30 January 2014 @ 10:35 pm
Three thoughts strike me, upon seeing the new Sailor Moon inspired jewelry line from Bandai:

1a) I cannot drop US$125 on a fannish necklace, no matter how much I would like to at the moment.

1b) Number 1a above would be null and void if they had Sailor Pluto's Garnet Orb instead of Sailor Chibimoon's Crystal Carillon, because I would buy the hell out of some official Sailor Pluto merchandise that could pass as actual jewellry. (My official HP Time-Turner, sadly, is a bit too bulky to wear every day.)

2) A Space Sword/Deep Aqua Mirror necklace combination would be an adorable and romantic nerdy gift.

3) Why do I not have a Sailor Moon DW/LJ icon already? This must be rectified.

whyyyyy do we not have more info about the new episodes whyyyy

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28 January 2014 @ 12:05 am
Two rounds of heavy editing projects at work over the past few months have sapped a good portion of my writing energy, creative or otherwise, so just opening the tab to post an entry here feels like an inordinate amount of effort. I can't quite tell if it's a seasonal mood slump, but I suspect it is.

I do, however, want to mention the passing of a Japanese voice actor whose work I've enjoyed in many forms. I'm fairly sure that I first heard Ichiro Nagai's voice as the perverted old martial artist Happosai in Ranma 1/2, but he also voiced several of the older male characters and father figures in Naoki Urasawa anime series: Yawara! (Jigoro Inokuma), Master Keaton (Taihei Hiraga), and Monster (Dr. Reichwein). Between those series and the Japanese dubs of the Harry Potter films (in which he voiced Albus Dumbledore), he's given me many hours of entertainment. He'd been active and recording recently, too, so while I'm sad that he won't be providing voices for future wonderful don't-give-a-damn oyaji characters, I'm a little cheered to know that he was doing what he enjoyed and was good at right until the end.

Now to hunker down against the next polar blast, I think.

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02 January 2014 @ 11:23 pm
For the long-neglected writing meme, [personal profile] agonistes, who is terrible, asked me to post about Soviet historiography.

This is not nearly as organised as I want it to be, but if I don't post it now it'll never be finished.Collapse )

Also of note: when I was digging through my library to check a few references for this, I ended up flipping through one of my father's US-Soviet comparative political science textbooks from the early 1970s. I found it very interesting that in the index, the entries are given like this:

- American. See Political beliefs.
- Soviet Union, [list of page numbers and subentries].

Political beliefs
- American, [list of page numbers and subentries].
- Soviet Union. See Ideology.

Way to be subtle, Cold War poli-sci.

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01 January 2014 @ 12:38 pm
Posting this year's Yuletide contribution! I still have a NYR planned, but that will remain under wraps because it's a bit further back in the fic-writing queue.

Title: The Articles of War
Fandom: Treasure Planet
Rating: 12/PG
Summary: Nasty business, but I won't bore you with my scars. (Or, a formative incident in Amelia's service with the interstellar fleet.)
Disclaimer: All original works are copyright of their respective owners; I lay claim only to this particular story.
Notes: Written for [ profile] wildgoosery for Yuletide 2013. (Also on AO3.) This story contains descriptions of military corporal punishment that are a bit more graphic than anything Disney would've sanctioned. Further notes are at the end.

The Articles of WarCollapse )

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26 December 2013 @ 11:41 pm
Boxing Day turned out to be a day spent napping, judging by how my parents and I both seemed to pass out shortly after lunch only to awaken in time for dinner. Quite possibly we're recovering from having grated a small mountain of cheese for both the mashed potatoes and roasted fennel that were our contribution to Christmas dinner at the relatives. All I can say is that my motivation to do anything apart from flop around and drink tea has flown straight out the window, and I'll probably need to give myself a jolt straight from a car battery to get back into the swing of things at work next week.

While I'm marginally less floppy, I'm happy to share my Yuletide gift: Gold, Red, Black, White, a nice introspective piece from the 2001 animated film Millennium Actress (Sennen Joyuu). I'd rewatched the movie earlier this year, and was struck by the subtle power of its somewhat unconventional storytelling, so I'm glad to have received a story that captures different perspectives in the film.

But now for extra sleep, just as it starts snowing again outside.

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21 December 2013 @ 12:54 am
This is just to say that I will be continuing my posting topics once I have more than the minimum number of words for Yuletide, which at the moment is hovering on the edge of being a feasible story with character development and everything. So I have not forgotten about them entirely. But for now, assignment comes first.

(Especially when it comes to posting about Soviet historiography, because ahahaha that post is going to be more interesting than I initially intended, now that I have access to the bulk of my Cold War-related books in my bedroom at the Parental Abode.)

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To kick off my month of posting (for which slots are still open on DW and LJ!) [personal profile] ambyr asked me about work. So I went on a bit of a ramble about my new job, six months in.

All right, perhaps it's more than just a ramble.Collapse )

(Are you all still awake? Just checking.)

In conclusion, I still like making books even if I sometimes want to wring the authors' necks. So I'll keep making books and getting paid for it, and for now I'm pretty content with that arrangement. ^_^

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05 December 2013 @ 07:00 pm
Stealing this format from [personal profile] genarti, because work won't slow down for me until closer to mid-month and then I might have more time to write responses. So: pick a date, give me a topic, and I'll write about it and post it on that day.

15 December through 15 JanuaryCollapse )

Since this is cross-posted to LJ and DW, if any choices of day overlap then I'll try to slip the questions in on adjacent days.

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I have been trying to convince myself to not double-dip on the Sailor Moon manga, since I own the whole series in the original 1990s 18-volume tankoubon release and picked up the first volume of the more recent 12-volume shinsouban re-release just to satisfy my curiosity. You'd think that would be enough, and I certainly can't complain since I'm fortunate enough to have it. But to milk that cash cow for every possible yen celebrate the new anime series, it looks like there will be ANOTHER manga re-release, this time as a kanzenban (slightly larger version, A5 size instead of A4 size) 'perfect edition' with brand-new cover designs, and the whole thing is making my little fangirl heart beat a bit faster.

CD Japan has them for about ¥1500, which isn't horrific but is probably not worth it for something I already own in full, if not in that exact format. But the temptation is very much there, and I do like supporting the original creator when I can. Perhaps I'll set some money aside for them next year, once a few more volumes have come out.

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Tags: ,
Today's xkcd speaks to me on a deep and personal level.

(I have spent far, far too many work days going through documents that originally were written on computers and removing unnecessary end-of-line breaks inserted by the writer. When this happens in a thirty-page single-spaced reasonable jury would find the subsequent homicide to be anything but justifiable, right?)

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For those who are following Sleepy Hollow, where are the crossovers with Assassin's Creed III? From the little I know about the former, it can only be improved by adding Templars (or Freemasons, I'm not picky) and assassins and a historical conspiracy that goes back to the Renaissance and the Crusades.

Also, if we add the upcoming fourth Assassin's Creed game, we can have a bonus double-crossover with Pirates of the Caribbean, because the East India Company should get a look in as well.

EDIT: Actually, considering that the title of Sleepy Hollow EP 4 is 'The Lesser Key of Solomon', someone had better be working on a crossover with Foucault's Pendulum or I will be sad.

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16 October 2013 @ 11:54 pm
This is one of those fics that has taken a ridiculously long time to come to fruition. But I'm glad that it has, at last. (The whole concept of brinksmanship has acquired a particular meaning for me in the past few weeks, so this fic-posting is part of a small celebration for being able to go back to work tomorrow.)

Title: Brinksmanship
Fandom: The Dark Is Rising
Rating: U
Summary: When Will, Bran, and the Drews first meet up with John and Blodwen Rowlands in Tywyn, there's one small matter that needs to be settled before they go their separate ways. A missing scene, set during Silver on the Tree.
Disclaimer: All original works are copyright of their respective owners; I lay claim only to this particular story.
Notes: I have had this missing scene in mind for several years now, though it has gone through several iterations in that time. Incorporates story text and spoilers for all of Silver on the Tree. (Also on AO3.)

BrinksmanshipCollapse )

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[personal profile] skygiants and [personal profile] genarti have been encouraging me to dip a toe in Les Misérables fandom by writing a soixante-huitard AU (i.e., resetting the characters in the Paris of May 1968). Because of my fondness for Feuilly and his fondness for Poland, the fic's current focal point is 1968!Feuilly working on a French translation of Adam Mickiewicz's classic dramatic poem Dziady (Forefathers' Eve). A performance of this poem -- or rather, the sudden government-ordered cancellation of the performance, owing to the poem's anti-authoritarian and anti-Russian sentiments -- helped to spark the March 1968 Polish political crisis whose repercussions spilled over into the events of May 1968. And when I went back to one of my general survey books on the period (Mark Kurlanksy's 1968: The Year that Rocked the World), I hit upon a quote from Polish dissident Adam Michnik that was like a stamp of approval on the whole idea:

The decision to close the play was proof that the government was stupid and did not understand Poles. Mickiewicz is our Whitman, our Victor Hugo.... It was an outburst of communist barbarism to attack Mickiewicz.

I doubt that I'll be able to finish the story before the end of the year, but I can't not write it with a connection like that.

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10 October 2013 @ 05:49 pm
This is something of a Yuletide promotional post, but this is also a picspam I've been meaning to put together for ages. Are you enjoying the Time of Eve?

In the future, probably Japan.Collapse )

Eve no Jikan began as a six-episode OVA series, now available on Blu-Ray with English subtitles in North America and Europe. For those who have a Crunchyroll account, the series is available there for streaming. With the addition of a few transition scenes, the series was also released as a film that is available from the iTunes store in multiple countries, and soon will be released on Blu-Ray thanks to a massively popular Kickstarter campaign. (I am very much looking forward to receiving my own copy of the movie as well -- I don't often double-dip when it comes to anime series, but this is one production I am more than happy to support!)

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08 October 2013 @ 09:53 am
A few weekends ago, a friend and I went to a local flea market and craft show. I have very strict rules about what I am and am not allowed to buy at such things,* but I did end up acquiring something that I was not expecting to find (though am glad to have found all the same).

Cut for large picture of three coins.Collapse )

I suppose I'm something of a coin collector, in that I have a collection of coins that I have acquired deliberately and plan to keep indefinitely. Most are from places I've been, some have been given to me by friends and family who have travelled elsewhere. But I have a greater fondness for older or historic currency, and that part of my collection includes a full proof set of the last pre-decimal UK coinage (picked up for cheap on eBay), a few Soviet-era rubles, and some pre-euro notes and coinage. There's something tangible about the history in a coin, the sense that you can run it through your fingers and wonder how many other hands or pockets or purses it has been in over time, and what it was used to buy, and what that purchase might have meant to the buyer and seller. That sense of history takes on an extra meaning when currency is not only defunct, but the state it came from no longer exists.

* Example of a collection I am not allowed to start: failed political campaign memorabilia. Much as I would want to collect Mondale/Ferraro '84 buttons or anything with the SDP logo on it, I have to keep in mind that I live in a very small place right now without much prospect of getting a larger one anytime soon.

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07 October 2013 @ 08:59 am
First of all, a thousand thanks for signing up! I'm looking forward to seeing what you'll write, and very happy to receive whatever you send my way. If you want to see the sorts of things that I scribble in my spare time, my main fic journal is [personal profile] bookofgramarye, with backup/alternate archiving at AO3. Previous Yuletide letters are here (2012, which links back through letters to 2007) for reference, but I hope that this one gives you enough to go on for this year's requests.

What I like best: Backstory/pre-canon fic, 'missing scenes', character studies, alternate perspectives on a scene, fics that show a nice bit of historical research if required. Gen-fic, by and large -- I particularly enjoy reading about character relationships that don't necessarily have to do with 'relationships', so to speak.

Things I'm not fond of: Character-bashing, 'issue-fic' ([personal profile] sailorptah voices many of my concerns in this post), historical research that's been scraped off of Wikipedia entries, stories where 'shipping drives the plot. I'd also appreciate the use of the AO3 Archive Warnings if the story happens to contain one or more of the major ones, and I like having content notes for distressing situations or themes (primarily for on-screen character death or graphic violence, and discussions of suicide or sexual assault).

But now, what you're really here for:

Anno 1790Collapse )

Das Leben der Anderen | The Lives of OthersCollapse )

Eve no Jikan | Time of EveCollapse )

Kokurikozaka Kara | From Up on Poppy HillCollapse )

Sennen Joyū | Millennium ActressCollapse )

Toshokan Sensou | Library WarsCollapse )

I hope this all makes sense -- can't wait to see the story!

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22 September 2013 @ 04:21 pm
For those interested, I went with a full non-English-language slate (three Japanese, one Swedish) this time.

Anno 1790
- Magdalena Wahlstedt
- Johan Gustav Dåådh
- Simon Freund

コクリコ坂から | Kokuriko-zaka Kara | From Up on Poppy Hill
- Matsuzaki Umi
- Kazama Shun
- Mizunuma Shirō
- Matsuzaki Sora

Toshokan Sensou | Library Wars
- Shibasaki Asako
- Tezuka Hikaru
- Tezuka Satoshi
- Komaki Mikihisa

Eve no Jikan | Time of Eve
- Nagi (Eve no Jikan)
- Akiko (Eve no Jikan)
- Rina (Eve no Jikan)
- Sakisaka Rikuo

I'll end up requesting or offering pretty much all of these. Now to draft my actual letter....

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It has been far, far too long since I posted a book review anywhere, and yet I certainly haven't been short for books to read and review. To encourage myself to get back in the spirit of things, I'm planning to tackle a series of reviews about Trollope's Barsetshire novels (which I have just finished) and his Palliser novels (which I am still working my way through). Ideally, I suppose I should start the reviews with the first of the Barsetshire novels, since they technically come before the Palliser novels in chronological order, but apparently I have strong enough feelings on the first Palliser novel to want to make a start with it here.

Initial Read - 'Can You Forgive Her?' by Anthony TrollopeCollapse )

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Thanks to some extended writing time on a northbound train, I think I've drafted a basic abstract for my Yes, Prime Minister paper for the Cold War and Entertainment Television conference.

The Nuclear Missile That Harrods Would Sell You: Yes, Prime Minister as Cold War SatireCollapse )

I have enough time to sleep on this before I send it off, and I'm sure I'll do some word-smithing later on, but at the moment I think it's a pretty sound proposal. As mentioned, I'll be looking at 'The Grand Design' (the British nuclear deterrent), 'One of Us' (Soviet infiltration), and 'A Victory for Democracy' (anti-communist intervention). There'll be a brief explanation of the bits and bobs of Cold War satire in Yes, Minister -- mainly, the commentary about local government civil defence preparation being a complete waste of time and money in the face of potential nuclear annihilation -- but there's definitely enough material in the three abovementioned episodes to wring out a 15-minute presentation. And the title, of course, comes from this classic exchange in 'The Grand Design':

SIR HUMPHREY APPLEBY: Don't you believe that Great Britain should have the best?
JIM HACKER: Yes, of course.
SIR HUMPHREY: Very well, if you walked into a nuclear missile showroom you would buy Trident -- it's lovely, it's elegant, it's beautiful. It is quite simply the best. And Britain should have the best. In the world of the nuclear missile, it is the Saville Row suit, the Rolls Royce Corniche, the Château Lafitte 1945. It is the nuclear missile Harrods would sell you. What more can I say?
HACKER: Only that it costs £15 billion and we don't need it.
SIR HUMPHREY: Well, you can say that about anything at Harrods.

(Astutely observed as always, Sir Humphrey.)

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A Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame prequel film, with the given title of Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon is slated for release in late September.

Teaser trailer here!

(I came upon it through the 24 Frames Per Second site, which talks about the film's Korean release. The appropriate page contains a plot summary that's pretty spoiler heavy, so if you'd prefer to stay completely unspoiled just stick with the maddeningly ambiguous trailer!)

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