owlmoose: (cats - tori carrier)
Here is a list of all my currently active public accounts on the Internet. Will be kept updated as things change.

Journals and Micro-blogging

Dreamwidth: [personal profile] owlmoose
My journal and my primary home base on the Internet. Personal posts, political posts, fandom posts, cross-posting of fic and other announcements. If it's important, it will end up here sooner or later.

LiveJournal: [livejournal.com profile] owlmoose
A mirror of my Dreamwidth. As of this writing, and for the foreseeable future, I cross-post all DW entries to LJ and allow comments in both places. If that ever changes, I will make ample announcement. I also use my LJ to participate in a few communities.

Twitter: [twitter.com profile] iamkj
Brief daily life tidbits and interesting links. This is where I'm most likely to share the kind of links I used to share via Google Reader. June update: Basically inactive right now. I need a better iPhone client.

Tumblr: [tumblr.com profile] lifeofkj
Mostly reblogs (fandom, politics, cute animals), quick fandom thoughts, and daily life spam. Increasingly, I'm posting my fic here first, as well, although anything worth saving will end up cross-posted to AO3. As of June, where I am most active on the Internet.


AO3: [archiveofourown.org profile] owlmoose
Fanfiction. This is my fanfic archive, complete starting in November 2009, and some older works are there as well. Some things will be posted to DW or Tumblr first, but AO3 will always be the place to find the definitive version.

FF.net: owlmoose
My older work, all Final Fantasy X/X-2. No longer updated with new stories as of December 2007.

Writings of an Owlmoose
My WordPress-based fanfiction archive, complete through December 2010.


GoodReads: owlmoose
Updated sporadically. I intend to use it more regularly in 2012.

Pinboard: owlmoose
Links to cool and useful things. Mostly for my own saving purposes rather than sharing, but I'm always happy to add people to my network!

This list is current as of June 3, 2012. Subject to change as communities and my online participation shifts. Feel free to add or follow any of these accounts! I have a fairly free add-back policy. :)
owlmoose: (cats - tori carrier)
I decided to take tomorrow off from both my jobs, so Thanksgiving vacation begins now. Baking tomorrow, dinner with family on Thursday, craft fair on Saturday, and second Thanksgiving with friends on Sunday. I should be buckling down to work on my Dragon Age Reverse Big Bang story (I'm close on wordcount but the story has quite a bit to go yet), but I'm having a hard time with motivation tonight. Probably I should post this and close the window and get working. Probably...
owlmoose: (ffx - yevon)
[personal profile] tklivory ask me to compare and contrast the Maker (Dragon Age) and Yevon (Final Fantasy X), which is a fantastic question. Two god-figures, two religions, two metaphors, two cultures. More different than alike, but with a similar founding principle: protecting the planet and the people while attempting to harness and control its world's greatest power. How do these two gods manifest, and how do their similarities and differences shape their respective worlds?

Very long, lots of spoilers, including for DA: Trespasser. )
owlmoose: (otw)
So I'm offline for an afternoon, and all hell breaks loose. Wow.

The short version is that the entire OTW Board of Directors resigned today, effective mid-December. The long version is very long, covering years of cronyism and unprofessional behavior by the Board, and I am neither qualified nor able to tell the whole thing. If anyone has a link to a good summary, feel free to share? Anyway, the precipitating event was the decision by the Board of Directors to appoint an outgoing Board member to a different empty seat, even though she came in last in the most recent election. Note that the foregoing is an official communication from the OTW Elections Committee, so how the Board thought they were going to get away with such a blatant abuse of power is beyond me. The tone of their letter strikes me as a classic fandom flounce rather than a serious attempt to make restitution for a mistake, but even if they resigned for the wrong reasons, it's what had to happen, and I'm glad they went quickly.

The last time I wrote about the OTW, back in November 2010, I expressed hope that the very public discussions of the organization's problems would lead to good internal conversations and real change. I think it's pretty safe to say that it didn't happen then. So the golden opportunity is NOW. Both the incoming board and the OTW as a whole need to take a long, hard look at their processes, their communications, and their culture. It's long past time that this organization stop thinking of themselves as a fandom project and start running like a professional non-profit organization. The OTW is not just a place to post fic -- they do important work in academia and defending the legal rights of fans to create and post fanwork. We need them, and I hope they survive. But if that's going to happen, serious changes need to happen. Installing a new board is, I believe, an important and necessary step, but it's not the end of the process. It's the beginning.
owlmoose: (avengers - natasha)
Watched the first two episodes. Very promising start! Not a whole lot to say yet, especially without massive spoilers, but I'm looking forward to the rest. T is enjoying it, too.

Jessica is a fantastic character: dark, difficult, screwed up, but basically a good person -- not the type of lead role that a woman often get to play. She veers quite often into anti-hero territory, and although I'm on record as being tired of the brooding loner trope, seeing it in a woman is kind of refreshing. Also, the density of female characters is excellent, as is the variety and importance of the relationships they have with each other.

Kilgrave is possibly the scariest, most messed up villain I have EVER seen. So far, they seem to be handling the consent issues (as seen in the trailer) quite well, although I don't hold myself out as the last word on that. This is the thing I'm most hoping they don't screw up. So far so good.

I could raise some concerns, but for now I'm happy to just watch and see where everything goes. Maybe I'll go start another one right now.
owlmoose: (lost - sawyer)
I'd hoped to finish my epic comparative religion post today (the Chantry vs Yevon), but it's turning out even more epic than I planned, so you get a random life update instead.

Biggest news is that I got new contacts to try out, with a change in prescription for the first time in probably a decade. My left eye has gotten worse by almost a whole diopter (was 7.0, now 7.75), but my eye doctor was concerned that too strong a prescription would mess up my close-up vision, so the new lens is a 7.5. Even that is making a huge difference, I think. The next test will be working a full day at a computer screen, see how it does with eye strain, but at this point I think it's pretty likely that I'll make the switch, and maybe even update my glasses.

Worked my casual job today, just a couple of hours in the afternoon. My current project is cataloging his book collection, which is immensely satisfying. Then it was concert time, which went pretty well. One more show on Sunday and then I'm free for awhile, which will be nice.

Right now I'm watching Larry Wilmore on Stephen Colbert, which is both entertaining and jarring. I was always more of a Daily Show fan than Colbert Report, but I really, really like what Wilmore is doing with The Nightly Show, especially now that they've figured out that a smaller panel with a shorter segment works better. He's got a strong voice, and he does a good job of bringing diverse points of view together and giving people room to make their points without letting anything get out of hand.

What I haven't gotten to watch yet is Jessica Jones. T is also interested, which is good for togetherness but bad because it means I won't be able to marathon it (he's not a fan of binge watching). Hopefully I'll keep from getting spoiled too badly.

Guess that's about it for tonight. I hope to get back on track with real posting tomorrow.

OTP meme

Nov. 19th, 2015 11:29 pm
owlmoose: (ffx2 - paine/nooj official art)
Totally punting on writing a real post again because concert week. Instead, have a meme, for which I was tagged (many moons ago) by [tumblr.com profile] faejilly, in which you list 10 OTPs.

1. Paine/Nooj (Final Fantasy X-2)
2. (Al-Cid/)Ashe/Balthier (Final Fantasy XII)
3. Alistair/Warden (Dragon Age)
4. Peggy Carter/Steve Rogers (Marvel)
5. Parker/Hardison(/Eliot Spencer) (Leverage)
6. Olivia Dunham/Peter Bishop (Fringe)
7. Susan Ivanova/Marcus Cole (Babylon 5)
8. Beverly Crusher/Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek)
9. Leslie Knope/Ben Wyatt (Parks & Recreation)
10. Kara Zor-El Danvers/James Olson (Supergirl)

That last one is new, of course. I have no idea whether it has precedent in any other DC canon, but I really don't care, because my love for them is quickly approaching critical levels. They are just soooooo freaking adorable.

I'm not going to tag anyone here (though I probably will on Tumblr), but if anyone feels like playing, have at it!
owlmoose: (library - sign)
The real question is, what's not so great about libraries? ;) This was [personal profile] forestofglory's post topic request, and I could probably fill up many screens with an answer, but I'd feel a little like I was preaching to the choir -- I can't imagine there are many people reading this who do not already love and appreciate libraries. So if you'll indulge me, I'd like to take a direction that's a little more personal.

I was a voracious reader as a kid, going back as far as I can remember. There was no way my parents were ever going to keep my book appetite fed, so naturally we were regular patrons of the public library. None of the small Iowa towns I lived in ever had libraries of their own, which meant regular pilgrimages -- every few weeks, or however long checkout periods were in those days. I graduated from picture books to chapter books around first grade, starting with the Oz books because I loved the movie. (I didn't know this at the time, but the librarian once asked my mom if I was actually reading the books or just looking at the pictures. Mom assured her that I was reading them -- every word, often several times over.) Library day was always my favorite, because library day meant more books: more stories to read, more imaginary worlds to visit, more lives to try out for a brief time, more old favorites to revisit (it was rare for me to get out of the library without at least one book I'd read before). So it's no wonder that libraries are my happy place, or that I gravitated toward them when it came time to pick a campus job as a college student.

So that's one thing I love about libraries: that's where the books are. Of course libraries are about much more than books -- I could go on in that vein, too -- but I have no problem with the brand of libraries being books. Because books are great, and despite what people keep saying, books aren't going anywhere. They may decline in importance for some purposes, and they may change format sometimes, but the basic idea of the book will continue to matter. As a librarian, and a library lover, I embrace the book, and the mission of matching readers with their book (see the Five Laws of Library Science). (If I had time to start over again, I might write a whole new post riffing on those five laws, and why they describe what makes libraries great, but it's getting to be bedtime. Maybe another time.)

I could list many other reasons, but that might be the most important, to me. How about you, my fellow library lovers? What is so great about libraries?
owlmoose: (vm - veronica)
Too tired and fried to say much here. Did I ever mention that November is really not the best time to take on extra writing projects? Oh well. But just like last night, I have to choose between working on my Dragon Age Reverse Big Bang and writing a real journal entry; last night the journal won, so tonight I'm picking the fic. Hope you are all doing well. I'll be back with real content tomorrow.
owlmoose: A bright blue butterfly (butterfly)
As it typical for me in the third week of November, it's a concert week, which means I don't have time for much outside work and rehearsal. This year's main piece is one I've done before, "Dona Nobis Pacem" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and it's one of my favorites. This cantata is a setting of several texts, including three poems by Walt Whitman about his experiences as a Civil War nurse ("Beat! Beat! Drums", "Reconciliation", and "Dirge for Two Veterans"), various Biblical passages, and a speech by the British orator John Bright opposing the Crimean War. Vaughan Williams was himself a veteran of the First World War, in which he served as a medic, and he wrote this piece in 1936, with the dark clouds of the Second looming clearly on the horizon. It is a meditation on the horrors of war, and a plea for peace, ending on a note of hope for the future, and I can think of nothing more appropriate to sing right now.

I found this article with some background on Vaughan Williams himself as well as "Dona Nobis Pacem, and a complete recording on YouTube in case you're interested, and my concert is too far away for you to attend. (But if you're local and would like more details, let me know!)
owlmoose: (star wars - han woohoo)
[personal profile] seimaisin asked for my top five favorite Star Wars moments, in honor of the upcoming film. As it happens, I decided just a couple of days ago to put myself on trailer/teaser/general information lockdown for The Force Awakens, because the images I briefly saw from the most recent teaser felt like more than I wanted to know. I have to wonder why this level of hype -- it's not like people don't know it's coming, and they have to know that it's getting a huge audience no matter what they do. I already have my tickets, for a Friday afternoon showing (I'm crashing the show that T's office is taking his team to see), and I am officially excited. But I'd rather not feel like I've already seen the whole movie before I actually get there.

Narrowing this down to five is basically impossible, but I'll give it a go, bearing in mind that these could change according to whim. Listed in no particular order:

"I love you." "I know." / "I love you." "I know." Both of these scenes are wonderful on their own, but the juxtaposition between them is what makes them perfect. I could never write about the echo and all its implications for Han, Leia, and their relationship better than this meta post on Tumblr, so I'm not even going to try -- just go read it. These are the best moments in the Han/Leia ship, which I absolutely ship, so how could I not choose them? And it's totally not cheating to list them together, or to throw in "Someone who loves you" from the Jabba's palace rescue. Nope, not at all.

Han Solo shooting up the comm station during the rescue of Princess Leia. I could have gone with any number of scenes and lines that make me laugh ("I am not a committee!" "You don't want to sell me Jaffa sticks." "I dunno, fly casual." "Artoo! You're playing the wrong message!") but "It was a boring conversation anyway" is one that sticks with me, as does the scene leading up to it.

Obi-Wan Kenobi on Kamino. I wanted to pick at least one scene from the prequels, because although there are tons of problems with those films, and I wish they had been much better, I don't want to excise them from my fannish experience, either. Frustrating as they were, they also added many interesting elements to the canon, and none more so than the backstory of the clones -- who they were, where they came from, for what purpose they were created, the surprising origin of Boba Fett. I thought it was a nice subversion of expectations that the clones were created to fight with the Republic, rather than being the enemy of the Jedi -- and then the closing moments of Attack of the Clones, when the ranks of clone soldiers wearing a clear precursor to stormtrooper armor, prototypical Star Destroyers flying in the background, took my breath away. [tumblr.com profile] fangirlhappyhour recently did a special Star Wars episode, and [personal profile] renay's comments about this scene reminded me of how much I liked it, in particular the best CGI aliens in the entire series, and one of the best fight scenes.

The Battle of Endor. Make fun all you like, but I love the Ewoks. Maybe it's youthful imprinting -- Return of the Jedi is the first movie I ever saw in a theater, at the age of 10, which put me right in the target audience. Regardless, I adore how they can be both cute and fierce, and both those traits are on full display in their battle with the stormtroopers in the forests of Endor. It included moments that were adorable, sad, and filled with crowning glory, and I am a sucker for underdogs coming from behind to defeat a superior force. And it was even better on a big screen.

The Comic Con reel for The Force Awakens. When The Force Awakens was first announced, I wouldn't say I was skeptical exactly, but I wasn't really excited, either. I sometimes had trouble remembering it was even happening -- I almost forgot to include it out of the list of movies I was most looking forward to in my 2014 wrap-up posts, for example. That all changed when this reel leaked, and showed me a world that looked like Star Wars, and felt like Star Wars, in a way that the prequels with their reliance on CGI characters and environments never quite did. Getting a little behind the scenes and seeing practical effects in action was heartening. And I found the excitement of the actors and crew to be infectious. Hearing their love and enthusiasm for Star Wars reminded me of my love and enthusiasm for Star Wars. It made me hopeful again, and I've found no reason to give up that hope. Fingers crossed that I still feel that way in a month.

Good day

Nov. 15th, 2015 12:39 am
owlmoose: (library - sign)
Today was a good day. SE and I went with a local librarian group on a tour of the Sonoma County Wine Library, which is part of their public library system. It was interesting -- not so much for the space, but to see what can be done with such a specialized collection. Lots of books, of course, including this 16th century book on agriculture from Spain, as well as more modern texts, but also magazines, clipping files, wine labels, a really hilarious drinking game from the 1960s, and a selection of cool old bottles. Also I was happy to be hanging out with librarians and talking shop again, something I don't get to do much these days. Afterwards we went to a wine bar and just chatted, and I really appreciated it.

Of course I can't go up to the wine country without having some fabulous food. We dragged our husbands along (although they absented themselves for the librarian portion of the festivities), and had delicious lunch, tea, dinner, and dessert. Then I came home just in time to lend a hand to a last-minute Wind dominance victory on Flight Rising! Literally at the last minute; it was glorious. And now it is late and I must sleep, if I can come down from the victory high.
owlmoose: (da - aeducan)
[livejournal.com profile] classics_lover asked me for my thoughts on Dragon Age dwarves. Let me show you them.

If I have a reputation of any sort in Dragon Age fandom, it's probably as a dwarf fan, especially the two dwarf Grey Warden Origins -- the Dwarf Noble is my favorite origin, with the Dwarf Commoner as a close second. I've written quite a lot of fic about my Brosca and my Aeducan, and the single DA story I'm most proud of is an AU about a Brosca and Aeducan working together. I also created and sporadically maintain the Dwarf Appreciation Society on Tumblr. So DA dwarves are a bit of a niche for me, and one that I'm happy to sit in.

The obvious next question is "why dwarves", especially when I've never been particularly drawn to the dwarves in any other fantasy universe. And I think the short answer is politics and storytelling.

Anyone who knows me from Final Fantasy XII fandom can tell you that I am a fan of stories that are dense with politics, and that make the political situation an important part of the storytelling. Politicking is a theme that runs throughout the Dragon Age universe, but nowhere is it denser or better done than through the Orzammar quest in DA:O. However, this is only really true if you play a dwarf origin. My first time through, I played a human noble, and although I liked playing through Orzammar and the Deep Roads well enough, it's a much richer experience with more personal resonance if you play a dwarf. The events of the origin come back in both cases, especially for a Brosca, and unlike most other Wardens, a dwarf might have deeply personal reasons for wanting to see one candidate or the other on the throne. I like how the various character and political threads come together, and considering the different ways they can come out. And I find myself drawn to this story of a formerly immense and proud civilization on the decline: the ways some factions are fighting against it while others are looking for ways to grow and change, to fight the coming extinction of their way of life. And a not-insigificant percentage just leave, abandoning the old ways to set up a new life and integrate into surfacer society.

Aeducan is my favorite origin. When I decided to start a second game (before we'd even finished our first!), I spent half a day playing through the events of all the origins besides Cousland, and I knew immediately that my Aeducan was the character I wanted to carry forward. She's also the character I consider my primary canon Warden. But in terms of coming back to Orzammar, Brosca is hands-down the most interesting and best written -- their personal connection through Bhelen through Rica gives them higher stakes in the political game, as does their past association with the Carta.

One of my disappointments with DA2 was the lack of dwarf characters (I don't think there's a single named female dwarf character in the entire game) and the scarcity of new dwarf-related lore and content -- not much besides the Deep Roads expedition and a bit in Legacy, since Varric is not very connected to dwarven society -- so I was pleased to get more in Inquisition, particularly the ability to play as a dwarf again. My first Inquisitor was a Cadash, and although I was a little surprised to discover that she was a surfacer, it's a character choice I appreciate. I'm really intrigued by the ways that different dwarves adapt to surfacer culture. And although I could have wished for more dwarf-specific content, I did appreciate the connections we did get, particularly the opportunity to learn a little more about the Carta. Scout Harding, too, provided a bit of a window on how a dwarf might fit in with a mostly-human community. (Although we do see other dwarves living in Redcliffe -- I wonder if she knows Dywn, or is somehow connected to him?) And of course the return of Dagna made me extremely happy, even if a part of me was hoping that the master arcanist was going to be Sandal. The lack of an explicit meeting with Sandal and Bodahn Feddic in DA:I was a small disappointment, but no less real for that. Much as I like him, I had been iffy on Varric's return as a party member, but overall it worked out for me, especially in the ways it tied into the red lyrium thread.

And of course we got an entire dwarf-focused DLC in Descent (even if I found that particular sidequest somewhat disappointing as a player). Cut for Descent Spoilers. )

As for the future, I'm hoping we get a better window onto the obvious problems in Orzammar, and I'd really like to get to Kal-Sharok at some point. The tease we got for that on the Inquisition war table was more tantalizing than satisfying. But I was glad not to see it ignored, and have hope that it's setting up more for the future.
owlmoose: (quote - bucket)
The long meta post I was going to put up today (about Dragon Age dwarves) didn't get completed to anywhere near my satisfaction -- I didn't even think about dwarf Inquisitors yet -- so I'm now holding that until tomorrow. (BTW, there's still plenty of room to request post topics!) So you get a quick post-for-the-sake of posting instead.

Today was good -- normally I work my part-time job Tuesday through Thursday, but this week I had a meeting on Monday. So I was off today instead, and will also be off tomorrow, and my only obligations were a lovely dinner with friends and a brief meeting with a freelance writing client. (Did I mention I have an occasional freelance writing gig? I have a graphic designer friend who sometimes asks me to write copy. I really enjoy it, actually, and have contemplated finding more work along these lines, but that's probably another blog post.) It was really nice to have a whole morning and most of an afternoon to relax, and the same will be true of tomorrow. Although it would be nice to have more money coming in, there real benefits to having flexible jobs, and not worrying about filling out a full 40-hour work week.
owlmoose: (think)
As I'm sure anyone who's known me for even a little while knows, I'm a liberal. I embrace this term whole-heartedly, unlike a certain political party that's been running from the word for as long as I can remember. Despite this, I have always been and intend to remain a registered Democrat. The Democratic Party has been a part of my identity as long as I've been aware of politics (and that's about as long as I can remember -- my parents are both political, both Democrats, and have always talked discussed the issues through that lens). I have my issues with the party, to be sure, but they do a pretty good job of putting issues I care about at the center of their platform, and I want to support that.

Still, I am pretty far to the left of the party on most of the substantial issues, especially economic issues, so you would think that I would be a lock as a Bernie Sanders supporter. But I'm not -- in fact, I'm still very much on the fence regarding whether I will vote for him or Hillary Clinton in the California primary. Fortunately, this is several months away (March 2016), so I have plenty of time to decide. Somewhat ranty aside. ) As I consider my options, I offer this advice to all the Sanders supporters I know: as you spread the word about your candidate and how much you love him, consider your target audience.

It seems to me that the strategy of Sanders supporters so far has been to reach out to disaffected voters: younger people who have never voted, independents, and others who feel like no one in politics is standing up for them. I am all in favor of this type of outreach! I think it's really important, and something that the Democratic establishment has not done very well in the past. But it won't be enough. If you want your man to win the Democratic nomination, and especially the general election, you are going to need the support of people who are engaged with the party establishment, and to win over not only undecided voters, but some percentage of people who currently support Hillary Clinton.

Here are some ways not to try and win me over:

  1. Painting Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party as evil conservative forces that must be destroyed. This is a bad strategy for several reasons, first because you are going to alienate those of us who identify with the party and/or Clinton as a candidate. Second, putting these kind of wedges between the left and center-left is bad for the general election, when we need to come together behind whoever wins the nomination. I can't believe that anyone who supports Sanders would rather see any of the GOP candidates in the White House than Hillary Clinton. Finally, it's just not true. Like most Democrats, Hillary is center-left, and she's actually more liberal than Sanders on a few issues (gun control, abortion, civil rights in some areas). If you look at her actual positions and record, she and Sanders are really not that far apart.

  2. Confusing Hillary with her husband. Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton. She has her own viewpoints and way of doing things, and showed her own style of leadership as Secretary of State. And she is NOT responsible for anything he did while he was in office. (Even if she publicly supported his initiatives at the time -- could the First Lady have realistically done anything else?) This is a terribly sexist thing to do, because it suggests that she doesn't have ideas of her own and/or that he's really going to be in control if she's elected. So just don't do it.

  3. Just -- anything that comes off as sexist, okay? We had enough misogyny in the 2008 campaign. There's no reason to sink to it.

  4. Anything that's not focused on the issues, really. I said up above that Hillary and Bernie aren't that far apart, but they're far enough apart that there is a meaningful conversation to be had about their differences. They have different priorities, and different ideas about the details of how they would tackle the problems this country is facing. If that were the conversation, I'd be dreading the all-out primary season a whole lot less.

  5. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this in the coming months (and months and months and months), but I'll leave it here for now. I look forward to an actual productive debate on this topic. Let's hope that's even vaguely possible.
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
One of the things I miss about doing fandom on LJ is book discussions, especially going back and discussing books long after they came out. Tumblr moves so fast, and especially for something like a book that everyone finishes at different times it can be hard to go back and see what other people said about it.

In particular, one book that I always wanted to have a good discussion about is The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire, the eighth book in the October Daye series. It's not just a great book, it completely upends almost everything we thought we knew about what was going on in Toby's world, and casts so much of her story in a new light. And I thought the occasion of [personal profile] renay having recently finished the book would be a good time to open the floor.

NOTE: Renay has not yet read the next book in the series (A Red-Rose Chain), so no spoilers for it in comments please. I will be keeping an eye on comments and deleting anything too egregious. (Does DW support spoiler cuts in comments yet? I know LJ does.) Thanks! (Although meaty stuff happens in RRC, too, I think it's perfectly possible to talk about TWL without referencing it.) However, it should probably go without saying that stuff up to and including TWL will be spoiled beyond this point.

So I don't have anything in particular to kick this off with (it's been a long day and my brain is fairly fried, but some potential avenues for discussion (EDIT -- not everything in the list below happens in TWL, because I somehow collapsed that story with the events of Chimes at Midnight when I was typing it up. But they're interesting things to discuss anyway, so I leave it as is.):

Let me give you a topic. )

And I'm sure there's at least half a dozen other things that I'm just not thinking of off the top of my head. What did I miss? Let's chat. :)

Faux post

Nov. 9th, 2015 10:19 pm
owlmoose: (ffx2 - rikku)
I'm not writing a real post today. I plead bad weather, bad traffic, a busy day at work, and a heavy-duty distraction in the form of a Flight Rising dom battle. I promise to get back on the stick tomorrow.

Meanwhile, have my discovery of the day: [tumblr.com profile] thegetty, the official Tumblr of the Getty Institute, which is delightful. Among other things, every Monday they post a detail from a piece of art and invite people to suggest what they think is happening, in a feature called #ThyCaptionBe. Occasionally the suggestions are serious, but more often they are silly fun. Worth some time and a giggle.
owlmoose: A photo of a Highway 1 roadsign, with the California Coast in the background (california - sign)
Today’s adventure was a trip to the Marin Headlands. We walked down to the Point Bonita lighthouse, where despite many drives around that area I had never been -- its hours are very limited (only Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons), and T had always warned me off visiting because the hike involved a steep loose-gravel trail and a rickety bridge, two of my least favorite things thanks to my fear of heights. But fortunately, his information was out of date, because they rebuilt the bridge in 2012, and presumably paved the steepest parts of the trail at the same time. So I found it perfectly accessible for me, and it was worth it.

Point Bonita the oldest lighthouse on the West Coast of the US, and the last in California to become automated. Because it’s still in use, we weren’t able to go up and see the light or the lens, but there were nice exhibits on the history of the lighthouse and the shipping lanes past and present. And the views were excellent. We also saw seals and hawks! So I'm glad I was able to get there.

I posted a few pictures on Tumblr. Nothing special (and no wildlife, alas -- they were too small and far away), but some nice views of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cover Me

Nov. 7th, 2015 10:10 pm
owlmoose: (cats - silver kitty)
[personal profile] lea_hazel asked me about covers of favorite songs, which I'm going to broaden a little bit to talk about song covers generally.

I enjoy a good song cover, especially if I feel like a cover brings something new to a song. I don't see much point to covers that straight-up reproduce the original. Give me a new angle, or tell me a new story, or bring out a new mood. I am particularly fond of acoustic versions of songs, including those by the original band -- those can often feel like a cover, especially if a song was heavily electronic to begin with.

If I had to pick my favorite original song/cover pairing, I'd probably choose Michael Stipe's live performance of U2's "ONE". I find the original to be haunting and beautiful. Stipe, in comparison, is rawer, and yet quieter at the same time, with less of Bono's bombast. The song was performed only once, for a benefit concert on MTV, by members of REM and U2 as the supergroup Automatic Baby. The way it captures a single moment in time is another thing I enjoy about it.

Another, very different example, is the Lorde cover of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", originally by Tears for Fears. Unlike "ONE", where the mood differences are subtle, these two songs are drastically different in tone. Tears for Fears presents an upbeat song, triumphant in nature, especially in its association with the movie Real Genius, where it plays over the heroes' crowning moment of awesome at the end. Lorde's version is dark, heavy, and foreboding, no surprise when you consider that it comes from the Hunger Games series. It's almost hard to believe that it's the same song, but the lyrics are identical as far as I can tell. The first time I heard it, it took my breath away.

A few other honorable mentions: another Tears for Fears song, "Mad World", as covered by Gary Jules; the 2 Nice Girls cover of "Sweet Jane" (a song that took me literally a decade to track down on mp3); and the Tori Amos cover of Joe Jackson's "Real Men".

So, these are mine. What are yours? Any recs? I'm always happy to discover more good music. :)
owlmoose: (ffix - garnet)
Kate Elliott is coming to town tomorow for a reading/signing/author event at Borderlands (3pm!), to support her new book Black Wolves, which I would be looking forward to reading anyway, but [personal profile] renay's enthusiasm has me pretty excited. I only found out about this event a few days ago, and I decided it would be a good idea to read the other book Elliott released this year, Court of Fives, before then. I finished Court of Fives yesterday, and I really adored it.

So far, 2015 has been a great year for new novels (topping the list right now are Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear, The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik -- which still stands as my favorite at this point), and this one is right up there with them. It's the story of Jes, a mixed-race, mixed-caste teen girl who wants nothing more than to run the Fives, an athletic competition at which she excels. Instead, she gets caught up in a web of politics, intrigue, and death, and she has to make some hard decisions about who to serve and who to save. The characters were fantastic, and the plot kept me turning the pages. The end was so perfectly inevitable that it took my breath away. This is (of course) the first in a trilogy, and I can't wait for the next one.

I'll keep the post free from spoilers, but if anyone else has read this book and wants to talk about it with me, please feel free! I'll warn if we end up with spoilers in the comments.

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