The thing about Lord of the Rings -- or, an unexpectedly hopeful ending note on rant post

This is a rant that has been coming on for a while, because I've been binging on Lord of the Rings movie stuff after long abstinence, because my brother sent the family the Lego game for Christmas, and you know how it is with that little taste of an old addiction...

Anyway. Viewing it in a sort of post-LotR-dominant world is a little bittersweet.

Here's the thing: fans have gotten so jaded about it.

Yes, everyone has a right to gripe about the things left out. Whether there were inferiorities.
(For goodness sake, *I've* discovered that I've outgrown this vision of Faramir, and Strider's so hot I'm reluctant to leave that part of the movie behind...)
But fandom loves too well to hate a thing because it became popular with the mainstream, having gone outside the original fans (which is rot, my mother was in high school when these books were having their first revival of popularity, these fanchildren can get over it)

And it's so rank of privilege, in a way.

This movie was my Star Wars. I grew up watching movies with the toolset to create fantasy worlds from it's pioneering, but Lord of the Rings was the kind of awestruck experience that I think the first generation of Star Wars viewers felt in the theatre. There was an art to it, a skill to the mastery of new and old techniques, used to a whole other level. Suddenly, even what you could do with writing had to level up accordingly.

It was a masterpiece. John Howe and Alan Lee helped create a thematic realization of their whole bodies of work in fandom. Weta Workshop pushed the envelope for skill and artistry in both digital and physical design. Whole ranks of artists labored, some of them just to put together masses of chainmail, for years, that would hang right and be structured correctly.

And so maybe Peter Jackson has jumped the Phantom Menace shark with the Hobbit. My teen brothers love it, because it's the sprawling epic fantasy they are looking for, though the reason I love the Hobbit best of all books is because of the quiet threads of British humor and Bilbo's delightfully domestic outlook on these events of great moment. The man is an artist, like anyone, and can you imagine living with that over your head, as probably the greatest achievement of your life or at least the most notable? Who wouldn't go into a bit of sequel madness?

(And let's not even try to figure out how much studio politics must have gone into this incarnation, as well. Jackson got to produce LotR without any forces of expectations of a knowing public, and very little oversight from powers that be. That has no doubt changed a LOT.)

And you know what? I am SO SICK of feeling defensive because I fell in love with this movie, and gave it a piece of my heart I am never getting back.

Lord of the Rings was amazing.

So maybe Orlando Bloom, not so much.

And ten years from now, there'll be a more artsy rendition in which all the characters are less archetypical and more artsy, and I won't like it as well, but I'll give it a fair chance. But it'll be because PJ made it possible.

And no doubt some coming-of-age filmmaker who imprinted on that masterpiece will be doing something spectacular with innovations we can't even imagine.

scattered thoughts like clouds

(I keep trying to like things as I go through my LJ feed. Yikes.)

Facebook and Tumblr do create such a laziness. "Can't be bothered to comment, but if I like it they'll know I've seen it and appreciate it~"

on me right now:
I'm here on LJ again probably by grace of pulling the reins in on my SuitDistracted blog. I get a bit obsessive, and so when I was exhausting myself trying to keep up with it in the perfect way to acquire new followers, I realized I had to let it go.

Guess what? People still find it and follow it, when I haven't posted a thing in days.
And there have been over 4000 likes or reposts of that silly MCR .gif I originally posted ages ago. It blew up again today, hitting a new pocket of fangirl blogs. (Seriously. How many pockets of MCR fangirls do you HAVE, Tumblr? How are they not all already friends?)

I am interning for an agent and though it seemed like a huge deal to decide to even apply, it's totally fun and no big sweat, and I read a manuscript that the agent ended up signing and it is too bad about how long it will be before I can tell you more than that.

We Skyped with my brother Dan on Christmas morning, at his in-laws, and he is suuuuuuuper adorable with his little wifey, though she was waiting to have her wisdom teeth pulled the next day, poor thing. But they are totally cute, and it is ridiculous. It also is somehow...nicer, than him being off over there alone with just extended family.

And I watched Princess Mononoke with my 3 youngest sibs over the holiday, too, which they'd never seen. And heart.

I think that is actually my favorite movie. It's a bit unusual for Miyazaki--he has heroines, but his POV character is a guy. And yet...his animation is a bit delicate. I think he's supposed to be of a tribe that is slighter, of different stock. The people you meet up with in the West, when he leaves his home town, are speaking more brash Japanese, have a meatier physicality. San may also be of a different people, but she is square--no sheltered child but grown up tough and athletic.

The trifecta of characters and their interactions is so subtle, and it's not something I really appreciated fully when I first watched it. In fact, watching it with subtitles this time felt fresh--I may have not seen it with them more than once before. I was sorrowful about the way San and Ashitaka don't get together at the end as a teenager.

As an adult, I am sorrowful from the moment Ashitaka leaves his tribe, who say they are dying out, and he was to be their chief, no doubt also meant to raise a family to keep their people alive for another generation. The ambiguous ending with the humans is nice. The fact that the visible, tactile magic has disappeared--that's sorrowful. And yet well-handled--I hate it when a writer thinks they can fundamentally change the world at the end of the story, so it's our world, and have that feel right.

Instead, it's just turned to something less obvious. The world doesn't change that much.

baking dooms are upon me

Having to Google your own friend's recipe, because you never wrote it down?

Having that recipe be called Naamah's Ginger Sluts and totally the number 1 result?


needing to create a co-op to find where they've relocated the molasses to in the store, only to find my mother texted me back with the location after I asked 12 people: totally my style.

fantasy literature for grown-ups: CHALICE by Robin McKinley

I am rereading Chalice, for the first time, after some time since my first reading.

And it is amazing me. Here is a book that is a maze to get into because it is full of the ways situations can be impossible, and life can be dreadful through a maze of little things.

And this is not something fantasy usually deals with.

It’s a book about the suddenness of having to Become…an analogy for being an adult maybe, but more an analogy of any taking up of a role you weren’t ready for. A working girl. A father. A governor.

Because I am intuitively reconstructing what I had trouble putting together the first time, I’m not distracted by the worldbuilding. I remembered it being a lot about a girl just doing her best, and meaning well, and that being powerful. Like a grown-up version of Wizard’s Hall (one of my favorite of children's literature).

I did remember this text takes McKinley’s parentheticals to a new height. But it’s also grounded in a different way than her earlier books set in the traditional country setting.

McKinley’s always loved the flora and fauna, the real work of the country, but from her gardening and life in England (even just her maturity), it’s taken on a depth, a texture, that is even more genuine. It is integral to the heroine's nature, her ways of thought.

I think the first time I read this I was depressed and overwhelmed enough that the catharsis wasn’t really noticeable—my distance now from the headspace Chalice is in makes me much more appreciative of her quiet heroics. And the slender but growing line of her connection with the Master. It’s really artfully done. And it is probably one of McKinley’s best fantasies (though there are a couple I still haven’t read), in being a story about just about humanity while being set in a fairy-tale sort of world.


(no subject)

it has been so long since I was really *in* LiveJournal that I am struck by nostalgia for another time just coming here.

However. I was looking at Sirens' page (rhinemouse is luring me to it)and they had a newsletter on their community on LJ, and I have been meaning to come and post photos of my adventure to Boston and my brother's wedding for those who know him and may still be here, or those who may be curious despite not knowing.

My brother's bride Abby, himself, my cousin Tim, and the bride's sister, Julia:

Look at how cute they all are.

It was both a fairly traditional wedding, and a fairly low-key one. They shortened the service, though they had it at the Episcopal church in Abby's hometown. The old chapel building was lovely, and since it was just family and friends-as-close-as-family, the smallness was nice.

It was a nice little day, gorgeous weather, and most of my family was able to come out for it. This is the extended clan:

That is, mainly my mom's side of the family was all there.

Enough with the pictures you cannot relate to, though:

You see before you my first manicure. This photo nicely obscures how well I had destroyed in the four days before the wedding XD


It was good to go home and realize that I like my life here well enough to not want to flee up there. I think the boys are cuter, but the roads (now I get to drive on them) are horrifying.

adventures in the Big House

Today I went in to work to be staff at a party.

The last time (and my first) it was not much fun, because I was "assisting" amateurs playing waitstaff, who also are people of The Committee, so it felt a bit like too many chiefs, and only one Indian. Not so today.

Wholly different--a 60th anniversary party, with stages, a more limited family reception after a larger party had cake and snacks.

I work in a big old house, one designed to have maids running up the stairs to the ballroom, or sneaking in the dining room from the side with trays. I was so enamoured of the Victorian period as a young girl that I felt a delight in running upstairs to the freezer for dinner rolls, up two flights of stairs to the third floor, just because.

We the help were in our own little world, while people told stories at dinner on each other.

The young women hosting were very together, very clear in their vision for the party. It was funny to see all the family start relaxing as they had more to drink, even when it meant we were trying to find an appropriate moment to carry in desserts and people were rambling in their speeches.

I've also never seen a group of people and thought "They're a handsome family" --such a literary kind of phrase--but this family was exactly that. You can see why, looking at the banner made from the starring couple's wedding photo. It looked as true vintage as it is, and they were so cute.

Still are, actually.

An honor to be part of such a fun celebration.

inevitable project brag post

It is only fair that I tell you all about my latest geeky fiber project, The Beekeeper's Quilt.

It is a knitted thing where you stuff little hexagons and sew them together in to a quilt whatever size you can endurance-knit up to.
So my kinda thing.
First one!

Especially in the element of "this could get as complicated as you want it to", because you can make patterns out of the hexis, you can make patterns on each hexi that then become themed...
I cracked, and decided to go for "Superman Logo in shades of blue" which has not really progressed much beyond this first rough sketch:

But lately I was rereading The Beekeeper's Apprentice (which I probably went and ordered at my cute little bookstore here in Claremore because I keep typing out "Beekeeper" "Beekeeper" and thinking SEXY SILVER FOX SHERLOCK

So. I am contemplating whether this Superman logo is more of a SuperHolmes logo?
I also found the most precious little chest to use as a project carry-case, I am in love

in which I geek out about the storytelling in the Iron Man movies because this is how I show my love

So I don't know if anyone wants to hear MY thoughts on Iron Man 3 (or is it Iron Man 4, no really) but surely if you've seen it we can geek out in the comments together?

My completely spoiler free impression:
Totally worth the $3 convenience fee extra I paid to have my tickets online for Friday, opening weekend.

My more intelligent commentary can't really keep out general references to things that might possibly spoil something, so if you're being a purist,

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write me the 23rd form of sword

I watched Hero, as advised, by the way

and I've been meaning to write you a thanks, farrandy and timeripple, as well as a review

but it was just one of those *experiences*, ones that kind of eat your words and settle into your bones, and trying to turn it into blog-fodder seems petty
(though I did just post a photo of Donnie Yen on my Suitblog because I am at least that shrewd.)

So yes, it was pretty, though I did wonder what my experience of it would have been if I wasn't so aware, from the beginning, about the color. If I would have had the red, red calligraphy house be a revelation, instead of something I was kind of waiting on.

It told it's story in a way that shook me up, too. The sparsity of words, and yet the complexity of the nature of those words--that's something I could live toward achieving. I started to wonder about the veracity of what Nameless was saying fairly early, but I only had that sense of unease snap into a strength for the narrative when the king (who seemed so magnificent for such a small role, and then it wasn't a small role, was it?) says,

I have fought them, and seen them, and they are upstanding people. I don't buy this passions-tragedy you are telling me.

And that is when I sat back and fell into the story.

Though I tell you, that huge calligraphy scene pretty well could have been a mini-movie for me, and I would have had plenty to let my mind chatter and feed on...

excited about Metal coming to K-Pop (again?)

It's not that I don't love K-Pop's R&B side

[I just realized: as a kid I misunderstood. I thought people hated rap because it wasn't reputable. I didn't realize the fact that I kind of liked the way it sounded was actually DIFFERENT than the mainstream.
I had this realization at the yogurt case in Reasors.]

but I do also love a vasty spectrum of rock, so having an influx of that for the not-so-hiphop acts to play with will be awesome.

This track is SO J-rock, though, I'm pretty sure nothing that follows in K-Pop will be able to recreate it.

In fact, Jaejoong is one of those slightly oddly pretty alien-boys that suit Visual-Kei. He's certainly got that raw-nerve aspect to him, and his former group was HUGE in Japan.