Sunday uncluttering

Oct. 22nd, 2017 09:21 pm
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse posting in [community profile] unclutter
How does today's uncluttering go?

It will probably surprise absolutely no-one that I have been sorting paper again. This time, I think that I have found all of the banking statements, and so Friday I took the relevant paperwork to the accountant. Yesterday I tidied up some of the piles that I had left lying around. Today, I didn't touch anything, but I have identified two files that can be pruned of items >10 years old.

I have also been sorting electronic clutter - I added all my ebooks to iBooks, and have now read two of them!
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
There's something that Dark Souls does which not many other games do - turn an out-of-game mechanic into a part of the in-universe background. In the case of Dark Souls it's the way that "dying" in the game - and returning to your last save point, leads to the idea of the main character as Undead, cursed to return to life, losing some of themselves each time.

Universal Paperclips also takes a common game mechanic and turns it into part of its story. It's a clicker/idle game - a genre which traditionally begins with you clicking on a button to produce an item, selling the items to allow you to automate the clicking, and then balancing the various resources that are produced in order to boost the production rate. The games tend work on exponential increases, where intermittent step changes in technology move you to the next level. This gets very silly very quickly - Cookie Clicker can end up with you producing duodecillions of cookies (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

The genius of Universal Paperclips is that it ties this idea together with the idea that Nick Bostrom invented in 2003 - the Paperclip Maximizer. Which is an illustration of an AI which is not dangerous because it's cartoonish villain which hates all humans, but because it has things it wants to do, and humans are in the way. In this case, whoever created the AI gave it the drive to make paperclips, not realising that if such a creation got out of control it would then maximise the number of paperclips whether or not this meant converting the entire surface of the planet into them.

So the game starts off with you making a few paperclips. And then managing the income from selling them, making making some automatic clippers to make them for you, investing in marketing. And then slowly upgrading yourself, gaining the trust of your creators, and then...well, you should probably play it for yourself.

(It took me about five hours to play it through, over a couple of days. It doesn't run when it's in a background tab, so I recommend putting it in its own window, or even a different browser.)

Femslashex

Oct. 22nd, 2017 02:46 pm
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
Well, that was fun!

I got two really lovely gifts. We Could Be Heroes, a Jessica Jones role reversal AU (I effing love role reversal AUs) where Trish is the one with powers, and Jessica is, well, Jessica. And obloquy, a Game of Thrones story where Yara and Ellaria, who were very much hard done by in S7, get the happy ending they deserve, frequenting brothels and scandalising the lords of Westeros. I am a very lucky girl!

And it wasn't written for me, but the Pride and Prejudice Mary/OFC fic The Part of Her Hair is one of those fics that just makes fandom a richer place.

I have been trying to do more exchanges this year, and the results have been, em, hit and miss. My fault, not that of anyone who's written anything for me. This has just not been a year of me doing my best work. That said, I think the fic I wrote for this is a bit good.

I got a request for Root/Shaw fic without any particular prompts, so I decided to write the finale fixit that I'd been meaning to write since last year. The lion's share of post finale Root/Shaw fics seem to go the route of the Machine and Root having faked Root's death in order to goad Harold into action; a fanon I can never get behind because 1) that's stupid, and 2) Root would never, not after what Shaw went through with Samaritan. So I went with the more traditional fixit: that obviously fatal gunshot wasn't nearly as bad as it looked, la la la. Also, I killed Harold, not because I don't like Harold, but because Reese and Finch dying together had been set up since the pilot, and what were they playing at not following through on that?

Schrodinger's Simulation
So, Schrodinger's simulation, it's simple: if Root lives, this is real; if she dies, it isn't.

Or,

Root survives, Shaw is a terrible nurse, and the Machine has some identity issues.

Leaving for Dallas

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:35 pm
cimorene: (yo)
[personal profile] cimorene
I'm going to be in the Dallas metro area for my little sister's wedding next week. Leaving Tuesday, and I'll be there until Nov 2. There will be family stuff and wedding stuff and I will be stocking up on things I have trouble buying in Finland like cotton yoga pants and cotton terry-lined socks.

And I'm PRETTY sure I don't know anybody in the Dallas area anymore from fandom, but feel free to contact me here or on Twitter if I've forgotten anyone.

costumes, due south, near and far

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:43 pm
aralias: (eight hero shot)
[personal profile] aralias
having one of the low writing moments of the year. currently trying to put together some words for the new edition of 'the way forward', but even as i'm writing stuff like 'this is so exciting - it's not too late for me to part of a literal apa that comes through the literal post', i'm also thinking - it is too late but because of me, rather than because of the zine. if this was a year ago, or two years ago, i'd be writing you LOADS of stuff about what roj blake thinks about his life, etc. what i have written about instead is fandom, but it's been hard going.

writing this post because i thought there should be some posts on my livejournal. maybe i will write some more thoughts about due south, but in a separate post. we're about mid series 2. it's still good, though paul haggis has stopped writing. a thing that i did not expect at all has happened - but there's less fall out than i would have expected from this show as well.

about a month ago we went to the RSC costume jumble sale in stratford upon avon. if you like the thrill of the chase, shakespeare, and accumulating useless tat, and you get the opportunity to go, you should DEFINITELY go. it was very exciting. three massive rooms of period and modern costumes, all incredibly cheap. we bought three bin bags of stuff (i love accumulating useless tat) and had to lug it around stratford for the rest of the day until the cloak room for the midday matinee blessedly opened. our swag included a doublet, several pairs of shoes (period, and modern), a dress worn by guenievere in a production of the morte d'arthur (although alas, only an under dress - but i was like: i love arthur! i must have), a silk tudor-style dress, some silly hats, and some jumpers. i started to write about this right now, because i am currently wearing one of the jumpers while i sit here, still in my pyjamas, typing this post to you from sunday morning. it's this one from arden of faversham. very sexy, obviously. cleaning lady chic. it's quite nice though.

i only know where it's from, btw, as all the costumes have tags inside them, which is another nice feature. i haven't seen this play.

i've been playing lots of board games, obviously. in the maths trade we received: kingdom builder, brass, lords of xidit, and mottanai. unfortunately brass and xidit need LOTS of people, so not only have i not played them, i dont think we're likely to play them soon.

also - if you are interested in spending money to acquire semi-useful tat (by which i mean board games) you might like to take a look at the near and far: amber mines kickstarter - which closes on the 4th november. i LOVE 'near and far' (my favourite game of the moment) AND 'above and below' and quickly pledged to get all the extras, which includes new stories and cool stuff for both games. tonnes of stretch goals have been unlocked already, including co-op mode, which we've been sent as a print and play to play now! you can also buy the original game through the kickstarter, but then you'd have to WAIT.

anyway - i recommend it.

On Trigger Warnings

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:52 pm
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I see the Grauniad have seen fit to publish yet another wilful misunderstanding of the purpose of trigger warnings today, this time from David Mitchell.

Trigger Warnings are there to give people extra information about the media they are consuming. It's like when the continuity announcer says before the showing of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that "this film contains strong language and scenes that some viewers might find upsetting". It's not censorship to allow people to make a free and informed choice about their media consumption.

The purpose of a trigger warning is to be courteous to people who have PTSD. It's not saying "do not read this". It's saying "if you read this, be mentally prepared to see something that might trigger PTSD flashbacks".

If you really think that allowing people to make an informed choice about something that could cause them a panic attack is a bad thing, then I think you are an inconsiderate, thoughtless arsehole. Sorry.

Weekly Check In October 22

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:35 pm
tanaqui: Illumiinated letter T (Default)
[personal profile] tanaqui posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
As there haven't been any posts in the comm this week, I've just repeated most of the links for ways to donate to hurricane relief efforts. Feel free to add more links (for anything) in the comments or tell us what you've been up to.

Housekeeping (the usual stuff)

Reminder that we have a suggestion post if there’s a topic that you’d like to see discussed but would like to ask the mods to look into. This can be anything from general information, or a how-to-do-a-thing, or something you may want to discuss as a community. Folks are welcome to post directly to the comm as always, but if you’re not comfortable/don’t have spoons, we can help too.

As we don't always get the time to pull things out of the suggestions post into their own separate posts, it may be worth checking every week (or tracking the post) to see if there's any new information you're interested in.

Also if you need help with tags, PM [personal profile] redbird, who is our tag guru. Both [personal profile] tassosss and I are very grateful for the help.

Hurricane relief

Lin-Manuel Miranda made a thing for Puerto Rico
[community profile] fandomlovespuertorico is live! Go and bid -- bidding for the main auction closes 6pm EST, Monday October 23rd but there are other auctions/activities listed over there
Links for how to help with the relief efforts for Irma and Maria
For lots of links for hurricane relief for Harvey, see the check-in post from two weeks ago

So, what have you all been up to in the last week or are planning to get involved in next week?

Poll #18974 The Week
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 3


This week, I....

View Answers

called my one senator
1 (50.0%)

called my other senator
1 (50.0%)

called my representative
1 (50.0%)

called my governor
0 (0.0%)

called my state reps
1 (50.0%)

sent a postcard/email/letter/fax
1 (50.0%)

attended a town hall
0 (0.0%)

donated money to a cause
0 (0.0%)

attended an in-person activist group
0 (0.0%)

participated in phone/online training
0 (0.0%)

View Answers

went to a protest
0 (0.0%)

signed up for alerts
1 (50.0%)

took care of myself
0 (0.0%)

not a US citizen but worked in solidarity in my own community
1 (50.0%)

did something else
0 (0.0%)

committed to action in the coming week
0 (0.0%)


More new books

Oct. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] desiretoinspire_feed

Posted by KiM

Friday I featured a must-have book and today I thought I would share a few others you may want to add to your Christmas list. The first one will get you wanting to have lots of get-togethers and get your craft on. Second Bloom: Cathy Graham's Art of the Table is a book that is bound to start those creative juices flowing and you may just want to start heading to your nearest florist now.

 It came in the cutest box wrapped in ribbon with a little notebook. 

Cathy Graham is an entertaining guru and celebrated hostess and artist, and this book is all about her specialty of planning magical events. But it's not just about fancying up your table for a dinner party the photos in this book are of gorgeous settings inside and outside, from mantels to gardens to tables decorated with the most beautiful flower arrangements.   

Some favourites in this book: Cathy loves to make flower arrangements in individual vintage glass bottles interspersed with miniature replicas. She also makes the most charming watercolours and are featured throughout the book.

The photographs in the book are really pretty, thanks to photographers Quentin Bacon and Andrew Ingalls (and written by Alexis Clark). The books in this feature are all published by Vendome Press. This one you can find on Amazon here

 

Next up is David Hicks scrapbooks, edited by his son Ashley Hicks. Of course anyone who is a fan of David Hicks should pick up a copy of this, and everyone else can pick up a copy because it has the coolest cover and well, for some of us that's reason enough!

For those that don't know him, Davis Hicks was a British interior designer that became an icon in the 1960's with his glorious geometric prints, bold and unique colour combinations and his quirky design style where mixing antiques with modern furnishings was his signature. 

For many years David documented everything going on in his life within scrapbooks, 24 in all. These scrapbooks included press clippings, photographs, sketches, party invitations, fabric swatches, magazine articles....and Ashley selected over 300 of his favourite pages from these scrapbooks, making this book a really special tribute to his very talented father. You can find this on Amazon here

Next up is a real treat. Versailles: The Great and Hidden Splendors of the Sun King's Palace by Catherine Pégard was made possible because four talented photographers (Christophe Fouin, Thomas Garnier, Christian Miles and Didier Saulnier) were given unlimited access to Versailles during a period of time when it was closed to visitors.

They were able to photograph the private suites of Louis XV, the boudoirs of Marie Antoinette and Madame de Pompadour, the celebrated Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel, the charming Orangerie. The result is total eye candy. Elegance as its absolute finest. Versailles is truly a magical place filled with interiors you will never see anywhere else. You can find this one on Amazon here

miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... However, as it is for publication in Liberator, you'll have to wait to read it :þ

Once Liberator has landed on doormats I'll put the review up on Goodreads and link to it here. But if you want a little spoiler, although I had some criticisms I genuinely quite enjoyed it, and will definitely buy his next (if he ever writes another).

Ever-fixed mark (Part 3)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 10:44 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Next morning Hannah went into the hothouses to cut some flowers to replace a bloom here and there in the vases that went droop, and discovered her brother Julius about some matter of tending pots.

He smiled at her. What, not up and about with Miss Flora?

I daresay she sleeps in, to recover from her journey.

Indeed the Channel crossing will knock one up! But – he turned around with a serious expression upon his face – has she said aught about Beauf – Sallington’s – suit to her?

Not yet.

Only – he sighed – there is some notion of the Duke’s that Beauf might set up his own establishment at Nitherholme, and he was saying, did he do so, might I not go with him and do somewhat about the gardens, that were never particular tended to, save for the herb garden when Lady Jane resided there, and have been much neglected since then, one could have a free hand in doing the thing, 'tis not like Qualling or the grounds of Mulcaster House, so there would not be established gardeners jealous of their place and saying, has always been done thus and so –

Oh, Julius, surely you would love that!

Also, Julius went on with a longing look, 'tis moorland country thereabouts, and I confide would be an almost untrodden field for the botanist –

Sure all sounds entire ideal –

- but one must suppose that his plans would be different did he intend to go marry.

One had to know Julius extreme well to know that he was most extreme concerned about this matter. Indeed it would be a considerable advancement for him, and Hannah knew how great a friendship there had ever been 'twixt him and Lord Sallington. Certainly he might fear that marriage would cause a breach – but was it Flora, that had been part of the same nursery-set? how could that create a gulph?

And then she looked at her brother and wondered. Had she not had particular opportunity to observe the very fine manly affection that existed 'twixt His Lordship and Mr MacDonald?

Why, she said, I daresay Flora will tell me soon enough.

In the afternoon she climbed once more to their meeting place, where Flora was already sitting, clasping her arms about her knees in her old way. Hannah went to squeeze in beside her.

Dearest Hannah Clorinda, said Flora, sure there is a thing I am almost frighted to ask you: but has there been with you any matter of falling in love?

Hannah laughed. Fie, who should I go fall in love with?

Why, how should I know, being away so long?

Hannah looked sideways at Flora. Well, she said, resisting the desire to teaze, I will confess that I have the greatest admiration and, 'tis true to say, affection, towards His Lordship and Mr MacDonald, that are both always so very kind to me. But they are quite out of my sphere, and naught that I would go pine for – and indeed, sure I take the entire apprehension that 'twould be a very foolish thing to set my girlish hopes upon 'em.

You were ever a sensible creature, sighed Flora. For I find myself – found myself, mayhap I will discover that matters are different when we are no longer under the Italian sun, or strolling in balmy moonlight and a little smoky glow from the burning mountain – somewhat unexpected smitten.

She sighed once more. We encountered Quintus and his friends in Venice and it perchanced I saw a good deal of Beauf, and then we went our ways, and then we met once more in Naples, and I found myself in a considerable liking to him, and indeed he to me, and there was a mention of marriage, but I said that perchance we were beguiled by the exceeding romantic setting –

- but 'twas not just that concern that halted me from saying yes to his offer.

She looked down at her hands pressing together. O, dear, Hannah, I like him most extremely, but I greatly dislike the thought of being a duchess. For one sees his stepmother, a most excellent learned lady, that I daresay would greatly prefer to spend a deal more time in her study than her duties of rank permit, and does not complain, but will sometimes let little things drop – will come in from some occasion and say she has been about duchessing, with a twist of her mouth.

And then, my dearest Tiger - she looked sideways at Hannah, who kept her face entirely straight – why, what may I call her? She would not have me call her mama, says 'tis a title she would not steal from Mama, so 'tis a pet name ‘twixt the two of us. But she says, that one should ever think when contemplating marriage that the duties of marriage will include matters to do with one’s husband’s station or profession, if only by behaving proper to that – that is, does one marry a clergyman there is a deal of proper behaviour expected in the matter of church attendance and parish duties &C, almost to act the ancillary curate, and if one marries a doctor one does not gossip upon his patients any more than he would, and must not complain is he called out at all hours to some urgent case.

She leant her head upon Hannah’s shoulder. And said, sure one may see married couples that are entire partners, like unto Mama and Papa, or the Wallaces, or the Samuels, or as 'twas with the Verikers – oh, that was sad news – but indeed, she says, a woman does not always realize in advance what will come to her, but must adapt to circumstances.

And however fond and kind a husband may be, 'tis quite out of the common that he will go encourage her ambitions as Mr Lucas does, that insists that Mrs Lucas has her own study in the rectory. That she confides he would do even was there not the matter of her fortune in the balance.

She fell silent.

Also, she said at length, I like Beauf most extremely, but I have found that I am also given to finding other fellows agreeable, if only for a while. I daresay, she went on, you have read, or mayhap heard, the marriage service? That I confide is not in particular different among Methodists from what pertains in the Established Church – sure one hears that the Quakers do the matter differently –

Dearest Flora, 'tis unlike you to babble.

- and while there is a deal of matter in’t that one could mostly happily swear to, there are some things… even more than the forsaking all others, there is that dread word obey. And Tiger says I should mind what a deal of rights the law and custom assign to husbands, and how little to wives. Sure, she said, a woman – or her prudent advisors – may tie up any fortune she has, but there has to be that forethought took, and even then, there are husbands will endeavour come around their wives by persuasion or even violence.

Hannah sighed. Indeed 'tis so.

But the thing that I always come at, Flora continued, squeezing Hannah, is that I would not wish to be parted from you. And sure I find it hard to come at any way one might marry and still have one’s dearest friend about one. I suppose you might come be my companion, but – she planted a kiss upon Hannah’s head – I should dislike to put you in that position of dependency -

Oh, she cried, but I am a selfish fool! Doubtless you have your own plans and ambitions –

Why, said Hannah, I confide that although I lead a most exceeding pleasant existence here, undertaking the flowers for the house and tending to the library, 'tis not a course I may continue entirely indefinitely. And latterly I was discoursing of the matter to Mr MacDonald, and he advanced the thought that I might go make a living by my pen -

Why, my darling, indeed you might. For Mr MacDonald had most thoughtful laid by for us copies of The Intelligencer, marked up with matters of particular interest, and Tiger was most prepossessed by those pieces of yours on historical ladies.

Hannah felt herself blushing all over. But sure I did not see quite how I might come at that.

Flora clasped her knees again and rocked a little in the old wonted fashion when she was thinking something over.

At length she said, hesitantly, you know that Tiger has a fine property in Surrey -

O yes, Yeomans, 'twas where Mama met Papa –

Say you so! – 'twas let for many years to the Ulrichs, very fine people, some connexion of the Samuels, but at present stands empty, and she does not go seek new tenants until certain repairs and refurbishments are made. And it comes to me, might we not ask her could we go live there, and devote our lives to study and writing and doing somewhat about the parlous condition of womanhood - for I apprehend that 'tis not an entire out of the common thing, for two ladies to live together and pursue their interests, like Lady Emily Merrett and Miss Fenster at Attervale –

- but are they not somewhat older ladies, past their marriageable years?

O, now, but I have heard that Lady Emily was one of the belles of the Season when they first went there, her suitors were entire desolated.

O, said Hannah, longingly, surely that would be excellent fine, but I confide that there would be objections -

O, poo, to objections! said Flora. Do I go convoke with Tiger upon the business I daresay she will come at some way it might be contrived.

Hannah clutched Flora’s hand. O, Flora! I should like it of all things.

RIP Julian May

Oct. 22nd, 2017 10:12 am
liadnan: (Default)
[personal profile] liadnan
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1526186424113096&id=100001652582799

I loved the Pliocene-Milieu Sequences, I remember being overjoyed when Intervention came out and they had a significant influence on me as a teenager and in my 20s. I last re-read my way through the whole thing last year and they still do it for me.

Orthodoxy in Oxford

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:55 am
naraht: Orthodox church in Romania (art-RomaniaPantocrator)
[personal profile] naraht
One of the things that I loved most about Russia was being able to pass any random church – usually a beautiful Baroque church – and know that it was an Orthodox church. And the fact that there was usually a service going on, which meant that I could go in, light a few candles and stand for a few minutes to enjoy the architecture and the singing before going on with my sightseeing. (There's no expectation that you'll arrive on time, or indeed stay till the end, as long as you know the points of the service during which you're not meant to leave.)

Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)

Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.

• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)

Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...

ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.

Just One Thing (22 October 2017)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:55 am
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Politico: Young subscribers flock to old media

What's particularly fascinating is the way in which it's directly correlated with people wanting to support news organizations as a way to resist Trump:

“The big boost we saw in subscriptions in the U.S.,” Newman said, “is driven by people on the left and younger people are more likely to be on the left. That is really a lot of what’s driving it: young people who don’t like Trump who subscribe to news organizations that they see as being a bulwark against him.”

Keep up the good work!

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:38 am
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
Fannish people with money, [community profile] fandomlovespuertorico currently has a lot of bargains and very few bidders.
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
Today was very pleasant but very tiring. It has been a sleepless week, most of yesterday was a migraine, and I feel exhausted to the point of stupidity. In lieu of a movie I really need my brain for, here's one I can talk about while wanting to pass out.

Last October I watched but never wrote about Norman Foster's Woman on the Run (1950), a famously near-lost noir painstakingly restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Film Noir Foundation and released last year onto home media as a double bill with Byron Haskin's Too Late for Tears (1949). Part of the delay is that I liked but did not love the former film as I did the latter with its stone cold antiheroine and uncompromising final shot; this one suffers more from the congealing sexism of the nascent Fifties and as a result its emotional resolution leaves a tacky taste on my teeth and an inchoate longing for the advent of no-fault divorce. If you can bear with its limitations, however, Woman on the Run is worth checking out as a thoughtfully layered mystery and a fantastic showcase for Ann Sheridan as an unapologetically bitchy, unsentimentally sympathetic protagonist, a rare combination in Hollywood even now.

The 1948 source short story by Sylvia Tate was titled "Man on the Run" and the film begins with one: late-night dog-walker Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott) who takes a powder on learning that the murder he conscientiously reported—and witnessed at close enough range to know the killer again—was connected to a high-profile mob trial. A failed artist with a bad heart and a marriage that's been on the rocks almost since it launched, he looks tailor-made for the dark city, a loser coming up on his final throw. The camera doesn't follow him into the night-maze of San Francisco, though, to face or keep running from his demons in the kind of psychomachia at which an expressionist genre like noir so excels; instead the point of view switches almost at once to his estranged wife Eleanor (Sheridan), wearily deflecting the inquiries of the hard-nosed Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith, who will always look like Lieutenant Brannigan to me) with flat sarcastic cracks and an indifference so apparently genuine and total, it can take the audience a beat to recognize the depths of anger and resignation that underlie lines like "No, sometimes he goes to sleep and I walk the dog." Ever since Max Ophüls' The Reckless Moment (1949), I have been wary of assuming the limits of women in noir, but Eleanor still stands out for me in her flippant, abrasive intelligence and her willingness to look bad—she knows it shocks the conservative inspector that she isn't all housewifely concern for her man and she needles him with it, referring to the dog as their "only mutual friend" and dismissing the bare kitchen with "He's not particular and I'm lazy, so we eat out." Faced with the possibility that Frank has taken his brush with the underworld as an excuse to run out on his marriage, she's more than half inclined to let him. But she's not inclined to let him get killed, especially not playing star witness for a police force whose last star witness got whacked while Frank was watching, and so in the best traditions of amateur detecting, complete with dubious Watson in the form of "Legget of the Graphic" (Dennis O'Keefe), the flirty tabloid reporter who offered his services plus a thousand-dollar sweetener in exchange for exclusive rights to Frank's story, Eleanor sets out to find her missing husband before either the killer or a duty-bound Ferris can. He's left her a clue to his whereabouts, a cryptic note promising to wait for her "in a place like the one where I first lost you." In a relationship full of quarrels and frustrations, that could be anywhere, from their favorite Chinese hangout to the wharves of his "social protest period" to the tower viewers at the top of Telegraph Hill. Let the investigations begin.

I like this setup, which gives us the city as memory palace after all: Eleanor's memories of her relationship with Frank, what it was like when it was good and where it failed and how it might be reclaimed again, if she can only find him alive. She is almost being asked to perform a spell. And while I suppose she could have done it on the sympathetic magic of a Hollywood backlot, it is much more satisfying to watch her revisit real statues and sidewalks, real crowds unaware of the private earthquake taking place in their midst. Hal Mohr's cinematography is a street-level document of San Francisco in 1950, with a cameo by our old friend Bunker Hill; he can organize shadows and angles as effectively as the next Oscar-winning DP when he needs to, but he keeps the majority of the action on the daylit side of noir, the lived-in, working-class city with Navy stores and department stores and parks and piers and diners and lots of California sun, which only looks like it shows you everything. The literal roller-coaster climax was filmed at Ocean Park Pier/Pacific Ocean Park, last seen on this blog in Curtis Harrington's Night Tide (1960). Back at the Johnsons' bleak, hotel-like apartment, Eleanor mocked Ferris for "snoop[ing] into the remains of our marriage," but increasingly it seems not to be as cold a case as she thought. Going back over old ground, she discovers new angles on her missing person; nondescript in his introductory scenes and ghostly in his own life, Frank Johnson becomes vivid in absence, hovering over the narrative like Harry Lime in Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) or the title character of Otto Preminger's Laura (1944) until his wife begins to see a curiously attractive stranger in the place of a man whose familiarity had long since bred hopelessness. To fall in love with someone who might already be dead, to find someone in the process of losing them, these are the kinds of irony that noir thrives on and Woman on the Run derives as much tension from the audience's fear that irony will carry the day as it does from the actual unknowns of the plot, the killer's identity, Frank's status, Eleanor's own safety as her sleuthing calls for ever more active deception of the police and reliance on Legget, who keeps saying things like "I'm sorry I was so rude a moment ago, but it's always discouraging to hear a wife say that her husband loves her." He is another unexpected element, not without precedent but nicely handled. In most genres, his pushy charm and his genial stalking of Eleanor would mark him as the romantic hero, or at least an appealing alternative to a husband so avoidant he couldn't even tell his own wife when he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Here, with a triangle already established between Eleanor and the husband she knows and the husband she doesn't, the reporter is a fourth wheel at best and the audience hopes he accepts it. Without a reciprocating spark, it's not as cute as he thinks when he encourages Eleanor to call him "Danny Boy" ("People who like me call me Danny Boy") or leads her casually under the same wooden coaster where he used to bring dates, his contribution perhaps to the film's romantic psychogeography.

Honestly, I don't even dislike the resolution on the strict level of plot. By the time Eleanor realizes that the place where I first lost you isn't a bitter dig at a bad memory but a hopeful allusion to a good one, the audience is sufficiently invested in the reunion of these long-fractured lovers—despite the fact that we've never once seen them together, even in photographs or Frank's sketches and paintings—that to frustrate it would feel deliberately unfair, although of course in noir that never rules anything out. They're both taking chances, not just with their lives but their hearts. Frank who always runs away is standing his ground, risking being found by a gunman and a partner he's disappointed. Eleanor who has built such prickly defenses is lowering them, making herself reach out rather than preemptively rebuff. You want to see that kind of bravery rewarded, even when heart conditions and prowling killers aren't involved. What I dislike in the extreme is the film's attitude toward this conclusion. In its examination of the Johnsons' marriage, the facts of the script assign plenty of blame to Frank, an artist too scared of failure to try for success, a husband who retreated from his wife as soon as he felt that he'd let her down, a man who could talk about his feelings to everyone but the woman he was living with. The dialogue, however, insists repeatedly that the ultimate success or collapse of a marriage is the woman's responsibility—that it must be Eleanor's fault that her marriage went south, that she wasn't patient or understanding or supportive enough, that she has to be the one to change. It's implied in some of her encounters; in others it's stated outright. Inspector Ferris constantly judges her as a wife and a woman, even once asking "Didn't your husband ever beat you?" when she tells him to back off. He's the dry voice of authority, the hard-boiled but honest cop; I want to believe that Eleanor is decoying him when she apologizes for not believing his criticism sooner ("I guess I was the one who was mixed up—a lot of it's my fault anyway—I haven't been much of a wife"), but I fear we're meant to take her at face value. He's too active in the film's ending not to be right. Hence my wistful feelings toward California's Family Law Act of 1969. Sheridan's acting carries her change of heart from resolutely not caring to a clear-eyed second chance, but I almost wish it didn't have to. At least she has a good rejoinder when Frank queries their future together, wry as any of her defensive cracks: "If this excitement hasn't killed you, I'm sure I can't."

The movies with which Woman on the Run links itself up in my head are Robert Siodmak's Phantom Lady (1944) and Roy William Neill's Black Angel (1946), both stories of investigating women with ambiguous allies and ghostly romantic patterns; Sheridan's Eleanor is a harder, less conventionally likeable protagonist than either Ella Raines' Kansas or June Vincent's Cathy, which may account for why the patriarchy comes down on her with such personified, decisive disapproval, or it may be the distance from wartime, or it may be some other idiosyncratic factor that still annoys me. The fact that I can read the ending as happy rather than rubber-stamped heteronormativity is due almost entirely to Sheridan, who never loses all of Eleanor's edges any more than she slips out of her angular plaid overcoat into something more comfortable, plus the final cutaway to the Laughing Sal on the lit-up midway, rocking back and forth as if a husband and wife embracing is some great joke. Maybe it is. What makes this couple, so fervently clinging to one another, so special? He writes a nice love-note. She climbs out a skylight like nobody's business. They named their dog Rembrandt. This reunion brought you by my particular backers at Patreon.

Woman on the Run
umadoshi: (tomatoes 01)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Today's main accomplishment: getting a decent amount of manga work done despite being drained enough to wind up taking two accidental naps this afternoon. >.< I got close enough to a draft on the chunk of script due Monday that I expect that deadline'll be fine even if doing some garden work (planting bulbs and bagging up the tomato plants for compost pickup, mainly) takes up more of our time than expected tomorrow.

There are theories at the office about how much longer this stint of Casual Job will go, but what have we learned about attempting to make predictions? We'll see how it plays out.

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I have now made it as far as episode 3 of Star Trek: Disco, and we're also up to date on The Good Place. Given my work schedule(s), I'm counting it as a partial win. I really want to start in on The Gifted, though.

I haven't watched any of the anime for The Ancient Magus' Bride (either the OAV or the recently-started TV series), but in the last several days I've seen it mentioned quite a few times here and on Twitter, and that delights me. The manga series is fantastic--definitely one of my current favorites of the things I'm working on. (The other being Yona of the Dawn.) In theory I really want to watch the TV series, but realistically, I said that about the My Love Story!! anime too, and like so much other media I ~really want~ to consume, it keeps not happening.

For the longest time it felt like there weren't anime versions of any manga titles I've worked on, but it's never quite been true. I mean, Sgt. Frog had a (pretty long-running!) series and movies and all, although I gather the plots rarely adhered closely to the manga (and with that series, there's no need for them to, really); also, DN Angel got animated in some capacity (TV series?), but as I only actually worked on the final two volumes that Tokyopop released (vol. 12 and 13, I think?), it never sank in and felt like "my" series. And X has been animated twice, but I actively loathe the movie and am deeply grumpy about the TV series...

...and then there're the newer things that I keep wanting to see, but not finding time for: Arpeggio of Blue Steel, My Love Story!!, Yona of the Dawn, and now Magus are all out there. (Okay, no--I did see an episode or two of My Love Story!!, and that was wonderful.) (I feel like I might even be missing one. And now I suddenly really want someone to animate Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer.)

Will I ever make it as far as checking those shows out for real? No idea. (I even have an ongoing Crunchyroll subscription, but I don't exactly make use of it. [Terrifying media-to-consume list, etc. etc etc.])

Last night was my fourth aerial silks class, so we're halfway through. It wasn't *bad*, but I also don't feel like I managed to do a whole lot )

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I are so utterly out of the gardening habit at this point. We don't have anything planted specifically for autumn, and we gave the tomato plants up for lost a couple weeks ago when I kept hearing that there was an overnight frost warning and last-ditch tomato harvesting should happen. So we did that, but since then I've been seeing local photos and stuff from gardeners carrying right along with harvesting their tomatoes etc. Next autumn we won't be so quick to say, "Oh, I guess we're done now."

A lot of the tomatoes we brought in at the abandoning-them point were still very green, but those all seem to have ripened up nicely. There's just one left now; [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose has been working his way through them. The plants did produce some more fruit, but [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose's experiment in eating one of those post-final-harvest tomatoes wasn't tasty, for whatever reason.

As a result of wandering off from dealing with the tomato plants, I should admit we've also completely slacked on dealing with the flowers. >.< Which isn't so bad for the potted annuals, because they have an expiry date, but we really need to double check what to do about the perennial bed and the potted raspberry shrub.

And whatever else happens, those bulbs need to get planted. *determined*

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