sure that I have anything new to say, but I also feel like I have to. I was stunned by the amount of negativity that I saw out and about on ze webs today, that the episode was bad, that Dean and Sam were out of character, etc. (THIS IS NOT AIMED AT ANY ONE INDIVIDUAL, or even any two or three, but a response to the general feel I got when reading commentaries, and even more so-- comments on commentaries.)

I mean, I'm not going to sit here and say that it was the best episode ever (although I'd be hard pressed to tell you what the "best episode ever" was anyway) but I thought it did what it needed to do.

Spoilers through 6.01 but not beyond )

I don't plan on posting this beyond this here journal (It's not as structured as I like the meta I write to be), but I'm un-friends-locking it, just in case.

Hey, this is the first time I've used this icon or the "thinky-thoughts" tag in a loooooong time. See? I'm already pleased with season 6.
eilonwy2017: (We're So Screwed - SPN)
Not written during the show, for once, but immediately after. (Flurry was supposed to come over, but didn't. Fair enough, as she was supposed to come over last night for Project Runway, but I had a migraine so asked her not to.)

6.01 )
eilonwy2017: (We're So Screwed - SPN)
My expectations, thoughts, guesses,desires, etc. on SPN season 6, including the spoilers I've picked up and hints I've gleaned. This is FAR LESS comprehensive than it could be-- I don't seek out spoilers but I don't avoid them, either. And also, y'know, went to a con and so picked up a few minor ones. (I'm pretty sure that Misha Collins instructs all the other actors on how to avoid giving things away, frankly.)

This is basically the spoilery version of the previous post.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS )

So for those who enjoy a spoiler or two, those above are my few thoughts on season 6.

Is it Friday yet? :D
eilonwy2017: (Sam: Not working for the Mandroid!)
And by that I mean, what sorts of things have been left dangling from previous seasons that I'd like to be taken care of, brought up again, etc. in season 6?

In no particular order, other than as they come to mind:

-Dean's amulet (as dropped in the trash can in 5.16)

-Raphael-- is he angry about, y'know, being left in a (burning) ring of fire? What's he been up to, assuming not just standing in said ring of fire? (I hope we see him again-- the actor who plays him was awesome at VanCon.)

-Meg-- speaking of burning rings of fire, what happened to her after Castiel used her as a bridge?

-Castiel-- what's he been up to with Heaven all amock?

-Bobby-- yeah, that whole soul-selling thing, how's that working out for him?

-Crowley-- you plan on giving that soul back, eh? Riiiight. Any time now, I assume?

-Sam-- So, you've been to Hell and apparently come back, what are you going to do now?

-Sam-- About that leaving Hell thing-- are you 100% pure Sammy? You seemed to have made that streetlight flicker and die... but I actually tend to do that, too. (As does my mom.)

-Sam-- And how exactly did you get out?

-Hell-- So, Lucifer (I'm guessing) out of commission, and Lilith, of course, has been since 4.22, and the YED has been since 2.22, so what kind of bureaucratic changes have been happening down there of late?

-Jesse-- The antichrist still just hangin' down-under?

-Bela-- Yes, really. Mind you, I have no expectations (and would be shocked) of seeing her again, but I'd like to, particularly since, yeah, she went to Hell and all on a Crossroads Deal, but that still seemed a bit unfinished to me, especially when she was brought up again in 5.09 as having potentially been Crowley's lover...

-Chuck-- Okay, again I don't actually expect this one to be answered but dude, what the hell was with that final scene of 5.22 and I really didn't like it. Also, I totally adore Rob Benedict since VanCon (liked him and Chuck before, love him now) and want to see more of him, although I don't think it'll happen.

--------------
What do you hope to see in season 6? I'm sure I've forgotten things and may add to this post as I think of them.

(Please no spoilers in the comments to this post-- I'll make a separate post for that (with an LJ-Cut)).
eilonwy2017: (We're So Screwed - SPN)
Please note that I'm typing this on my new wee tiny laptop, which means there will probably be typos. (I have wee hands but not that wee.)

5.16 )

Flurry gots a headache and so didn't come over. :( This means there are no Yarn!Chester shenanigans to report. Sad.

Smallville commercial -- wasn't the premise of Smallville about Superman as a teenager? And hasn't it been on for yeeeeeeeears? Isn't he now not so much a teenager?

More )

I require snacks.

More moremore )

And, as per every week, DAAAAMMMNNN YOOOOUUUU KRRIIIIIIIPKEEEEEEE!!!!!!
eilonwy2017: (We're So Screwed - SPN)
Okay, so I can't actually recall what number tonight's episode is, and I'm not online to find out.

But yaaay! Hellatus is over!!

If anyone is curious, it takes 2.5 listens of "Carry on My Wayward Son" to get from my house to Flurry's. (You can get through "winds of fortune" as you park, but you could get further if you started the song before hitting the main street, since it takes a minute or two to get from my parking spot to the street.)

I almost arrived at Flurry's house sans ami!Castiel, which would not have pleased Flurry. Evidently my cats had knocked him from his orange flowery chair onto the floor. So much for the flights of angels.

Turns out Beatrice (Flurry's cat) is a Castiel girl. When I knock on the door at Flurry's house i routinely tap on the glass bit at the bottom of her door to see if I can't get Beatrice intrigued. She usually isn't. Today I tapped the glass with Castiel and she was patting and pawing at the door to get to him. hee.

Why do I have the time to type all this? 'Cause apparently Flurry's in the shower. She didn't answer the door or her phone, so I let myself in. That's what happens when you give a friend a key so that they can take care of your cat. :D I've totally made myself at home on her couch. I've taken the place I usually sit in, but this appears to be doubly-good as the couch (futon, actually) does not have its cover on and there's a giant wet splotch on the other side. Nearby sits a bottle of Gatorade that I suspect is the culprit... (Turns out no, it's old furniture polish.)

TEN MINUTES 'TIL SHOW!! (Yeah, yeah, I know East Coast, you've already seen the show and had time to digest. But we're 3hours behind you at this point. Which, for the purposes of watching "Project Runway" is a good thing (now it's on at 10 instead of 11).

What's sad is that I'm not nearly as obsessed with Show as I was this time a year ago. Could you imagine my commentary were it then!? :)

Flurry is ordering Greek food so the sound is off. I think I prefer to watch VD this way. Holy carp, there's a black dude! it's a very white town, with the exception of the witch...

OH CARP, flurry's still on the phone and SUPERNATURAL IS GOING TO STAAAAART. (okay at the moment i's just previews for the next VD, full of the usually Muppet and Rob Lowe-Rent, but...) CAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP I'M MISSING THE SOUND ON THE PREVIOUSLIES, HURRY UP AND ORDER THE FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD FLUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

Here there be RANDOM commentary which equals SPOILERS )

So, no insight, no clever thoughts, just... yeah, that.
I have to grade more now. :P
eilonwy2017: (Hotch: glee)
Weirdly, I do still read my LJ friends page every day, but I don't seem to have as much to say as I used to...

NOTE: I added the headers after the fact (having just written things as they came to me) so if they're a bit awkward, apologies.)

Working Out
I've been working out again. (I mentioned this earlier, but I've been keeping at it.) I used the elliptical Sunday and Monday, went walking on Tuesday and used the elliptical again on Wednesday. Thursday I took a day off 'cause Wednesday night my left leg started aching from the knee down. I decided it seems to be because I walk oddly, with a twist to my ankle, so a rest was in order. (Also, I had terrible cramps on Thursday.) Today (Friday) I went hiking at the Lost Dutchman National Park with Flurry. It was only a 2.4mile hike (and we took 2hours to do it) but none of it was level, and some of it was even scrambling over rocks. There'll be pictures posted eventually-- it was pretty day.

Plans
Tomorrow probably no work out because I'm going to the Ren Faire with Flurry and a few other TAs/grad students, and that will be lots of walking, too.

I'm way behind on my grading. There are 36 Shakespeare papers waiting for my attention... but I don't think the prof wants us to hand them back 'til Friday anyway, so ... heh.

TV: MI-5/Spooks
Flurry and I have been watching the first season of Fame (yes, the early '80s tv show) on Netflix instant. It holds up remarkably well for being nigh on 30 years old. And has a more diverse cast than most shows on tv now. But the song gets stuck in your head.

I've just finished watching MI-5 (ie: Spooks) series 7. I am desperate (DESPERATE) now for series 8. It's one thing to wait for something that no one can see (like series 9, airing in the UK in October), but it's another thing to know that it's available via the UK iTunes (having been on UK tv) but not available to us poor Americans. (That said, I know that it's often the other way 'round with tv, so I shouldn't complain. But I'm going to. Complain, complain, complain.) Any UK peeps wanna hook a fan-girl up?

May's Travel
Speaking of the UK, planning for my trip continues, albeit slowly. I'm in that "how much luggage?" process. Everything, of course, says to pack as light as possible ("You can never have too much money or too little luggage.") And fair enough-- but I am going to be gone for a month. And while there will be laundry facilities, I think I'd have trouble trying to pack in just a carry-on, despite all the recommendations that I do so. My current plan is one checked piece of luggage (with room in it for souvenirs, although I'm already going into serious debt just for the trip itself, so plan on doing my best to rein in any extra spending) and my backpack as my carry-on, complete with my not-yet-purchased mini computer. Clothing will consist of lots of black for mix-and-match purposes, and layers. A pair of jeans, a pair of nice trousers, a plain skirt or two (I am, after all, going to London for the theatre.) I need to buy new Mary Jane style Sketchers since I wear them with jeans and skirts and they're comfortable for walking around in. My current pair, however, has been worn out with wearing (there are holes in the sides...) I haven't decided on sneakers yet, as I don't wear them normally (only for working out) so I always feel like I'm sticking out (even more than Americans have to) as a tourist in them, and such. We'll see... I haven't decided on a coat yet either. The information I got from the group I'm going with said not to bring one (just to wear layers) but I'm usually cold. And I'll be in the German Alps at the end of the trip....

Any advice from travelers? :)

Reading: Kate Griffin (and refs to Neil Gaiman)
I've finally begun reading A Madness of Angels (by Kate Griffin, whose real name is apparently Catherine Webb.) I had picked up an ARC at Bookman's back before comps. [livejournal.com profile] maiafire mentioned the series (apparently there's at least a second one) last week, so I finally picked it up. My fiction reading of late has been total candy (and by this I mean trashy romance novels set in the regency), so it took a wee bit to get into the right mindset for the book, but I'm now loving it. I'm about a 1/3 of the way through and I really wish that I had more spring break so I could just spend the time reading this book (and not grading, or researching or whatevs.) The only downsides are that 1. As I say, it's an ARC so there are typos and grammar issues (which I really hope didn't make it into the real printing) that drop me out of the story at times and 2. it's clearly written by someone who knows London intimately. I ... don't. I'm fine with, say, 85-90% of Britishisms and references, but when you start getting into specifics about geography of the city, I know I'm missing references. (There was an acronym-- forgetting it now-- that I just had no clue about and had to let sail past me, even though it seemed at least tangentially relevant to the plot.)

Maiafire had quoted a blurb about the series calling it "Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere for the digital age" and it's quite right. (And I love Neverwhere.) But one of the things that that comparison made me realize was that for all its creativity, Neverwhere was really quite straight forward. It helped that the main character (Richard Richard Mayhew Dick) was the outsider and point of view character for the audience. While Matthew Swift (the main character for Griffin's series) has been out of the, er, loop for a few years, and while he is trying to figure things out, he's deep in the events, and himself is a mystery (unlike Richard Mayhew) and so the reader isn't led by the hand. This isn't a bad thing either way, really. It's just an observation. I do feel a bit disloyal to Neverwhere , though, for having made the comparison.

(Then again, I've bene feeling grouchy at Neil Gaiman ever since he announced his engagement to Amanda Palmer, and grouchier still when she announced Evelyn, Evelyn and complained about being attacked by disabled feminists. So, whatever.)

The Play
We are now two weeks out from the performance of The Second Shepherd's Play and it is, as expected, a complete disaster. Wheee. We had rehearsal yesterday but since we have no director and the person in charge (ish) (ie: his vanity project) can't be bothered to actually plan for rehearsal space (arg!), this necessitated wandering about campus for a while as I carried two bags full of props and my spinning wheel. I am now bruised from the latter-- it's not heavy but it is bulky and awkward. Also, I tried to make constructive comments after our customary runthrough (being the only person in the room with, oh, I dunno, directing experience) and was, as per usual, pretty much ignored by Mr Vanity Project. Rehearsal again on Sunday. Yay.

Mainly it makes me want to direct again.

Cooking, badly
In a bid to get healthier, (read: weigh less) I've been trying to cook. I have been, however, repeatedly reminded that I am, in fact, a terrible cook. :P

Project-Cat
Updated Project-Cat a few days ago with a sad post. :( Today, however, when I left to go to Flurry's house (to go hiking) I had seven healthy looking cats sitting around the food dish and that made me happy.

Aaaand that's that. :) I'll probably upload pictures of hiking and tomorrow's ren fair on Sunday or Tuesday... I'll post about it here, in case anyone's curious. :)

(Icon is Hotch from Criminal Minds because it's the closest I have to Lucas from MI-5. I should fix this.)
eilonwy2017: (Shivering Jemmy)
It was like CHRISTMAS )

Also, I spun up a whole bunch of dyed locks into a textured single. (I'll be plying it with a smooth single in a similar color.) It had a *lot* of VM (vegetable matter-- read: dried bits of hay) in it, so that was annoying, but it was really nice to spin. I couldn't put the hair on the most recent yarn!chester 'cause while I had curled the yarn for it, it didn't hold any curl, and it needs a *little* for this character. So I rewound it (on a smaller cylinder) and we'll see. I didn't feel like starting another, either. And I've finished 6 sheep (7, actually, 'cause I miscounted at one point) and a wee army style bag for the yarn!chesters to carry weaponry in. So, I spun.

I shower and go to bed now. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, although theoretically not hard. First I have to give/proctor the Shakespeare midterm. Then I have student conferences/workshops. Then a break for lunch, followed by a lecture given by a renaissance professor, but on sprezzatura and classic Hollywood. Then a break, followed by a playreading of The Custom of the Country. I won't get home 'til probably 9 or 10 or so.
eilonwy2017: (Damaged)
Blech. Since Sunday morning, the awful mind-numbing brain fog that comes with a sinus infection has lifted, although there's still some sinus pressure and I currently have a headache. I lost my voice most of the way on Sunday as well, which was excellent timing as I was in rehearsal for The Second Shepherd's Play, a task I've more and more come to view with displeasure. (Speaking of which, [livejournal.com profile] magelette, you still on for sending me some wenchy clothes to borrow?)

Being ill has given me ample time, however, to view much visual entertainment (which is to say: movies and tv shows.)

My Watch Every Sean Bean Movie (and catalog how he dies) Plan has hit a major snag, however, I started to watch Far North the other night. I chose this one for several reasons: 1. I hadn't seen it, 2. it only has 3 major characters in it, leading me to believe there would be ample Sean Bean screen time, and most importantly 3. it was available via Netflix's instant downloads and I was out of new movies to watch at the time.

However, I only got roughly 3 minutes into said film because the first thing the first character does is pull out a giant knife and -- well, I stopped the movie but it was pretty clear she was about to slit the throat of a dog. So, yeah, I can't watch that one... maybe I'll manage it in the future if I fast forward past that part, but... probably not.

Flightplan, however, was a fairly entertaining movie-- an enjoyable example of its genre. I had my doubts during the opening, but once the story actually got to the plane, it was good. I even didn't mind that they played the "is she crazy?!" angle because it wasn't done up as a twist (ala Shutter Island, ugh), or used as an answer (ala My Bloody Valentine.) On the Sean Bean angle, there clearly wasn't enough Sean Bean, but what there was was enjoyable.

The only broadcast tv I've watched was Make it or Break it last night, and it played very much like the episode-before-the-finale of a serial tv show, if that makes sense. In other words, it was all set up to make next week's finale as tense and as intense as possible. So, whatevs. (Then again, no episode is going to stand up to the one from 3 weeks ago in which Kelly Parker got chalk in the face, and Sasha punched Marty.

(I have no qualms about spilling spoilers here because a. it was from several weeks ago and b. I'm 98% sure that no one on my friends list watches the show. I didn't even know it existed until Flurry insisted that I watch some of it. It's weirdly addicting, and not just because the actor who plays Sasha is both hot and has a sexy accent.)

I have been using Netflix, however, a great deal, particularly the Instant Queue.

Last week I rewatched North and South (the BBC miniseries about the industrialization of England based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, not the American miniseries about the Civil War.) The first time I'd seen it was because Richard Armitage was in it-- and I'd just seen him for the first time on the BBC series Robin Hood. This time I watched it because it's a really good miniseries. I then promptly went to the university library and took out the book. (This was, surprisingly, more difficult than one would assume. While the ASU libraries (of which there are several) apparently own about 10 copies between them, all but one were checked out from the main library, and that one was missing from the shelves when I got there. However, I discovered that for some reason the multi-volume set of the Complete Works of Elizabeth Gaskell don't come up when you search for the individual works (which is odd-- as other collected works certainly do), so I managed to find a copy within volume 4. Irritatingly, however, a previous reader has underlined many passages (inexplicable ones in some cases) and made absolutely imbecilic marginalia notes-- usually insipid and often wrong. I know I should just ignore them, especially as deciphering the handwriting takes me out of the story-- but I've never gotten the hang of ignoring marginalia (or footnotes. Which has nothing to do with this rant.) Oh well.

I then rewatched Wives and Daughters, also a BBC miniseries based on a(n incomplete) novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. This, too, I'd seen before. This one, however, while still good, just doesn't bear up to a second watching as well as North and South does (and again, this is not just due to the presence of Richard Armitage in the former...) This means that when I get a little cash (some day...) I'll buy myself North and South on DVD and not worry about getting the whole Elizabeth Gaskell Collection. Particularly since the third miniseries on the collection is Cranford which I enjoyed watching the first time, but haven't had any impulse to rewatch. (The collection is only twice the price of one miniseries, you see, but still too expensive to buy on a whim. But now that I've decided I don't need the collection, it'll be easier to afford just North and South.)

Have I mentioned that I have a pounding headache? Well, I do. And I choose to blame that for the babbling I'm doing here.

I have also been watching a great deal of MI-5 (or, for my British readers, Spooks.) I'd caught bits of it on BBC America back when I was watching series one of Robin Hood (see above re: Richard Armitage, but actually that was a cast that was entirely comprised of sexy Brits, not just Armitage alone.) And I'd found it interesting then. But upon checking imdb to see what else Richard Armitage was in, I discovered that he was (is?) in series 7 and 8 of MI-5. I've very much been enjoying series 1 and 2 of the show, and series 7 is now on my Netflix queue (as it's only on DVD, not instant). I don't know that I'll watch all of the intervening series as I understand that Tom Quinn (the main character from series 1 and 2) is not on after series 3. So I may watch 'til his character leaves, then start back up with series 7. We'll see... (And apparently series 8 isn't available via Netflix-- any Brits watch this show and know if it's currently on, or recently finished or what?)

(I may have to rewatch the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice as apparently the actor who plays Tom on MI-5 was Mr Darcy.)

Speaking of Richard Armitage, I also watched the Macbeth episode of Shakespeare Retold as he played the Macduff character. Also, I'd been told by several Shakespeareans that the series was very good and that Macbeth was the best of them. It was quite good. It had some issues (both as a retelling of Shakespeare and as its own piece) but nothing too bad. It had some great moments, too, some very nice modernizations.

However, I blame it for the wacky dream I had in which everyone wanted to ride a roller coaster called the Macbeth (why was it called that? why were we riding roller coasters? No clue.) But every time someone said the name of the ride, it was said the way Paul Gross says MacBETH? in series (season?*) 2 of Slings and Arrows. This meant that I simply had to bring up Macbeth in some fashion while hanging out with Flurry so that I could say MacBETH? over and over. Naturally.

(Apropos of very little, last night I dreamt of TastyKakes.)

So. Yeah. I need to get over this sinus problem mess so that I can start thinking about something other than telly again. (Namely, my dissertation.)

I'm looking forward to watching the series premier of Parenthood tonight.

I saw Shutter Island on opening weekend and hated it.

I've crocheted 5.5 sheep while watching all of the above. (They're for my Second Shepherd's Play castmates. There, uh, will be 6 total, I'm not stopping with that .5.)

I've played with Sculpey a lot in the past two days, too, and made some accessories for the Yarn!Chesters. (One of the nice things about watching things on my computer-- which I rarely do-- is that I can sit at my desk and work on things like Sculpey. It's not nearly as comfortable as on my couch, of course, but then I don't play with sculpey on my couch, do I?)

While looking at pictures for the accessories, it reminded me of how awesome seasons 1 and 2 of Supernatural are, so I may be beginning a rewatch of that eventually soonish. Or something. :)

All right, this already ridiculously long and pointless entry is rapidly devolving, so I'm going to stop now. You'll probably be relieved to know that I'll be back in classes and such tomorrow. I'm not at 100% health-- well, not even 100% for me health-- but well enough. My throat only hurts a wee bit, and then only when I cough. I have coughing fits, but it's not all the time My nose is mostly clear, the pressure's mostly gone. The only major issue left is that my ears are still closed. Very frustrating. :P But hardly an excuse to keep from teaching/going for ice cream with Heather/going to a presentation on "Virtual Reconstructions of History." This last I don't particularly feel up to doing, but it could prove useful for my diss. Yay.

---------
*Do Canadians use "season" or "series"?
eilonwy2017: (We're So Screwed - SPN)
Regarding the most recent news about the Show in general.

(I don't know if Spoiler-phobes will consider that news to be spoilery, so I'm putting everything behind the cut. Because I am a nice person. :D And I know of at least one other thing in here that really stringent spoilerphobes might also consider a spoiler. But it's all general stuff and stuff that's been said months ago by the showrunners, with the exception of the news that just broke, which is what I'm responding to. Got that? You can now make an informed decision about whether or not to click below.)

Thoughts on the News )

In other news, I'd say I'm about half done with the newest Yarn!chester, and I've made my decision about the next one. :)
eilonwy2017: (Dean grrr...)
Anyone else think that Alexis looks like an insect when she has her hair pulled back?

(I haven't been able to stand her from week one, so I'm kind of enjoying everyone else not liking her this week. Of course, I don't think that's going to translate into her going home this week because the designers, in so far as we've seen, don't seem to have an idea that she's so despicable most of the time.)
eilonwy2017: (EEEEE Raoul the Big Gay Supernatural Dra)
PLEASE NOTE. This is a jumble of thoughts/observations made a bit after the fact. I didn't have my computer with me at [livejournal.com profile] flurije's house, and I still have papers to grade tonight, so I don't have the time or brain power to make anything smooth and pretty. Last week I got into a bit of an argument with another SPN-fan about a very minor comment I made (that Anna should have gone back earlier in time, before 1978, so that Mary couldn't be pregnant) and it was a totally unimportant, throwaway observation, and I think the confusion may have come about because of my just throw-it-out-there style of commentary. This week's is bound to be even more haphazard, yet even less detailed. Fair warning. :)

My Bloody Valentine )

Not a spoiler or related to tonight's episode, just funny. Flurry picked up Yarn!Castiel (as I always bring Sam, Dean and Castiel with me, or I get in trouble with Flurry) and started swinging him about and singing, somewhat hight pitched, "Swiiiiing looooooow, Sweeeeet Chaaaaariot..." Well, *I* thought it was funny. Mind you, that was partly because last week when going to the Dreaded TA Meeting, Flurry, [livejournal.com profile] wild_donkey_man and MM sang it (and other spirituals) as a protest to having to go to said meeting. Also, WDM brought his fingerpuppet of Walter Benjamin with him, and he also sang. (I made a hat for Walter Benjamin out of an index card. It was the most productive part of the entire meeting.)

I love comments, as well you know. But I can't guarantee just now when I'll get around to responding. My life is booked up from now 'til sometime on Saturday... I haven't even decided if I'm taking my laptop to campus tomorrow 'cause I have reading I have to do before 3pm, and if I take my laptop I probably won't so much do the reading...
eilonwy2017: (Mouse Thing)
Today I totally overslept-- I was supposed to be at rehearsal at noon, so I set my alarm for 10am. I, uh, got up at 1pm. Fuuuuuck.

Everything else has been more or less good, though. I cleaned, I made a new CD for my alarm clock (I figure part of the reason I've been sleeping through the alarms is that I've become used to the music...? Hey, it's possible. This mix is called "Wake the hell up" and is volume 1. Heh.), I've chatted with my parents, I've vacuumed, and before that, I fixed my vacuum, and I have watched the Puppy Bowl.

How often do you have to change the belt on your vacuum? It seems like it's a bit too often that I have to... Grr. Oh well.

So why all the cleaning, you might ask. Yesterday I found out that the apartment complex people are demanding entrance into my apartment for the next five days. I am not a happy camper. They are checking the water heater (I'd like a new one please, sometimes I don't get hot water for my showers) , and things like that. And, if I want to pay $35/month, they'll put a washer/dryer in my balcony closet. I'm really tempted-- I would love to be able to do a load of laundry whenever I wanted. I'd have clean clothes more often, I'd be more likely to put stuff away because it wouldn't mean putting away HUGE loads of stuff all at once. But by the same token, I don't spend $35/month on laundry now, so it'd be doubling what I pay by going to the laundry room. Do I really want to pay for that convenience?

This also leads the problem of Widget. Last time they wanted access to my apartment, Miss Widget spent the night at Flurije's-- but that didn't go well. Flurry got no sleep and Beatrice was angry for a week. I asked [livejournal.com profile] wild_donkey_man, but he won't be around much this week and so was reluctant. Similarly, two other friends last night at a dinner party I attended said they'd take her, but it was clear that it'd be a hassle for anyone. So I guess I'm going to take my chances and just hope that whoever has to come in doesn't notice or doesn't care... It's unclear from the highlighted map as to whether they need access to my bathroom-- if they don't, I'll keep all three in there so that none of them can run out. I'm really scared that the workpeople will let one of the fuzzies dash out. :(

Also, they want three closets cleaned out -- uh, no? How the hell am I supposed to do that? And how much do they really mean? Naturally I have questions about all of this-- timing, where they really need to get to, how much access they need, etc. But can I ask? NO. Because they put the notice on our doors at 6pm on Friday-- right when the office is closing. These serve as 48hours notice, but you can't call and ask them any questions during that time because the office is closed 'til Monday morning! ARG.

In other news, PUPPY BOWL VI. I love the puppy bowl. I get almost as excited about the puppy bowl as people do about the Super Bowl. And this year, not only was there a kitty half time, but there were BUNNY CHEERLEADERS and piloting the blimp there were HAMSTERS. Heeee!

I had more to say, but that was all ages ago, 'cause since writing the above Flurry and I have ordered and eaten Chinese food and watched an episode of Make it or Break it and now I have to comment on at least 7 student papers. :P

So, hopefully, more on last night's soiree and other fun things at another time.
eilonwy2017: (We're So Screwed - SPN)
No during-episode commentary tonight 'cause I'm trying to teach myself to spin using the long draw. (I'm very much a short draw spinner). But observations )

Going back to my lumpy yarn now. (I didn't say I was successfully learning to spin long draw.)

Final thought:
Read more... )

SPN 5.12

Jan. 28th, 2010 09:00 pm
eilonwy2017: (We're So Screwed - SPN)
Random Thoughts of Randomness
spoilers )

In other news, Flurry is trying to put a hat on Jackjack, and I want my Chinese food to show up.

Perhaps Thinky Thoughts later, but now I'm going to watch a show about gymnasts until it's time for Project Runway. :)

VD

Jan. 28th, 2010 07:56 pm
eilonwy2017: (Cheshire Cat)
I am waiting for Flurry-- she seems to be running late-- to join me for Supernatural and delivery foods. Because I'm terrified of missing any SPN, I have the CW on already, meaning that VD (Vampire Diaries) is on. I've actually heard really good things about this show of late, but it still doesn't interest me. The deepest thoughts I can have about? Damon still looks like Rob-Lowe-Rent and Stefan looks like a muppet. Oh, and the fact that one of the characters has my name still pisses me off.
eilonwy2017: (crochet)
You might be surprised by the lack of response to Thursday's episode of Supernatural ("Sam, Interrupted"). [livejournal.com profile] flurije was over to watch it, and asked why I wasn't blogging while it was on, or after. And I thought about this question-- because it actually had not occurred to me to do so, which is odd, as I have done so for every episode since the last third of season 4. But... I didn't. and it's not because I've fallen out of love with the show. (Yes, I prefer season 2's feel over season 5's, but whatever.) In fact, I was more excited about this episode than any this season. I enjoyed it, although I had some qualms with it, and it's an episode I look forward to rewatching. But mainly my brain is still fried from comps, and I had to teach Friday morning, and I slept ALL of Friday afternoon, and then I wrote my proposal (for the dissertation) Friday night and I slept all morning today, and spent the afternoon working on application materials for a fellowship and now I should be learning lines because I'm supposed to be off book for rehearsal tomorrow (I won't be.)

It doesn't help that I'm having trouble typing. I don't know why, but for some reason my fingers just aren't responding quite right-- they don't hurt and don't feel stiff, but they don't seem to have their usual strength/speed, which makes the idea of writing out all my opinions both on episode 5.11 and on the recent news I heard about SPN too daunting to contemplate. Maybe tomorrow, because I do have things to say.

The amigurumi that I offered up for [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti went for a $60 donation, won by [livejournal.com profile] blergeatkitty, and she donated, I'm pleased to say, to Doctors Without Borders, so that's pretty damn awesome. Depending on a lot of things, I may offer another one in the next Help_Haiti auction (in mid-February.) Blerg wishes for a Randall Flagg (the Walking Man from The Stand), a fact which amuses me to no end, even though it means finding multiple shades of yarn that work for acid-wash jeans, and the creation of a curly mullet. (But not, in fact, the first mullet I've ever done, so that's all right then.)

Because i don't have all of the necessary yarn (although I will hopefully stop by a craft store tomorrow, though I don't have high hopes as I've looked for jean-colored yarn there before), I am also planning the next Yarn!chester, to work on when I can't move forward on ami!Flagg (or Flaggypants, as I've taken to calling him, even though by "him" I mean the half of a head I crocheted last night.) I need to find some pale pink yarn. Any guesses on who I might be working on? :D

(No poll because I feel inspired to make this particular character, so I'm just going to go ahead and do it while I have the motivation.)

Whee. Tonight Flurry is coming over to watch bad Lifetime movies, so I'll be sure to be making some progress on something, I just don't know if it'll be ami!Flaggypants, the new Yarn!chester, or sewing up/stuffing cat toys, since a brand new box o' organic catnip arrived in the mail. Mmmm, catnip.
eilonwy2017: (Cheshire Cat)
Just watched the last episode of White Collar. To which I say, "WHAT THE HELL?!" Did not see that coming in the least.

Play rehearsal today kinda sucked. I'm too opinionated, in some ways, about how the play should go, and not enough in others. But frankly, "more movement!" is not necessarily a good thing. True, you don't want stagnation, but if some people don't stop with the happy feet, I'm going to nail them to the stage, even though said stage is made of concrete. Also, don't get annoyed with what I'm doing (or not doing) and then tell me that I have to figure out my own blocking, with the incredibly annoying guy. Fuck, dood, don't wanna. I get that most of the people in the group do not have theatre background, but this is still no way to run rehearsals. I offered to direct, but everyone said, "Oh, we don't need a director!" Fuck, if for nothing else you need a director so that you don't keep calling the entire cast, making most of them sit around doing nothing for ages. Grr.

I should be grading. I'm not.

I have the "skins" of ten catnip mousies knit. One of them is sewn together (but not stuffed). I also have most of one fishie crocheted.

I had a big, if late, lunch, but I'm hungry again.

My parents are all excited to watch "Alice" on SyFy (seriously? Did I actually just type "syfy"? It seriously looks like it should be pronounced "siffy" and is shorthand for syphilis.)

Went to the library today and took out a dozen books (oh comps!) But there were 4 that were supposedly on the shelves, but weren't actually. Grr.

After rehearsal I was in an inexplicably bad mood. Chatting with my [livejournal.com profile] pyrite made me feel better, but now I'm grumpy again.

I went to the post office to mail yarn to [livejournal.com profile] pyrite, [livejournal.com profile] magelette and [livejournal.com profile] lizabethanqueen, got the postage and everything, but the package slot wouldn't open. Seriously. I think something must be jammed. Unless now they're not letting people put packages in the slot when the counter isn't open? But then what's the point of the Automated Postal Machine? So that's annoying, and those will go into the mail sometime in the next few days-- Wednesday at the latest. My apologies for the delay. :(

DVD player still not working. I guess it's dead? It just seems so random. It was working, I hit pause, and then the video went away and has never come back, but the audio still works fine. So. Weird.

Oops. Meant to finish and post this ages ago, but forgot. Since the above I have sewn up all the mousies.

Now I'm grading, and I've put SyFy's Alice on the background since my parents are all excited, I figured I should look into it, too.

SyFy Alice )

Why do the people in the little box never listen to me?

(I'm not drinking, I swear. I'd like to be, but I'm supposed to be grading. And I got quite tipsy on Friday, so I should probably keep my liver-destruction to a minimum.)

More Alice reactions )
Okay, I really do have to grade. So you will get no more thoughts from me unless something really strikes me. :)

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