next_to_normal: (BFFs)
I haven't done a book review in forever - not because I'm not reading, but because I used to use my journal as a place to keep track of everything I read, and now I have Goodreads for that (feel free to friend me there, btw!).

The book I'm reading now, however, sort of begs to be talked about, because it's all about making friends. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, by Rachel Bertsche, is a chronicle of the author's efforts to make friends after leaving her BFFs behind in New York and moving to Chicago with her husband. (There's also a website, and if nothing else, I recommend reading the initial articles that kicked off the whole project.) In order to expand her circle of friends, Rachel decides to go on one new "friend-date" a week for a year. Out of those 52 potential new friends, she's hoping to find a BFF whom she can count on to be there in a pinch (whether it's a ride to the airport or a last-minute pedicure), someone who shares her interests and calls just to say hi, and above all, someone who understands the importance of girl talk.

So let's talk.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (Buffy is my homegirl)
There seem to be a zillion people blogging their Buffy (re)watches lately, but here's one more, which I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else. Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg, TV critics on HitFix.com whose opinions I generally respect, are rewatching the first season of Buffy this summer and discussing it on their weekly podcast. This week's tackles the "Welcome to the Hellmouth"/"The Harvest" double-header.
next_to_normal: (willow ooh)
1. Spending a year on "Ringer" - So, SMG's latest TV outing was... not the best. OTT, completely nonsensical, soapy, guilty pleasure, perhaps. But if you're curious what was going on in the writers' room, here's one account. Unfortunately, it does not explain what on earth they were thinking with some of those "plot twists."

2. The "Raiders" Story Conference - A 125-page transcript of the original brainstorming session for Raiders of the Lost Ark with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan is available for download. If you're an Indy fan (I, coincidentally, just rewatched Last Crusade this weekend) or if you want to see how the masters develop a story idea into a movie, check it out. And if reading a 125-page transcript seems daunting to you, you can just check out the linked post, which gives the highlights.

3. "Friends" Oral History - If you missed the print article in last month's Vanity Fair, it's now available online. (Er, I have also been watching a lot of Friends reruns on Nick at Nite.)

PSA

Jul. 14th, 2011 04:33 pm
next_to_normal: (Hardison geek)
Just came across this post on file-sharing, which is definitely worth a read.

Apparently there's been some nonsense in the Sherlock fandom with people being idiots and posting links on Tumblr to download episodes. Why is that a problem? Well, for one thing, it's illegal, but if that doesn't bother you, it's still probably not a brilliant idea to go around attracting attention to the illegal activity. When you do that, it's just asking for the upload site to take it down and potentially get the uploader in trouble. Not to mention that it jeopardizes the relationship between fandom and the creators, who, thus far, have mostly been accommodating to our copyright infringement. (We only do it because we care! lol)

Why does it matter to me? )
next_to_normal: (Abed paintball)
Haha, so it seems I haven't done a Musical Sunday post in a looooong time. Instead, here's a super-awesome Community vid. (What? It's got music...) Troy/Abed bromance + David Bowie? Win.



next_to_normal: (Buffy in class)
  • Less IMDb (which I'd mentioned before) is now available for Chrome and Firefox.
  • Paul McCartney went on Jimmy Fallon and they sang the "original lyrics" to "Yesterday." Oh, have you tried the waffle fries? :)
  • Word count on my paper: 3,912
  • Days until paper is due: 3
  • Things I intend to write posts on as soon as I'm finished my paper: yummy recipe, Connie Willis books, Being Erica, possibly other TV?
  • Christmas presents bought: 9
  • Christmas presents still left to buy: 7
  • Days until Christmas: 13 (this one's almost over!)

next_to_normal: (internet forever)
Judging by the pattern of the last few months, my parents are clearly a terrible influence on my blogging. I've been doing pretty well at posting almost every day, except when I go home or they come to visit me, and then I drop off the face of the earth for several days. I actually brought my laptop home with me this time, and had every intention of both posting about my Thanksgiving adventures and keeping up with my reading list. Buuuuut I ended up getting wrapped up in stuff and didn't manage to do it at all.

So, once again, I am playing catch-up. I missed a few epic posts, like [livejournal.com profile] penny_lane_42's Buffy the Vampire Slayer Race Swap, which totally makes me want to do some kind of casting swap, but I am without ideas! I also spent much of last night reading through nearly SIXTEEN HUNDRED COMMENTS on [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle's Unpopular Opinions Sanctuary Post.

Oh, and speaking of [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle, she's getting published in this collection of Whedonverse essays, which is currently scheduled for release on my birthday. I AM JUST SAYING. :)
next_to_normal: (dorkgasm)
I actually had work to do in work today, so I didn't get to watch ANY TV. :(

HOWEVER. I did manage to go through a lot of tabs and emails, and then spent an unhealthy amount of time fixing the budget deficit. Yes, it's exactly as dorky as it sounds, but I'm kind of a political dork, so it works out. I had a grand old time taxing the rich and cutting defense spending. :) Even if you're not a policy wonk, though, I do think it's enlightening to see (with nifty graphics) the actual size of the deficit, and how much effort it takes to fix it. It's helpful, for example, in demonstrating how silly all the outrage over earmarks is. Yes, eliminating $14 billion in earmarks is TOTALLY going to solve the projected $1,345 billion deficit problem. *eyeroll*

In other news, if you hate the new IMDb layout as much as I do, you may want to check out Less IMDb, a browser extension that rearranges the formatting so that it's actually usable, courtesy of screenwriter John August. Unfortunately, it's only available for Safari (Mac or PC), so if anyone knows of a similar one for Firefox, PLEASE SHARE.

next_to_normal: (VM is smarter than you)
In case you missed it, Lesley at Fatshionista posted an interview with Savannah Dooley, creator of the awesome little (heh) show, Huge. The whole thing is worth a read (and I will seriously cry if Huge doesn't get a second season), but I wanted to pull out two quotes that illustrate something I'd noticed recently in my TV watching:

Lesley: Speaking for myself, I actually reached a point while watching Huge — and I should note that I don’t watch a lot of other television, which may be related — but it started to seem to me like the people on other shows all looked so… small.

Lesley: Your point of being hyper-aware of your body at that age is really critical, though. So often in teenager-centric shows, everyone acts like they’re in their thirties and there’s no uncertainty about their physical bodies. But at that age, that awareness is real and omnipresent.


So, here's the thing. I've started watching The Vampire Diaries (review post forthcoming, once I finish season 1), and I'm not picking on them specifically, because I've seen enough of these "high school" shows to know that they're all pretty much the same when it comes to casting thirty-year-olds as teenagers (all of whom look like models, natch), and writing situations and dialogue that teenagers would never do or say. But because it's the first new show I've watched since Huge, I have found it terribly distracting how unbelievably TINY all the actresses are (and how well-muscled the guys are, for that matter - I don't mind looking at them, lol, but how many teenage boys do you know with six-pack abs?). And how OLD everyone looks, OMG. Is there a single person in that cast under 21? And of course the characters all talk and act way older than their ages (well, except for the vampires, obvs), and it's just SO distracting to me, after watching Huge and thinking how real and honest its portrayal of that awkward teenage phase was. It's weird how, on TV, Huge is the exception, when in fact it's the only show that really comes close to real life. In so many ways, it shows how warped our perceptions have become.

Granted, maturity isn't always a bad thing. I love Buffy and Veronica Mars for their quippy, snarky dialogue, which is often far too clever for any teenager to come up with on their own. But I also recognize that I didn't watch either of those shows as a teenager - I watched them as an adult, at a point when I can identify with characters who act like they're thirty. :) And I enjoy The Vampire Diaries as an adult - I just hope to God actual teenagers aren't watching it and taking their cues from those characters. Watch Huge, kids. You'll feel better about yourselves.
next_to_normal: Cordy making a "yuck" face; text: yuck (Cordy yuck)
Heh, so I was very intrigued to see this article on women's bodily functions linked at [livejournal.com profile] ontd_feminism today. It seems ironic to put this discussion under a cut, given that the whole point is "we should be able to talk about this," but I'll spare you.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (buffy happy)
First, WHEEEEE!!! Google has enabled multiple account sign-in! This has always been a pain in the ass for me, because I keep my RL email and my fandom email separate. I know, I could just use email forwarding, but my fandom email is also my "junk" email, the one I use to sign up for things that I don't want cluttering my inbox, so forwarding it all to one inbox would kinda defeat the purpose. Also, it wouldn't resolve the g-chat issue, in that I use my RL email to chat with RL friends, and fandom email to chat with fandom friends, and again, I like those separate, but it means having to switch back and forth to talk to different people.

But hallelujah, Google has answered my prayers and now all is possible. It is a good day.

Also, I saw this interview with Greg Berlanti, the creator of a new show called No Ordinary Family. This interests me because (1) superhero family (it seems kind of like a live-action version of The Incredibles, which I love) and (2) Julie Benz! I am curious enough to check it out in the fall. Anyone heard anything else about it?
next_to_normal: (Thinky James 2)
I'm sure probably everyone has seen it by now, but I wanted to put in a plug for [livejournal.com profile] deird1's vid The Dance. Quite possibly one of the best visual summaries of the show ever.

Also, a random observation: I have 430 icons saved on my computer. Of those, 73 are angry/annoyed/sad/WTF or otherwise negative icons. In comparison, 44 are happy/smiley/positive icons. What does this say about me?
next_to_normal: (punctuation)
Just a few blog posts I spotted this week that I thought were interesting and/or helpful.

Finding Tips on Self-Editing at The Blood-Red Pencil: This is a round-up of many posts from the blog with lots of good editing advice, some of which you've probably heard before (adjective/adverb use, dialogue tags, habit words). I particularly liked the one on identifying a dragging narrative. (via [livejournal.com profile] start_writing)

Finding Your Voice: Also from Blood-Red Pencil, I thought this was appropriate since [livejournal.com profile] angearia was talking about voice not too long ago. There always seems to be confusion about what "voice" actually means whenever the subject gets brought up, and this is one of the best definitions I've seen. (via [livejournal.com profile] jongibbs)

Presentation and readability for LJ and beyond
: This is a handy reference guide for basic html and CSS coding for those of you who can never remember how to do that stuff. (via [livejournal.com profile] fanficrants, of all places)

Also, just a reminder that John Rogers is talking about Leverage episodes as they air again this season (he's one of the creators/writers of the show).
next_to_normal: Glory clasping her hands together; text: fun! fun! fun! (fun fun fun)
I'm watching Dexter (don't worry, I'm abiding by the results of the poll, but Rome and Six Feet Under weren't available to stream) and waiting for my parents to arrive for the weekend. I'll probably have thoughts on Dexter next week, but for now, here's some other recs.

Movies! )

Cleo! )

Motivation

May. 23rd, 2010 09:34 pm
next_to_normal: (punctuation)
I could use some. But that is not the point of this post.

Not too long ago, [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda posted a clever and useful expansion of the glass of water metaphor, (you know what I mean, how the essence of all plot conflicts is that a character has to want something, even if it's just a glass of water) and in the process creates some hilarious summaries of popular movies.

Anyway, today she posted a follow-up more generally about writing process and how to use the glass of water to improve your story. Both posts are very good reading.
next_to_normal: (Team Bartowski)
Okay, this is kind of brilliant/hilarious: Chuck, with all the characters' genders flipped. I love the casting. Alison Brie as Chuck? Yes, please. Kristen Bell as Captain Awesome? OMG!!

Which raises some interesting thoughts, actually. I mean, I would pay huge amounts of money to see a female version of Casey. Like, HUGE. That goes without saying. But the thing I actually enjoyed about Chuck/Sarah in the beginning was the role reversal - Chuck is most often the damsel in distress and Sarah is the kick-ass hero who saves him. I love even more that they've grown into a couple who kicks ass together and saves each other's lives, but I don't think it would have been nearly as appealing if Chuck were a nerdy girl who always ended up in danger and had to be saved by the manly man CIA agent all the time (who, of course, she promptly falls in love with, because that's what women do with men who save their lives, right?).
next_to_normal: (Default)
This is an excellent article on Writer's Voice, which serves as a timely follow up to Emmie's recent post on the subject.

What do we mean when we talk about "voice"?

Voice, at its most basic level, is the sensibility with which an author writes. It's a perspective, an outlook on the world, a personality and style that is recognizable even out of context.

The article also talks about the essential elements that make a voice effective and how to cultivate your own.
next_to_normal: (Default)
So, after hearing about the latest privacy-violating feature that's been made opt-out rather than opt-in, I'm about ready to delete my Facebook account. WTF Internets?? Why is it so hard to understand that some of us might enjoy limited social networking without having our personal information automatically shared with every other site we use? Like that Google Buzz thing. That was horrifying.

I also saw this Evolution of Privacy on Facebook feature today, which is similarly disturbing. And even though the OP says, "I hope your takeaway from this infographic isn't 'I'm deleting my account;' rather, I hope it's 'I'm checking my privacy settings right now, and changing them to a level with which I'm comfortable,'" I can't see how making "OMFG I have to check my privacy settings RIGHT NOW" a typical response to policy changes is a GOOD thing. I don't want to feel threatened every time a website I use introduces a new feature. And I DON'T want to have to rush to the site to opt out in order to protect myself.

Don't touch my privacy, Internet. Or CJ will shove a motherboard SO FAR UP YOUR ASS.
next_to_normal: (Default)
I want to point you all to this post from John August about using acting techniques to improve your writing. In a way, it's just a further extension of the old adage "write what you know." It's not that you can't write a character experiencing an emotion or mental state you've never experienced, but it sure helps to get into their head if you can somehow evoke that in yourself as you're writing, either through sense memory or by drawing on a related experience.

John specifically mentions crying, and his experience writing the end of "Big Fish" by crying in front of a mirror. One of the commenters brought up the Robert Frost quote, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” And it makes sense, right? Because if you can't even make yourself cry, then how can you expect to make other people cry? That really struck a chord with me, because I usually make myself cry when I write something that's intended to be a tear-jerker. It's usually unintentional - my eyes just sort of well up as I get into the writing of it. But there are a couple fics I've written where I was totally immersed in that emotional state, and I drew on my own feelings to convey the angst I wanted. And I cried my eyes out during the writing of those stories. Is it effective? Well, you tell me, but those fics still make me cry when I reread them.

I really like his mental image of pressing the "record" button on your brain whenever you have remarkable or intense experiences that might inform your writing. Perhaps a more concrete way of doing that is to keep a journal? Even if you're not doing it every day, when you come across an experience like that, write it down. Put into words how it felt. Then when you need to find that place again for your writing, you have a reminder.

And I definitely recommend acting classes, if you want to be a professional writer. Or just in general. They're fun!

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