sigmastolen: (dalek-o-lantern)
(Does this count as meta? idk mostly it's me ranting pseudo-intellectually)

In my newfound summer-break free time, I'm basically turning to Netflix to fill my brain with mush -- which is obviously completely different from what I do during the school year. I watched Dollhouse, for three main reasons: (1) I love Eliza Dushku, (2) I love Tahmoh Penikett, and (3) I wanted to see it for myself instead of letting meta discussions about Joss Whedon and feminism tell me what to think about it (yes: Echo and Adelle are both complex, strong characters. yes: it is always rape o'clock at the Dollhouse, and this is very troubling.). And I want to talk about it (though not as much as I want to talk about Angel ALL THE TIME), but the first thing I have to say is: Joss Whedon, I have Problems with Amy Acker's characters.

Okay. I don't have problems with all her characters. But I do have big big problems with the characters we're presumably supposed to like and identify with, and miss when they're gone, and because Amy Acker seems to represent Whedon's Ideal Woman (or at least her characters do) (given that he has said her face is the most beautiful thing he has ever captured on camera or something), it stands to reason these problems extend straight into Whedon himself.


In other news, I love Adelle best, because I am predictable.
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Bu which I mean, today is the first day of spring break, and to mark the occasion, I am apparently watching movies. At least, that is what I did today (you know, in addition to having rehearsal, practicing, and making reeds). (Netflix & Me: A Love Story)

In which I talk about movies: Black Hawk Down and Contact (and Shortbus) )
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My winter break in movie reviews. YAYE :DDDD

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The King's Speech, Black Swan, The Fighter, and The History Boys )

A last note: Marvel has a few movies coming up that I'm pretty excited about -- Thor and Captain America for this year, and apparently The Avengers for 2010? I'm totally down with Thor (esp. since Chris Hemsworth (AKA GEORGE KIRK YES PLEASE) is totally gorgeous), and I'm super gleeful about Cap, but I'm a little weirded out that Captain America -- you know, super-wholesome 1940's All-American super-soldier beefcake -- is being played by Chris Evans, who is also Johnny Storm, the Fantastic Four's playboy Human Torch. I'm a little worried about this whole playing-two-characters-in-the-same-franchise thing (or closely-related franchises, at least), and I'm also concerned that I won't be able to stop seeing the Human Torch while he's supposed to be Cap.
.... Man, all this is making me want to watch Iron Man II again. You know, for the Thor & Captain America teasers. And also for Scarlett a little. Okay, a lot for Scarlett. I could almost watch The Spirit again, for Scarlett. Maybe if there was a good-parts version, with just Scarlett & Samuel L. Jackson's scenes. *sighs dreamily*

In other news: although Days Where I Don't Leave The House make me feel incredibly lame after they happen, they feel so good while they last. :D
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Things Netflix Thinks, Bizarrely, I Will Like Because I Like Battlestar Galactica
- Iphigenia, about -- guess what? -- Euripides' tale of Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter, Iphigenia.
- Breaking Bad, a TV series about a chemistry teacher-cum-meth cooker.
- My Neighbor Totoro, about fantastic critters and country life.
- Howl's Moving Castle, which. Um. I'm not sure I understand what this is supposed to be about.
- John Adams, about the founding father John Adams.
- Band of Brothers, about Easy Company. This one kind of makes sense. I guess John Adams might, too.
- The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, based on a book series that my mum reads about a sassy lady detective in Botswana.

Other Bizarre Netflix Ideas:
- The Blind Side because of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Good Hair because of Milk
- United States of Tara because of Milk
- Twelfth Night because of The Princess Bride, Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and Doctor Who?

Oh, Netflix. What.

Also, strangely specific genres:
- Suspenseful Space-travel TV Shows
- Gritty Suspenseful TV Dramas
- Mind-bending Supernatural Fantasy
- Critically-acclaimed Visually-striking Cerebral Movies

Good job, Netflix.
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Iron Man 2: MEH.

Scarlett Johanssen with red hair and green eyes, kicking ass and taking names VIA MUCH ANGULAR MOMENTUM: YES PLEASE. PLEASE SIR MAY I HAVE SOME MORE.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts: <3 FOREVER

Mickey Rourke's character's cockatoo: D'AWWWWWW

Hints at Captain Ameriva movie: HELL YEAH CAP

Hints at Avengers movie: Yeah, okay, cool.

Post-credits teaser for Thor: FUCK YEAH THOR

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1. "Understated Dramas About Marriage" is an oddly specific category of movies. As are "Visually-Striking Violent Action & Adventure" and "Cerebral British Thrillers," although less so.

2. It suggest I will like Twelfth Night (yes, Shakespeare) "because I enjoyed" (wait for it): The Princess Bride, Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.0, and Doctor Who: Season 1. Yeah, I don't know either. That's not even the season of Doctor Who where they actually met Shakespeare.
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1. AWKWARD STORY!!! So remember bull-like percussionist (BLP)? Okay. So, rehearsal goes from 3:30-6 with a break in the middle. The Tuesday before the concert, we had been rehearsing Mozart 39, on which I played first bassoon and he played timpani. When Maestro Z let us go to break, he released the trumpets and timpani because we would be working on the slow movement for the rest of rehearsal. So I was sitting in my chair, maybe noodling? probably just sitting, and BLP comes over and is all, "So, how about getting drinks after this concert? You're not going to space out again, right?" Which, BY THE WAY: THIS IS EXACTLY THE WRONG WAY TO APPROACH A WOMAN. Because I didn't see him coming, and he got all up in my personal space, and the wording and tone conveyed a sense of entitlement and resentment failing to pass itself off as a joke, as well as left me no way to tactfully decline.

So I did the only thing I could do: "Suuuuuuuuure," I replied. Cue awkward conversation that I don't want to be in, in which I also misunderstand about half of what he says because he mumbles. *eyeroll* Aaaaaand then he left and I spent the rest of the rehearsal having a small "OH GOD THE AWKWARD" freakout.

The rest of the week I was polite when he initiated conversation but honestly I avoided him a little and exaggerated my natural social awkardness because I really wanted him to take a hint.

(fun fact: at the next rehearsal, Maestro Z tried to correct something BLP was doing and instead of accepting it (or at least pretending to accept it, as musicians WHO WANT TO KEEP THEIR JOBS do all the time), he said, defensively, "I'm just trying to accommodate everyone else," or something to that effect. And honestly, if I had been interested before that, I definitely wouldn't have been afterwards. PROFESSIONALISM/REHEARSAL ETIQUETTE FAIL. NEGATIVE POINTS.)

So anyway, I contrived to bring Comrades K and R along and possibly some other people as well and make it clearly a JUST BUDDIES OKAY kind of outing. We played the concert (and BLP and I definitely didn't discuss this having of drinks during the intervening time) and I was chatting with the clarinets going offstage and while packing up. When we made our way out of the hall, I found my bassoon comrades, but BLP was nowhere to be found. The clarinets asked if we wanted to get frozen yogurt (I really like saying "fro-yo" but it looks so silly in writing), but Comrade K wanted booze, so we went to a nearby bar instead. Crossing the street on the way there, we saw BLP walking ahead of us with a cellist (who, hilariously, has a very similar build to mine, but she's blonde. well, I was entertained, anyway). I guess he got the hint? Which I guess also makes me a bitch, but I'm actually pretty okay with that. My Comrades and I had a beer with the grad conductors, who are all precious. BLP and I have had zero interactions since. Oops.

2. Grad Conductor J is Czech, and he is conducting the Stravinsky Septet, which I am playing in, for this Contemporary Music Ensemble concert cycle. His English is not great, and he mumbles a little, and makes hilarious faces when he conducts, and for some reason thinks it's okay to wear a white bow tie and red cummerbund with his black tux when he is conducting a concert... But it's kind of awkwardly charming, mostly because of his accent (and because he's pretty sweet, and definitely well-intentioned). Anyway, I'd really only spoken with him very briefly in class, plus one awkward mumbled conversation on a crowded bus, so hearing him talk as much as he does in rehearsal is a novel thing. It fascinates me. He keeps saying the word slowlier -- as in, "we take it a little slowlier" -- which is an adorable word-formation. I don't remember my Origins & Nature of English Vocabulary as well as I would like, and I left all my old notebooks in Long Beach (how's that for cutting the cord, yo? except I didn't get rid of anything, it's all in a box in my parents' house...), so I don't know exactly what neologistic processes are going on, but it's clearly a conflation of "slowly" and "slower," yeah? Cute. Also, he says "bassoon" with a fun accent. It's a little like "bassyoon" -- not pronounced enough to be umlaut-u, maybe a little like French u? As well as "wiolin" and always "celli" (never "cello"). It's fun.

3. The Stravinsky Septet is a lot more fun (and a lot easier to read) with more than four parts accounted for. No joke, for the first rehearsal last week (at 9 a.m.), I was the first person to show up, at maybe 20 of? Grad Conductor D, the CME manager, arrived soon after, and we set up the chairs (as we were doing so, someone from the rehearsal crew, which I guess is a work-study deal? they do set-up and tear-down for all the "large ensembles" -- orchestra, wind ensemble, and CME -- poked his head in but we were all, "we got this" so he left), and then Grad Conductor J came as well, and I warmed up. The violinist and violist were also essentially on time, so Grad Conductor D covered the piano part, and we started reading (we'd only gotten the parts scores (the parts are on back-order, bah) the night before, okay? I only remembered to pick mine up that morning). The pianist arrived 45 minutes late. The clarinetist and cellist never showed up at all, and Grad Conductor D had forgotten to put a horn player on the roster. This morning's 9 a.m. rehearsal had everyone but the horn, which, eh, not cool, but it was still much easier to put things together and get shit done. Yesterday's 8:30 a.m. rehearsal of the Stravinsky Concertino for 12 players was also pretty pathetic -- four people (violin, clarinet, oboe, trumpet 1) never showed up, trumpet 2 arrived halfway through the rehearsal, trombone 1 even later, and we started about 10 or 15 minutes behind schedule because we were waiting for people to trickle in.

I understand that this is college and it's hard to get up for things that early, but we are musicians and this is rehearsal. This shit? Is how grownups get FIRED. Dammit.

4. So I'm working with Tall Composer on a project for Research Seminar (which is something that happens to All Masters Students Everywhere, I'm told), because his joined-at-the-hip roomie is working with his new bestie, the oboist from my quintet. And it turns out he's kind of a douche (so props to you for calling it, Jeff). Best of all, it's in a way that reminds me unpleasantly of DIAF. Now I'm extra glad I decided I don't actually want to date anyone.

5. I am crocheting! I am crocheting "convertible" gloves -- the fingers are full-length, but they have a slit about halfway up, so you can stick your fingers out and be dextrous while the top of the finger flops around behind, and then when you're done you can be warm again! But you guys, I have remembered why I switched over entirely to knitting: crocheting sucks. Completely aside from the fact that I had to RE-LEARN EVERYTHING (except for how to chain, I guess), it is very slow going, and I have to look at what I'm doing all the time because I can't find where I'm supposed to stick the hook through by feel, and while the left-hand glove feels warm when I try it on indoors (it's the finished one; I've only begun the cuff on the right-hand glove so far), it is rather bulky and I'm sure the wind will cut right through all the GAPING HOLES that crocheting creates. Ah, well. I'm enjoying it well enough, I guess. And I LOVE the yarn I'm using! It's Elsebeth Lavold BAMBOOL (so named because it is 80% bamboo viscose and 20% merino wool) in midnight blue, to match my corduroy blazer (that it's probably already too cold to wear YAY). AND AND AND it's only $6.99 per 50-gram ball at the AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME yarn store near my flat, Knit One. It's deliciously soft (one of the owners confided to me, while I was checking out, that she had passed it off as cashmere in a hat for a friend, because they had no cashmere yarn in the colour he wanted), and pretty, and warm (I hope). MY NEXT PROJECT: convertible mittens (this is where it's "fingerless" (properly half-fingers, here) gloves underneath and a big mitten flap over the top) in a grey tweed wool, to go with my peacoat. And my trench. And, you know, everything. (Freedom Spirit by Twilleys of Stamford, $5.95 per 50-gram ball, score! srsly some of the yarn there, like the silks or the actual cashmere, was upwards of $30)

6. So it turns out I might be good at what I do? I always feel awkward when people compliment me. Which happened after pretty much every rehearsal for Mozart 39, be it from the clarinets, the grad conductors, or Lipstick Lesbian Horn Player (I like her, she's from NorCal and is pretty cool, even though Comrade P and Metal Oboist say she's a bitch. I suspect this is almost entirely because she does not like the cock). And now it's happened after a couple wind ensemble rehearsals as well (OH GOD WIND ENSEMBLE HERE KILLS MY SOUL. AS ANNOYING AS IT WAS AT UCLA, AT LEAST DR. DIRECTOR OF BANDS STILL LOVES HIS JOB), and Wind Ensemble Directator tossed off an awkward, "I love your playing," in rehearsal once (SO AWKWARD). And, while I am reasonably happy with the quintet I was assigned to this semester, I have been propositioned for next semester by three other groups so far: a trio wanting to become a quartet, the quintet that Comrade P is leaving, and a quintet that is trying to form (this one probably has the least chance of being graced by my presence, because the clarinetist is douchey and the oboist, though excellent and hot like burning, was one of the people who didn't show up to the Stravinsky Concertino -- although to be completely honest I really don't like the way the oboist in Comrade P's quintet plays. at all). So, uh. I seem to be in demand. Which is actually a little uncomfortable. But I really shouldn't be complaining, because, hey, the more I get to play, right?

7. Uh....... was there a 7? idek. WHATEVER, YO, IT'S 0040 AND I WANTED TO WATCH SOME BSG TONIGHT :\


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300? Yeah, I'm down with that. (Except for, you know, the uncomfortable sex and oracle scenes. And Gerard Butler's speech impediment.) I mean -- kickass fighting + epic historical setting + David Wenham + hordes of ripped, scantily-clad dudes. Duh. Granted, Zack Snyder is responsible for the movie and I have not yet read the graphic novel, but I've heard good things.

Sin City? Sure, okay. I mean, it's adapting his own graphic novel, which I liked well enough, and as much as it's not "my thing" as much as, say, superhero comic adaptations or Movies! In! SPAAAACE!, I totally dug a lot of things: how faithful it is to the look of the comic, the way the three stories aligned, via the bar and the farm, to take place in the same night (is it like that in the comic? I've only got the first one so far), the hordes of hot, kickass chicks (especially you, Rosario Dawson. You go, with your big guns and your BAMF sort-of-mohawk, and being the leader of all the awesome, deadly hookers), how utterly creepy Elijah Wood is, how we never in fact learn anything at all about Josh Hartnett's character. While I found the gratuitous violence torture porn distasteful, and I was really not all that into Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba's May-December romance, I did find myself really emotionally engaged with the movie.

But, oh god, The Spirit -- not so much. The comicification felt really stilted, instead of natural, the way it did in Sin City. And, sorry Will Eisner, but OH GOD THE NAMES WHY, WHY THE NAMES. "Silken Floss." "Sand Saref" (which I totally heard as "sans serif" for her first ten minutes in the film). Worst of all, "Plaster of Paris." GOD the Spirit sounds like such an IDIOT sensually murmuring "Plaster." I could almost go along with the hamminess -- it worked well for everyone except for the Dolans and Sand, and sometimes the Spirit started to take himself seriously and that jarred me out of it, too. Just.... oh god, it was so idiotic. Seriously, the bright spots for me were Samuel L. Jackson (because it's Samuel L Jackson, motherfucker), Scarlett Johanssen (because I will always love you, Scarlett. You complete me. The gorgeous hilarity of this role might even make me forget He's Just Not That Into You and Match Point (nope, sorry, Woody Allen, didn't like it. I think I'm just really not into infidelity. Because that was also what pissed me off about HJNTIY and Glee, although, oddly enough, I do love The Scarlet Letter)), the clones' shirts, and, most of all, that adorable tabby cat that follows the Spirit around. God, this movie was so... bizarre and nothing. It was totally a non-event. Except for Scarlett (and her phenomenal tits). Scarlett was definitely an event.

(I'd kind of like to know what real-life city Sin City's "Basin City" is a stand-in for. Because The Spirit's "Center City" is obviously Chicago, as Gotham City is obviously New York.)

To conclude: The Spirit = So mediocre it was bad.
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first: nature documentaries = BEST FOR REEDMAKING. I started watching The Blue Planet, and to discover I can simultaneously learn shit, be soothed by David Attenborough's dulcet tones, nerd out about how much I love the BBC's composers, and feel like I'm being a good little music major -- it's pretty damn great.

second: Tonight's feature presentation: Little Ashes, starring Javier Beltrán, Robert Pattinson (omg hahaha), Matthew McNulty, and Marina Gatell. According to IMDB, it's "About the young life and loves of artist Salvador Dalí, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and writer Federico García Lorca." Mostly it was about García Lorca being totally in love with Dalí, Dalí being crazy like a crazy jerkass fox, and Buñuel being, well, kind of a dick but ultimately not a terrible dude.

True confessions time: I put this in my queue because of RPattz's promotion of it in that GQ interview from a few years back, and because I like Dalí, and RPattz as Dalí was something not to be missed, obvs.

The jury is still out on whether I might actually have preferred to have missed it.

Okay so they're all at university in Madrid together. Federico is our protagonist, and thank god, because Javier Beltrán pretty much carried the entire film. Marina Gatell, as his fag hag lady friend & fellow writer and revolutionary, Magdalena, was also damn good. McNulty was decent but forgettable, and RPattz was of course unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Luis calls Federico "bourgeois" and has a massive hard-on for Paris and is a big big homophobe. Salvador starts out as a dorky maladjust and then he gets a makeover and tries being a fashionable alcoholic revolutionary before apparently settling on moderately insane, moderately homosexual egotist. Federico doesn't quite fit in, at first, as tortured artist or as revolutionary student, but he hangs out with the cool kids anyway, has his Big Gay Revelation in the form of Salvador Dalí, suffers his Big Gay Heartbreak at the hands of Salvador Dalí, and then becomes a BAMF revolutionary poet/playwright Of The People! And then he stirs up a little too much trouble (which coincides, conveniently, with reunions with all the other main characters) and gets abducted by the government and shot. And his friends cry and drink to his memory, and Dalí covers himself in black paint, wears a cape, has a crazy mustache, and is a crazy motherfucker. Also, between the Castillian accents (hello, lisp!) and mumbly actors, this was one of the few things I've ever watched where I had to put on the subtitles just to understand the dialogue.

So.... what did I like?

- The costumes (oh god, 1920's period dress! The trilby hats, the waistcoats, the neckties, the trousers, the flapper dresses and fascinators... <3)
- The music (even though sometimes it was inappropriately prominent -- mostly when the movie was taking itself Very Seriously Indeed, you know, the high-drama scenes like Dalí and García Lorca's moonlit makeout sesh in the ocean) (and even though I wanted them to please step away from the Chopin Revolutionary Etude, because it is my favourite one and I would rather it not be tainted by memories of a meh film. I prefer to recall Raskolnikov when I hear it, thanks ever so.)
- Javier Beltrán
sigmastolen: (dalek-o-lantern)
. . . so I'm watching "Mystery of the Batwoman" on Netflix (a Batman: The Animated Series feature-length thing, I think -- or at least, it looks like the Batman I remember from my 90s childhood TV habits) and it appears that Bruce Wayne has a Kandinsky in his bedroom. Oh, 90s animators, you cared so much! <3

Exhibit A: Photobucket

Exhibit B: Kandinsky on Google Images. See for yourself!

(Shut up, guys, my dad's really into Kandinsky. We have prints in the living room.) (He's also really into Mondrian.) (. . . sometimes i like to pretend i know stuff about art, okay?)

Man, I miss the days when kids shows were quality. Kandinsky. Shit, son.

Here follows my running commentary. )
sigmastolen: (omgcrab)
Last night I joined for Netflix (the 31-day free trial, but I'll likely pay them their $10 a month afterwards). I have been signed up for less than 24 hours and I have already spent several hours browsing DVDs, rated 184 movies, added over 200 DVDs to my cue, and watched one movie on Instant Watch. THIS IS GOING TO DESTROY MY LIFE YOU GUYS.

Anyway. That movie was G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and it was epically, hilariously bad. It was literally So Bad It's Good*. It is, in fact, the first example on the So Bad It's Good: Film* page. And if I'd known this, I would have watched it so much sooner -- except I probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much before this exact moment in my life. I mean, the hilariously improbable plot and relationships between the characters and stilted dialogue and slightly impossible action sequences, yes, but OMG THE CAST which includes: The Ninth Doctor as the Fake!Scottish Big Bad, Arthur as the Evil Disfigured Mad Scientist, Gaila as the Hero Chick, Darth Maul (or Toad if you prefer) as the Silent Masked Ninja Hero, Governor Swann as the POTUS, Sienna Miller as the Hot Mind-Controlled Villainess Who Happens To Be The Protagonist's Ex, A Wayans Brother as the Sidekick, A Victoria's Secret Angel as the Hot Secretary, and oh by the way Brendan Fraser in an uncredited cameo during the Training Montage*??? I just. What. How could I possibly resist this movie? We all know I often sort of love things that are bad. Like Torchwood. And Cheetos and Mountain Dew, together, during D&D. And John Barrowman's ACTING!!!

I guess to make amends for how hilariously bad this movie was, and for linking to TV Tropes and IMDB so much in the preceding paragraph, and because I feel obliged to counteract the potential of the G.I. Joe movie to be Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Dethroning Moment of Suck*, have a video! This may actually be JGL's Crowning Moment of Awesome*... performing "Make 'Em Laugh" while hosting SNL. Complete with pratfalls and wall kicks! AWESOME.



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