mardypants: Diddy and Bjork arrange a fizzy mountain duet. (hopelessly lost in translation)
2012-03-20 09:13 pm
Entry tags:

Oh, yeah, that list thing...

Long time coming, but here's a definite #2: Incompetence.

See, I was noticing a lot of the lists included competence as a kink. Which is all well and good as far as it goes, which... isn't very far if you think about it. Kind of half the point of a good plot is to throw something -- many things -- at the main characters that they weren't expecting or the least bit prepared for. Watch them flail around and start to figure things out after a while. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy or possibly killed -- I'm not particular as long as it's interesting and engaging in some way, what happens to them. And what can be more engaging than to see a character out of their element, totally confused, and then get to watch them go about piecing together some kind of sense out of the situation? Or watching them make understandable mistakes -- the kind you make when you're running on too little information or experience or resources or whatever -- and then have to deal with the fallout.

I wonder if maybe a lot of the people who like competence are thinking back bitterly on all those times when fictional characters made mistakes that seemed really stupid or obvious, or creators that try to equate ineptitude -- terminal klutziness, or perhaps a benign and unchanging state of ignorance or apathy, or how about a total disregard for school/books/advice from others/common sense? -- with likeability in a character. Or relatability, I dunno.

What I do know is that I tend to relate best to characters that are, whether they want to or not, learning, trying to absorb and adapt, trying to decide what to keep and discard. Characters that can and do fail, sometimes spectacularly, sometimes hurting themselves and other people, but the consequences always catch up sooner or later and they're going to have to figure out how to deal with them (or run far, far away).

Example: Taran Wanderer, especially the Free Commots section, where he learned how very much he would never learn about smithing, weaving, and pottery. (I'll try and think of some other appropos ones later.)
mardypants: Life is a garden. A really freaky garden. Or maybe a cemetery or adults-only cinema, I'm not sure. (fair warning)
2012-02-18 12:55 pm

Woe is Everybody

Just finished the ARC of MeiLin Miranda's latest and feeling... well, the readerly equivalent of brainfreeze. It's very much not a happy book throughout -- well, with a title like Son in Sorrow you wouldn't expect it to be, would you? Just... I ended the thing feeling more apprehensive than hopeful. Which I'm sure was intended, but it doesn't make me at all anxious to read the next book, given where all the characters are right now and where the immediate plotlines seem to to be heading. I'm sure it'll all work out in the end, and I'll definitely be reading along when it does, I just... well, if I had the third book right now in front of me this minute I'd probably turn and walk the other way. (And not just because it's Mardi Gras weekend, oh no.)

Time for some mindless happy already.
mardypants: Rainbow Unicorn Happiness (more joyful)
2012-01-27 11:48 am
Entry tags:

Ideas for Next Yuletide, Part 2, and a Memething

Okay, these two I probably won't go with, not if the fandom nomination limit's still set to four, but I would love to see stories about them.

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (song)

Haaaaaands across the water (water!)
Heeeeeeeeeeeads across the sky....

Yes, I admit it's partly because of the slash in the title, but mostly because this is a strange, moody-playful song cobbled together by Paul McCartney from bits and starts of something like twelve other songs (or so the internet tells me). Which means a writer would have something like twelve different directions they could take a story in at the very least!

A Little Night Music - Sondheim/Wheeler

Specifically something from the point of view of Fredrika after the end, about what it's like to have her mom retired and suddenly around all the time (is it anything like what she hoped for in her version of Glamorous Life?), and now her grandmother's suddenly gone, and suddenly she's got a dad after living most of her life without apparently needing/wanting one. Plus the recent scandal of her new dad's much-younger wife running off with his son -- I imagine that's going to give everybody involved quite a bit of adjusting to do. So how does it all work out (or does it)? Can they reconcile all their different ideas of what being a family means? What would such a reconciliation look like?

This kind of ties in with something I've been wanting to try for a while, that 101 Kinks list that all of the cool people were doing. Except, being me, it's not going to be particularly kinky, unless you're looking at 'em sideways. :>\ Just things I tend to like when I encounter them in fanfic or published fiction or wherever. (So 101 Squees, more like?)

Actually there could just be one single thing on the list:

Things I Don't Usually Like Reading About Handled in Way I For Some Reason Like

But that's not very informative, is it? So here's a better first entry:

1. Non-dysfunctional non-nuclear families.

Bonus points if the authors can manage the non-dysfunctional part while still showing the specific problems such families would face in their different settings and societies.

Examples: Dodie Smith (The Hundred and One Dalmatians, I Capture the Castle) leaps immediately to mind. IIRC, her mom left her dad to move back in with her flamboyantly bohemian extended family when Dodie was still very small, which must be why the girl grew up to write such marvelously loving and eccentric blended families (the Mortmains) and families of choice (the Dearlys, their nannies, and all the dogs).

Also Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby, who manages quite well as a single mother until faced with a problem even most two-parent families would find overwhelming. Her solution -- which involves building, bit by bit, a support system where the help she gives is every bit as necessary as the help she receives -- is the part of the book that still makes me glad to reread.

And of course, now that I'm writing this, it's becoming all too easy to recall other bookish examples, too many to name -- but not any fanfic ones. Hmm. Must mean my memory's being selectively faulty again. Time to go rummaging through old bookmarks....
mardypants: And my first wish is... (childlike)
2012-01-05 11:15 pm

Too lazy for direct links, alas

Okay, so getting involved with Yuletide next year is dependent on my finishing a New Year's Resolution (not the mods' rule; mine). But already I've got ideas for fandoms! So many, many ideas, but here's two to start:

The Public Eye - Peter Shaffer (one-act play from the 1960s)

Which was made into a film in the early '70s called either The Public Eye or Follow Me depending on where you live. The marriage of a staid, slightly paranoid English accountant and his free-spirited but secretive American wife is, predictably, starting to run aground. Suspecting infidelity, the husband calls in a private investigator to track his wife's every move when she's away from home. But it's not a normal, everyday detective the agency sends him. And this isn't in any way an average, everyday love story (except that it is).

Google Books has the first few pages of the play available to read as a preview, and since the movie version's not available on DVD, I don't have to feel terribly criminal pointing out that some nice person's put up the whole thing on YouTube.

As a taste, watch 6/15 first. It's the part where Cristoforou, the eccentric investigator, recounts his very first day tracking the wife. (No real spoilers here.)

The second possibility's something I really wanted to ask for this past Yuletide, if the number of nominations hadn't been so severely limited (which actually turned out to be an extremely good thing, considering ;>):

Bronte (music video)

Song by Gotye, animation by Ari Gibson and Jason Pamment. About a herd of unlikely beasts and the wild child they take in, and then let go (maybe). Only three minutes long, so plenty of room for elaboration in all sorts of directions.

Like I said, so many ideas! And maybe I won't even end up requesting anything at all, but still, it's good to start jotting at least a little bit of this down ahead of time, right?
mardypants: It... defies description, really. (don't stop the beat)
2011-09-10 08:37 pm

Catch-up, catch-all post

Finally saw High Noon in its entirety and, oh yes, I'll probably be requesting this one as a new (old) fandom for Yuletide. So much packed into so little time, so much uncharted territory (especially backstories) for fic to explore.

Also finished watching Company with Raul Esparza, and hoo boy is it grim. I'd always got the feeling from the original cast album that all the couples, no matter how dysfunctional, basically deep down liked each other. No such reassurance here -- no string of "I love yous" from each to each at the end of the Tick-Tock number. (No Tick-Tock, for that matter. Which, other than the Hallmark card chorus -- and Bobby's inability to join in -- isn't much of a loss.)

Come to that, nobody even seems to like Bobby much, which... kind of undermines the whole point of his character, I thought. He's supposed to be likeable and charming in a shallow, undemanding sort of way, right? Hence the gaggle of friends and one-night-stands. Raul plays him as nervous and talky-clingy and verging on the point of crisis all throughout the thing, which would be great in hints and small doses, but by the end I was feeling pretty tired out and sour on everyone, except maybe April's and Amy's actresses (Marta's and Joanne's were trying just a bit too hard) and Larry's and Paul's actors, who all managed to make their characters endearing despite themselves.

Oh, and kudos to all the cast for doubling up as orchestra -- I expect the musicians' unions weren't as impressed as I was, though. :>P

On a completely different musical note, let me just end by saying that Gotye's Making Mirrors isn't as big a step from his previous album as Like Drawing Blood was from Boardface, but hey, it's no disappointment either. But you don't have to take my word for it...
mardypants: Showtime! (Default)
2011-07-01 02:31 pm

Reasons You Wouldn't Like Me, Part 1

I don't like to watch movies based on books unless I

1) haven't read the story the film is based on beforehand;

2) didn't like the story the film was based on, in which case any changes made can only be improvements;

3) know the movie's based on a short story, so most of what's onscreen is going to be new and original material anyway.

This doesn't mean I don't like movies in general, just that movies and books do different things: movies do exterior things really well -- splitsecond gestures, visuals, and the like -- while books do interior things like thoughts and memories and voiceover infodumps. Losing the interior life in translation... really bothers me, and it's something no amount of wowsome exterior stuff can make up for (which is odd, because I'm all for exterior versus interior in most other things).

And now for something completely different: The creator of 14 Nights just posted a Yiddish version of the song Nikita ended the last chapter with. Very beautiful melody, too tragic lyrics -- think Little Match Girl meets Grave of the Fireflies. Yeah, that grim and more.

Papirossen, performed by The Train
mardypants: "Are those men kissing!?" (aka No One Does Righteous Indignation Like Gaston) (my what a guy)
2011-06-19 09:15 pm

Someday I'm going to come up with a tl;dr summary for this. Someday...

Not really one for OTPs/OT3s/etc. If there's a particular pairing/moresome I prefer or I don't care for, I'll definitely tell you. Other than that, assume I'll be okay with anybody matched/unmatched with anybody else.

Gen is great! Basically everything I've written is gen in shippy clothing -- I like writing and reading things that have to do with the parts of romances that people don't usually see as romantic, but still have everything to do with the relationship, how and why it works (or doesn't). If shippy gen's not your thing though, I'll absolutely take plotty gen, or character study gen, crackgen -- whatever you've got on tap.

I don't resent the presence of female characters in slash, or anywhere else. In fact, I really like to see wonderfully-drawn female characters in places you wouldn't expect to find them -- genres and venues and professions that tend to be (or are perceived to be) boys' clubs. (Also vice-versa: men doing "women's work."*)

*Still love Dwyvach's observation in Taran Wanderer that the work doesn't care who's doing it, so long as it just gets done.
mardypants: Ariel beseeches you. (i wanna be)
2011-06-19 12:24 am

Not quite Enchanted, but definitely charmed :>)

After nearly a week of catching bits and jigsaw pieces of this movie, I've finally, finally finished watching Enchanted, and oh! if ever I were inclined to write/ask for fic for this movie, it would definitely be Nancy/Edward. Or just Nancy or Edward on their own -- I want to know so much more about these two: backstory, whirlwind courtship, happily ever after as rulers of Andalasia. He's so innocent and earnest and she's underdeveloped as a character (and played by Idina Menzel, so why on earth was there no singing?) and there's so much room for stories! Lots of stories -- I'll have to go check up on Yuletides past now, to see what's been done already. *goes a-questing*

Edit: All Yuletide fics seem to be about Robert and/or Giselle. Other AO3 fics include a Nancy/Robert/Giselle where Nancy was formerly Maureen Johnson, one post-movie snippet where Pip recruits Kronk to teach Edward how to speak Squeakish, and a quick Nancy/Edward where Nancy turns Andalasia into a representative democracy.

Ah, the Wonderful World of Fandom: where "I'm not making this up" is always promptly followed by "'Cause somebody else already did!"
mardypants: Ravenclaw: Smug Sense of Self-Satisfaction Required (oh the cleverness of me)
2011-06-14 12:48 am

Every Time

I start thinking QI might actually be a show worth following regularly, then something like the Girls and Boys episode happens. Just... there's no enumerating the fail in that one, so let's leave it at that.

Or -- and this is something I'd forgotten till just now -- the comments on YouTube. My word, if this sort of intellectual smuggery and tendency to dogpile guest panelists who don't live up to expectation is indicative of the fandom of large, I can't be having with it, no sir.

Before flouncing off into the sunset, though, maybe just one more episode....