lazy lion at dublin zoo

Yeah, so this is a low-blogging month, partly because I didn’t want to review Black Panther the day I saw it because I got to see it earlier than Americans and spoilers, sweetie!, and partly because we’ve fallen behind in Marvel movie watching, and partly because I’ve been working a lot, or alternately, because I haven’t been working much at all. It’s hard to tell.

Anyway, mid-term break was the second half of last week and the only thing that kept me writing at all was doing this #100DaysOfWriting thing (we are on day FIFTY today! Halfway there!), which has been going pretty well, by which I mean I’ve done at least 100 words of *some* kind of writing–mostly either fiction or synopsizing–every day for the past fifty. I’ve never done that before, I don’t think. It’s kind of cool. But I definitely would not have done it at all if the 100 days thing hadn’t been going on.

I did have another one of those “I have failed on all fronts” days last week, wherein I went in to Dublin to see a movie and I had plans to go check out a place in the city that I’d heard about, and instead I almost literally walked into the theatre doors before noticing a sign on them saying the theatre was closed that day due to “an incident”, which proved, tragically, to be someone’s death. So I thought maybe I’d go around to the other theatre and watch the movie (The Shape of Water, which I still haven’t seen), but in the end I got there and couldn’t bring myself to pay for it, because I’ve got an Unlimited card for the other place (all the movies you want in a month, for a set price), or, alternately, a cheaper cover price out in Drogheda. So by then I needed to go to the bathroom, and my phone was out of battery, so I spent a VERY LONG TIME looking for a non-Starbucks place to both use a toilet and charge my phone. I finally found a toilet, but the accompanying cafe did not, to my dismay, have outlets. Frustrated, I decided FINE, I would GO AROUND THE CORNER to the cafe I KNEW had outlets, and I did, and…it had closed permanently two weeks earlier due to being unable to pay rent in this economy, and the insides of it were all torn out. :(

I ended up at a Starbucks. :p I sat down to write, and then there was a family emergency (it turned out okay), so that shattered what I had left of the day,, and…it was just one of those days, you know? It’s actually felt like there’s been a lot of those lately. But there’s been two for sure.

I think that’s about all I’ve got today. Oh, except I re-watched Two Weeks’ Notice, which is still a very cute, though still not quite perfect (there are a couple scenes that I’ve always thought fell flat–the one on the boat, particularly), and oh, god, guys, Trump actually has a cameo in it. He’s name-checked at the beginning and is then in one of the final scenes and it was probably funny when the film was made but now just made Ted and me look at each other and cringe. More than cringe. It was really quite awful.

Oh, and I also watched the 2013 The Love Punch, which is a romcom with Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson and it was very, very funny. I laughed all the way through. It’s well worth watching!

Okay, I’ve got to go get dinner ready for a hungry child, so I’ll call this an end to a rambling post…

Recent Reads: She-Wolves: the Notorious Queens of England was a Christmas gift, and I’m making an effort to get through my stacks of non-fiction this year (oh, god, I haven’t updated my TBR page for 2018 yet…), so I dug right in.

It’s what it sounds like: a history of England’s most notorious queens, and it reads, I’m afraid, like someone’s dissertation. There’s a great deal of “this is what I’m going to say” “here’s me saying what I’m going to say” “now that I’ve said it, let me summarize what I said” in the chapter structures. Furthermore, partly because the author is discussing the histories of women who lived as long as 1200 years ago and about whom most contemporary accounts were written by their enemies (or at least, ecclesiastical men for whom women were an often alarming mystery), and partly because dissertations are encouraged to be as speculative as humanly possible, there is rarely a paragraph that doesn’t have several instances of “may have, probably, perhaps, could have” and variations on avoiding saying anything with certainty.

That said, it also nicely weds various types of notoriety together in often rather elegant transitions, and the pedancy of the structure doesn’t take away from the interesting topic. I learned more about pre-Elizabethan English queens than I’d ever known (and also that pre-Norman-conquest they had much more interesting names: Aelfgifu and her mother Aethelgifu! Aelfthryth, daughter of Ordgar! Aethelwold, son of Athelstan Half-King! Seriously, William the Conqueror blew in & everything gets all Emma and Catherine and Elizabeth all over the place.), and lots of it is just rife for the pickings in terms of worldbuilding and politics and things. I finished it wanting to know more about many of the women (her chapter on Catherine Howard was, I think, the weakest, but Howard as a person was SO FULL OF POSSIBILITY), and regretting the fact that, indeed, most sources on them are second-hand and written by men who had reason to distrust and dislike them.

Norton’s thesis is clearly that these ‘notorious’ queens were essentially notorious because they showed ambition and sometimes political savvy, doing things that would have been perfectly acceptable had they been men but were outrageous and condemnatory because they were women, and of course she’s absolutely right. Tragically, it’s still a valid observation. :p

Anyway, it turns out she’s written a dozen other histories, mostly about the Tudor era (which has been my favourite historical era since childhood), and I’m going to have to take a look at a couple of them and see if the tone in which she writes is consistent with this one or if they’re more…fluid. I hope they are, and if they are, I’ll probably read some more of them. If not…then She-Wolves was worth reading, but I wouldn’t be convinced she’d be an author worth recommending. There are an awful lot of much more engaging historical writers. But! I have to check some more of her stuff out before deciding that for sure, and in the meantime, I think She-Wolves is a pretty good overview of some of England’s…well…most notorious queens. :)

Picoreview: The Greatest Showman: I am conflicted about The Greatest Showman.

I wanted to love it unconditionally. I went in prepared to. Unfortunately, I ended up liking it conditionally, perhaps because I grew up doing musical theatre and I have Far Too Many (Entirely Correct) opinions about what makes a musical work, and The Greatest Showman…missed a lot of them. I felt like it’s a musical by people who don’t fully understand how musicals work (which, given that the music was written by the people who did the IMHO excoriable La La Land, supports my opinion, although the fact that one of the screenwriters wrote the screenplay for Chicago does not), and it felt very much like a sophomore effort to me in terms of trying to achieve a timeless movie musical. I expected more, which would be…fine, if I couldn’t also see very clearly how more *could* have been achieved. I feel like they have half a good musical there and that they really didn’t know how to get the rest of it together.

I thought everybody did a splendid job in their roles. I loved watching Hugh Jackman sing and dance for us, and think he was totally robbed at the Golden Globes. My dad was blown away by Zac Efron, whose voice is so good it made me feel badly for Jackman a couple of times, even though Jackman did just fine. (Efron’s a better dancer, too. And man, I *really* wish he’d gotten cast as Cyclops. He would have been So Good.) Michelle Williams did as much as she could with a very thin role, and Zendaya did more than that with her almost-as-thin role. I loved Keala Settle and I hope “This Is Me” wins the Oscar, and oh, how crushing, I just found out Rebecca Ferguson didn’t actually sing the Jenny Lind role. A woman named Loren Allred did. Aw, how disappointing, because holy smokes what a voice. I loved her song. Anyway, the point is that individually I thought everybody did a fine-to-excellent job in their roles; it’s not their fault the musical itself is desperately flawed.

Spoilers beyond the cut.

(more…)

I…have been complaining bitterly on Twitter, and somewhat less bitterly here, about the buses in Drogheda. To summarize: they suck. They are either late or early and when they’re late it can be “I’ve been standing here in the cold for 70 minutes” late and if they’re early it can be “I got to the bus stop on time and never even saw the damn thing,” so it’s EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get to the gym by relying on it. Like, I tried to go to the gym 3 times last week, and only made it once, because of this crap.

So for…who are we kidding, months now…I’ve been saying I was going to take the bike a friend gave me and start riding it to the gym. My time would be my own! I’d get cardio in! It’d be great!

Except, y’know: cold out. And it has been a cold winter by Ireland’s standards, which is to say, I would joyfully spend 3 months out of every year biking in this weather back in Alaska, but in Alaska I had the winter biking gear for it. So I’ve been putting it off, but having been blown off by the bus repeatedly this week, this morning, in grim determination, I took the bike, walked it to school with Indy, then got on and pedaled my fat ass to the gym.

I would like VERY MUCH to believe that Google Maps is wrong and it is not 3.3km, but rather 3.3 MILES, to the gym, because it took me 25 freakin’ minutes to cycle there. And I was very slow, definitely, but jfc I hope it didn’t actually take nearly half an hour to bike 3km. o.O I mean, I used to bike 25-30 miles in a couple of hours…

Aaaaaaanyway, the point is I did it! And then I went to the gym. Upper body workout. O.O Because hoo boy my sit bones and thighs are already really sore and I bet tomorrow is going to be miserable. I wouldn’t say I’ve got great ambitions of doing this again tomorrow, but perhaps two or three times over the next week, that would be nice. :)

day two books!

January was an excrutiatingly busy month and I don’t actually know how I got this all done, but somehow I did. I:

– submitted a manuscript to three publishers
– submitted a proposal to a publisher
– wrote & delivered an Old Races short story for and delivered a novella to the patreon crew
– wrote a 2 page book proposal
– wrote a grant application, including a 12 page book proposal
– wrote a 10 page book synopsis/proposal
– hashed out a film synopsis (still needs work)
– got halfway thru a dissection of another project
– blogged more than A DOZEN times (i’m very proud)
– wrote a little on a new book
– revamped my patreon totally
– total wordcount: around 17K, probably

and possibly other stuff I’m forgetting right now because agh there’s been a lot.

However, lest you think I did NOTHING but work, let me also say I:

– watched 3 Marvel movies as part of the marathon
– watched RUNAWAYS and THE GIFTED
– read a book and a few graphic novels
– went to the gym MORE THAN TWICE o.o
– passed 100 days of studying spanish
– meditated a bit
– did some family things
– knitted some for the first time in over a year

I tell you what I did not do enough of. I did not sleep enough. I went to bed too late all month, and I feel it. Must try to do better on that front this month. :p Aside from that, though…I think I done pretty good, eh?