laceblade: Rachel & Santana wearing eye masks, arms folded, on their couch (Glee: Pezberry couch)
This concert was a complete surprise, announced while I was already in London for the month. Shoreditch was the neighborhood next to mine, so even though it cut into the weekend that we ended up traveling to York, I went to this concert, one of a handful Lea has had thus far to promote her new album, Places.

The line to get inside extended around the corner of a large city block, and there was some palpable excitement.

I had a balcony seat, and a decent view. The music being played overhead prior to Lea was all Bon Iver [I think]. I lost my shit a little bit when I recognized The Wolves, which is a song that's on my [Glee] fic playlist, although I had previously only been familiar with the Ellie Goulding cover and didn't even know it was a Bon Iver song, lol. BUT. SO MANY FIC FEELINGS UGGGHHHH.

When the lights dimmed imperceptibly, everyone screamed. We cheered and clapped for a long time, and eventually Lea kept trying to talk but couldn't because the clapping persisted. She was clearly overcome, thanked everyone sincerely for having come. Someone in the front yelled, "You deserve this!"

The band joining Lea on stage included a drummer, a cellist, a pianist, and some string instrument(s) I couldn't see, probably including a violin. This led to some different intros and interpretations, just because some of the orchestral/electronic effects couldn't be recreated on a live tour. For example, I remember really liking the percussive intro to Cannonball, the first song.

"Love Is Alive" was the first song to give me goosebumps. Like, her voice is just phenomenal, but there was a point of realizing, I AM IN THE SAME ROOM AS LEA. SHIT.
Her story introducing how she got this song [from a writer] was pretty hilarious, but I think completely loses its effect if not told verbally.

I eyerolled when she said she wished Darren [Criss] was there just before beginning Battlefield - he sang the duet with her on the album. Everyone else cheered, though, so I struggled to keep my reaction non-verbal so as not to ruin the moment for the people sitting to either side of me LOL.

Often on the slower songs, Lea would give a manual cue to the pianist/orchestra members to speed things up, making a "go" motion circling her index finger, which cheered me because slow songs tend to bore me live too, :D

When introducing "Sentimental Memories," she said something like, "One of the great things about being a singer is that you get to express these feelings...AND TALK SHIT ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO FUCKED YOU OVER." lmao.

"Heavy Love" gave me some 'these strange steps' feelings, mostly due to the Dear lover / put another pill upon my tongue lyric.

Full setlist )

A tweet from Lea's twitter feed, showing her on the stage.

Since the concert, the whole Places album has been released. I'd like to listen to it more, and spend time comparing it to Louder, but I feel like her voice sounds healthier here, like you can tell she's had a lot of rest. I think her voice is still damaged from Glee, but it makes me happy how nice it sounded.
I want to punch the reporter who asked her whether "Hey You" was about Cory. The direct references in the lyrics make it completely obvious that IT IS, why ask her?

"Anything's Possible" gives me a lot of fic feelings. I'm adding it to my fic-writing inspiration playlist.
laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
So approximately a decade after it came out, I finally played Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus.
For those unfamiliar, this is a shooting game that uses one of FF7's tertiary characters as the protagonist - Vincent's even optional, in FF7! In FF7, he has a rich but underutilized backstory that is told primarily through wordless flashbacks. Much is insinuated, but not articulated.

It's hard to beat FF7's protagonist in terms of angst, in that he looked up to his culture's war hero, left home to join the army & be like him, only to have that hero burn down his hometown, killing his mother and everyone else he ever cared about...AND THEN you find out halfway through the game that this character's memories have been fucked, and he's not even the person he thought he was.
No, Vincent beats that! By previously working for the Corporate Bad Guys and being an expert marksman, falling in love with a scientist working on biological experiments whom he's supposed to be protecting, discovering she got pregnant by an unscrupable man he loathes, and that she did it FOR SCIENCE, injects herself with JENOVA cells, gives birth to a future serial killer/wannabe-planet destroyer before tragically dying & causing Vincent to feel like he personally failed her, getting SHOT by an unscrupable man he loathes & basically brought back to life and tortured/experimented upon against his will, and literally sleeping in a coffin for the next 50 years to atone for his sins in the basement of a mansion in a town that was supposed to have burned down, until you/your party wake him up to join the fight. ALL! OF! THE! ANGST!

The fact that the guy voice-acting for Vincent Valentine is the dude who did Spike's voice in Cowboy Bebop doesn't hurt, either. For a video game, I though the voice-acting in this was pretty great.

This story focuses primarily on Vincent, but Reeve and Yuffie are pretty prominent as well. I've seen some reviews complain about this, but I'm actually really excited for a game focusing on these three. Of course, that didn't decrease my excitement when the rest of the party showed up. TIFA!! I loved seeing Cid's ship - of course he'd have a skylight that rotates images of natural life on the planet.

I'd put this off for a long time because when I initially tried playing it, I failed hardcore with the setup. It is absolutely necessary to play through the tutorial, but this was made interesting for me because you got to play Vincent-as-a-Turk, :D With the help of the tutorial, you get your bearings okay, although playing games like Star Wars Dark Forces I and II probably have helped me become accustomed to shooters. Sometimes I had to replay parts of missions what seemed like an endless number of times to finally beat them, but then I'd get rewarded with ANGST and more story, so it was okay. Also, some of the mechanics are aimed at people used to RPGs, in my opinion, in that they make it easier. At all times, you can literally use a Phoenix Down on yourself so that if you get shot/KO'ed, you're immediately resurrected. They make a few things difficult in that the number of items you can carry is severely limited, but overall the difficulty was not extreme.

I'd expected the plot to make way less sense than it did. This game was better than it had any right to be, and the twists in the story were totally unexpected [to me], and tied right into the larger Final Fantasy VII mythology. It was fun that Lucrecia still had some secrets.

I LOVE part of the scene that auto-plays when you start up the game and just let it cycle, where Vincent climbs to the top of the Sister Ray towards the end of disc 2, and finds Hojo collapsed over the computer screens/controls, and Vincent just levels his gun. GAH!!

Being able to play around in Midgar and Kalm, finding LOVELESS posters on walls when you're zooming around with your sniper scope, EXPLORING THE SEWERS BENEATH NIBELHEIM, I feel like this game was a love letter to fans, and almost like it was created specifically for me.
As I try to finally plow through some PS2 games to find which ones I actually enjoy/are worth keeping [or, to use the KonMari phrase, which "spark joy"], I'm delighted to have fallen in love with this one.
laceblade: 5 girls of K-On! anime, carrying UK bags. Text: let's go abroad! (K-On!: Abroad)
Yes, I am behind on that meme and also on comments and also many things. I have plans for blog posts, though!

That said, I’m going to be spending the month of April in England. [My partner's employer has a retention problem that they combat by giving a month-long paid vacation anywhere the world for employee and a +1 every 5 years they work there.]

Do you know of any books, comics, or manga that are published/available in the UK that are not available in the US? Tell me about them, ;)

I’m also going to be looking into anime. While I understand that DVDs there are a different “region,” for a while the UK had the Studio Ghibli movie “Only Yesterday,” which was only finally released in the US LAST YEAR. WHAT IF THERE IS MORE. I’m willing to nose around a little, but if you have thoughts/knowledge on other forms of media you think I’d be interested in, I’ll take that, too.
laceblade: Azusa offering piece of paper to the viewer, Ui in background holding cake (K-On: Azusa offer)
I think I've mostly seen this meme on Facebook, but others have posted it to Dreamwidth and so will I.

Matchbox 20, Yourself or Someone Like You
Third Eye Blind, Third Eye Blind [although Blue is now my fave of theirs]
Vertical Horizon, Everything You Want
Blink-182, Enema of the State
Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory
Green Day, Dookie
The Starting Line, Say It Like You Mean It
Fall Out Boy, Take This to Your Grave
Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill
New Found Glory, Sticks and Stones


ALSO, I might be showing my youth here, but there are a lot of singles I got a hold of through of through a friend or etc. that were super meaningful to me even if I didn't have the full album. Example, Swing Swing by the All-American Rejects, as well as songs by Dashboard Confessional, Switchfoot, Lifehouse, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, The Ataris, etc.

Soundtracks were also a massive influence on me, probably moreso than half the albums on this list. These would include Les Miz, Everworld, Spider-Man 2, A Walk to Remember, MOULIN ROUGE, etc.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
[personal profile] bibliofile: Are you watching any broadcast/cable tv these days?

As an overall response, not really, no.
We don't have cable. We do have an antenna, so we get basic channels, but all I ever watch is the PBS NewsHour, an occasional Packers game, and sometimes whatever's on PBS's Masterpiece Theater - looking forward to the premiere of Victoria this Sunday, for example.

Lately, if I'm watching TV, it's either through Netflix or Crunchyroll [the latter is basically Netflix for anime].

On Netflix, I recently watched The Crown. I'm still stalled through episodes of Jessica Jones because I find the show very intense and difficult for me to watch. [Whereas Daredevil goes really quickly because I find Charlie Cox VERY ATTRACTIVE.] Antoine and I have been watching Star Trek: The Next Generation together, very slowly. I'm also intermittent on the Pokemon anime series, Futurama, and probably some things I'm forgetting.

As for anime, last season I kept current with Yuri!!! on Ice and Sound! Euphonium, and then "Miss Bernard Says" at the end. I'm pretty behind on March Comes in Like a Lion, but trying to catch up now that it's in its second cour. I'm annoyed that Netflix got hold of Little Witch Academia, because now we have to wait until it's over before Netflix will drop the whole season in one go.
Other shows I intend to return to from last season include Izetta the Last Witch, Flip Flappers, Classicaloid, and Ninja Girl & Samurai Master.
Shows more than one season old that I'm working on are the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal, Love! Live! season 2, Record of Lodoss War [seeing if the VHS tapes are worth the shelf space!].
laceblade: Sailor Mars, mid-transformation, close-up of eyes. Text: MARS (Sailor Moon: Mars eyes)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k asked for, "A bold decision you made, and then regretted, and then walked back, and survived."

I've had a really hard time with this one, and I think that I have finally figured out why. I don't think I've ever walked back a bold/big decision that I've made.

Once I've committed to something, I'll go through hell to get that shit done.
Maybe I shouldn't? lol.
laceblade: Chibi Tomoyo blushing with eyes downcast, hands clutching face (CCS: Tomoyo overcome)
I'd added this to my Crunchyroll queue within a few days of the first episode airing. The Anime News Network reviews were good, and enough of my anime friends liked it that it seemed worthwhile.

Was not expecting it to turn into the next thing that fandom, the monolith, latched on to. I'm usually not in the same places as mainstream fandom, I think. Like, I watch the MCU movies/TV shows casually, but I'm not into fic, don't really care much about the characters, etc. It was WEIRD to watch how many non-anime fandom friends got into this show! Weird in a fun way, mostly. I loved reading people's reactions on twitter, the fanart that still comes up on twitter, etc. I'm now following a number of actual ice skaters thanks to guidance from [twitter.com profile] dimensionwitch.
My favorite on this show was Plisetsky, hands-down.

Part of me feels cynical that it's a show focused almost entirely on dudes that swept main fandom, and not something like, Yuri Kuma Arashi. I understand why people like it - I like it, too! - it's just that usually I'm poking around in anime and manga because I can find stories that actually focus on women, so it's disappointing that ~the show that transcended media lines~ was so dude-heavy.

I've added Fujioka's HISTORYMAKER to my iPod, and it's now in my regular rotation. I loved both the OP and ED songs, and sequences, from this show. They were so fun.
The key animation throughout the series, though, was sometimes painful to watch. It'll be interesting to see whether the bluray releases are as big of a step up from what initially aired as Sailor Moon Crystal's were.

Anyway, I am looking forward to season 2 airing, and seeing everyone's reactions along with it.
laceblade: Tifa of FFVII, fists up, fighting (FF7: Tifa fight)
[personal profile] glass_icarus wrote, "Favorite female characters and why you love them? Any fandom :)"

SANTANA LOPEZ [Glee]
Not only is she half of my all-time favorite ship (Pezberry), but Santana is a sass-queen and a great singer to boot.
If you fell off the Glee wagon early (I certainly would not blame you), Santana was initially a sidekick character to Dianna Agron's white/blonde Quinn Fabray. Santana almost always appeared with Brittany, but it was usually Santana making the devastating one-liners as well as their characters' decisions. Because the show almost always presented Santana together with Brittany, they first presented a potential sexual relationship as a non-sequitur in a multi-party phone conversation - a joke that worked because of the other characters' surprised reactions.
But Naya Rivera wanted the camera on her at all times, and her background reactions in the choir room and in hallway scenes, usually hilarious as well as on-point, led her to bigger storylines, in part because she was one of the strongest actors on the show. [I'd say second only to Cory Monteith.] Her relationship with Brittany served as an opportunity to explore Santana's sexuality, and Rivera was there able to present a vulnerability that many fans latched on to.

In a show of self-centered teenagers, Santana is the one character who is always willing to GO THERE, to say what no one else will say. This was convenient for writers looking to push a plot forward, as well as viewers seeking vindication. She pointed out plot holes, hypocrisy, and uncomfortable truths. Even when the writing plummeted as the show continuously tried to take itself seriously for representing marginalized teenagers while also excorciating viewers for expecting anything but cutting comedy, Santana Lopez was reliably hilarious.

After having her vulnerability open her up, her character is also one of the few who has a clear progression on the show into self-acceptance and ability to love and care about other people. She learns how to have real, actual friends.

Many fic authors have given her the characterization and storylines that the show-runners never thought she deserved. She is my favorite character to write in A Song is a Weapon, and she's also my favorite character to read in this fandom.


Utena Tenjou [Revolutionary Girl Utena/Shoujo Kakumei Utena]
I'm not sure how accurate the translation was for the first sub I saw of this show, but when relaying the [first version of the] backstory, it said something like, "So impressed was she by him, that she decided to become a prince herself." This BLEW MY MIND. WHOA! A tiny girl gets saved by a prince AND THEREFORE DECIDES TO BECOME A PRINCE HERSELF. WHAT KIND OF AWESOME FUCKERY IS THIS.

Utena. Utena is that awesome. Her pink hair, her refusal to take sass, her tenacity in telling Anthy Himemiya that she's in a fucked up situation and no matter how many other people think it's just fine, it's really not okay.

I want to be Utena. I aspire to her chivalry.


Tifa Lockhart [Final Fantasy VII]
You spend the first half of the game knowing that Tifa's Cloud's childhood friend, but in the second half it's revealed that since before the start of the game she's been holding back the truth and waiting to see what happens because she knows Cloud ought to be dead, and she's not sure if the protag you're playing as is really him, or a clone - if her memories are real, or fake. This reveal is one of the biggest WTF moments in video game history, but it also gives Tifa some real depth that often gets glossed over in FF7 fandom.

In addition to that, she runs her own bar in the Sector 7 slums, and allows it to be the secret headquarters for a terrorist organization dedicated to taking down an environment-destroying corporation that's responsible for the death of her father as well as burning her hometown to the ground.

At the age of 15, she picked up Sephiroth's own sword and tried to get her revenge even though she had to have known there was no way she could succeed. And after that, after recovering from her wounds and re-learning her martial arts skills, she joins AVALANCHE to work on getting revenge in the long-term. She's supportive, she's brave, and at a point of high drama in the game, she chooses to stay by Cloud when he's incapacitated and take a break from saving the world. It's a selfish choice, and I kind of love her for it. She refuses to give up on Cloud's hopeless ass throughout the game. I was first drawn to Tifa because I over-identified with her for falling in love with her childhood friend, but I've stayed a devoted fan because of her complexity and strength.



If you want me to post about something some time this month, leave a comment on this post.
laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Stealing this meme from [personal profile] coffeeandink because I keep not knowing what to post about but miss posting here more often.

Ask me about my recent media, if you'd like.
You can see my most recently watched anime here, although it only goes 3 weeks back. I keep my MyAnimeList account VERY up to date, though, so my 'Watching' list is always current.
I log my books here at my Goodreads account.
There's also whatever I've been posting about lately on [twitter.com profile] ribbonknight or [tumblr.com profile] ribbonknight, what I've added to my pinboard account at [pinboard.in profile] ribbonknight, or my still-languishing but still constantly-thought-about epic Glee fanfiction. Ask me whatever.

Spoiler: Sometimes I fail at fulfilling/completing these, but I am still hopeful/gonna try.


You don’t have to be following me or ever have commented to request a topic.
Feel free to suggest multiple topics/dates.
Feel free to just leave a topic and no date. I’ll fill it in.

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January 5 - [personal profile] glass_icarus: Favorite female characters and why you love them? Any fandom :)
January 6 -
January 7 - [personal profile] wrdnrd: Yuri On Ice
January 8 -
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January 10 -
January 11 -
January 12 - [personal profile] jesse_the_k: A bold decision you made, and then regretted, and then walked back, and survived.
January 13 -
January 14 -
January 15 - [personal profile] bibliofile: Are you watching any broadcast/cable tv these days?
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[personal profile] owlmoose: The Bujold Vorkosigan Saga books, which you appear to be reading now.
[personal profile] littlebutfierce: Post about how you do your bullet journal stuff!
[personal profile] oyceter: What interesting things did you learn as a page? Or other nitty-gritty local politics stuff.
[personal profile] sasha_feather: horseback riding
[personal profile] wintercreek: Tell us about a place you enjoy visiting
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Kumiko x Reina)
After following the advice of a coworker, I revoked Pokemon Go's access to my camera. Since then, the app crashes less than it had previously, and I've actually been able to catch some Pokemon. I'm one of many now hanging out at [community profile] pokestop, so if you're also playing or interested, join us!



I've written about Sparkler Monthly here before, and I wanted to plug their Kickstarter, which has 3 days and a few more thousand dollars to go. If they don't meet their goal, Year 4 won't happen :(

I've been a monthly subscriber for a couple years now. Some series are done, so you can sit and plow through, while others are still being updated periodically. I really loved the audio drama "Awake," and have been hoping for more time so that I can get caught up in "The Cat-Lover's Circumstance." They have mostly-prose stuff similar to Japanese light novels, too.

Basically, if you think visual and audio media directed at the non-male gaze is something to support, please consider donating to Sparkler. In addition to non-male artists and writers, the stories often feature LGBTQ characters as well. People of color, too! It's just really fantastic, and I would hate to see them fail.
They also operate as a distro for series published elsewhere, for example you can buy the paperback Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal through Sparkler.
They're also opening up submissions once this Kickstarter ends, so if you have some work that needs an audience, consider submitting!

Sparkler also has an explicit line called "Cherry Bomb." These include listener-focused "situational audio dramas," which I've been meaning to try. Apparently they are quite popular in Japan! Best of all, in Sparkler's, "[t]he listener isn't gendered, so anyone can identify!"

The Kickstarter itself is a great intro to their site and their content. You can still score commissions from artists in some of the tiers! There are many tiers and options to choose from in this Kickstarter. I'm really tempted to get a copy of every paperback they've published so far, and share them with my comics club. That tier is $200, though, so it takes a lot of thought. [Most tiers are way less!]

laceblade: Ed from Cowboy Bebop riding a scooter, face = manic glee (Ed Samba)
Antoine got so annoyed by how difficult it is to navigate the City of Madison's website that he created a Twitter bot that posts updates to the city's calendar of meetings. [So, basically, agendas & minutes from committee meetings that are open to the public.]

It's [twitter.com profile] madlegbot, if you are interested.

WisCon 40

Jun. 3rd, 2016 08:27 pm
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
I keep reminding myself that I literally attended 0 panels this year, so writing up the con should be easy! Ahaha.

I didn't see everyone I wanted to, and didn't spend enough time with almost anyone, :( I'm sorry about that & hope everyone is understanding that I wasn't out/about as much as usual, due mostly to various chairing duties.
Some of this is due to having my own hotel room for the first time, Friday through Monday this year. When I got emotionally exhausted or sore, I could just lie down and go to sleep. It was heavenly.
I also did my best to focus on hydration. It was hot/humid outdoors most of the time, and I certainly had the a/c on & drying me out in my hotel room.

Overall, I was really struck by how many people came up to me and thanked me for chairing and/or for WisCon still being around. There were a lot of generous compliments flying around WisCon generally this year. Maybe it's an effect of not having attended any panels [lol], or because I skipped last year, but this was the warmest-feeling WisCon in my memory. Maybe it's because I keep knowing more and more people.

I attended big events, in part because I had to speak at them! [Only mundane things trololol]

Opening Ceremonies included some speeches. Katherine Cross, or [twitter.com profile] Quinnae_Moon, spoke about solidarity with hotel employees, talking about how we make WisCon together with them, and that they are not our servants. She also noted that the Concourse Hotel is the only union hotel in the city of Madison, a thing I sometimes forget.
I missed some chunks of Opening Ceremonies due to having to attend to chair!things, but [personal profile] antarcticlust and [twitter.com profile] therotund organized a varied group of people to talk about what WisCon means to them. [personal profile] wild_irises talked about how nobody on the concom ever says, "Wow, we did really great this year; we really landed that." Rather, it's a group of people constantly trying to improve. It was the first real moment since taking a year off the concom and then rejoining and then emergency co-chairing that I really felt, "Oh, yeah; that's why I'm doing all this."

That feeling came back x100 during the speeches given by our three Guests of Honor.



I had to have a firm interaction with someone we had banned the previous evening, and who was demanding to know "why" we had ejected him, etc. At one point during the conversation, he stood up and I took a step back to give him space to do so. "Oh, I'm SORRY! Are you AFRAID?! Am I in your SPACE?" I smiled and told him that I wasn't afraid, but between that and his going downstairs to scream at hotel staff in the lobby made me feel pretty confident that we made the correct choice :p

On Saturday evening, I stopped in at the Vid Party a couple times. I think my favorite premiere [that I saw] was [personal profile] garrideb's "Control," about Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda's comic series Monstress. I've mentioned this series in a couple of reading posts, and through this vid, you can at least appreciate Takeda's fan-fucking-tastic artwork.
I fucking love the song, & need to get the single. I'm meaner than my demons...

I got a fair number of books that I'm excited to read from the dealers' room this year, as well as a Sailor Mars scarf and a nyan-cat tiny tote that fits my iPhone 4S precisely.



I try really hard to push back about the "generational split" narrative that many people have formed about people who recently left the concom vs. those who stayed/joined, because it's not an accurate statement.
That said, there is a fairly significant number of white people, many of whom have attended WisCon for decades, who have been complaining about feeling "unwelcome" in recent years - as WisCon works to become more welcoming to people of color, to transgender and genderqueer identifying folks, etc.
If seeing more people unlike yourself being welcomed makes YOU feel UNwelcome, then that's a you-problem. I think that in the post linked below, Mikki Kendall really hits it on the head when she notes that some people's discomfort straight up comes from experience spaces that are NOT centered on cisgender white people.

In addition to personally being called a mealy-mouthed weasel immediately pre-con, another concom member reports us having been referred to as, "gauletiers." I had to look up that word. What IS it with older white feminists and their World War II metaphors? And what the fuck is the matter with them?

But other people have already blogged about these people's discomfort:
K. Tempest Bradford's On WisCon, and Who Is Allowed to Feel Welcome
Because here’s the thing: 99% of the people I have seen or heard complaining about how WisCon isn’t comfortable for them and WisCon isn’t fun are white people. Not 100%. But 99%. It’s a bunch.

You know what else I’ve noticed about the people making these complaints? A lot of them are cisgender, a lot of them are men, a lot of them are people with privilege along multiple axes. Funny that.

And while it makes me sad at any time for folks to feel excluded, or like a space has been taken away from them, I have to say:

Where were you when this was other people feeling this way?

Where were you when people who are marginalized in nearly every other fandom space and came to WisCon thinking it would be different said they felt uncomfortable, unwelcome, threatened, unsafe?

...

If you’re uncomfortable now, but weren’t before, then think about that. Really think about it. Consider if you were making people uncomfortable before, even without thought or intention. Consider that you’re feeling left out because, in the course of our claiming a space for ourselves, we made clear to you just how much you or people like you contributed to our pain, our lack of fun, our lack of safety. Ponder the puzzle of how a con dedicated to feminism, populated by many amazing people, somehow ended up being a place where people who weren’t the right color, the right class, the right age, the right level of ability, the right gender presentation felt like they didn’t fully belong. And delve deep into the mystery of how fixing that problem is the thing that’s made you run away.

Mikki Kendall's WisCon 40 Highs, Lows, and What the Actual F*ck?
You might not like what WisCon is becoming now that the people working so hard to make it happen are different from you. You might not like knowing that their first concern isn’t the comfort of people who can’t see them as human or equals. That’s a hard road. It’s your road though, so you walk it. But don’t complain that it “feels unwelcoming” because it is becoming inclusive, and less concerned with the comfort of bigots. With the comfort of people who have been happy to not only excuse abusive behavior, but also to be abusers when it suited them. This isn’t “your” WisCon anymore? Okay. That’s fine, that’s your decision. It’s definitely ours now. We work hard for it every year. You can adapt, evolve and enjoy or you can move the hell on. We probably won’t miss you.

There are some weird, pervasive rumors on Facebook about super low registration numbers this year. I'm not sure where that came from - we had well over 900 memberships, and the GOH Speeches/Dessert Salon was packed to the gills. More to come in future WisCon blog posts/etc., I'm sure.

I don't know what my role on the concom will be this coming year, if anything. Maybe I can re-focus on SF3 Board tasks, picking up things that fell by the wayside while I was off co-chairing. For the moment, I'll continue thinking on it.

Thirty

May. 22nd, 2016 08:52 pm
laceblade: Sasuke and Ponyo; Ponyo w/light over her head, expression gleeful (Ponyo: It's a light!)
I keep wanting to make a post about turning thirty*, but pre-WisCon anxiety has reduced me to a person unwilling to leave the apartment to go out for dinner BECAUSE STRESS.

[Once WisCon STARTS, I will be fine. Until it starts, I'll be in a perpetual state of losing my shit.]

I know turning an age, or a year turning over, or whatever, doesn't really change things. But I really hope that my thirties are better than my twenties. I feel way older than I am, is that pretentious? lol.

I really hope I'll have more time to blog once WisCon's done.





[*this post is not meant to be a call for birthday wishes. If you haven't wished me happy birthday, I can assume that you're glad I was born!]
laceblade: Hachi of NANA, applying lipstick (NANA: Hachi makeup)
Read Pacat's Captive Prince.
Are there people who can read these books in public?! I was talking with others about how slowly I'm having to make my way through the Known Associates fic because once I hit a sexytimes scene...yeah.

MOVING ON.

I tried reading Hopkinson's Sister Mine, struggled, realized I was hating it, and stopped. IT WAS SUCH A GREAT FEELING.

Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson, the follow-up to Among the Savages. More glimpses at her domestic life. Still hilarious, but now with more kids and more pets.

Princess Jellyfish, vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura - GUYS. GUYS. THIS BOOK. I CAN'T EVEN. Firstly, it's an omnibus, so two books in one. The protagonist, Tsukimi, lives in a house with other adult single women her age, who all have something in common: they're all borderline-agoraphobic and completely obsessed (one might say...fannish) about something, be it The Three Kingdoms, kimonos, or jellyfish. They all rely on their parents to pay for them to continue living in this place, as none of them have jobs or attend school.
On a rare trip out in public, Tsukimi ends up meeting Kuranosuke, a beautiful woman with great social skills whom she accidentally brings back to their house [a place where NO fashionable people are allowed, and ESPECIALLY NO MEN EVER!]. Eventually she's surprised to learn that Kuranosuke is actually a man her own age, who likes to dress up as a woman.
The book is hilarious, and IMO really great for fannish people.
I highly recommend making use of the glossary in the back - due to conversations surrounding Kuranosuke, I think the context of the ways certain words translate, or in some cases do not, are all very important in accepting what's going on.
The plot crosses over with politics, and by the end, the Big Conflict is that the house Tsukimi and her friends live in is going to be razed to the ground to make space for some new/modern buildings. Kuranosuke tries to rally the girls to get others to take them seriously, namely by giving them all elaborate makeovers [which they all undo as soon as they're home again].
A lot of things rely on people's perceptions of others. I'm excited to read more, and glad to have bought this sight-unseen.

The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen - aka the last in a trilogy about an RPF historical au in which Anne Boleyn gave birth to a son. HOLY SHIT AFTER EVERYTHING, this book goes and does THE MOST HORRIBLE THING IMAGINABLE to each of the four main characters, occasionally taking it back so that those things happened FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON.
Super angry by the end, in a WHAT EVEN WAS THE POINT sort of way. THEN I found out there's a sequel trilogy, focusing on Elizabeth I's daughter. I'm going to try jumping into Jean Plaidy for rescue...

Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki - A collection of one-page one-shots that focus on kids with superpowers who attend a boarding school together. APPARENTLY JILLIAN TAMAKI AND I HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME SENSE OF HUMOR.
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
I thought that my favorite part of the third volume of Essential X-Men (145-161) was when Emma Frost was inhabiting Storm's body and quoting King Lear while conjuring a thunderstorm...but that was before the issue in which the X-Men fought Dracula.
Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler are my favorites at this point in time. Still mournful for this age of US comics in which, while text-heavy, THE WRITERS EXPLAIN WHAT IS GOING ON.

Claudia Gray's Star Wars: Lost Stars has been my favorite tie-in option related to the new movie, The Force Awakens. The whole point of the book is to simply explain how that Star Destroyer ended up crashed on Jakku.
The YA book involves two kids who grew up together bonding over flying on their home planet, despite being from different classes. They attend the Imperial Academy together, and then one ends up as an Imperial Officer while the other joins the opposite side of the war.
Like lots of YA, this book grabs you and pulls you along through lots of intense emotions. I will put a content warning on this for suicidal ideation, for which I really wish I'd had warning.

I reread Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary because I really needed some comfort, and it delivered. I also took a recommendation from its pages, and have read Shirley Jackson's Life Among the Savages and intend to read the follow-up, Raising Demons. The books are essentially about her domestic life as a mother, but it hilarious. I laughed so hard, so many times, that I had to read passages aloud so that my partner knew what I was laughing about.

I'd read the bulk of Mansfield Park a few months ago, and finally finished it. I'm not sure how I feel about it, in the end. I still like Persuasion most.

William Anderson released a selection of letters by Laura Ingalls Wilder in the past few weeks. It's still really upsetting that the people who inherited the Ingalls house in De Smet just pitched a ton of stuff out the front window into a dumpster. SO MANY LETTERS I WOULD WANT TO READ AHHHHH!!! Still, there's a lot to unpack in here. Laura's creepy suspicion and loathing of FDR and the New Deal; letters to her daughter Rose as they collaborate heavily over the Little House books; letters to her relatives close & distant; basically an insight into a period not captured anywhere else: When she's living on the farm in Mansfield with Almanzo but they've given up doing farming full-time and she's already finished writing articles for the Missouri Ruralist, through Almanzo's death, a decade of solitude, and then her own death. It might be disturbing for readers who haven't separated Laura-the-character from Laura-the-writer/person.

I'm reading Sofia Samatar's The Winged Histories right now.



I've listened to and really enjoyed Awake, an audio drama over on Sparkler. It's about a colony ship having left Earth and being mid-journey to a new planet. To keep the ship running while everyone's in cryogenic sleep, 6 people are "awake" at any given time. These are people who couldn't afford the full fare, and are paying for it with years of their lives given in service to the ship. So they'll wake up in the future with some loved ones having aged, or not, depending on who did service and for how long. There's some really great voice-acting in here, and I loved it.

I'm currently making my way through The Cat Lover's Circumstances. Misaki Tanabe attends university in Japan, but has a really hard time socializing with people because of her psychic ability to read people's feelings. Sometimes poignant, this series is HILARIOUS and as with everything else I've spent time with on Sparkler, I feel like it was written especially for me.



My "try to watch one episode of anime per day" goal has allowed me to make some steady progress.

Much to [personal profile] littlebutfierce's delight, I watched the first season of Love! Live. Not my first idol anime, but possibly the first in which I really feel a deep affection for almost all of the 9-member idol group. ALSO I LOVE THE SONG "START DASH."

I'm about 3/4 through Seirei no Moribito, which I like quite a bit although I'd anticipated it having more action scenes than it does. It's complex enough that I'd like to try reading the books on which the series is based. Balsa is a badass, Chagum is endlessly interesting, I'm afraid of how it's going to end. Are there fan translations of the novels, which surely must continue past where the anime ends?!

After I finish Seirei no Moribito, the goal is to figure out my VCR, to see if I can finally watch the cheap subtitled VHS set I found of Record of Lodoss Wars years ago.

I saw "The Boy and the Beast" in the theater last Saturday. I liked it, but don't think I have much to say about it. It's always nice when something makes it to a theater here.
laceblade: Juri of Utena anime in middle school uniform; Shiori's hand covers her eyes. (Utena: Juri eyes covered)
Barrayar and The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold - Barrayar was perfect and I gave it 5 stars. As for my first Miles book, HOLY SHIT IT IS SO CATHARTIC TO WALLOW IN A PROTAGONIST WITH CHRONIC PAIN/HEALTH ISSUES WOW. I joked on Twitter, asking whether it was normal to spend a Miles book going, "Miles stop; Miles no!" and everyone assured me that it was. I am looking forward to reading more, and grateful to [twitter.com profile] deermews for making my reading of these books possible!

House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard - I was looking forward to this because people with good taste recommended it, and it sounded like something I'd enjoy. I got over 100 pages in, but unfortunately found it appallingly bad, like straight-up. Between this and my dislike of The Fifth Season, it makes me wonder whether I'm deficient in my appreciation of feminist fantasy! idk.

Full Moon O Sagashite, vols. 1-6 - Arina Tanemura - A girl who loves to sing has sarcoma, but the surgery necessary to curing her condition would ruin her voice. This is hands-down my favorite Tanemura so far, I think because the protagonist has SO MUCH agency, and because of the unrequited/impossible loves that are going on. These are also some of the best omake pages I've read in a manga so far, bahaha.
I have one volume to go and am semi-afraid for it to end. That said, I appreciate that Tanemura tells her stories & gets out, without rehashing the premise for 25 volumes!
In one of the omake columns, she talks about how the ultimate manga story she's always wanted to create will never be written because Ribon would never publish it & she would never leave Ribon. I appreciate this BUT ALSO I REALLY WANT THAT STORY WHAT THE FUCK WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT.

Heir to the Empire and Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn - The Force Awakens made me wistful for old Star Wars novels, so I'm trying to reread things in publication order that I haven't touched for 15-20 years. This has the added bonus of bringing these paperbacks to my apartment, and getting them out of my childhood bedroom in my parents' house, >___<
These two were way better than I remember? At least, I hadn't remember there being this much politicking going on, and <33333333. MARA JADE 4 LIFE. And I love that Lando Calrissian is involved because of course Lando is involved. You don't have a sequel to Star Wars without Lando. [*looks directly at Force Awakens*]
Spoilers for both this 'Thrawn Trilogy,' future/already-published Star Wars expanded universe novels up through those published in the past 5 years or so, and The Force Awakens movie )

Requiem for the Rose King, vol. 1 - Aya Kanno - AKA: THE RICHARD III SHOUJO MANGA. I was alerted to the existence of this manga by a [personal profile] coffeeandink post. In addition to being very pretty, it's a great read after having just read Alison Weir's Wars of the Roses; however, NOTHING is done to provide the reader with context/who the hell these people are, so I could easily see this being frustrating to those unfamiliar with this chapter of English history.
THAT SAID IT IS AMAZEBALLS. She bases it heavily on Shakespeare's Richard III and Henry VI plays. The "twist" is that Richard III was born intersex, so there is some body angst happening. He is also haunted by visions of an apparition of Joan of Arc, who taunts him for not being a real warrior/etc. because of his body.
I did not expect to like the portrayal of Henry VI so much.
I loved it and the next two volumes are waiting for me to come to the bookstore and buy them. *____*

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - the first of her novels focusing on a pre-Tudor era: the Wars of the Roses. This book focuses on Elizabeth Woodville: the wife of Edward IV, and the grandmother of Henry VIII. One thing that I like about Gregory's books is that she pushes the, "Yes, this historical character was accused of witchcraft and isn't that horrible BUT ALSO WHAT IF THERE WAS WITCHCRAFT AND WHAT WOULD PEOPLE DO WITH IT?" so we have Elizabeth affecting battle outcomes by cursing people and/or controlling the weather. I probably liked this one more than the latter Tudor books I read/anything I've read since The Constant Princess [about Catherine of Aragorn], which still has my favorite canon-compliant AU of Catherine + Arthur Tudor = OTP4LIFE.
I'm looking forward to reading the other Wars of the Roses/"Cousins' War" books in this cycle, & have already started the second one focusing on Margaret Beaufort.
laceblade: Utena as little girl in a dress, looking at prince w/admiration, wanting to become him (Utena: looking up to the prince)
Feeling super irritated by everything. I intend to blame it on Shark Week, avoid spending more time on irritating things by writing them up, and calling it a day.


The only new anime I've had time for this season thus far has been Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū, which I really enjoy. One of my favorite Anime News Network reviewers wrote up the first two episodes. "It helps that everything in this story is rooted in character. This isn't the kind of “sports anime” that just depicts the activity for its own sake. This is a story about people, told through their relationships to rakugo. So far, every performance has had character significance."


I very much enjoyed reading Liz Henry's Liz's Every-Day Carry. As expected for something written by her, this also includes hilarity, itemized lists of what goes into each of her bags, and stories about human kindness. "It is a delight to predict what might be needed and produce it on demand, like magic, from a bag. My desire to be prepared is both for my own sake and to be impressively helpful in an unexpected way, which is no less satisfying for being loaded with gendered burdens."

In semi-related news, I recently bought a purse for myself that is not a shapeless sack, but rather a thing with internal structure, using $ from a gift card and also from returning gift-clothing that was way too small. I haven't even implemented a thoughtful "list" like Liz's, but it's already way more satisfying to carry around because I can find whatever I know is inside immediately.

2015 Anime

Jan. 4th, 2016 08:27 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
lbr, if I wait to "write up" each of these shows, I'll never make this post, so here we go: Here are the shows I really enjoyed in 2015.
If you have questions about any of them, feel free to ask in the comments.

This year I really got better at deciding within 1-2 episodes if a new show was worth watching. Looking at the list below, "almost-exclusive focus on female characters in a non-creepy way" seems to be my only criterion!


Yuri Kuma Arashi (Yuri Bear Storm)
Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium)
Shirobako
Wakakozake
Charlotte
Cardcaptor Sakura (I have like 4 episodes to go but whatever)
Encouragement of Climb s2
Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn) (2nd half aired in 2015)

MOVIES
Wolf Children
Princess Kaguya

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laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
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