Kelly and I are off to Stratford, Ontario to see Carousel, She Stoops to Conquer and The Alchemist with my parents. They’ve been in town all week, and if you’re waiting on an e-mail from me, that’s the short answer as to why. (The long answer is “…an’ also I have a cold, and also also I had a three-hour seminar Friday night in the burbs–oh, the humanity!–but I sincerely like you and so appreciate the thing you sent me, and I will absolutely get to you as soon as is mammally possible because you are a wonderful human being and a treasure to behold. Seriously. Cough, cough.”)
In other words: regular service, including an increasing number of posts about A Daughter of No Nation, will resume on Tuesday. And in the meantime there will no doubt be geotagged Instagram and other pictures of yet another Ontario town I never saw before, in my whole life.
Today’s the final day and we will be seeing two things: Angry Indian Goddesses and London Road. The latter is a film version of a musical we saw at Canadian Stage the week of our 25th anniversary. It’s something called a “verbatim musical,” which means that the playwright recorded interviews from a neighborhood in Ipswich where a serial killer had been active, and then made an audio script for actors to mimic precisely. If that sounds ambitious, then imagine doing the same thing and setting it to music.
Tomorrow we both go back to work! Like all vacations, it’s been incredibly wonderful and too damned short.
One fine summer evening many years ago, in the days before DVDs, we rented The Thin Red Line. This was almost certainly my fault, as Kelly, generally speaking, has more sense– except in cases where Keanu Reeves is involved. After what seemed like thirty-six and a half hours of cinematic bludgeoning, we remembered we could hit the FWD button. By this means we hoped to watch the rest in fast motion until something happened, and at least come out of it knowing who’d died.
The pace of the shelling and shooting did indeed pick up. Still, fast-forwarding took another twenty five minutes. Purgatory moves faster, I’m pretty sure. This is a film, I’m fond of saying, that really captures the length of World War Two.
It’s a comment that usually brings Thin Red Line apologists out in droves to defend the earnest majesty or solemn nobility or outstanding performances or what have you you-clearly-live-in-a-parallel-world awesomeness of the film. But I had occasion, yesterday, to compare it to the French film The Fear, and nobody so much as squawked. I choose to take this as evidence of everyone realizing I was right in the first place.
In other news, I’ve spent the last couple of days fighting configuration wars with a shiny new PC laptop; the old one has been developing just a touch of age-related dementia. I might have nursed it along for quite a while, but to the extent that Chez Dua has a hardware upgrade plan, it made sense to replace it now.
The process was time consuming but largely painless–the iTunes library wheezed a little, and is still pissing me off a bit, but everything else essentially slotted into its assigned place in my ecosystem. Cloud backups made it easy.
I do 90% of my work on a tablet these days, which made the replacement less of a treat than it might otherwise have been. Still, puttering away has its pleasures, and of course the rest of my waking hours have been spent doing things like soaking in the hot tub with Kelly, sleeping late under a pile of kittenflesh, wandering around Toronto with Kelly, shopping in Chinatown for new phone cases with Kelly, and seeing weird and not entirely satisfying TIFF films with Kelly. (Her writeups on The Fear and Eva doesn’t Sleepare here.) I liked the latter more than she did… I was intrigued by the back and forth and various interments and recoveries of Eva Peron’s body as the political winds in Argentina changed direction.
Tomorrow we will see 25 April, which is (cough) another war film. It is, in fact, an animated retelling of the battle of Gallipoli, by a female Canadian/New Zealand director named Leanne Pooley.
Total dental freeze,
tempura and sashimi
not a good mixture
I have been browsing through my old blog periodically, examining the sort of things I was posting when I started out, and offering up any of the worthwhile bits. My landscape, physical and social is very different now… in this particular period I’m revisiting, it’s about fourteen months away from a major upheaval. But 2002 Alyx has no idea whatsoever of any of that. She’s burbling along, figuring out Livejournal, writing her way through the early days of Rumble’s kittenhood, our first months in the condo on Woodland Drive, and things like the tail end of Buffy’s original run on network TV.
Today’s time-travel gold comes from May 23rd and consists of a couple of haiku I wrote after having my mouth frozen for dental work and then embarking on sushi for supper. The first is above; here’s the second.
Lively half of tongue,
balances roe between teeth
lip gets chomped instead
Over on her blog, Kelly has advocated an elegant solution to the current battle over rebranding the Hugo Award. It is this: abandon the rhetoric, step back from telling stories about who’s doing what and and why they’re wrong on the Internet, and pay a damned mediator. It seems to me that the World SF Society or Sasquan might have some seed money, since the latter’s garnered something like 2000 more voting memberships than usual.
The idea is for stakeholders to fundraise the necessary dosh, pick some leaders, hire the pro, and talk our collective way to a solution. Then (if a Hugo rule change to prevent system-gaming is part of the package) presumably we’d implement it over the next several conventions.
Now that Kelly’s original post has had some time to air and counter-arguments have come in, she’s examined those, too. Chief among the questions is the issue of whether people on one side or the other are capable of or willing to negotiate in good faith. To which: hey, you can’t know if you don’t ask.
The theme of both posts is simple. This whole thing sucks, right? It’s either seek a solution, or play “You said, I said, no you said,” whackamole in our blogs indefinitely, while the rest of the world–or the devoted fannish book-reading portion of it that cares–wonders when drug-addled clowns got bored with their usual pursuits, like running the Western democracies and poisoning the planet in a mad pursuit of all the dollars, and moved on to hobby pursuits like setting flamewars amid the literature of ideas.
Creating posts about how a bunch of writers are wrong, evil, passe, misguided, dumb, gulag-builders or covered in bees has its charms. Snark is fun. But not only does whackamole take time that should go first to creating fiction, the current strategy also saps energy from the important work of making the field more diverse. And we were getting traction with this, people. I don’t want to stop. I want to continue seeing our best love, energy, talent, words and Tweets going to singing the praises of “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” by Usman T. Malik, to asking if you’ve seen Kai Ashante Wilson’s “The Devil in America,” and to noticing that Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles are getting asked some ludicrous questions about She Walks in Shadows. Maybe someone could even get the hell over there and say something smart.
So. If you are going to Sasquan, and if you know someone who has influence over any of the players in this particular power struggle, consider having a chat with them. About letting go of the namecalling, about trying to agree on a way forward.