Randomness

Mar. 31st, 2015 06:29 pm
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
- If you'd like a dent in your forehead, try going through the "homosexual agenda" tag on tumblr. Guaranteed headdesking.
It's all: "Don't you see that intolerance of intolerance is intolerant? You should let me 'live and let live', the way I don't let you. So stop being such a hypocrite."
No, I'm not a train wreck enthusiast, really. :)

- I am so unfit. I started a simple daily 5-10 minute exercise routine last week and now I ache all over. Owwwww...

- On the other hand, books I have read so far this week:
Hero, by Perry Moore
Princesses #2: The Mermaid's Madness, by Jim C. Hines
Princesses #3: Red Hood's Revenge, by Jim C. Hines
And it's only Tuesday. What am I doing with my life?

- Where have all the lesbians gone in TV and film?
I was just thinking about this last week. Plenty of shows currently featuring queer men, but not so much women. It sucks that I don't like prison shows, so Orange is the New Black is right out for me. Glee is over, Lost Girl is ending this year, what does that leave? Maybe Orphan Black, but the lesbian on that show is dying, and clones don't really interest me (I'm making myself trudge through my sister's DVDs, hoping the show will hook me, but no luck so far). There's not a lot of options out there right now.

- I'm still trying to untangle all the historical threads of Christianity, so I love this quote:
"One of my Calvinist friends... describes the branches of the Reformation this way: If you picture the Church as a chest of drawers, the Lutherans went drawer by drawer and discarded items they felt were wrong. The Calvinists dumped out all the drawers, then methodically sorted through the stuff and returned only that which they thought was essential. The Anabaptists took an axe to the whole thing and resolved to start over with a new chest of drawers."

Randomness

Jul. 8th, 2014 03:31 pm
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
- Chris Colfer's next book, The Land of Stories #3: A Grimm Warning, came out today. More for me to read! I only hope it doesn't end on a heartbreaking cliffhanger like the last one did.

- I was going to go buy it today, but after the stabbing yesterday I didn't want to be near the traumatised shopping centre today. (My sister was in Parramatta when it happened, although she wasn't in the shopping centre, so she brought the news home with her.)

- I just saw the word "Horcrux" used as an insult. How fantastic! As in, "He's such a closed-minded Horcrux." Must remember that.

- Does anyone else have books that you stop reading halfway through, multiple times? It happens to me every time I try to read Wuthering Heights or Sophie's World, which I've started twice only to abandon them halfway through both times!

- If I could pick a song to play at my own funeral, it would be I Am A Thousand Winds, by Hayley Westenra, which is the English version of 千の風になって (sen no kaze ni natte) (that link goes to Masafumi Aikawa's version). The Japanese piece is based on the English poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye.

- Someone made Rudd v Abbott into a card game. Oh. My. God.

- New Volcanoes Discovered in Australia
"Though it's been more than 5000 years since the last volcanic eruption in Australia, it's important that we understand where, when and how these volcanoes erupted. The province is still active, so there may be future eruptions."

Randomness

May. 24th, 2014 12:41 pm
elfinblaze: (me writing)
- I just got an SMS that said, "Hey, Sandrav, sorry about the hickey." Visualise me popping devil horns when I ask: what do I write back?

- If I get this job I've just applied for, I'm buying myself this ring to celebrate. Yes, it's expensive (10x what jewellery of that mineral is usually sold for), but I consider it a donation for a good cause. Guess which finger I'm planning to wear it on?

- This made me laugh: Urgh, that's so straight! I don't mean straight in a heterophobic way! I just mean, you know, dumb and stupid.
I didn't expect it to be funny, since it's so over the top, but that's exactly what made me glad I wasn't drinking while I watched it.
I'm always correcting my brother and sister when they say, "that's so gay." I tell them, "No, it's stupid." I know it's mostly them just slipping up with a phrase they grew up with, so I don't think badly of them for it, I just want to keep drawing attention to it, until they get used to paying attention themselves.

- I've hated Amazon since Amazonfail (which kept happening even after the initial public outcry, by the way), and this latest uproar just proves it's still a horrible business. Of course Amazon is bullying and petty. How many times does it need to be bullying and petty before people see a pattern?

Please don't buy from Amazon. I don't care who else you buy from, but Amazon is an evil company that doesn't deserve support. (This is basically how I feel.)

- I freaking love this artwork!
Jesus kneels, naked and vulnerable, as a knife-wielding soldier grabs him by the hair. War dogs bark at him like hounds of hell, baring their teeth. A leering soldier flips the finger at him while another brandishes an assault rifle. Behind them a skull stares out from a gaping black hole.
I love it because it's confronting, jarring, and throws into reality stories that many people have become desensitised towards due to pure repetition. This is what those stories would be like in reality, sans romanticisation or mythologising. They would look like Guantanamo Bay photographs.

- Wearing a Crucifix
I believe God is found among the victims of the world. God is hanging on crosses all over the world. And so I wear a crucifix to remind me, to help me see.
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
Time to do my annual list of books read, I think. As usual, this is only a list of books I finished this year. Unfinished books, or those still on my reading pile, aren't included. Books I started in previous years but finished this year are included in this year's list.

Regi's reading list for 2013 )

Not many books read this year, but still.

Randomness

Aug. 26th, 2013 11:48 am
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- Finished reading Chris Colfer's newest Land of Stories book, The Enchantress Returns, because I love children's fiction and re-written fairytales. He's become one of those writers where I know they might not be technically flawless or revolutionary, but I know I will thoroughly enjoy every one of his books, and that counts far more for me personally.

spoilers follow )

There better be a third book, is all I can say! XD I need to read it already.

- What is PopAsia doing to me? Now I have Trap, by Henry stuck in my head, and I've only ever heard it twice! Damn catchy music!

- Vote Below The Line is back online for any Australian voters, if you want to check out how preferences have been distributed in your seat. In my seat, for example, Labour is preferencing the Shooters and Fishers and even Fred Nile's party over the Democrats! I encourage you all to find out just how messed up the preferences in your seats are, because some of these are just insane.

The number of conservative parties on the ballot this year is depressing too.

But I am amused by the "Motoring Enthusiast Party". People really do create political parties out of anything and everything. I'm going to set up the "Secede Regi's Bedroom" party, so I can leave the country when I come home. And the "Stop The Greens" party sounds like those people in fandom who just run on bashing characters, and are just as uninspiring.
elfinblaze: (Torchwood)
Just finished reading Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift. I've never been a big Rice fan, although I've read some of her stand-alones, Servant of the Bones and Cry to Heaven, the latter of which is still one of my favourite fiction books ever because it helped me discover opera. I don't read much horror these days, but as a teenager I did. I read mainly classic horror: Stoker, Poe, Lovecraft, LeFanu, with a few modern writers like Poppy Z. Brite thrown in for good measure. I never enjoyed Stephen King or Clive Barker although I tried, and these days the "horror" that most bookshops stock is really paranormal romance, and I have zero interest in reading romance fiction, paranormal or not.

But I discovered that there's two types of horror that I like. Type one is the "chiller" type, fast moving, keeping you on the edge of your seat, compelling horror. Type two is slow moving, atmospheric, more beautiful and sad than horrifying. Most of my preferred horror fiction tends into one of the two types, although it has elements of both.

This one is mostly the second type, it's more philosophical, although it is still enough of a page-turner that I read it in two days. When my sister saw me reading The Wolf Gift she dismissed it as being like all the paranormal romance fiction out there these days, and the cover doesn't help. But of course it's not at all; it's true horror fiction with all the challenges and complexities the genre raises.

Cut for spoilers )

Of the "big three" horror creatures - vampires, werewolves, and zombies - my favourites are still werewolves and other shape-shifter stories (followed by ghosts, which are less popularly written about). In European folklore it was mostly wolves that threatened people, and that people turned into. In Russia it was bears. In parts of Africa it was hyenas and lions. In South America, jaguars. It was always the untamed and untameable in our stories that humans became when they lost their humanity. I find that combination of fear, nature, and human history fascinating.

I would label this book "fluffy horror", or maybe "horror for non-horror fans"... but I like "fluffy horror" better. :p Yes, it's still horror so of course there's the corresponding level of violence and sex and disturbing themes, but then, my bar for horror is extremely high, so that colours my interpretation and you may disagree vehemently. But this book is what I would consider fluffy by comparison to others in the genre. I've read similar levels of violence in general fantasy fiction, and it's still confined to the action scenes. The sex is mostly "off screen" and completely consensual. There's no torture, cold blood, or extended dread, and even the violence isn't lovingly dwelt on. It's just part of the way things happen. Like nature.

The reason werewolves are considered horror is because they confront us with what we're all capable of and because we all fear a loss of control. They tell us that wildness exists in everyone, and that it doesn't take an animal to be truly cruel: that is all human.

I found The Wolf Gift very enjoyable actually. I thought I would enjoy it when I bought it, just because I do like reading about werewolves, but I probably enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Books

Dec. 29th, 2012 04:07 pm
elfinblaze: (me writing)
I read a lot of good books this year. There were none that I hated, and none were thrown in the bin.

As usual, this is only a list of books I finished this year. Unfinished books, or those still on my reading pile, aren't included.

Read more... )
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
Finished another book! Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, by Chris Colfer.

It's the prequel to the movie, Struck By Lightning (coming out here this summer), which is why the book's ending is so abrupt. In the movie, the central character, Carson Phillips, gets killed by lightning in the first scene (so that's not a spoiler). The book is his journal, covering the last few months of his life, leading up to that day. The movie then contrasts what everyone says about Carson after his death, with what he was really like, so the book is at once a "novelisation" of the movie, as well as extra context for the pleasant lies that get told after his death.

Struck By Lightning a story full of unpleasant, complex, completely obnoxious, and weirdly sympathetic characters (including Carson himself). They are all stuck in a world from which they are trying to escape in their own ways, and all of them fail. Drugs, sex, fantasy, lies... all the different ways these characters use to escape their own unique hells, and none of them ever succeeds, except arguably Carson, who at least goes off in a flash of light. They are all equally in hell, all equally stuck, and none of them are going anywhere, although they all dream of it.

So it is dark, but it's very entertaining along the way, watching Carson do everything he can to escape his existence in the small town, and small world he's stuck in. In a desperate effort to impress his dream university, hoping they will accept him and provide his escape, he starts a literary magazine at school, and blackmails all his classmates into contributing.

Despite the inherent tragedy of a young person dying like that, the book is also very, very funny (the laughing-in-public-while-reading type funny), so I've been calling it a tragicomedy.



"Are you sure you're supposed to be drinking with all those prescriptions Dr. Dealer is giving you?" I asked her.

"It's
Dr. Wheeler, and why don't you just leave that to the professionals?" she said, and took the Advil. "Those warning stickers are for amateurs."

Over the last few years Mom has formed this sick relationship with her doctor. It's sick because half the time I'm convinced she thinks they're actually in a relationship. She literally makes up illnesses so she can visit him and is convinced if she doesn't call him once a week he
worries about her.

If I had a patient taking more pills than Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe put together, I'd be worried too. But I'm not sure she means
worry in the same sense.



The comedy is in the exaggeration and absurdity, and in Carson's sarcastic and clever humour. The tragedy is in the young man, who may be the villain as easily as he is the hero of the story. A boy who was never wanted or valued except by his grandmother, and who is living in hell-on-earth (a small town high school).

In the end, his death really is inevitable, given how badly he needed to either fly or explode, so in the book, getting struck by lightning is more metaphorical than anything else. His grandmother is the most important person in his story, the only one who believes in him, but once she forgets him, once the most important person in the world stops seeing him, it's only a matter of time before he disappears completely. Because a lack of anyone having faith in us, kills us all, one way or another.

I'll rate it at the end of December with all my other books read this year, but I enjoyed in immensely.

Books

Dec. 2nd, 2012 06:41 am
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I don't feel like doing a Gleeview either this week. It's too hot. 27.1°C (80.78°F) in our kitchen right now. That's at 6am! But it feels even warmer because it's humid, so I'm just sitting around in my underwear, hoping the cool change comes through before I have to turn my computer off to stop it overheating.

So maybe later in the week I won't feel too hot to think. Or too hot to have my computer on.

Because we don't have air conditioning at home, yesterday I took a bag full of books to the nearest shopping centre and just sat and read all day.

So I finished Tanya Huff's The Silvered. I love that book! It has magic, werewolves, humour, lots of action, lots of smart women heroes, and as usual in her worlds, the universe is not just full of straight people, so it has everything I love. I couldn't put it down.

Her books just keep getting better and better.

When I was in the city last week, I looked everywhere for Chris Colfer's second novel, Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, so either it wasn't out yet or nowhere stocked it. Yesterday, I found three copies in Dymocks, Parramatta, so if anyone else is looking for it, that's where you can find it.

And I have more to read now. :)
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
There will be no Gleeview post this weekend, I think, because I'm way too busy. I'll try to get it done later this week, because I really do want to squee about that episode.

I will be out most of the day tomorrow, so I was out most of the day today shopping for that. I was very restrained. I only bought two books, both of which were on my to-buy list anyway! I would have spent more time and money today, but then I got a foot cramp and decided to go home. Might be a good idea to remember that for next time I don't want to spend too much money: wear the wrong shoes.

So now I'm currently reading Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East, by Benjamin Law, which I became aware of through this interview. It's very entertaining, funny as well as bitter-sweet.

Across from Dhyana Pura's string of gay clubs was a kerbside where Bali's moneyboys gathered seven nights a week to steal your heart, take your breath away and, sometimes, pinch your wallet. Rows of them waited patiently, standing on one leg with a crooked knee planted on the wall behind them, the international pose for male hustling...

One thing unified them: they all looked crushingly bored. They were also evasive when I asked them what they were up to that night. One guy told me he actually sold mobile phones in Denpasar full-time - a well-paying job, he added - but hung outside the clubs on Friday and Saturday nights because he 'just liked to'. Generally, none of them talked to each other. When they figured out I wasn't in the market, they didn't talk to me either.


It's pop-anthropology and very engaging, exploring various queer issues in Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, and India. I'm just over halfway through now, and finding it really interesting.

After this I also have Tanya Huff's newest book, The Silvered, to read. I'll probably have a post to make about that one too.

Books

Jul. 25th, 2012 08:46 pm
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I usually go into first novels with low expectations. Chris Colfer pleasantly surprised me. That's not to say The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is the perfect novel. The pacing could use some work, and it's a wee bit too long and could have been tightened, but I enjoyed it far more than I expected.

It's cute and charming and clever and funny and engaging.

Especially considering I'm way out of the target age range. When I was 8 - 12 I was reading exclusively Enid Blyton, and he's no Enid Blyton, but I'm such a fan of rewritten fairytales Chris Colfer will fit nicely in between Angela Carter and Jim C. Hines on my bookshelf.

cut for potential spoilers )

The other book I bought on the weekend was a spontaneous buy after I saw it on display at Kinokuniya: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. From the cover it could be any young adult urban fantasy vampire-cliché book, but I've read both those writers individually before, so I thought I'd give it a go and see what they could do together. I'm so glad I did. I didn't expect the book to be so funny!

I've read enough trashy teen literature to see exactly which ideas the writers are playing with, so I loved it. So now it's Wednesday and I've finished reading both of last weekend's purchases already. XD

cut for potential spoilers )

I couldn't put either book down.

And now I need more books. Again.
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I decided to write this week's entry as a little comic.

scan )

It's not that I hate the idea of eReaders. I certainly have no problem reading stuff online, so I'm not opposed to screen over paper. I just don't like any of the eReaders on the market at the moment.

And I do love physical books.
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I've just finished reading the most exquisite book I've ever read. Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters.

Extremely short summary: it's the story of seventeen year-old Nancy Astley, living in Whitstable in 1888, who falls for Kitty Butler, a masher (what we would call a drag king today), and thus leaves her home and family to follow Kitty to London. The book follows the next seven years of her life in Victorian era London, with all its dizzying highs and bitter lows, and Nancy struggling, growing up, making a life for herself, and finding her place in the world.

It's incredible. I spent two years reading the book because I didn't want to finish it, and often I'd put it down just to savour the feelings. The writing is so evocative!

Especially the descriptions of the music halls in the early parts of the book. I was literally sighing with delight over some of the writing. You should have heard me.

Sometimes, in the afternoons or late at night, he and I would take a stroll through the dim and silent theatre, just for the pleasure of it. He had, somehow, acquired copies of all the keys to all the Britannia's dusty, secret places - the cellars and the attics and the ancient property-rooms - and he would show me hampers full of costumes from the shows of the 'fifties, papier-mâché crowns and sceptres, armour made of foil. Once or twice he led me up the great high ladders at the side of the stage, into the flies: here we would stand with our chins upon the rails, sharing a cigarette, gazing at the ash as it fluttered through the web of ropes and platforms to the boards, sixty feet below us.

Other parts of it made me laugh with delight because it's just so accurate. For example:

When, after half and hour or so, [Miss Raymond] went off to find the lavatory, Annie made us rearrange our places so that she might sit next to her.
"Quick, quick!" she cried. "She'll be back in a moment! Nancy, over there!"


That made me laugh because yes, that's exactly what girls are like, and that hasn't changed in over 100 years. It felt wonderfully true to life and real.

So much of it just feels so real, like you can almost reach out and touch the characters and hear and smell the places they inhabit. It sucks you in and makes you a part of the book.

Previously, my favourite fiction book was Anne Rice's Cry To Heaven which was similarly evocative of eighteenth century Italy. Because I love writing that brings to life a place I've never been to, and makes it feel real and alive. In fact, I used to keep a book full of my favourite descriptions of other places from the various books I read. Whenever a description was particularly vivid, or leapt out at me, I wrote it into that little journal. Now, I think I've found my new favourite book.
elfinblaze: (Glee)
I finished reading Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid, and I enjoyed it so much I had to write a quick post about her brilliant depiction of homophobia in it, which is such an important theme throughout the book.

cut for length; no spoilers )

Books read so far this year: 6.
Stories written: 1 (to be finished around Easter).
New Year's Resolution to read and write more: looking good so far.

Booksss!

Jan. 14th, 2012 08:22 am
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I finished work early yesterday because my boss has family stuff to deal with right now, so after I left I ran into two of our former patients on the street.

Mrs S: So what are you going to do with your afternoon?
Me: I'm going to the bookshop.
Mrs S: Ah, the second-hand bookshop. [Everyone in the area knows this bookshop.]
Mr S: Or you could go to the library and get your books for free.
Me: Yes, but then I'd have to give them back!

They laughed at me.

And yes, I do have another new book now.

Books

Jan. 8th, 2012 12:20 pm
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I spent all last week reading. Finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I started it last year, but I'd only read about 1/4 (300 pages) before last week.

I posted about it on my tumblr. because I can't be bothered doing a proper review here, because I don't have that much to say about it. I mean, it's a very good book, good world-building (if a little climatologically wobbly), excellent pacing and structuring (which is the main reason I read this writer's books), very, very engaging, if slightly melodramatic, but very enjoyable. The reason I wouldn't list it among the "special" books of the year is because there's still something missing from the characters, and I can't put my finger on just what. For some reason the characters didn't leap off the page at me, with the exception of Wit, a minor character. But if you ignore the wobbly link between climatology and human movement, which no one but me really cares about anyway, it's some impressive world-building. This is one imaginary place with a very rich and detailed history, geography, and whole new systems of politics and magic. So it's incredibly well put together.

Anyway, if you want to test-drive Mr Sanderson's writing, he's made an entire novel, Warbreaker, availiable on his website. I haven't read it yet so I can't give you any warnings, but I'll get round to it eventually. Maybe in February.

Currently, I'm re-reading The Hobbit. Because after seeing the trailer I feel like I need to remind myself, because I don't remember anything! It's been about 15 years since I read it last.

Next on my list to read: The Well of Ascension, by Brandon Sanderson, which I got for Christmas.

Apparently I feel like reading again, after last year's break.
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I didn't read many books in 2011. On the up side, I didn't read any terrible ones either, none that required tossing into the bin, and I spent half the year plotting my little monster a novel, so I can't really call that a loss. But here's the list, with the same categories I used a year ago. As usual, I'm not adding any unfinished books. They will go on the list for whichever year I finish them.

the list )

Now I can start my 2012 list!

I'm debating whether or not to make a New Year's resolution to write more this year. It would mean fewer (or shorter) Gleecaps every week, because I cannot write everything. *ponder*
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
I currently have 165 books in my bedroom bookshelf (I have many more in other shelves and packed away, these are just my favourites). I know this because I just spent five hours cleaning and rearranging the shelves. These 165 books are double shelved on two of the shelves. I hate double-shelving but I just can't get rid of any of them! I need to keep all my friends close at hand! *wails*

I'm fairly sure I don't own any more books now than I did five hours ago, but I have no idea how I fit all those books there before. Apparently they were thrown in there every which way, although it's also possible they've been breeding behind my back.

I still haven't read every book I own; I just keep buying new ones. Just wait until I go on another bender in a bookshop. I'll be double-shelving the third shelf soon.
elfinblaze: (WM Spears Write Hard Die Free)
Let's do this in point form:

- I am on holidays for three weeks! Hurray!

- I am currently reading Jane Lynch's memoir Happy Accidents. No, I haven't finished reading anything else yet.

- I'm trying to do some writing every day and I have come up with an insane monster of an idea. But at least it's keeping me from blowing our bandwidth while I'm at home every day.

- Yes, I realise I have other things that I should be getting done. Clearing up the paper piles on my floor? Cleaning out my cupboards? What?

- I have a new LJ layout, if you haven't seen yet.

And that's about it for the week. Expect no interesting posts from me while I am on holidays, I intend to be very lazy and boring and enjoy every minute of it.
elfinblaze: (Glee)
- I was in the new Galaxy bookshop yesterday because I had a voucher about to expire, and bought two more books I really don't need. The shop is now upstairs at the general Abbey's Bookshop, with the language bookshop, so now it's twice as evil as it was before, because now I can lose myself in two shops instead of one! They have plenty of German language books, so there's that temptation to resist too. In the end I bought two fantasy books.

The one I'm reading first is Jes Batiss' Night Child, which is the first book in a series of paranormal detective fiction set in Vancouver. It's fairly short and I'll probably be done with it tomorrow.

I also bought a brick. Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings, the TOR publication, which has the whole book in one, and is 1,200 pages long. So if I ever need anything heavy in my bag to beat someone over the head with... Nah, I can't wait to get stuck into that one. That should keep me entertained for a week.

- We've gone over our bandwidth cap again, so I've disabled all images loading in Firefox so that pages will load faster for me, just with pure text. It's really illuminating to see which websites are still accessable or useful even without images.

- Autostraddle do much more entertaining Glee recaps than I do and I agree with everything they wrote to a creepy get-out-of-my-head extent, so basically, what they said. Also I can't upload images on my current connection, so go read their recap if you want pretty pictures. [EDIT 2011.10.01: My own pictures are now uploaded and added below the cut.]

I'll just add my own thoughts quickly here:

cut for spoilers and 11 pictures )

- I cannot stop listening to The Jezabels! The more I listen to this album, the more I love it.

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