tiger_spot: (glare)
I have a book recommendation, mostly for parents but also for people who like communicating with humans in general.

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen is a really excellent update of the classic How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. It's streamlined to focus on younger kids, and it is chock full of detailed, specific examples of multiple approaches to solving common problems. It is made of humor and compassion and good ideas.

Little Kids is by the daughters of the authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, so they've got the kid's perspective as well as the parent's perspective for many techniques. The "what not to do" sections are much more relatable for the modern parent. How to Talk was so influential to current American parenting styles that a lot of what it's arguing against is foreign to me. The what to do advice is all still good -- if you haven't read the older book I recommend it too -- but the assumed mindset of the reader can be a little offputting and it's nice to have a version that feels more like it's talking to me.

Maleficent

Jan. 3rd, 2015 11:42 pm
tiger_spot: (magic)
We watched Maleficent the other night. Angelina Jolie was fantastic. The costume, set, and creature design was lovely. The script, and therefore the movie, was a disappointment.

cranky spoilers here )
tiger_spot: (sword)
We saw Thor 2 today. I liked it, but I had some lingering questions and uncertainties about certain events in the film, so I have invented some alternative backstory that they're probably not going to use for future films but that is now The Way That Happened in my head.

headcanon cut for spoilers and/or disinterest )
tiger_spot: (sword)
We're going to a convention next week, and I am on a panel. It is a panel I thought sounded interesting, because it's not a topic I know much about....

"When our heroes settle down, what do they bring home with them from their journeys? The Emperors of Byzantium were defended by Vikings, many of whom lived out their lives in the Varangian Guard, and some argue that Marco Polo and other silk road traders brought pizza and pasta to Italy from China. What examples of religious, cultural, and technological transfer can we think of in fantasy, and what would we like to see?"

I am having the damnedest time thinking of examples from fantasy rather than history (or historical fiction, which is not always the same thing). Help me out here.
tiger_spot: (magic)
The other day, [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b mentioned, and I quote, "Saruman's underpants of many colors."

I was nonplussed.

"Think of it like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but with Saruman!" he continued brightly.

So I did.

The Rocky Horror Middle Earth Show

Starring

Saruman as Dr. Frank N. Furter
Frodo Baggins as Brad Majors
Samwise Gamgee as Janet Weiss
Elrond as Riff Raff
Arwen as Magenta
Legolas as Rocky
Gimli as Eddie
The Lady Galadriel as Columbia
Gandalf as Dr. Scott

"I'm telling the Internet," I said. "And I'm telling them it was your idea."
tiger_spot: (glare)
So I saw the new Pixar movie, Brave, this weekend. It was good -- the plot was more interesting than I was expecting from the trailers, and it is of course entirely gorgeous.

It was a little more serious than other Pixar movies (first 10 minutes of Up excepted[1]), as the plot is actually about an emotional relationship, with action being kind of incidental to / growing out of that, as opposed to the usual mostly-action with some incidental emotional development. Right at the end, there's a giant emotional climax, followed by comic-relief-denouement-with-song-montage-quick-wrap-up-the-rest-of-the-plot-more-comic-relief-and-a-little-comic-relief-on-top-roll-credits! in about 5 minutes and I'm still sitting there going Wait, wait, I am experiencing an emotion here, hang on, hang on, I'm not done.

I have some statistical complaints about gender in kids' movies, but really this one didn't do anything wrong so I will set those aside for the duration of this post. I was a bit disappointed at it for not properly addressing some of the political questions it brought up at the beginning, but I suppose it's not really meant to be The Prize in the Game[2] and there is a limit to exactly how depressingly realistic you want your kids' movie to get about petty kingdom politics.

In the way that it initially appears to be a particular sort of growing-up story and then turns out to not be that sort of story actually, it reminds me a bit of Labyrinth[3]. I may have to think about that comparison a little more, but there are some interesting parallels.


[1] ***SADNESS WARNING*** Googling quickly to see whether first 10 minutes or first 20 minutes was most accurate (I'm not sure, people seem to be using them interchangeably), I ran across a news story about a little girl with cancer who really wanted to see Up as it was coming out, but was too ill to be moved to a theater. So a Pixar employee flew down to her house with a DVD, and she got to see it about seven hours before she died. Thank you, Google, I really needed that right now. Did I mention where pregnancy hormones have been making child peril a Thing, with the crying and the weeping and the blowing of the nose?

[2] By Jo Walton! It's a good read.

[3] The Jim Henson movie. Also good.
tiger_spot: (Default)
I am having an issue with television lately. I like shows with nice ensemble casts -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Leverage, Castle. However. Could we have one without the romantic tension, please? It's not obligatory! I promise, I will still like witty dialogue even if nobody is using it to talk past each other for this week's angst-creating misunderstanding!

It's the angst I can't stand, really. Makes me want to shake people. And the repetitiveness; the whole male-lead-female-lead will-they-won't-they has been done to death. As a character arc, okay, but people actually do make decisions about these things, and change over time, and when the same two characters are in the same maybe-we-will-maybe-we-won't-let's-tease-the-viewers-a-bit-and-then-go-sigh-wistfully-in-entirely-different-places-that-line-up-neatly-for-the-divided-screen-effect for months and years on end it is aggravating. Have leads who think about it and decide they won't! If this is too complex, have leads who've never even thought about it! Make them siblings if you have to! Alternatively, established, comfortable relationships are fun, too. Nick and Nora Charles, from The Thin Man -- excellent romance, flirting, no tension. Works for me.

Buffy does fairly well here, actually; there's angst, but there is also change, and nobody pines after anybody for the entire series. Wash and Zoe on Firefly are an excellent example of a good, fun, established relationship, although both Simon and Kaylee and Mal and Inara make me want to throw shoes at people. (Eh, it only got a season, maybe they'd have fixed it.)

Leverage and Castle are both seriously starting to grate. We are about to get the next season of Leverage from NetFlix, and I am getting kind of trepidacious. I was really enjoying the subtle background bits with Parker flirting with Hardison and Eliot, and then towards the end of season 2 Hardison noticed and starting... angsting. Nate and Sophie are already obnoxious enough, I do not need more romantic tension in this show. Especially with Parker, sheesh. At least it won't be the both of them doing it, even if the writers do insist on going there with Hardison.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Last night, at dinner, [livejournal.com profile] chinders and [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b were discussing Portal 2, which they have been playing incessantly.

"Wheatley's a great character," said [livejournal.com profile] chinders.

"Yeah," agreed [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b. "He's like Dr. Who if he was an idiot."

"Which Doctor?" I asked. "My ability to see them as idiots varies a lot."

"All Doctors. The overall Doctor. But I was thinking Tennant."

"Yeah," I said. "I can see Tennant as an idiot. Not Christopher Eccleston, though."

"No," said [livejournal.com profile] chinders, "Eccleston's more an evil genius."

"Great and terrible, like Galadriel," said [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b.

"I'd like to see Eccleston playing Galadriel," I mused. "I think he'd be interesting."

So then we cross-cast all of Lord of the Rings.

Our chosen cast below the cut. )
tiger_spot: (Default)
This has been a good vacation. Thursday and Friday functioned as pretty normal weekend days -- Galen and I met [livejournal.com profile] cjsmith for tea and pastries Thursday afternoon, and other than that I mostly slept in and did bits of housework and lazed about reading.

This morning I took Galen, [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses, [livejournal.com profile] cobalt_00, and [livejournal.com profile] argh128 hiking. We went out to Arastradero, because it's close and they allow dogs. It was kind of warm, but we had a good tromp around one loop, decided it wasn't sufficient hiking and did another, similar, loop on the other side of the road. Poor Galen got totally wiped out -- just before we reached the road on our way back, he found a tiny patch of shade and lay down in his very-firmly-not-going-anywhere position (front legs crossed, one back leg sticking way out to the side). So we didn't go anywhere for a while.

Galen was really good about other dogs on the trail -- quite a few passed us, and while I made sure to get us off to the side in case he wanted to react, he pretty much ignored them all. He may have been too tired to take notice, but hey, if that works I'll take it! He also met a poodle while we were pondering the map in between loops, and was both fairly calm when the poodle approached and polite when greeting the other dog. (Apparently he got to meet another one while I was in the restroom afterwards. I didn't see how that went, so I can't tell you, but I didn't hear any barking so I assume fairly well!)

After the hike, I shared out bread pudding samples (no more bread pudding :( I will have to make more now; maybe with apricots instead of raisins, I like apricots) and got compliments :). Then [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b, [livejournal.com profile] chinders, and I went to see Toy Story 3. It's good (but intense! -- Andres was surprised it didn't get a PG, as there's quite a lot of peril), although the 3d glasses gave me a headache.

Then we went to dog training. This was our last class for Obedience for Dog Sports, and it was pretty low-key, which is good because Galen was still really tired. We all showed off our various projects (one dog played blackjack -- so much better than poker!), then played a timed-course game with about a dozen little stations of things to do (stay while owner does jumping jacks, do a couple hand touches, switch from heeling on the left to heeling on the right, stuff like that). Galen tied for last on the course, but he did everything right and the spread was only about 30 seconds, so that is just fine. He ignored the next dog growling at him, yay! Also we found a tick I missed when I checked after hiking (boo) and a funny lump on his thigh, so come Monday we should call the vet.

Tomorrow will be another quiet day, and then Monday we will have a D&D game in the morning and [livejournal.com profile] chinders and I will go meet [livejournal.com profile] eeyore_grrl and company for a concert in the afternoon. Then Tuesday it's back to work. It feels a little odd to have the busy days be the ones around the holiday instead of the holiday proper, but it's a good mix of resting and doing fun things overall.
tiger_spot: (magic)
The new Sherlock Holmes movie is great fun. I really like these versions of the characters.

It is a similar sort of fun as Pirates of the Caribbean. The plot rollicks along without making any more sense than it has to but also without obvious holes, there are some interesting set-piece fights and nice scenery and costuming to look at, and through it all there are these deeply nifty characters interacting in amusing and effective ways. Teamwork! The score's good, too.

Definitely recommended.

ASL Songs

Jun. 16th, 2009 10:15 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
This guy's doing really adorable ASL versions of a bunch of songs, including some of Jonathan Coulton's. ("First of May" was going around a while back -- same guy.)

He put together a great costume for Re: Your Brains. I really like the chorus.

Here's Still Alive, from Portal. Good facial expressions; I think they match the tone of the song quite nicely.

I don't know enough ASL to tell how good the translations are, but I like the literal retranslations over in the info pane.

Up

Jun. 14th, 2009 11:37 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
Just got back from seeing Up. Two things:

1. Best movie in the history of movies.

2. Ow, my heartstrings.

(Okay, also 3. Pixar, can we have a little talk about gender? Thanks.)

But. Totally awesome.

Oh wow.

Dec. 10th, 2008 10:15 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
This is a really cool game.

Apparently a demo for an unfinished product. I liked it so much I signed up for their mailing list.

Requires sound. Well, you could play it without sound, but there would be very little point. Full-screen mode strongly recommended. And half an hour or so of uninterrupted time.
tiger_spot: (Default)
UT has just stopped supporting Usenet access. Now I must decide whether to, like, pay somebody for it or just let it go.

alt.poly's the only thing I read that still gets any posts, and it's been awfully thin on the ground lately. It may be time to say goodbye.
tiger_spot: (Default)
I've seen a number of people complaining about the events in the last episode.

Spoilers yay. )
tiger_spot: (Default)
Having seen the third episode of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog just now, I have one thought.

This thought here, cut for spoilers. )
tiger_spot: (Default)
Why is it that I only stay home from work when I'm too sick to do anything enjoyable? This hardly seems fair. (On the other hand, work is much easier than most enjoyable things, so I suppose it's only logical.)

I was sick yesterday, too, but not quite this sick. Sick enough that I told people at work that if I was still that sick today I wouldn't come in. I wouldn't have gone in yesterday, even, but I did want to go in the first day back to get a handle on where things are. (Things are rather quiet at the moment, it turns out. This is good.) Sent in e-mail about 6:30 this morning indicating that not only was I still that sick, I was in fact worse, then turned off my alarm, went back to bed, and slept until 2:00. Staying home was definitely the correct decision.

Also yesterday I went out with the usual suspects plus a few for dinner and Wall-E. Fantastic movie. Very sweet. I was impressed by how well the live-action footage blended in; I'm not sure whether that's a result of the animation being realistic or the footage being well-processed, but it worked out nicely in either case. I was unsure whether this was a good idea at the time, being sick and all, but now I am very happy that it got scheduled for yesterday instead of today, because I am definitely not up for it today. I hope I didn't contage at anybody.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Paper Pong!
tiger_spot: (Default)
I have now rated all 3638 songs in iTunes.

This is useful because it will make it easier for me to put together functional playlists.

Also it means I have listened to them all at least once, except for some of the ones I rated 1, because I can tell quite quickly if I hate a song and never ever want to hear it again.

Now I need some sort of different project to occupy the unused portions of my brain while working.

Hmmmm.
tiger_spot: (Default)
In my recent post titled "Advice", I criticized "Mr. Blue", Garrison Keillor's pen name for an advice column he used to write at Salon.com, rather harshly. I have just realized (after seeing a link to a recent column) that I was confused; Mr. Keillor was a decent advice-giver -- it's his replacement as the Salon.com advice writer, Cary Tennis, who is turgid, long-winded, and generally awful. My apologies to Mr. Keillor.
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