“As a performer, a lot of times you [get to] say your true…

Friday, September 20th, 2019

“As a performer, a lot of times you [get to] say your true feelings through some other character, so you don’t have to admit them or take responsibility for them, and you can kind of be freer in that way than you can in life. For Stevie, she’s so closed off all the time and doesn’t want to express anything real, and I wanted to hopefully let her have a real authentic moment through that song.”

—Emily Hampshire, from @christinelinnell’s article about the S5 finale in The Advocate

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janes-eyre:Shakespeare in Love (1998) dir. John Madden

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018


Shakespeare in Love (1998) dir. John Madden

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“It was, arguably, a love of war that created No Man’s Land. The advent of automatic weaponry created…”

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

It was, arguably, a love of war that created No Man’s Land. The advent of automatic weaponry created a space across warzone fronts since World War I that was decimated by artillery, bombs, and scattered with corpses from either side. It was un-winnable space, an area from which there was no escape, and no advancement either way.

Thankfully, Diana of Themyscira is no man. And in one of the most iconic and emotional scenes in the film—one, of course, the studio didn’t believe in but director Patty Jenkins, thankfully, fought for—Diana learns what it is to be Wonder Woman. Try as one might (and trust, I have) it is hard to explain the depths and layers of importance of that moment without speaking to it on a personal level. I’ve gone on a journey with the Wonder Woman film, and I’m not too proud to admit it. Diana’s journey was a layered one, an origin story filled with lessons she needed to learn.

And, as it turned out, there were a few lessons I needed to learn, too.

Alicia Lutes, How Wonder Woman’s No Man’s Land Tells a Radical Story About Trust

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Wonder Woman and Subverting Born Sexy Yesterday

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017


The awesome born sexy yesterday video is putting that trope on the forefront of everyone’s minds, which is great. Critique away!

I just wanted to point out a few of the ways Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and the writers subvert the worst aspects of the trope.

I’ll try to be as vague as possible but SPOILERS:

1. Diana is not embarrassed by nudity of any kind. Yes, her outfit is revealing. BUT one guess as to who gets naked in this film. Hint: it’s not the person the trope usually applies to.

2. Diana is untouched by a man by virtue of the plot – she’s never even seen one before. But the film makes a point of calling out her knowledge of sex. It even heavily implies that Diana takes charge of her own pleasure, be it via self-pleasure or bisexual/pansexual Diana ftw!

3. Steve is her guide to the outside world, but so is Candy. Steve is her guide to the outside world, but never once is Diana abnormally impressed with his insights or his teaching moments. Ice cream vendor, though? He should be very proud.

4. The born sexy yesterday trope is predicated on the idea that a woman falls in love with the first schlub she sees and worships him. That emphatically does not happen. In fact, it’s a running gag that Steve is trying to convince Diana that he’s above average. Only when he proves it to her – through his kindness and his bravery – does she fall for him.

5. The thing that happens in the middle? Not the “prize” saved for the hero’s reward like it is usually is in the Born Sexy Yesterday trope.

So, yes, Diana is a fish out of water. Yes Gal Gadot is a stunner. But those two elements are not what make born sexy yesterday such an egregious violation of female agency. Wonder Woman does not exist to be taught by a mediocre man who she holds up as god’s gift than for no other reason than that he’s breathing near her.

Instead, she learns and teaches equally in reciprocation with a true partner–aka my favorite feminist fantasy trope.

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lies: My interest in the natural world has followed an odd…

Friday, March 10th, 2017


My interest in the natural world has followed an odd sequence.

At first I was drawn to birds. Then it was the insects the birds were eating, then the plants depended on by the insects.

Now it’s the earth beneath the plants.

Phase II of the Franklin Trail behind Carpinteria is now open, and today Linda and I took Rory on a hike to check it out. There was lots of cool stuff to see; a higher vantage point to view the valley, trees with colorful poison oak beneath them, a big sycamore with bear claw marks leading up its trunk.

But the most interesting thing for me was the geology along the trail. The large image above shows (I think) the transition between the Sespe Formation (on the left), with reddish sandstone and conglomerate, and the Coldwater Formation’s lighter-colored sandstone on the right.

The boundary dates to about 40 million years ago. The younger rock is on the left, the older on the right. The layers were laid down in the vicinity of present-day San Diego; since then a big chunk of land has rotated clockwise, bringing the rocks to their present location in south Santa Barbara County. In the last 2.5 million years they’ve been tilted, such that what originally were horizontal layers are now angled up at a 60-degree angle.

The Coldwater sandstone was laid down at the bottom of a shallow coastal sea. Toward the end of that process, as the world’s climate transitioned from being very much warmer than today to being as cool or cooler than today, sea levels fell dramatically, and the rocks in that photo went from being underwater to being part of a low-lying coastal plain. Periodic river flooding produced the rounded pebbles embedded in the reddish Sespe conglomerate.

It’s cool to be able to read that history in the rocks. I’m just a baby at geology, but I’m looking forward to learning more.

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susuwatori: The Sea of Decay

Saturday, February 11th, 2017


The Sea of Decay

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oldcomets: Brooklyn (2015) the last scene

Saturday, February 4th, 2017


Brooklyn (2015) the last scene

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skunkandburningtires: Moana! No, wait – Fantasia 2000!!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016



No, wait – Fantasia 2000!!

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sonseulsoleil: reasons why the poe party epilogue was the best two and a half minutes of my entire…

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016


reasons why the poe party epilogue was the best two and a half minutes of my entire life and I can’t stop grinning:

  • Lenore and Annabel Lee being friends is my aesthetic
  • Annabel being adorably terrible at scaring people
  • Annabel teasing Lenore about reading War of The Worlds
  • “I haven’t read his entire body of work in the time since his tragic demise. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” AKA Lenore’s got it BAD
  • H.G. finally achieved time travel, I’m so proud of my smol bean
  • these faces:
  • and the way HG’s eyes widen when he realizes he’s looking at Lenore
  • HG’s barely contained glee that time travel is real (NERD)
  • Annabel and H.G. giggling together
  • the affectionate way Lenore says “I live in a house full of nerds” and H.G. laughing as he responds, “It’s kind of great”
  • the totally chill, friendly banter throughout the whole thing
  • no one died!!! they’re all already dead
  • it’s officially canon that H.G. and Lenore are ghosts together and live happily ever after, my soul can rest peacefully

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My final batch of (incorrect) Poe Party predictions

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

After a cut because possibly spoiler-y but let’s be honest mostly because I always turn out to be wrong. Concealment will save me embarrassment later.

None of the chapters so far have been named for “The Raven”, so I’m predicting that’s going to be the final chapter’s title.

We know from the podcast that in addition to playing Guy, Curt Mega was their “fight choreographer”, so I’m expecting some kind of choreographed climactic battle in Chapter 11. I think Poe will be central in that battle. Will he be fighting for his own life? Fighting to save the life/lives of others? Will Ernest use a knife? Will the pet rock/muffin be involved? No idea.

I’ve gone back and forth on dead Eddie. When we learned of Anne’s existence I initially thought that meant Eddie really was dead because we no longer needed him to be alive for Charlotte to have a secret accomplice. I’ve gone back on that now: I again think he’s alive. We need a strapping opponent so there can be that climactic battle with manly fisticuffs/knives/rock-muffins. Also, Anne doesn’t seem big enough to have overpowered Annabel on the bridge or known-to-her enough to have caused her to walk forward as if she knew him/her. Also, Krishanti looked _up_ at her killer as she was being strangled with the phone cord.


I loved the theory that all the deaths are fake, an elaborate prank the guests have foisted on Poe, and they’d all pop up alive again in the finale. Alas, I think we’ve come too far for that. At the same time, some resurrections may be in order. Besides Eddie, whom I suspect of being alive for important plot/antagonist reasons, bringing one or more characters back would help create the happy ending a comedy wants to have.

As much as I’d love endgame Wellenore to be a thing, I don’t expect HG to return. They laid enough groundwork with the time-travel references for it to happen, but I feel like it would undercut the story’s focus on Poe to bring HG back at this point. Hm. Except it’s Lenore’s story, too, and she deserves resolution. Okay: 10% chance of Wellenore, either via time travel or ghostly incorporeal HG. If it happens, 100% chance of precipitation on my side of the monitor.

I’m more hopeful for Annabel. The story has worked hard lately to set up Annapoe. Poe was distraught at her death; how carefully did he confirm it? He carried her back and laid her down just so on that divan; I’m nursing a hope that after the big battle there’s going to be a stirring and a faint “Edgar?” And then a shot of Poe’s realization-face, and not a dry eye in the house at the midnight screening.

That’s all I’ve got! Looking forward to being wrong one last time!

Oh, actually, one final prediction: There will be surprises I didn’t see coming _at all_, but that are perfect and awesome and oh-man-I-should-have-seen-that after the fact. And I’ll love it and it will be awesome.


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Possibly spoiler-y discussion of deciphering the clues in the PoeParty YouTube descriptions after a…

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Possibly spoiler-y discussion of deciphering the clues in the PoeParty YouTube descriptions after a cut.

So, if you’ve been following along, you know that if you take all the capitalized letters from the author quotes toward the bottom of the Poe Party YouTube descriptions and string them together, you get the following string as of today’s Chapter 10:


If you rotate that forward 8 characters, it turns into:


…with one character remaining.

The following are all the words in a standard Unix dictionary that are 4 characters long and begin with “sea”:

  • seah
  • seak
  • seal
  • seam
  • sear
  • seat
  • seax

Of those, “seal” and “seat” seem like the likeliest possibilities. Interestingly, the Poe short story “The Gold Bug” features a detailed account of a parchment that uses a similar substitution cipher, where the deciphered message ends up being this:

A good glass in the Bishop’s hostel in the Devil’s seat – forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes – northeast and by north – main branch seventh limb east side – shoot from the left eye of the death’s-head – a bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out.

Later, a character in the story figures out that “Devil’s seat” refers to a particular local landmark:

While I was busied in reflection, my eyes fell upon a narrow ledge in the eastern face of the rock, perhaps a yard below the summit upon which I stood. This ledge projected about eighteen inches, and was not more than a foot wide, while a niche in the cliff just above it gave a rude resemblance to one of the hollow-backed chairs used by our ancestors. I made no doubt that here was the ‘devil’s seat’ alluded to in the MS., and now I seemed to grasp the full secret of the riddle.

I’m not sure this is going to go any further, or if I’m even on the right track, but that’s what I’ve got so far. Anyone with ideas, please share!

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ladyofthelake13: up-one-cupcake: lies: “Actually, it was…

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016




“Actually, it was Annabel who told me who to invite.”

Look at that face!! Tell me that isn’t a sudden-and-horrible-realisation face.

seriously! i was so confused when other people talked about ~how guilty~ she was! that’s the face of a woman realizing she’s been duped, not a woman being found out!!!!

Exactly! She does look at the other people in the room a couple of times, but mostly her focus is internal: staring intently into space, looking down, that eyebrow-pucker in the second gif.

If this were a guilty person who’d been found out I’d expect her to be more focused on her surroundings, the other people in the room, glancing nervously from face to face or working to sell some previously-worked-out deception. (*cough* Charlotte *cough*)

But she’s not doing those things. Instead, she’s processing some new and shocking-to-her insight. What led her to that insight? I’m pretty sure it’s the Lenore line I quoted in the gifset’s caption. Because what Annabel knows, but most of the others don’t know, is where she got that invite list.

I think she got it from Eddie. Which makes Charlotte’s line just before Annabel runs from the room significant too: “And you somehow pretend you didn’t know all this information about your boyfriend!”

Charlotte can’t stop herself from twisting the knife. Because of course she knows that Annabel didn’t know about Eddie’s secrets. As she has throughout the show, when she’s always had a little extra venom in her Annabel-directed insults, Charlotte can’t help but crow a little, can’t quite conceal the inner exultation she feels at knowing that it actually is she who is in love with – and in league with – the dashing (and murderous) Eduardo Dantes.

I think that’s what Annabel puts together in this moment. I think that look of fear on her face just before she runs from the room isn’t fear at the others having found her out. It’s fear at finding herself in the presence of the killer, a killer who has suddenly gone from a vague, abstract menace to one that is frighteningly real and present.

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marykatewiles: webseriessideblog: This must have hurt. Blake,…

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016



This must have hurt.

Blake, without warning, slid like a limp fish down the ENTIRE STAIRCASE and I was so worried that he was going to hurt himself. But then he popped right up once the take was over as if it was a totally normal thing.

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Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

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pastel-and-proud: Wellenore + holding things

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016


Wellenore + holding things

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Decoding things

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

I wanted to share something I was thinking about Room, the Oscar-nominated movie based on Emma Donoghue’s novel (which I haven’t read, but am going to as soon as a finish a certain biography). But the thing I want to talk about is spoiler-y, and it’s a movie that deserves to be seen unspoiled. So I’m going to put the spoiler-y stuff after a cut.

But before that, I just want to say that if you’re like some of the people I’ve talked to (who are also like I was before I saw the movie), in that you think, um, sorry, there is no way I’m going to watch a movie about that, I have a couple of non-spoiler-y things I want to put out there.

  • It’s very much not that kind of movie about that. The way it’s framed and executed takes material that could be (and in too many other movies is) dark/brutal/horrific, and renders it in a way that is the opposite of that.
  • In a weird way, Room reminds me a lot of my other favorite movie of the year: Fury Road. On the surface they’re opposites. On a deeper level, though, I feel like each is about the same thing, and examines that thing in the same way: by subverting elements of their (very different) genres that are themselves a reflection of that thing.

Ugh. That sounds confusing even to me. But spoilers. Anyway, please consider seeing the movie, and not reading what follows until you have. Thanks.

The thing I want to talk about are the actions of the two police officers who first encounter Jack. It’s just a small part of the movie, played out in a few short scenes with minimal dialog. But it’s so powerful in terms of encoded meaning.

Officer Parker, the woman who sits with Jack in the back of the police car and questions him, figures out what’s going on very quickly. You can see it in how she responds. Meanwhile, her partner in the front seat, Officer Grabowski, is clueless. He wants to hand Jack off to Child Protective Services. He speculates that he might be drugged. Even as Parker is closing in on the truth, Grabowski still doesn’t get it. He thinks Jack might be in a cult – “the long hair, the tooth.” He thinks Parker is wasting her time. He interrupts her questioning to suggest that she might get more out of him after he’s eaten.

Parker immediately decodes what’s going on because she’s a woman. Grabowski misses it because he’s a man.

I was raised a Grabowski. I live my life inside a dense cloud of massless ignorance particles, and nowhere is the fog thicker than on the subject of toxic masculinity and rape culture and its effect on women.

I’m lucky to have been able to hang around on the edges of women’s conversations the last few years and pick up on some of this. I’m lucky that people like Aline Brosh McKenna are out there talking about Room, like she did in Scriptnotes 231. I’m lucky that this movie got made, that I saw it, and that it’s getting at least some of the recognition it deserves.

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The Revenant (2015). Alejandro González Iñárritu, director.

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

The Revenant (2015)Alejandro González Iñárritu, director.

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It’s spoiler-ish if you haven’t seen the movie, but if you’ve…

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

It’s spoiler-ish if you haven’t seen the movie, but if you’ve seen it it’s so cool seeing all the magic being made.

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myuclablog: Project Runway Finale at New York Fashion Week.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015


Project Runway Finale at New York Fashion Week.

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Thursday, June 25th, 2015


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