Feb. 8th, 2016 04:01 pm
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
So I have watched Sherlock, everything including The Abominable Bride. Saying "watched" seems a bit paltry, because I think fell face-first into fannish enthusiasm for it, especially the whole "consume everything about it" thing. I've been rewatching (as I watched it with other people and we commentated over it) and watching the commentaries and looking at gifs on tumblr and even starting to look for fic. Which, aghgh, it has been so long that I have felt motivated to look for fic - and even longer since there's been a whole bunch of fic there. Sure, I am late to the party, but on the plus side there is tons of fic and thousands of gifs.

There are always people who haven't watched - so, spoilers! I don't really talk about The Abominable Bride and very little of S3 either, though. )
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SO I just got back from Iron Man 3, oh my god--

everything under the cut for spoilers )

I was predisposed to like this movie and it definitely didn't disappoint me!
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
So this review is jumping the queue, because I love it. Sorry, all-other-allegedly-superior-books and books waiting in the review-queue, I play favourites. [I swear I'll get to Till We Have Faces, Freakonomics, Spindle's End...]

I inhaled the six books of Garth Nix's The Seventh Tower series--The Fall, Castle, Aenir, Above the Veil, Into Battle and The Violet Keystone--in the last two days. This is not a feat because they're tiny little books published by Scholastic, and two hundred large-print pages apiece, and also I've read them before. For the past few months, I've just had the most intense craving for this series and put it off because I was busy, or out of country, but then I got my hands on them and yes, they are still delightful.

I love Garth Nix for how he treats pat ideas in fantasy. The Seventh Tower takes place in a world living under the Veil, a thick layer that prevents sunlight from reaching the ground. In this world, light is of paramount importance. The people who live in the seven towers are almost all Light mages of some sort or another, and are divided into seven orders--from Red up to Violet. Within these colours there are further class divisions, with Violet Shadowlords at the top and Red Dimmers at the bottom. Light, channeled through Sunstones, is made into powerful weapons and tools; using a powerful enough Sunstone, a user can make solid stairways and floors out of light, play a symphony on specially-constructed crystal, or fire off destructive rays. Again, the colour of the light plays a role--generally, Violet is most powerful, but there are also specific colours for specific purposes (Green ray of healing, Red ray of destruction.) Colour and light also signify all sorts of other things; instead of bowing, you give light from your Sunstones, and judging of events is coded by the colour you flash (Yellow ray of failed ambition, Violet of Attainment, White ray of disgust, etc.) People can only use colours in their own level or below; a Green man might use any colour from Red to Green, but not Blue and above.

This seven-way split in class divisions and power is so easy to make artificially perfect--cut-and-dry fantasy, colour-by-numbers fantasy. But like his standalone novel Ragwitch, which deals with the four Elements (an overused motif) both novels are done in a very original way.

For one, the protagonist, Tal, is never really 'in' the social construct of the Seven Towers. He's a boy of the Orange order on the verge of adolescence/adulthood, but his father's disappearance, mother's sickness and familial indifference force him to do desperate (and illegal) acts to try to save his family. In trying to obtain a Primary Sunstone, he falls off the Red Tower and into a society entirely alien to him--Icecarls, the people who live on the ice that covers the world. The series deals a lot with culture clash; Milla, the first Icecarl he meets and his companion in his adventures, is practically Tal's opposite in every way. The simple existence of people outside the Towers is itself shocking to Tal, and the Icecarls have their own brand of magic. Aenir is the spirit world above the Veil, where Sunstones and Spiritshadows (familiars made of shadow) are gathered; this world is like a fantastical version of Earth-with-sunshine, and is a third culture which is totally different from Tal's normal existence.

The supporting cast doesn't quite fall into the nice seven-towers, seven-colours mold either. Tal's parents are out of the picture, so he goes for help to his great-uncle Ebbitt, one of my favourite characters. Ebbitt was once a Indigo Brightblinder but fell all the way down to Red Dimmer, but he's clearly extremely clever. What makes him fun is that he is intermittently absent-minded and mad, completely lost on his own (fascinating yet irrelevant) train of thought. He's also very funny, and provides some of the comic relief in addition to his more standard mentor role. The Spiritshadow that Tal acquires isn't standard, either; he fails to bind it, and the two are more in a mutual partnership than anything else.

Personally I think the fact that these novels don't have an active massive fandom is a crying shame, because I love the worldbuilding so, so, so much. The world of Tal and Milla and Aenir and the Towers are a huge part of what I think of as my favourite type of fantasy. It takes ideas from real life (seven colour spectrum) and transforms it into a world predicated on those ideas--which is then turned upside down and torn apart, like all good novels. With this tenuous connection to the real world, Nix avoids a lot of horrendous weighty info-dumping, which is the bane of my existence when it comes to reading secondary-world fantasy. It's a lot like The Phantom Tollbooth, I think. Certainly the whimsy of The Phantom Tollbooth isn't the same, but there's a certain humour and wryness that is equally charming in all the books. As well, though there are sort of rules about magic, Tal goes off the beaten track quickly, and Nix doesn't overdescribe everything (that tends to take the magic out of it.) Instead, the reader gets to see things from the side instead of head-on--Tal thinks about his life in the Tower, and the things he's seen others do, but he's preoccupied with everything else and the magic remains tantalizingly hinted at.

If you can get your hands on this series, do! They're tiny; you'll finish them in no time. And the world they make is fantastic.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
It is an awful godforsaken time of the night, but I finished Pride and Prejudice last night and just asdjfkl;jkl;

I will actually review the book at some point, but for now [really really spoilery!] [the book is, however, 200+ years old...] my thoughts )

tl;dr *Pride and Prejudice flail*, and why didn't I read this earlier
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Dive season started yesterday! I arrived early (very early; bus schedules are less flexible in the evening) and was stunned by how many people we had this year. The first year, there was perhaps six, seven, eight people who would show up consistently; this year, there must have been that many new divers, and the five of us veterans also.

I have not lost my fear for heights. The three metre was...nervewracking, and as I went to the top of the ladder I kept feeling as though I was going to simply tip backwards and fall, smack my head against the floor tiles, etc. But really, the first time I went off (I think I used the three-metre about twice last season) I was terrified of the long fall. Accustomed to the shorter one-metre, where you land almost immediately, I was freaked out by the time period where you just fall, and fall, and keep falling.

Obviously I have not been getting enough exercise, because I feel sore everywhere. My hair smells of swimming pool. I am sure I will acquire bruises by the end of the season, but I am so excited. Training's started! It feels like forever since the last season.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
[personal profile] azuire I GOT YOUR LETTER *runs in circles* *tries to speak coherently*

First impression: wow you have the neatest block-type handwriting I've ever seen, omg. And the typeface made me think of old-fashioned typewriters. (At least, that's the only typeface I've ever seem typewriters depicted using.) Also I like your comic strips. (Have you seen Pictures for sad children? You remind me of them :D) And even though it's very minimalist, I love the sort of expressions - from the arms, and the way the text accompanies it - I'm not making much sense, am I?

And as for contents: ♥! (also: ♥ ♥ ♥) The whole drawing-lines thing - aaah what a pain in calligraphy; it bothers me when it's not straight so I spend so much time just ruling lines. *squishes the polyglot* (I've always liked the word polyglot. It's so...round! Squishable! But I digress again). Thank you for all of it! I will do my best to send you a letter in return on time. *cough* I'm not very good at being punctual with letters XD. ♥

It's 2011!

Jan. 1st, 2011 12:03 am
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Happy New Year!

May this year be better than the last, and all of us find happiness!
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Merry Christmas, to all who are celebrating! ♥
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
I went to a sing-along version of Handel's Messiah yesterday, and it was spectacular.

Some of the program was cut out, but the program ran for two-and-a-half hours, with something like a fifteen minute break. Singers - mostly university students, who had auditioned for the roles - sang the recitatives and arias and duets. For the first time I really understood what my theory teacher had said about ornamentation: the arias were heavily, heavily ornamented (and so long that they had to sneak in breaths) and incredibly intricate - very Baroque. The first bass made it sound almost like chanting, but in his defense, I suppose it was quite low. I liked the other singers, though; they handled the long phrases and huge space (it was a church) well. The first violinist was excellent, too; when it was just the solo violin coming in on a dead silence, it worked and didn't seem clunky.

The lady behind me was kind enough to lend me (and my friend) a copy of the score. [To the unknown lady: <3] I followed most of the score that way, and it was lucky I had it, too, since most of the pieces I knew by heart were sung by soloists anyway. There was a predictably better soprano section in the choruses than alto, even though there were two high school choirs who'd come out to sing. Highest soprano pitch: B natural just below high C. The people behind me went into the whistle register for that one, I think.

The spectacular part of it, though, were the choruses, especially the Hallelujah Chorus. Almost everyone knew it, and in a church that big - three balconies, seating on the ground floor, at least three or four hundred people - with such a high ceiling, the sound soared and of course, the Hallelujah Chorus is the peak of the whole oratorio. It was stunning. It was like being in a sea of sound, bigger than a normal choir would be and simply glorious.
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
Obligatory Yuletide squee post.


Aaaah! So many things to write! So exciting! *must hunt up book*
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (_support)
Dear Yulegoat:


NOTE: This post assumes you've read all the books, and may contain spoilers. Just PM me if you want a yulegoat letter that stops at the book you finished at.

general notes )


Cats of Grand Central: Diane Duane )


Georgina Kincaid series: Richelle Mead )


Gone With the Wind: Margaret Mitchell )


The Eight: Katherine Neville )
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

Comment ficathons! Somebody go there and ask for super esoteric book prompts! Or fill them, which is even better! (I am sad that there are always five million TV show prompts [this person does not watch TV, at all] and so few book ones.) It's also just getting started, so you don't have to worry about being terribly late to the party like me. :D
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
I've finally satisfied my urge to completely! go! bonkers! over tagging. Tagging with colons to form wonderful little straight subheading thingies on dw (I am very pleased with the multi-level list thingy), tagging for what I can see I might write - organization! ZOMG . (Sadly, not for this journal. I don't think I could stand going through that many entries, and suppose I added more tags! It would never end.) I realize I like this compartmentalization of stuff I anticipate will be unwieldy. I hate having all my writing scattered on my computer - they're in one folder, mostly, but chapters are split up, there's no way to tell what's going on, and they're all labelled differently.

I <3 AO3.

Oct. 2nd, 2010 08:36 pm
silverflight8: a blinking Word cursor and text: it mocks me (writing)
This is backdated (date: October 4, 2010) to keep the signal boost on top.

I posted a story on AO3. My reaction: ♥ ♥ ♥

You may consider this as my official squee post for AO3.

Having struggled with's !@#%^&* method--especially the really dumb way of uploading documents, as in it's hard to edit in author's notes in later, have to manually add scene breaks after the asterisks disappear--it's so amazing. Edits can be done on the same page (ZOMG). Character pairings, not just character tags (but has added the latter, which is nice). You can add trigger warnings! (actually, favorite part about this, since I don't write triggery: it forces authors to either declare their triggers or 'choose not to warn'). Adding author notes! Control over who sees it! Even different skins! A mod-system that's talking to the users!

Don't know much about OTW, as I haven't been really involved in that corner of fandom for a long time--the only reason I've discovered AO3 is because of the help_pakistan effort--but for AO3 alone, they deserve a boatload of internets.


Sep. 21st, 2010 07:16 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
今天(在中国; 在北美我们还是二十一号:D)是中秋节!

(我希望你们多吃一点月饼。 对我的哥哥和弟弟和奶奶和外婆和所有我的家庭 —— 我希望你们的那儿看的到月亮。今天又下了雪。)

Edited to add: 然后对我的表弟:别把自己累死。
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
I went to the library today and discovered (it being one of those special Sundays) that there were art exhibits and craftmakers there to show patrons what they did. According to one of the rug-makers (I'm not sure what they're called...), they actually had a pianist from Honens that came and played Schubert. How they got a piano into the children's section I have no idea--you'd think all the shelves and tables would get in the way, but I don't know--and I can't believe I missed it all by maybe forty-five minutes. D: 

I have received encouragement, i.e. the real proof that why yes, it is actually possible to use a pointed pen for calligraphy! One of the ladies wrote my name and I was happy to see that she also had difficulties with it. I think I must look for smoother paper.

silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
I have finally, finally, finally found aida cloth. That is sold just as itself. Without the premade packages with more embroidery floss than I could ever use. *bounces* It's absurd how happy this makes me. This means--oh my God, I've been looking up patterns all day. Some of them look terribly old-fashioned, but there's other beautiful ones...

In other news, choir has started again (yay!) and we're doing some of Palestrina's music. Forget all the other pieces--I can't wait. It's like music history and choir are colliding! (They should, but they don't often enough.)
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Possibly mild spoilers for Wizards at War, although I believe the back cover alludes to it. Can't remember though.

So I finally got my hands on A Wizard of Mars. I was--still am--terribly, terribly excited about getting it at last. I have been waiting for years and years (first it was the writing period, then the publisher pushing dates back, and then I had the most difficult time trying to obtain the book [going to two separate stores, then ordering it and finding the order cancelled one month later, and then waiting another full month for it to ship here...]) and zomg I'm almost done and while I think the peak of the series was probably Wizards at War (I mean, trying to save the universe is pretty hard to follow up on) I still love this book. Especially the more-and-more fleshed-out Carmela and (as always) Tom and Carl. And Ronan.

I am bad. I should be reading Crime and Punishment, but after rereading Kafka's The Metamorphosis, I can't take any more existential angst for awhile.


silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

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