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[personal profile] greygirlbeast
I have got to start going to bed earlier. Or later, but before "almost dawn."

Yesterday became an unexpected day off. Before returning to work on "The Granting Cabinet" for Sirenia Digest #68, I needed to clear my head. So we headed down to Moonstone, for a late afternoon of swimming. The temperatures were hovering just below 90˚F. The shadows below the trees along the South County back roads were cool. Yesterday, was the annual "blessing of the fleet," a nightmare of drunken tourists, but we managed to skirt all that. When we reached the beach, sometime just after 5 p.m., there were people crabbing off the bridge between Trustom and Card ponds. White buckets filled with restless blue crabs.

This time, we came dressed to swim, and I was in the water almost at once. The farthest I swam out was about a hundred yards. The water gets deep fast in Block Island Sound off Moonstone Beach, but I have no way of knowing how deep it was beneath me. I managed to find bottom at about ten feet, but I swam quite a bit farther out after that. Spooky swam out farther than before, than our last visit. I never feel half so free as I feel when I'm in the water, salt or fresh. Water the color of the brine inside a jar of olives buoyed me up and down again, long, slow swells that were breaking against the shore in waves that were two or three feet high. Ochre-colored water, filled with bits of silt, detritus, and seaweed. I almost got wrapped in a huge strand of kelp. The water was clear enough I had no trouble keeping my feet in sight. The air was also clear, thanks to low humidity, and Block Island stood out against the southern horizon. We watched an osprey dive in just offshore, and pull out a sizable fish. It flew away to the east, towards Narragansett, with the fish wriggling in its talons.

Spooky checked the water temperature before leaving home; it was 69˚F. But after the initial shock, I was fine. I floated and stared at the sky. Weightless. Nothing above, and nothing below (no matter how false that statement might be). I only wish we could have stayed a couple of hours longer. We left about 7 p.m., and, on the way home, stopped to see Spooky's parents. Her dad, International Man of Mystery, has just returned from Newcastle, UK. We stayed just a little while, too tired from swimming and half starved, before heading home. On the way back to the van though, we spotted another frog by the koi pond. If I'd had my meds with me, we'd have stayed all night. We'd have laid out beneath the stars (which are still visible from South County), listening to crickets and katydids. Anyway, for those with the stomach for beach porn, there are photos below, behind the cut.

---

Back home, after dinner, after showers, there was a little Rift. No RP, just leveling Otamisia (Spooky's Kelari mage) and Nilleshna (my Kelari cleric).

Afterwards, we watched Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch. I'm still trying to figure out what I thought of this film. No doubt, it's dazzling. The steampunk WWI battle scene was amazing. If I were only rating it on it's value as eye candy, Sucker Punch would score a 10 out of 10. What I can't quite decide is how I felt about the rest of the film. This quote from a Salon review by Andrew O'Hehir seems true enough (cribbed from the film's Wikipedia entry), "If you want to understand Snyder's central narrative gambit, it's right there in the title. He gives us what we want (or what we think we want, or what he thinks we think we want): Absurdly fetishized women in teeny little skirts, gloriously repetitious fight sequences loaded with plot coupons, pseudo-feminist fantasies of escape and revenge. Then he yanks it all back and stabs us through the eyeball." But I'm still sorting out various aspects of the film, and trying to decide if it's even the sort of film that merits so much thought. I enjoyed it, undoubtedly, but something keeps nagging at me. Still, I think it got a bad shake from critics, and should be seen by more people than it has. It can't be dismissed as outright mysogyny, anymore than it can fairly be praised as an empowering piece of girl-power propaganda (though it's been called both).

And that was pretty much yesterday.

I forgot, yesterday, to mention Friday night's eight-episode Law and Order: Criminal Intent binge, the beginning of Season Four.

MTV is about to turn thirty years old. How weird is that? August 1, 1981. I was about to begin my last year of high school. The Empire Strikes Back was in theaters. And MTV showed nothing but...you know...music videos. You younger sorts might have heard of those.

Oh, thanks to my having gotten so behind this month (heat, convention, insane fucking car, etc.), Sirenia subscribers will, this month, get the new story, "The Granting Cabinet," plus Chapter Two of Blood Oranges, "Songs For My Funeral" (Yeah, like the Snakefarm album). I do hope you will enjoy.

And now, the photos! (Wait, my webhosting service is doing something really fucking weird. I'll get the photos up tomorrow...I hope. Apologies.)

Date: 2011-07-31 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] highway-west.livejournal.com
I enjoyed Suckerpunch, but I was also confused by my feelings for it.

Date: 2011-07-31 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

but I was also confused by my feelings for it.

I think it's an unavoidable reaction. At least for thinking people.

Date: 2011-07-31 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] highway-west.livejournal.com
That said, I'm OK with feeling a little conflicted for a movie.

Date: 2011-07-31 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'm OK with feeling a little conflicted for a movie.

Same here. It happens.

Date: 2011-07-31 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ceewayne.livejournal.com
I love how are able to describe stuff. You bring a certain elegance and spareness. You always have just the right amount of words.
"Water the color of the brine inside a jar of olives buoyed me up and down again" You did not waste words finding the colors and maybe putting a color in that I would have to google. No, jar of olives, that's it. That is all you put down.

Date: 2011-07-31 06:48 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-07-31 07:09 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Water the color of the brine inside a jar of olives buoyed me up and down again, long, slow swells that were breaking against the shore in waves that were two or three feet high. Ochre-colored water, filled with bits of silt, detritus, and seaweed. I almost got wrapped in a huge strand of kelp.

That's beach porn. Lovely.

Date: 2011-07-31 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

That's beach porn. Lovely.

You've got to come swimming with us soon.

Date: 2011-07-31 07:53 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
From: [personal profile] sovay
You've got to come swimming with us soon.

I'd love to. Send me a plan.

Date: 2011-07-31 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'd love to. Send me a plan.

I'll see what can be devised. August is a wreck.

Date: 2011-07-31 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mizliz13.livejournal.com
More Blood Oranges? Yesss!

Date: 2011-07-31 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenjen4280.livejournal.com
It was the vague sense of sexual menace throughout the movie that really turned me off. And while the battle scenes were impressive, I'm more of latex and karo syrup effects girl, rathen than CGI. I gotta give the movie credit though: it stayed true to its title.

Date: 2011-07-31 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It was the vague sense of sexual menace throughout the movie that really turned me off.

I tend to rather enjoy sexual menace...but that's me.

Date: 2011-07-31 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lois2037.livejournal.com
No cut, so no pictures, but your description of the water and being in it... total beach porn!

I was taken to see Sucker Punch in IMAX as a birthday treat. The battle scenes are amazing in IMAX! I like being confused by my feelings about a film, but was not confused by this movie, just disappointed. Everything was there, beautiful sets, detailed props, mind-boggling action and adventure, but the writing-- OY! I understand that the extended DVD has more scenes, including the dance number from the closing credits, and fills in some of the yawning gaps... But I'd just classify it as Class A eye candy and enjoy it on that level.

Date: 2011-07-31 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

No cut, so no pictures, but your description of the water and being in it

As I said, hopefully tomorrow.

Date: 2011-07-31 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lois2037.livejournal.com
Poor Frank the Goat has so very many enemies...

Date: 2011-07-31 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
I found Sucker Punch beautiful and brilliant, and I also think Zack Snyder doesn't really understand half of what he did in it. That's what makes it for me. A lot of art just gallops away from its creator and becomes some glorious mutant, doing what it wants to do regardless of what the creator thinks it's going to do. ...Well, this is true of most art worthy of the name, really, but truer in some cases than others. Unconscious art, I guess. The gist is, the movie seems to speak volumes about Zack Snyder that he isn't aware of. The whole Comic-Con fetishistic riot-grrl kick-ass thing bound up in some genuine compassion for abused girls produces a movie that seems to hate itself. It's very revealing.

Date: 2011-07-31 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I think you just said some of the things I've been trying to think.

Date: 2011-08-01 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
Really, I think it's the closest Snyder is going to come to true art. He's grappling with something here, and the collision of his ain't-it-cool fanboy aesthetic and genuine female pain creates a sort of cold-front/warm-front thunderstorm. And he doesn't resolve or even narratively explicate all the conflicts in the film. But he tries. And the film is the trying, and the thunderstorm. On that level I found it quite moving. His heart's certainly in the right place. His eye is somewhere else. And his brain is somewhere in between. Anatomically that makes about as much sense as Sucker Punch does. But it's this big, chaotic tone poem, really.

It can't be dismissed as outright mysogyny, anymore than it can fairly be praised as an empowering piece of girl-power propaganda (though it's been called both).

It's both and it's neither. It's not Brazil but it's the Brazil we as a society deserve at this moment. It's fanboy wank and it's also something weird and unanticipatable, carrying some odd virus in its emulsion that gives off a very different vibe than you get by just watching the trailer or looking at still photos. Really, the fact that it's been called both, with equal passion and intelligence, speaks well of it.

And it buttresses my theory that every decade, Warner Bros. will unleash a movie that doesn't look like any other movie before it:

1970s: A Clockwork Orange
1980s: Blade Runner
1990s: Natural Born Killers
2000s: Speed Racer
2010s: Sucker Punch

Date: 2011-08-01 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] activistgirl.livejournal.com
This is it, exactly. We watched it Saturday night as well. I will admit, I feel asleep for a good 5-10 minutes of it. Visually, very interesting, but lacking something. "Then he yanks it all back and stabs us through the eyeball" must be the best pun ever.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2011-08-01 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
YOU COULD'VE ASKED ME

YOU COULD'VE GONE TO MY BLOG AND BEEN ALL LIKE 'HAY ROBYN, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF SUCKER PUNCH, ALSO WHAT'S YR TAKE ON CASSAVETES'

BUT NO

ALL THIS TIME I WAS WAITING FOR YOU TO ASK ME FOR MY DEEP THOUGHTS ON SUCKER PUNCH AND YOU'RE ALL 'I'LL JUST WAIT FOR HER TO SAY RANDOM SHIT ABOUT IT ON CAITLIN'S BLOG'

HI

Date: 2011-07-31 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
I am also kind of tangled on Sucker Punch, fwiw. It seems to be so caught up in wanting to be seen as pro-empowerment while utterly unaware that having its protagonists be thwarted entirely by random chances does not read particularly empowering, and that the choice to sacrifice one's life to save another does not read the same shade of glorious for a female character in that context of time and place and class as it would in the band-of-brothers war movies Snyder seems to think he's evoking. Nor am I entirely comfortable with making the lobotomy doctor, who is actively misled and reacts about as sympathetically as possible to realising what he has been misled into, into so actively a villain in the inner frame.

Also, if it wants to be anti-patriarchy even slightly, why the fuck is that Scott Glenn part not played by someone like Helen Mirren ?
Edited Date: 2011-07-31 10:25 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-07-31 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

its protagonists be thwarted entirely by random chances

I would argue that protagonists are very often thwarted by chance. The undertaking of risky endeavors often leaves one at the mercy of randomness and unforeseen adversity, unrelated to the dangers of the problem at hand.


Also, if it wants to be anti-patriarchy even slightly, why the fuck is that Scott Glenn part not played by someone like Helen Mirren ?


I agree with this completely.

Date: 2011-08-01 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
But there's the thing: the Scott Glenn character doesn't actually do anything except impart a few bromides. I took him as a goof on the usual guru figures. But then he shows up at the end, saving Sweet Pea. I dunno. There's a lot of stuff Snyder didn't seem to think through (although people forget there is another credited writer), but then the whole movie has that inchoate, let-it-blurt, take-it-or-leave-it quality that inspires more analysis than actually went into the movie.

Not just because of the giant-samurai scene, I've come to think of the film, in part, as Brazil: 2011 Comic-Con MegaMix. Or Sylvia Plath the Vampire Slayer. Or goddess knows what else.

Date: 2011-08-01 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
But there's the thing: the Scott Glenn character doesn't actually do anything except impart a few bromides. I took him as a goof on the usual guru figures.

I suppose that could have been intentional; it didn't occur to me because the substance of his supposedly wise advice did not seem to me out of the range of supposedly wise advice that is meant to be taken seriously in films in this sort of general genre direction.

Date: 2011-08-01 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
To the extent that anything can be taken seriously or at least at face value in that movie.

Honestly, it's almost like the Wise Man was thrown in there so there'd be one male in the movie that wasn't a complete skeeveball. -- 'Skeeveball' is a word now. -- Anyway, it just seems like he functions as the guy who says 'Here's the layout, those are the bad guys, go nuts.' Probably a close-reading thesis could be written on what exactly he's supposed to represent. The fact that he's actually called Wise Man in the credits probably means he's meant to be meta on some level.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2011-08-02 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
That's actually not as facepalmy as you think, because David Carradine has been dead for over two years now, yet I still notice new or newish stuff coming out on DVD with him in them. The man worked a lot and must've had like 20 unreleased movies in the can by the time he died, from the looks of it.

Also not facepalmy: Scott Glenn has aged to look a lot like David Carradine. (Still my favorite Jack Crawford.) Fun fact I read in 1991 and somehow have never forgotten: Scott Glenn was anti-death penalty until he did FBI research on serial killers for Silence of the Lambs and basically decided that some people are so evil they should really just die. Which doesn't account for all those unjustly convicted people sitting on death row, Scotty, but...
(deleted comment)

Date: 2011-08-01 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
YOU CANNOT HAVE THIS MOVIE

YOU WILL HAVE TO CONTENT YOURSELF WITH SMG PLAYING TWO ROLES IN SOME NEW SHOW WHOSE NAME I DON'T REMEMBER, WHERE SHE'S ALL 'THAT BITCH ELIZA PLAYED LIKE 80 CHARACTERS IN THAT OTHER SHOW NOBODY LIKED SO NOW I'MA PLAY TWO ROLES'

OR SOMETHING

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