hollymath: (bill and doctor)
Well, we'd had four weeks in a row of Doctor Who I liked or loved, so I suppose we were due a rubbish one but...that made me cry. And not in a good way.

And I'm also annoyed that I can't talk about why without saying it's a spoiler. )
hollymath: (Default)
Still typing on my phone (Andrew's got a new laptop but until it's set up needs mine 24/7 so that he can keep up a steady enough stream of Twitter) so I'll have to be quick.

I finally got to see last week's episode of Doctor Who and while generally I liked it (at first I was wary of the premise for how Russell Davies it sounded, but it didn't do too badly with it), there was one thought I had during it that has stuck in my brain.

So I don't think this is spoilery but obviously opinions on what counts as a spoiler differ. I'd say this is in the "it contained the following general types of plot device" category, but I suppose that might be up for debate too.

Because I'd seen a lot of people's reactions to this episode already, I knew one of them went something like "you can tell white people write Doctor Who because when he asks Bill why she wants to go to the future instead of the past, her answer isn't just 'I'm a black woman.' "

Similarly, I can tell the show isn't written by immigrants because it inescapably hinges on the colonists' assumption that they can be happy all the time because they're headed to this utopia that's been built for them where everything is perfect.

Even if it had lived up to those utopian expectations, that would not have stopped grief being there.

Moving so irrevocably away from home leaves you grieving for everyone you left there. Except in some ways its worse than if they died, because you know they're grieving for you too. Some people (if you're lucky, all of them if you're not) you will probably never see again, no matter how much you love them.

There'd be homesickness. There'd be nostalgia in the sense it was first intended, as a proper disease people even died from, as well as its colloquial meaning today. There'd be dreams about the voices of lost people. We're sometimes fine when contemplating the big things, but then cry because we remember the pattern on the dishes, the noise the door made when it closed, or the colors in the sky.

You couldn't have a colony without grief.
hollymath: (Default)
In one of my (countless, surely) recent posts about blindness, lovely [livejournal.com profile] artremis linked to this this description of a Cbeebies show called Melody which I'd never heard of because having no kids means I only am aware of the shows my parent-friends complain about (so, Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden mostly). But this one sounds really awesome! For so many reasons.

First, classical music for pre-schoolers! And not just "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" stuff either; this article uses as an example "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis", composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Then, that the animation and soundtrack were specifically designed to be easier for blind/partially-sighted people to follow. I'm really curious to see what this'd be like! Not many things I do see seem created with the likes of me in mind. (Except Mad Max, obvs.) All this about "working with high contrast colours, having centrally focused action, bigger, definite (sometimes exaggerated) movements and holding on certain shots longer [than usual]" sounds really good to me! Plus, it's all audio described as well.

Next, I like...mostly...that
Melody's sight difficulties are never mentioned. "We often see her using her white cane, or placing her hand on top of her mum's whilst they cut something," he says. "It is never about what Melody can't do or needs help with, but always about what she can do and the methods she uses to do as much as most children."
I like that it's not assumed people need or are entitled to know/ask what other people's disabilities are, what caused them, or what effects they have on a person. But my own experience makes me a bit wary of focusing on what people can do, just because I'm aware of how much more work it can be to complete the tasks by which we're judged to be keeping up with our peers, and how invisible* that work tends to be anyway. "What we can do" is cute and celebrates independence when we see it in a kid, but once we're of working age it seems to be about how conveniently what-we-can-do can be exploited by potential employers and how little we deserve if we don't or can't work. Or maybe I'm just too grumpy lately. This is a mostly-positive point I was making here, honest.

But actually my favorite thing about this is a quote from the head teacher at an RNIB specialist school, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised he's good at talking about blindness in simple ways but I found this a really powerful sentence on the subject of how much blind people can actually see -- which I guess is a topic of great interest to sighted people...but also one that we often get wrong because we tend to assume that "blind" means "can't see anything at all." But this head teacher says "Many blind people and the majority of partially sighted people can recognise a friend at arm's length."

I just love that. I don't know why, but it makes me really happy. Like "I caught myself randomly remembering this on the bus the other day and that was enough to make me grin" kinds of happy. I like that it's true, of course -- being able to do that also implies a lot of useful stuff that should also be possible -- but, actually, given what I just said about defining people by their usefulness and productivity, I think the thing I love about this turn of phrase is that it's more about a benefit to the blind person themselves than it is about their usefulness to the rest of the world. The accomplishment of recognizing a friend will not get you a job or anything, it will just make you happy. This is a great metric, having friends within arm's length.


* I tried hard to think of another way to express this because I attempt to keep metaphors equating sight with knowledge or concern and lack of sight with not knowing or not caring, but I'm so used to "visibility" in the context of both bisexual activism (where the main antidote to erasure and other forms of biphobia is visibility, to the extent that our celebration day every year is called "Bi Visibility Day") and disability activism (where much vital work is done contrasting visible and invisible disabilities/conditions as well as the spoons it's easy to see someone's expending, like trying to climb a flight of stairs or push themselves in a wheelchair, versus the less obvious drains on energy like struggling with cognitive demands or pain that is not obvious to the external world. Because of these invisible struggles and the struggles against invisibility, I know of no better word for what I'm talking about here. And I'm not saying it's a bad or offensive use of the word, just that it goes against my usual aims of trying not to talk about sight good blind bad (which of course also ties into connotations of light and darkness and can get pretty racist too).
hollymath: (Default)
Andrew walked in from work yesterday evening, saw me curled up in front of the laptop, and said "Poor Holly! Having to watch The West Wing!"

Wow, I thought. It's that obvious?! I mean, clearly he hadn't seen the Facebook update I'd posted a bit earlier:
My head won't ever stop hurting, I fail at napping, what can I do now?

Oh yeah: it's been at least a year since I watched this!
"Poor Holly, not being able to deal with or think about anything new or that's happened in the last fifteen years!"

Yeah, pretty much. (Though I tried to argue it's less than ten years since I started watching the show in the middle of its run and I hadn't seen these earliest episodes until I bought the DVDs eight or nine years ago.)

But I thought this was a totally new revelation, that I'd just developed while staring forlornly at our DVD shelves. I didn't know this was such a glaring fact about me! It'd have saved me a lot of time and trouble if I did.
hollymath: (Default)
Andrew and I finally got around to watching the last couple of Doctor Whos this evening.

The first one, with all the trees, was bobbins. But I did like the beginning, where all the kids were having a sleepover in the museum.

"I want a sleepover in a museum!" I said. Andrew laughed, of course. "Can't I have that for my birthday present? My friends can come too, of course, if they want."

I texted [personal profile] magister (who's been keen to know what I thought of last night's episode): "Now, as well as a space train, i want a sleepover in a museum."

I watched Mummy on the Orient Express with him, and as soon as I saw that first shot of the train zooming into CGI space, said, "I want a space train!"

James didn't even look up from his phone or computer or whatever he'd been doing, and said with an utter lack of surprise in his voice, "That's exactly what Jennie said when she saw it."

"Ha!" I said. "You clearly have a type!"
hollymath: (Default)
Watching The Thick of It (which I'm doing because I need something to keep me from getting bored while I knit that doesn't actually require me to pay too much attention to because I'm knitting) is weird now: I keep thinking The Doctor's swearing!

I think it's a testament to how quickly and thoroughly Capaldi's embodied the role that it's overtaken, in my mind, the previously iconic role of Malcolm Tucker. I know people who are struggling to accept him as the Doctor, but I'm totally not one of them: I've absolutely believed him and adored him from the beginning. It's nice to be able to enjoy Doctor Who uncomplicatedly for once.
hollymath: (Default)
...the more convinced I am that Avon is the Sir Humphrey Appleby of Blakes 7.

Commentary

Oct. 3rd, 2014 02:49 pm
hollymath: (Default)
The Allman Brothers' "Jessica" came on Andrew's random mp3 shuffle.

"There's not a British person who can hear this without thinking of the snooker," Andrew said. And then attempted to correct himself: "I mean, racing."

"No," I said. "You mean Top Gear."

"Oh yeah," he said. "I got my sports mixed up."

I agreed. He also got snooker and motor racing confused with sports.

"I knew it was a car program!" he said. "A man program."
hollymath: (Default)
So obviously when Clara calls herself the Doctor's carer (in what seems to be half exasperation, half futile attempt at insulting him (a combination that reminded me of Martin Freeman's Watson)) and he replies "Yeah, she cares so I don't have to," Andrew grinned and patted me on the knee and said, "that's what you are for me! You care so I don't have to!"

But this wasn't Andrew's best moment while we were watching. That clearly goes to the first appearance of Michael Smiley, where he said "if you're wondering where you recognize him from, he was Spanners in Spaced.

"...You mean Tyres," I said. If I hadn't already placed the actor I wouldn't have had the foggiest idea what Andrew was talking about, but as it turned out his attempt to be helpful was as funny as anything on the TV.
hollymath: (Default)
I can't see the new Doctor Who until Thursday! So tell me how it was.
hollymath: (Default)
I have had a rubbish day, mental-health wise. Also a sinus headache.

So I'm in extra need of reminding myself of nice things.

1. I braved my inbox, applied for jobs, and caught up on a bit of Plus work. I did all these things half-assedly, and they all need a lot more work, but half an ass is better than no ass, right?

2. People were really nice when I said on Facebook that I'd done these things. All I could can think about is how much there is left to do, but some of the best people I know told me very firmly that what I had done was enough for right now. I'm still working on believing them.

3. I'm very glad I have such good people in my life. I'm particularly grateful when I cannot believe myself that I have (what I used to call in college) justified the clean underwear I put on today.

4. I basically had a mint chocolate milkshake for my dinner. It seemed to help my sinus headache, as an added bonus to how tasty it was.

5. Cosmos is on Netflix! The new, Neil deGrasse Tyson one that I've heard so much about from North American chums for ages now, all good. And so far it seems to be maybe the first thing I've ever seen that I can really appreciate the high-definition of: until now I could honestly say that in anything I've seen, the HD may as well not be there for all the use it is to me. I shall resist the temptation to stay up all night watching this. Honest. I can go to bed any time I want.
hollymath: (Default)
Ooh Frasier's on Netflix!

...I'd forgotten Daphne was supposed to be from Manchester. She sounds like Iris Widlthyme.
hollymath: (Default)
Nystagmus looks much freakier on House than...

Well, I was going to say "than it does on me," but I don't see it on me (if I look in a mirror, my eyes look steady). And I don't know anyone other than me who has it, so for all I know it always looks freaky.

In which case, my friends are even cooler than I thought for putting up with me! And I already know they're pretty cool.
hollymath: (Default)
The second episode of Almost Human is audio-described ("the joys of torrenting!"). But actually, this is really awesome! So many things are happening! I had no idea!

(Andrew says audio description has the same prose style as Dan Brown. I haven't read Dan Brown, but I'm kinda worried at how many adjectives there are.)

Though it's a shame that the opening scene of the provocative women in her underwear doesn't include "boobs" anywhere in the description. Blind people can be perverts too!
hollymath: (Default)
Yesterday afternoon was good because I was shown all kinds of televisual entertainment new to me.

I wasn't feeling great for a lot of reasons and was relieved and surprised that I actually managed to sit still (mostly) and enjoy myself rather than thinking about things I should be doing or things that are wrong with me or the other tediously common thoughts I'm susceptible to.

I'd asked for something simplistic to watch; I wasn't up to anything I had to pay a lot of attention to or that was likely to make me feel any worse. "Simplistic-funny? Simplistic-violent?" [personal profile] magister asked. We ended up with both, but that's about all our set of choices had in common.

First Jason and the Argonauts, with most of the latter pleasingly tubby and even balding, looking much more like normal guys than the shiny bodybuilders you'd get in such a movie nowadays. And ace monsters by Ray Harryhausen. Give me models over CGI any day.

Then a couple of Wallace and Gromits, which made me giggle a lot and were just the thing for the am-I-getting-a-migraine I'm-very-tired-and-prone-to-tears mood I was in.

Then an episode of the most recent series of Sherlock, which I adored. And that's after detesting the second series enough I didn't watch any of this one when it was on. Apparently a lot of people didn't like this wedding-speech episode -- [personal profile] magister told me it'd been deemed "plotless" and "rambly" -- but I thought it was wonderful, with some lovely intricate storytelling and a much better characterization of Sherlock particularly than that which had put me off the second series (though that "high-functioning sociopath" line can still fuck off). I'll never be the world's biggest Cummerbund Bandersnatch fan, but he had a lot to carry in this episode and I thought he did it very well.

We went for takeaway pizza after this so had lots of time to chat about how nice it was. Part of the fun is having someone to talk to about what you're watching.

And I'm told the intricate storytelling carries on to the next episode of Sherlock too, but we didn't watch that one because by this point James wanted to show me The Avengers. So we had an episode of that before bedtime, and went to sleep chatting about how nothing like it could be made today.
hollymath: (Default)
He just said, apropos of nothing, "And all this trouble could have been avoided if he'd been named Hegetarian."
hollymath: (Default)
Yesterday evening Andrew came down the stairs to where I watching a movie and said, "One not good thing about having a house is that there are lots more dark rooms that are full of serial killers when there's no Holly around."

Guess who's been watching Hannibal again.

Fargo

Apr. 21st, 2014 06:08 pm
hollymath: (Default)
Of course everybody wanted to know what I thought of Martin Freeman's Minnesota accent. But they all talked way too much and too fast for me to think they sounded Minnesotan!

Ironic for a weekend when I was worried I was talking too much. (My brain felt so Full Of Things by the time I went to bed last night I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep.)

He was doing the accent as well as he could've been coached to do. Clearly there were a few things they'd all been told to concentrate on -- and it wasn't the actors' fault how unbelievable most of the dialogue was!

I enjoyed the first episode a lot and can't wait for the next one, and it's been a long time since I said that about anything on TV!
hollymath: (Default)
"And after The Archers--" (I do not hate The Archers like some people do) "Kirsty Lang with Front Row."

Oh god. I"m actually much more likely to turn off the radio for Front Row than The Archers. But, I was busy hanging up laundry, so didn't bother. The Archers is just noise to me; I don't listen to it often enough for it to be more than that. Though I did smile when, after the cliffhanger so shouty even I noticed it ("He wasn't in Essex! He was in my bed!"), the first thing said was "the agricultural advisor was..." I bet that dude was a real help to this woman admitting to sleeping with the partner of her....friend? sister? mom? I have no idea.)

And then before I could turn the radio off, I heard "Tonight on Front Row, Kevin Spacey talking about the new series of the US House of Cards, and The Lego Movie. Gosh! Stuff I actually want to hear about! How can this be? I don't think it's ever happened before.

Irritatingly, though, when the Kevin Spacey interview started, after the (no doubt mandatory but also excruciatingly dull for me) stuff about it being made by Netflix and all the episodes released at once and similar, there was a question like "in the first episode of the new series, you use the aside to the audience less than usual." And I thought, hooray, we're finally getting to stuff I care about, but then Spacey's answer, quick and dismissive, was "I can't talk about anything about what happens in the show."

I think Mark Lawson and I were both a little taken aback by that response. Did we mistake this guy for a suspected spy captured by the enemy and refusing to give more than name, rank and serial number?

Spacey went on with something like "well in this generation we live in a no-spoilers culture, people don't want to be told 'oh that guy's just about to get his head shot off' or whatever. So I'm not going to ruin it for people just because some journalist asked me a question."

I couldn't decide which part irritated me more, that he's invoking spoilers to refuse a question -- and not something stupid like "how does it end?" but just about the use of a particular technique of form or style, and just in the first episode at that* -- or that he was so dismissive of "some journalist asking a question" like he was a bravely defiant rebel rather than an actor who had agreed to an interview about his new show. Getting asked about the new show should not evoke such a derisory reponse.

Honestly it's dulled the excitement of the new House of Cards, which I had really been looking forward to become I got so caught up in the first series. To know that Spacey's been put on such a short leash doesn't endear the show to me (and it's interesting that this puts me off when the show being composed entirely of objectionable things hasn't really), and it's frustrating not to get any idea of how he finds the show or the making-of at all. Any boring Netflix exec could've done that "people can control their own entertainment and watch whole series in a weekend if they want to" stuff in this interview; it seems a waste of the star as well as a little contemptuous to fans who care about anything besides spoilers.



* Surely anyone that sensitive to spoilers wouldn't listen to interviews before watching the show? In this age of iPlayer as well as Netflix, when Spacey had just been banging on about how people are more in control of their entertainment when they can binge on entire series, to show such temporal provincialism about what can be revealed seems jarring.
hollymath: (Default)
My dad keeps watching this show about people looking for Bigfoot. It's hilariously awful, just my kind of thing.

And it's not like he just happened upon it while he was channel surfing. He's been telling me stuff like "They were up in northern Minnesota once, somewhere near Ely I think" and "That one's from South Dakota, she's the skeptic."

I guess I can see where I get my fondness for stuff like this!

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