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Movie Review! Atomic Train

Okay, guys, I just have to tell you about this one! It's a made-for-TV disaster movie from 1999, dressed up as an action movie that stars Rob Lowe, and the title is actually Atomic Train. This sentence contains 100% truefax, and yet it does not even come close to describing how wonderfully, gloriously, entertainingly, awe-inspiringly terrible this movie is.

Read on . . . if you dare!Collapse )


Sherlock Episode 3.2.1

Saddle up, Sherlock viewers! The Sign Of Three is at hand! Awkward and badly paced as it is, this episode is actually the highlight of Series Three. While it doesn't hit the quality of The Great Game or the sheer entertaining lunacy of the first part of A Scandal in Belgravia, it is, in its own way, not that bad an episode. It's stuck with a rotten job, but it soldiers bravely through, and even gives us a little taste of something we've been missing for quite some time now. Onward!

Series Three, Episode Two, Part OneCollapse )

Cabin Pressure On Stage!

Today, I had the great joy of seeing a stage version of Cabin Pressure at the Corpus Playroom, this tiny little hole-in-the-wall theater that I think stages mostly student productions. In a word, this one was: Brilliant!

In more words: It was lots of fun. Part of what made it so enjoyable was that the production knew exactly what its strengths and weaknesses were, and it worked all of them expertly. Cabin Pressure really isn't intended to be much longer than half an hour at a time, so the stage version consisted of just the two episodes "Gdansk" and "Xinzhou," scripts as in the original radio play, just . . . live and on stage. Nothing fancy, just Finnemore's writing. Just two episodes, too. The whole thing took an hour, and that was just long enough to be funny without wearing out its welcome.

I loved the acting. Of course, everyone in the audience was a fan of the radio show -- you kind of had to be in order to even know about this play -- and the actors wisely chose what bits of the original performances to reference while putting their own spins on each character. The actress playing Carolyn did an especially good job. There was no way this undergraduate actress was ever going to be stately and elderly, and she didn't try. She was shooting for early middle age, I think, and she pulled it off very well. I think her interpretation of her character was the one that was most different from the original, mostly due to the age issue, but she made it work for her.

They did, of course, have the great advantage of visuals. Finnemore has said that one thing that he likes about radio is that you can do scenes and setups that would be enormously expensive to show on film, and that is an advantage. But both "Gdansk" and "Xinzhou" are pretty much bottle episodes, so all you need is the GERTI set. Which, befitting a student production, can be a bit cheap and rickety-looking, and it fits well with the theme.

I thought that the guy playing Douglas did a nice interpretation of Roger Allam's mannerisms, although I don't think his heart was in it nearly as much as Allam's was. The guy playing Martin actually looked much more like Martin as the show describes him than Benedict Cumberbatch does -- he actually was short and weedy -- and I liked the way he added his own body language to what was in many ways a careful study of Cumberbatch's vocal performance.

The theater is tiny, so the audience are right there with the performers (occasionally being served strudel by them), and it just adds to the intimacy of the setup.

In short, completely enjoyable, both for the fun of seeing Cabin Pressure as well as hearing it, and for seeing an eminently sensible, well-considered production. An excellent use of £6!

Sherlock Episode 3.1.3

Finally, finally, The Empty Hearse lurches toward its finale. Such as it is.

Series Three, Episode One, Part ThreeCollapse )

Temptation, Temptation

Cambridge isn't London, but it is most definitely a city of theatah* A couple of nights ago, I treated myself to Henry V at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, put on by one of the many University drama societies. This one was the Marlowe Society, which sometimes produces really top-notch actors. You could totally see why, too. Henry V took itself just a wee bit too seriously, as student productions tend to, and the set designer seemed to be a little too much in love with the fog machine, but the performance was fantastic. The funny bits were actually funny, the action was good, the actors clearly knew the play, and I thought it was brilliant to cast the shortest man in the group as Henry -- it really plays up his youth, especially in a cast full of people who are all pretty much the same age.

And now I see that the Corpus Playroom is going to be producing . . . a stage version of Cabin Pressure, of all things! It's in March, and it doesn't look too expensive. I just might have to go and check it out.

In other news, I've been taking part in a set of choral workshops in London, and it's been an amazing time. There is nothing like showing up and getting to sing all day, especially when you get a second crack at something showy like Louis Lewandowski's "Hallelujah," which is his setting of Psalm 150. We did it in my local Jewish choir this fall, and now we're doing it in the London workshops. Fabulous chance to sing this piece again, with the original Ashkenazi lisp, too. (In Cambridge, we sang with Sephardi pronunciation, which I have to admit that I kind of prefer for singing. But Lewandowski did write the piece for Ashkenazi pronunciation, and there's something to be said for trying it out his way.)

*As opposed to "the-ay-ter," which is much less Klassy.

Sherlock Episode 3.1.2

Dragging myself back for the next half-hour of filler that passes for actual content in The Empty Hearse. The content of the filler is clever-er than last time, but . . . it's still filler. It's only an hour into a ninety-minute episode that the show actually has something to be about, which is why it's taken me so long to do this recap. But here it is, in all its fillerriffic glory.

Series Three, Episode One, Part TwoCollapse )

Queer As Folk Recap, Episode 1.22

Huzzah, hooray, and glory be! I have finally made it to the end of Season One of Queer As Folk! From the depths of dullness that was the previous episode, the first season finale pulls itself up a long, long ascent for an absolutely brilliant final eight minutes or so.

Season One, Episode Twenty-TwoCollapse )

Queer As Folk Recap, Episode 1.21

Took me a while to get around to doing this one. Partially it's that it's a bit harder to find the episodes to watch from England. But the larger part is that this episode is just so goshdarn dull that I kept putting it off. There are a couple of plot threads going on here, but none of them are very interesting. Either they're minor incidents blown way out of proportion (Vic), too wacky to stand a chance (Blake), or false dilemmas that experienced viewers of television series know can only be resolved in one way, so they're not as interesting as the writers think they are (Brian and Mike). No humor, no interest, but a hell of a lot of whining. Whoopee.

Season One, Episode Twenty-OneCollapse )

Franchise Review! The Hunger Games

I was going to make this a Movie Review! post, but that seemed a bit disingenuous, because so much of my response to the movies involves the books as well. For the record: I've read all three of the books and seen the first two movies; the third movie is out, but I haven't seen it yet, so it won't be part of this review. On the other hand, don't worry about spoiling me for Mockingjay. One of the things that I like about the movies is that they're pretty faithful representations of the books, so it's not like I don't know what happens in Mockingjay.

Read more...Collapse )



From Cracked: 6 Weird Ways the World Looks Different When You're Asexual.

. . . yup. Pretty much. Some of this has happened in my own life, including an unfortunate encounter with a gynecologist who resembled my hated sixth-grade teacher in more ways than just the physical. (The sixth-grade teacher was a woman who I think became a teacher not because she liked children -- she really really didn't -- but because she was of an age where having any career at all in her twenties would have meant either teaching or secretarial work. She went on to make the lives of many many years' worth of twelve-year-olds miserable before retraining as, of all things, a social worker.)

The thing that puzzles me, though, is this. On the second page of the article, it quotes a study of Canadian undergraduates and random internet guys that seems to indicate that these two groups would be less likely to rent an apartment to asexuals. All well and bad, but . . . how would they know? Seriously, when does that particular topic come up during apartment rental conversations?

I get how potential landlords could find out about a prospective tenant's homosexuality, particularly if this involves a same-sex couple trying to rent a one-bedroom apartment, but you'd really have to go digging to find out that your prospective tenant is asexual. I've rented several apartments in my life, and the major question that the landlords are interested in is not "who will you be sleeping with in this apartment?" but "will you have the rent money available on the first of the month?" Seriously, who asks these questions, and what kind of shitholes are they offering for rent?

Sherlock Episode 3.1.1

In honor of my move to England, let's start up the Sherlock recaps again! Series Three is . . . weird, that's for sure. The production values and acting are as sharp as ever, and we get an intriguing and delightful new character to play with. But the stories really aren't up to snuff. The ideas aren't necessarily bad, but the execution is clunky. Possibly because Moffat and Gatiss decided to spend large wodges of precious screen time commenting on the fandom rather than actually tell stories. The Empty Hearse, for instance, takes a long, long, looooong time to rev up and actually be about something. And so it begins:

Series Three, Episode One, Part OneCollapse )

Linguistic Shock And Awe

The past day or so has given me a gigantic roller-coaster of linguistic emotion. One moment, I was absolutely, utterly crushed and devastated. And then, glory shone from the communicative heavens above.

The ShockCollapse )

The AweCollapse )

I'm Back!

Hello everyone!

It's been an awful long time since I've been here. Part of it was the ignominious death of my lovely desktop computer, and part of it was . . . well, packing up and moving to England. But I'm here now, I'm settling in, and I love it! I have a beautiful home, or, rather, a home that will be beautiful once all my shipped stuff arrives. I have a shiny new laptop, courtesy of the College, and I've almost managed to get together all the little things that you need for a functioning adult life.

More . . . as it comes. There's so much to tell that I hardly know where to begin.

How's by you?


In Puzzlement

I have just discovered the oddest book series. It's called Culture Shock, and it purports to be guides to the cultures of other countries for people who are intending to move there. The books are written by immigrants, and there's a whole series of them. Britain, Japan, Ireland, the U.S., all sorts of different places.

The thing is, though . . . they seem to be written by people who really don't like the cultures they're writing about. The guy who wrote the book on Britain seems about three seconds away from pointing and laughing, and the one on Japan is astonishingly racist for a book that's supposed to be about how to get along with the Japanese.

Now I kind of want to go to the library and pick up the one about the U.S. There has got to be some solid-gold comedy in that one, if the Britain and Japan ones are any indicator.

Movie Review! The Stand

So this week, for reasons that still escape me, I decided to watch the 1994 miniseries The Stand, based on the Stephen King doorstopper. I've never read the book, and I have no particular interest in reading the book (especially after seeing the movie). As I said, I'm not quite sure what made me want to watch the movie, but I am sure that it wasn't a deep and abiding love either for this particular story or for Stephen King in general. It may have been a result of watching both The West Wing and Parks and Recreation at the same time and wanting to see more of what Rob Lowe has done as a grownup, but that's all I can figure.

Captain Trips!Collapse )


Just Something To Observe

Mrs. Hudson, sweet old mama-figure that she is, used to live in Florida, which a friend in Pensacola describes to me as the sort of place where every single election, from the Governor down to the town dog-catcher, is a contest between The Incumbent and The Crazy Guy.

Only Florida could make being Sherlock Holmes's landlady look easy, I guess.


Queer As Folk Recap, Episode 1.20

Closing in on the end of the first season! Today's offering is another one of the set piece episodes, which is something the show does well. But it's also one of the Morality Theme episodes, which is something the show doesn't do well. Music, fun, excitement, and a cast of dumbasses running around in it. What's not to love?

Season One, Episode TwentyCollapse )

Writing Meme!

Because I have a speech I should be writing, and it's much more fun to distract myself from writing by writing about writing.

Put a number in the comments and I’ll answer accordingly.

1. Of the fic you’ve written, of which are you most proud?
2. Favourite tense
3. Favourite POV
4. What are some themes you love writing about?
5. What inspires you to write?
6. Thoughts on critique
7. Create a character on the spot... NOW!
8. Is there a character you love writing for the most? The least? Why?
9. A passage from a WIP
10. What are your strengths in writing?
11. What are your weaknesses in writing?
12. Anything else that you want to know... (otherwise known as Fill in the Blank)


And here we come to the end. Just a short little case, after all. The chapter titles for this story come from a quote from John Cage, the composer of First Construction in Metal. He wrote that:

The principle of form will be our only constant connection to the past. Although the great form of the future will not be as it was in the past, at one time the fugue, at another time the sonata, it will be related to these as they are to each other: through the principle of organization or man's common ability to think.

Rather like Sherlock, in a way!

2. The Principle of OrganizationCollapse )

AfterwordCollapse )
Wow, it has been an unconscionably long time since I posted any stories here. Of course, in my defense, I did finish and defend my dissertation in the meantime. There's a long story that's still moving at approximately the pace of refrigerated molasses, but in the meantime, this short one just demanded to be written.

Title: First Construction
Author: pargoletta
Fandoms: Sherlock
Main Characters: Sherlock, John, Lestrade
Summary: John’s plan had been simply to take Sherlock out for a pleasant birthday excursion, with no cases and no crime scenes. But, as it is said, man plans, and God laughs.
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None that I can think of right now, other than that it is a crime story and there's a small amount of crime-scene-appropriate gore.

IntroductionCollapse )

1. The Principle of FormCollapse )


Ten O'Clock

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