Tattered coat upon a stick

Guster quote Gabriel
Just got back from a meeting of the book club I'm a part of. We were discussing Fangirl, and talked about writing fanfic myself (one other girl there has) and some of the other ladies had read it. Amusingly, the person I'm closest with was basically, "I don't get it - not the attraction to reading it or writing it, and same with cosplay and other fannish stuff because it's all just make-believe like when you were five and pretending you were a puppy" so it was an interesting conversation. (I did not tell people where to find my fic or even what my fandoms were - both would be bridges too far! I did say that I was just writing one before I got to the party, which is indeed the case - yay for Be-Compromised.)

Anyway, I think I'm kind of the old lady of the group, although perhaps not by a whole lot. It's not a big deal in that specific sense, because I get along well with these people, but I'm really starting to...worry isn't the right phrase. Hmm. I feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be in life, I suppose. Which for me means that I worry because I don't make a lot of money, feel pretty useless and uncertain about the whole career thing, and wonder where I'll be in five years.

God, I mentioned my salary in a conversation over Thanksgiving with just me, my husband, my father in law, and my stepmother in law and SMIL said, bewildered, "Isn't that the level where you get food stamps?"

Uh, ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'm surprised I didn't hide under the table for the rest of the trip.

I need to get back to therapy, but I don't know if it was helping me get anywhere. I feel like I need someone to whip me into shape, not listen to me.

But mostly, there has been a potential medical issue that's cropped up recently that's part of it. I'll go into a little bit of lady TMI here so stop reading if you're squicked by it.

So, I just had my period, like...two weeks ago. And I'm spotting again, right now, a not insignificant amount. And there are a lot of reasons that could be, but none of them are a whole lot of fun. It's possible I might have inherited my mother's endrometriosis - there are possible signs that could back that up. There are also the possibility of polyps. And there's also the possibility that I'm about to go into perimenopause. I'm 39. I am definitely old enough for it. But somehow the idea of it has set off little sirens in my head, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT.

I see my dr. in a week and a bit, so I can ask her about it then. But it's just roiled up all my insecurities about who I am and what I do, and I'm not sure how to process it all.

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Drown
My two most recent pieces of media consumption are...not much alike.

I've been slowly working through Penny Dreadful, which is wonderful and bloody and crazed over the top gothic and sometimes silly and sometimes I have to just listen to things happen while my phone is under some blankets, and thank goodness I got the warning on some moments before I came to them so I could take the blanket precaution. I've got two more episodes to go - they're downloading now - and am interested to see where season 2 goes. And also, Eva Green commits to things, yo. She does not half-ass one damn thing.

And I've also just read Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl for book club. I didn't realize she was the author of the book Eleanor and Park, which has had a lot of buzz recently, but I knew about this one because I follow the artist who did the cover (and have an Avengers print from that artist that my sister bought me last Christmas). The book was heftier than I thought it would be, and I enjoyed it, but was rather disappointed that the setting, which happens to be my current place of residence, was so lightly sketched out when the author is a native of the state and apparently grew up in the larger city about 50 miles away. But while there were a lot of gestures towards establishing a sense of place, it never happened. It's probably because she was trawling through emotional terrain and had nothing to spare for the physical, which, fair enough, I suppose.

Anyway, I liked the book a lot, even though some of the mental illness stuff was played...well, I don't know. Let's just say that I've read some reviews of the book that are all, "aww, Cath's father is so cuddly and I fell in love with him and he was the best so snarky wonderful" and I wondered if people just don't understand how difficult living with a person prone to manic episodes and doing things like locking themselves in rooms and not eating and writing messages on the mirror. I guess I feel like there was a lot of difficult emotional stuff in the book - one twin acting out in a big way, one twin with a truly severe anxiety disorder that is kinda played off as cute, a father with bipolar and a mother who said "fuck this" and left her eight-year-olds as she adioses out the door...it's there, and it's given some emotional weight, but the hospital scenes are, well, I don't know..,perhaps it's too much to ask for in what is apparently a YA book and I can't decide if I feel that if you bring up these topics you have to attack them a little more or if the lighter touch was actually more appropriate because it just presents it and leaves it for you.

Oh, and I'm not sure I liked the whole "insert chunks of Cath's fanfic in-between the chapters" stuff. It felt a little gratuitous.

On the other hand, a book that made me think about it this much probably means it's well-done enough to evoke the thinking, so that's another point in its favor. You can also add the facts that the book is genuinely charming, covers a lot of interesting stuff about the craft of writing. and kept my attention enough to tear through it.

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Guster quote Gabriel
Gone Girl was an interesting movie. I had read the book for a book club, and remember tearing through it but being disappointed at the ending - I think I was expecting a more genre-like ending and one that was less "welp, everybody here sure is fucked." (Others in the book club disliked it as well, not sure if it was for the same reasons.) The movie was interesting and beautiful, but I think Nick was left off the hook towards the end, although there are nods towards the fact that in many ways, he was every bit as invested in the weird sham that the Nick-Amy marriage was and that Amy's (vastly operatic, over-the-top) revenge is in certain senses very understandable. I think the book had more room to do certain things, but on the whole the movie is a great adaptation and while I'm not sure I entirely agree, I understand how some reviewers are regarding it as the better version of the story.

As to life in general, well...things have been a bit rocky, although they've settled down a bit now. My husband just spent some time in the hospital, and we're in the aftermath of figuring out how things proceed from here. I've been continuing to not show up for my martial arts classes, out of a combination of exhaustion and niggling anxiety about life in general. I will try to go back this week.

Have just reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Jennifer Crusie's What A Girl Wants. Work is ok; we continue to adjust to the new director and he, I suppose, to us. Tickets have been purchased for our Christmas trip back to the East Coast; I am hoping my usual catsitter decides not to do hers, otherwise I will need to make new arrangements for the furballs.

I'm mentally rather worn out, but things are getting better.

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Books: Barbara Vine, The Minotaur

Venice
Just started it. So far a very apt story to follow The Little Stranger, although knock wood will not actually make me unable to get to sleep due to spooky.

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Season of the fic

Drown
My fic writing has slowed down very much, and I'm not sure whether to do the whole Yuletide/Leverage Secret Santa/Be Compromised gift exchange this go-round. On the one hand, it might get me writing again, on the other hand I might be stuck writing something that's coming very hard and getting stressed about it. I haven't bothered with any of the nomination business for Yuletide, so I would have to hope that things I want to write do show up - the Rivers of London series, for example, might be fun although I don't know that I could write in that voice.

Anyway, I'll think about it.

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Current reading binge: Sarah Waters

Catherine Siena
Sarah Waters is one of those authors I've been meaning to get around to, and since her newest book is either just here or is about to arrive, I finally got to the library to see what I could find. Luckily they had Fingersmith, one of the books I've heard most recommended, and I tore through it on Friday and Saturday and was thoroughly caught up in it. It was a really enthralling read, just as I had hoped.

I just polished off The Little Stranger, and found a very Turn-Of-The-Screw story with the parallels of the upper class in England decaying along with the very house that stands at the center of the book. It was creepy and fascinating, but was the tiniest bit overlong. Still, a great read. I've seen some impatience with the narrator, who is awkwardly caught between social classes, and while I didn't dislike him completely, he is placed in the position of being the rational voice tut-tutting about the supernatural elements, and you can kind of picture him being shoved aside by, say, the Winchester brothers, who would call him an idiot, produce the rock salt, and take care of things. Obviously that would be an undesirable crossing of tropes but I admit the thought crossed my mind.

Oh, and a mild spoiler for the book:Read more...Collapse )

Next up is The Night Watch.

In other news, have had two meetings with new therapist and am unsure about things. She's a very nice lady but I feel like I've presented myself as a person far more pulled-together than I actually feel.

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Note to self, no posting on Ambien

poop deck
Uh, yesterday's post, while entirely correct, was meant to be comprised of a glancing mention that I was struggling a bit and then on to the stuff I was doing that was all more positive. Apparently I changed direction mid-stream.

Currently reading or have just read:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi. Only just started this for book club, so far loving it a lot.
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. A fun little fillip of a book. Planning on making some of the recipes in it.

Just finished, after much struggle, one of Dorothy Dunnett's Dolly books, in an attempt to find something of hers that I can latch on to since I've sadly bounced off the Lymond and Niccolo books. Uh, these won't do it either, unless the second one is very different from the first. Despite a setting in Rome, and a theoretically exciting plot that would in fact make a great movie, the voice of the book is mired in a really...well, how to describe it...the voice is very dry, very British, very jazzy Austin Powers-ish sixties, and it frequently just left me completely puzzled about what was actually happening. It was like going to England and saying, "I can speak English, this will be no problem" and then coming up against one of the thicker accents and realizing you're fighting to comprehend anything. Except in a written way, not a verbal way. I bought one of the other books already, so I'll go ahead and read it, but I was really excited to get to these books and now I'm sad they probably won't work for me.

In the hopper for later: Wolf Hall. Woot. I tried to read it earlier and my schedule got in the way, but...well, seeing Damian Lewis running around in Tudor clothing may or may not have reminded me to get back to it. Me-ow.

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bad self portraits

Guster quote Gabriel
I am not in a great mental space right now. I have an appointment with a dr. next week, and will perhaps finally start getting a more official handle on my stupid anxiety, which seems to slither in and out of my life whenever it wants, disappearing for a time until I feel like I'm stupid for being out of sorts. Then it pops back up again without warning, or just before I get my period, or just after, or at any time convenient to it. I'm tired of avoiding making decisions out of conviction that they'll be the wrong ones, of feeling worthless, of being the thing that comes in and spoils it for everyone else. I'm not doing anything more difficult than making cookies because they're easy and they sort of feel productive and then I can eat them, because eating very badly is another kind of escape route that I really, really shouldn't be escaping down. No gym, no aikido, bad bad. Gained ten pounds.

Reading, yes - because that's something to do that's not a decision, not something I'm responsible for.

Never been formally diagnosed with anything but I have buckets of relatives with anxiety disorders of some stripe or another, and I suspect that a particularly bad boss the past five years - plus, perhaps, my age - was the cracks starting to weaken the dam.

Bad nights with a chest that feels like it has a brick of lead in it, or that my skin is full of bees. Random crying or anger. Endless epic distractions: there's always something on the internet for me to look at so look and look and look.

And then I feel fine for a while and wonder if it's really all that bad.

So. I'm a little tipsy on half an Ambien right now. I'm pleased I have a dr's appointment to go to so hopefully I can get on top of some of this. I'm not in a bad space right now and so almost canceled the appointment and then remembered that no, wait - that's a bad idea. I got several new books via Kindle and will talk about them later. I'm doing ok. I just can be doing better, so I'm going to see if that's possible.

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Desoluation of Smaug and Monuments Men

Venice
Rented Hobbit #2 and watched it last night after the husband went to bed. Pretty much what I expected - some good moments, a big video game sequence or two (the barrel ride made me think I needed a controller in my hand and I play video games approximately once a year these days) and a plot that bore only a passing resemblance to the book. I suppose I can forgive them that, but I don't get how they so sadly did nothing with the epicness that is my shapeshifting giant bear boyfriend Beorn. SRSLY.

I knew Monuments Men wasn't going to be very good, but if there's a designated audience for this movie, I'm probably it, so I knew I'd go see it anyway. (The book is very good, as is Rape of Europa.) It seemed like a movie comprised of a lot of interesting and compelling moments that were not really taken advantage of, all played very very low-key in a way I kind of liked but can see didn't really work. For example, the humor is bone-dry in a very masculine comradely underplayed sense, which made me smile but was probably lost in a movie theater. Each different actor brought something interesting, and I definitely appreciated Cate Blanchette and Matt Damon and their whole relationship, but the plot sort of bobbed along in a really episodic fashion.

I wish this had been a tv miniseries, because you could break off and follow each team of men into their different areas, and the story telling wouldn't have had to be so compressed. Keep the same actors, but let them go deeper into their individual stories. Or, if you're serious about doing something awesome, you just make a movie about Rose Valland, the inspiration for Cate Blanchette's character, because the lady was a badass.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (Spoilers)

Catherine Siena
Went to see the movie on Friday, and accidentally bought the pricier, reserved-seating, electric recliners theater tickets. Not a hardship, exactly, but it was an extra ten bucks. The husband was happy about it, though.

So. I am one of those with absolutely no comics knowledge about this chunk of Marvel, although I have some vague knowledge of the Kree because of Charles Xavier and Lilandra and her great hair. But from the trailer, I was on-board because it looked like a great romp in the style of the 80s adventure movies I love so much.

I walked out of the theater really happy. I don't think it was a perfect movie, by any means - Gamora and Nebula's relationship was really underwritten, Gamora's position as a bad guy or good guy sort of changes with no real sense of how long she was planning to betray Ronan or what, precisely motivated her to do so at that specific point), Lee Pace didn't have a whole lot to do (and not giving that man something to do onscreen is a crime) and the first twenty minutes or so after the opening threw a lot of stuff out that was difficult to follow because it's all big space opera names and sometimes I can't hear dialogue and was not entirely sure what the hell was being said.

But. I have that love of found-family tropes, and hello, this just hit it squarely. Bunch of misfits with pain in their past learning to lean on each other? Yes, please. The movie was not just funny but it was delightfully goofy at points, but it had moments where I just wanted to squish everybody. Baby Groot! Drax scratching Rocket's ears! Chris Pratt dancing through an Indiana-Jones-esque theft with his Walkman playing! So adorable, a big fuzzy dog of a movie.

Oh, and I doubt it was deliberate, but Peter's mom totally made me think of the X-Files ep Small Potatoes, where the woman thought the father of her baby was Luke Skywalker.

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