sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
On the one hand, A Matter of Life and Death (1946) is my least favorite Powell and Pressburger. It's a superlative afterlife fantasy in the tradition of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), which is the problem: it's the Archers doing, excellently, a kind of story other people do. I don't hate it. I like the premise, which flips the opening glitch of Jordan so that instead of snatching a man untimely into the afterlife, a psychopomp lets his assigned soul slip away into the world; I love its filming of Earth in color and the "Other World" in black and white, whence Wim Wenders and his Berlin angels; I really love its double-tracking of the plot in both mystical and medical registers and the way it refuses to resolve one over the other, eventually, rightly merging the two. I have always suspected that after the credits roll, somewhere among the stars Marius Goring's Conductor 71 and Edward Everett Horton's Messenger 7013 are gloomily comparing notes on their respective balls-ups and wondering if Alan Rickman's Metatron was right that angels can't get drunk. It has one of the great escalators of cinema. It's objectively good and I know it's widely loved. But it's easily the least weird thing the Archers ever committed to celluloid. I can't tell if its otherworld is deliberately dry or if my ideas of the numinous just for once parted ways with the filmmakers', but I found more resonance in the real-world scenes with their odd touches like a naked goatherd piping on an English beach, the camera obscura through which Roger Livesey's Dr. Reeves watches the town around him, or the mechanicals within mechanicals of an amateur rehearsal of A Midsummer Night's Dream, than I did in the monumental administration of heaven and the courts of the assembled dead. I watched it in the first rush of discovery following A Canterbury Tale (1944) and as many other films by Powell and Pressburger as I could lay my hands on; I was disappointed. It didn't work for me even as well as Black Narcissus (1948), which I want to see again now that I'm not expecting real India. On the same hand, the Brattle is showing a 4K DCP rather than a print, which means that I'd be settling for an approximation of the pearly Technicolor monochrome of the Other World, which is still astonishing enough in digital transfer that I really want to know what it looked like on the original 35 mm, and the same goes for the rest of Jack Cardiff's cinematography.

On the other hand, the screening will be introduced by Thelma Schoonmaker and this is how Andrew Moor in Powell and Pressburger: A Cinema of Magic Spaces (2012) writes about David Niven as Squadron Leader Peter David Carter, the pilot hero of A Matter of Life and Death (look out, textbrick, for once it's not me):

Never an actor of great range, Niven came instead to embody and to articulate a rather out-of-date ideal: gentlemanliness – or 'noblesse oblige'. His light tenor and gamin beauty are those of the nobility: he reveals, if provoked, the upright steeliness of a man with backbone, but this grit often shades over into a likeable, smiling insolence. Though we knew he could be naughty (and the actor was a noted practical joker), it was the forgivable naughtiness of a well-liked schoolboy It is usually his graceful amusement that impresses, rather than his physicality or intellect (to talk of 'grace' might seem antiquated, but old-fashioned words like that seem to fit). He could be the younger son of a minor aristocrat, at times silly but always charming, and in the last instance gallant, gazing upwards with a sparkle in his eyes, a light comedian who, through sensing the necessity of nonsense, is perfect as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days (Michael Anderson, 1956, US). He is fittingly dashing in The Elusive Pimpernel (Powell and Pressburger, 1950), where as Sir Percy Blakeney he embraces foppishness with gusto. His 'airy' quality is winning, and his poetic virtues shine in AMOLAD. He may be well-mannered and eloquent but, as charmers go, his 'classiness' sits easily . . . He is undoubtedly an affectionate figure. Unkindness is not in him, and he is important in our gallery of heroes. But he is never like John Mills, the democratic 1940s ' Everyman'. Mills is the boy next door to everybody and, while that is a nice neighborhood, we really aspire to live next door to Niven. Is it a question of class? We suppose Niven to be a good host of better parties. Mills is like us; Niven is exotic. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and during the war Niven stood for some of the most valued of principles, but his quality (or was it just his prettiness?) seemed the stuff of a previous, and probably mythical, time. Niven himself was a Sandhurst-trained army man, who joined the Highland Light Infantry in 1928 and served in Malta for two years before drifting towards America and into film acting. In 1939, when he left Hollywood for the army, he was a star, and managed to complete two propaganda films during the war while also serving in the Rifle Brigade . . . In the opening sequence of AMOLAD, it is hard to think of another actor who could mouth Powell and Pressburger's airborne script so convincingly. Bravely putting his house in order, saying his farewells and leaping from his burning plane, he is ridiculously, tearfully beautiful. Notably, it is his voice, travelling to Earth in radio waves, which first attracts the young American girl June, not his looks, and later it is his mind which is damaged, not his body. It is difficult, in fact, to think of the slender Niven in terms of his body at all. We remember the face, and a moustache even more precise and dapper than Anton Walbrook's (which was hiding something). Like Michael Redgrave in The Way to the Stars, he is the most celebrated man of war – the pilot who belongs in the clouds.

So I'm thinking about it.

Pallas Cat

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Pallas Cat_7


One of these guard cats only tells lies. The other only tells lies as well.


Basically, cats don’t care about your petty human concept of “truth”.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Quick, if I owe you an apology...

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:08 pm
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)
[personal profile] snippy
I apologize if I have done you a harm and you would like an apology.  Also granted to those who ask.  
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Prairie Dog_5


“Thou wilt be throng’d to shortly.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

When the screams rage, shake it off

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:33 pm
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
I have just learned that Stanislav Petrov died in May and I feel this is a bad year to lose a man who knew how not to blow up the world.

I will follow this advice

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:19 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
According to my brother, one should not bounce a chainsaw off one's knee as it is very hard on denim.

Porcupine

Sep. 18th, 2017 02:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Porcupine_1


Porcupine that just downloaded the Shazam app and is realizing that it is of no use whatsoever in identifying the plaintful music that he hears in his dreams, echoing strains of melody like tendrils holding his mind hostage until the wee hours of the morning yawn and spread wide to welcome the day.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] sovay
Plans to spend the day outside were somewhat revised on account of incoming holidays and I have the kind of headache that is barely a light sensitivity off from a migraine, but I can totally recommend the experience of baking ten honeycakes (and eighteen honeycupcakes) for Rosh Hashanah and then lying on a couch to finish reading the second half of Ruthanna Emrys' Winter Tide (2017). It's good at ocean, good at alienness, good at different ways of being human; it braids different threads of Lovecraft's universe without feeling like a monster mash, although the nature of monstrosity is one of its front-and-center concerns; it has a queer romance around the edges that I'm delighted is canonical. Technically I suppose I could have timed it to fall during the Days of Awe, but that might have been too on the nose. Also, I would have had to wait.

Pallas Cat

Sep. 17th, 2017 11:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Pallas Cat_6


Pallas cat kittens are not all equally brave.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Can’t Take It With You

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:27 pm
kiya: (akhet)
[personal profile] kiya

Mirrored from Suns In Her Branches | Kiya Nicoll.

The service ended on the vehement command: “Spend the afternoon! You can’t take it with you!”

I feel the church year proper has begun at last.

Rank by rank again we stand,
from the four winds gathered hither.
Loud the hallowed walls demand
whence we come and how, and whither.

There are times I feel that if I got nothing from church but the singing, that would be enough. I grew up sort of Methodist, which perhaps gives me a particular perspective on what Church Is About, but there’s also that… the only times that I felt deeply I could belong, in that church where I was, had to do with music. There is a particular feeling of voices joined in song, a particular sanctity, and it is so important to me. And even if I’m up in the balcony space – the drive means I’m often too late to be in the sanctuary proper – I can sing, I can belong, I can stand and feel the music welling up and my hand can mark the beats and this is important, so important.

Of course, I get more from church than the singing. But the singing would be enough.

The readings included The Little Duck and Pry Me Off Dead Center, which was also the sermon, and I found myself contemplating theology, listening. Theology and action and the necessity to move, and the shape and the change needed in the world, all of these things. One part of the sermon quoted Annie Dillard, and that, too, goes into the pot.

Balance, but also motion; not to be lukewarm, and thus spat out.

I came home and wrote a mythological snippet, titled Mercy, which I put up on my revamped Patreon in the appropriate category. We’ll see how that project rolls.

xtina: (Default)
[personal profile] xtina
"Why the fuck is there an entry in Activity Monitor for "Google Chrome Helper" that's taking up ~98% CPU?!?"

Steps to resolve:

* In Chrome, go to Window > Task Manager, or to [menu dots thing] > More Tools > Task Manager.
* Sort the list by CPU descending.
* Find whatever is making that top entry so horrible and kill it.

In my specific case, it's this entry:

Subframe: http:__hanstrackr[dot]com

It's correct in the CTM. I just don't want folk accidentally clicking it.

I googled on "hanstracker" and got a thread that suggested disabling a couple of specific extensions. The one I disabled that entirely removed this entry was Flatbook. It might be because the hanstracker[dot]com site appears to be down. Regardless, I uninstalled the extension and left annoyed noises on the extension in the Chrome store, because don't do that.

Meerkat performing Hero and Leander

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Meerkat_6


And then he got him to a rock aloft,

Where having spied her tower, long stared he on’t,

And prayed the narrow toiling Hellespont

To part in twain, that he might come and go;

But still the rising billows answered, “No.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

argh

Sep. 17th, 2017 01:10 pm
baratron: (angry)
[personal profile] baratron
Today we are going to a museum which is, by its nature, not super accessible. (Old trains, subway cars, lots of narrow gaps which might not fit a wheelchair.) So why did I wake up screaming in pain at 5 am, and why is my RIGHT leg impaired as well as my left?

Pain Management Clinic appointment on 18th October can't come fast enough. Stupid arthritis of the spine pressing on my nerves.
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
[personal profile] sovay
I spent most of yesterday out of the house and not at doctor's appointments, which was a much better ratio than most of the rest of this week; despite an almost total failure to sleep at night, I am about to endeavor to do the same today. Two writing things, one not.

1. Yesterday's mail brought my contributor's copy of Not One of Us #58, containing my poems "The House Always Wins" and "Dive" along with fiction by Patricia Russo, Rose Keating, and Mike Allen and poetry by Mat Joiner and Holly Day, among others. The theme of the issue is fall. Not One of Us is one of the longest-running, most stubborn black-and-white ink-and-paper 'zines in existence and I am deeply fond of it, with its inclusive themes of otherness and alienation; it is where I published my first short story sixteen years ago this month. If you have the fiver to spare, I recommend picking up a copy. The editor and his family have a cat to support.

2. I am very pleased to announce that my novelette "The Boatman's Cure," heretofore available only in my collection Ghost Signs (2015), will be reprinted in a future issue of Lightspeed. If you have not read it and want an advance idea of what it's like, it was reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar when the collection came out. It has ghosts and the sea and personal history and classical myth and periodically I wonder if it counts as a haunted house story, although it was not written as one. It carries a lot of significance for me. Rest assured that I will link when it goes live.

3. I was not so pleased to hear that Harry Dean Stanton has died. As one can do with character actors, I seem to have conceived an incredible fondness for him over the years despite never seeing him in any of his really famous roles; I have good memories of him from Dillinger (1973), Alien (1979), and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). I probably have Paris, Texas (1984) or Repo Man (1984) in my future. I had not realized he was 91. He was a sort of weatherbeaten middle age for so long, I just figured it was his natural, permanent state.

Giant River Otter

Sep. 17th, 2017 02:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Giant River Otter_56


Giant river otters play in the water just like small ones.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

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