mollyringle: (Default)
 Netflixing and enjoying lately: Versailles. I don't know my Louis XIV era history well enough, but I'm suspecting this is rather more historical fanfic than actual history. Even so, it's got all the intrigue and gorgeous costuming and insane sex and dreadful slaughtering you'd expect. So, it's a good time. Kind of like a slightly lighter Game of Thrones. (Just slightly. And with a slightly smaller cast. But that's not saying much, I suppose, since pretty much everything has a smaller cast than GoT.)

Plus, fellow slash fans, you might especially like it, since these two gorgeous guys...
 
...are often being like this:
 
That's Alex Vlahos as Philippe, Duke of Orleans, the king's brother, called "Monsieur" at court; and Evan Williams as the Chevalier de Lorraine. Apparently this couple is now #MonChevy in the fandom world. Vlahos was Mordred on BBC's Merlin, which is how I heard of Versailles and got interested. Also, George Blagden (who caught my attention as Grantaire in the recent film version of musical Les Mis) is quite magnetic as King Louis. I'm not through with season 1 yet, so no spoilers!
 
Then on lighter Netflix days I watch some old eps of Arrested Development, which I never saw that much of when it was actually on, or Galavant (it's like Robin Hood: Men in Tights), or New Girl. All good and silly.
mollyringle: (moon over ocean)

Look at news, see Carrie Fisher has died.

Step 1: Don't cry.

Step 2: Fail step 1.

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out..."

Carrie, you were unvarnished and eccentric and troubled and hot and smart and sassy, and showed us that a female icon can be all those things at once. Thank you.



Love to her friends and family, and to all the hurting fans whom 2016 has trampled thoroughly. (Shout-out to George Michael's memory too...sigh.)

mollyringle: (Parrish stars)

Oh, Gene Wilder... 2016 has been a cruel year for celebrities and the reaper. Jeez.

Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles are two of the first movies I ever remember seeing, on the VHS machine my mom and dad rented from the newfangled video store in the early '80s. We got our own copies ASAP and watched them over and over. To this day I can pretty much still recite them. Safe to say Gene Wilder (along with Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, and the rest of the team) were integral at shaping my bizarre sense of humor. Thank you for that, folks; a thousand times thank you.




mollyringle: (sleazy fandom)
'Of Course' Luke Skywalker Is Gay, Confirms Mark Hamill, Echoing Thousands of Fan-Fiction Prayers


From the article: "...fans are writing and ask all these questions, 'I'm bullied in school... I'm afraid to come out'. They say to me, 'Could Luke be gay?' I'd say it is meant to be interpreted by the viewer... If you think Luke is gay, of course he is."


--

Bless you, Mark Hamill. Not only are you a compassionate human being, but one who understands that what the story means to the reader/viewer is as genuine as what it means to the story's creator(s).


Edited to expand:


I shared this on my Facebook author page as well, and someone commented, "Umm, except that is not what Mark Hamill said in the article. Thinking something is true doesn't make it true."


My answer, and further thoughts:


The headline does make it sound more definitive than it's meant to be, but I directly quoted almost everything he actually said in the article. They also include a tweet from him, in which he says, "Luke is whatever the audience wants him to be, so you can decide for yourself."


Since Luke's a fictional character whose sexuality isn't directly addressed in canon, there isn't really a "true" or "false" on the question. And mainly what I'm commending is Hamill giving hope and validation to kids whose families are failing on that job.


I think it's fine and good for the writer to say publicly, "To me, the character is this, that, and the other," in addition to whatever is already established in canon. But I think it's better still for them to add, "But if you have head-canon in which he or she is something else, and you love this idea, then that's fine too, because that makes the story meaningful in a new way."


Obviously no one wants their story to be the inspiration for a murder or anything--e.g., John Lennon's murderer being obsessed with Catcher in the Rye. I wouldn't go so far as to say, "If you think this book is saying, 'Go out and kill people,' then that's valid!" I'm talking, obviously, about head-canon that doesn't hurt anyone else even if it's fancifully different from established canon. (And in any case, I rather suspect that even if Catcher in the Rye hadn't existed, Chapman would have still had serious issues and simply named some other justification for them.)

mollyringle: (Froud - bad faeries)
This isn't usually one of those pages where I commemorate recently deceased celebrities, but I mean, DAVID BOWIE, people.

I'm someone who's rarely ever been cool (in my own eyes), so I've often pondered the elusive quality of "cool." Most of us would agree we couldn't define it exactly, but we know it when we see it. And I've always felt Bowie embodied it more than just about anyone on the planet. (Or should I say the galaxy?)

He also embodied creativity, which is one of the most important values in human life, certainly in my life. Being cool was really just a side product of how intensely, personally creative he was. And I think the reason Bowie came across as so cool and charming, even at his stylistically weirdest, was because he put creativity first. I get the impression he was always trying new stuff out merely because he wanted to, and he didn't particularly care if anyone else liked it or not.

He managed to be elegant as a duke and bad-ass as a rock star at the same time. He is one of the only people who could have ever made that Labyrinth costume look sexy. He is an LGBTQ hero. I was fascinated with his bicolored eyes and sculpted hair on my older sisters' vinyl record covers. His gorgeous voice and his songs are part of my childhood, and when I hear them on the radio I usually still linger on the station and turn up the volume. The "Changes" greatest hits album was one of the first CDs I ever bought, when I finally got my own CD player (and then later I bought more of his proper albums). He always seemed a bit like he was a fae creature or an alien--his crazy experimental fashions and his fascination with space travel may have reinforced that impression--and therefore it doesn't seem possible that he could have died. But he was a human after all, and can teach us all something about how to be creative mortals.

I'm pretty sure beings in other parts of the galaxy are listening to him right now. Earthlings will love and remember you always, Bowie!

Also this:

mollyringle: (arthur)

Emotional exhaustion and late-blooming fangirling!

What a frustrating show. In a charming way. It became quite addictive, despite the problems, such as the ridiculous silly plots, and the big magic reveal coming waaay too late, as everyone says (come on, Merlin, you know you could have sat Arthur down and talked him onto your side; you even could have used MAGIC for it; it would hardly be the most underhanded thing you've ever done). And most frustrating of all, we didn't really get our prophecied great future where Arthur was the best king anyone ever saw and magic was no longer outlawed and Merlin got to be court sorcerer. I get that Arthur will rise again, so that's still in the future, I suppose, and from the modern-day last ten seconds of the series are we honestly to understand it still hasn't happened by the 21st century, and Merlin is STILL waiting? Gah. Between that and Rory on Doctor Who, I have to conclude the BBC has a fetish for making devoted friends wait millennia for each other.

Like Buffy, this series went through an erratic range of moods. I mean, seasons 1 to 4 were mostly all:


Genuine angst and sorrow happened here and there, but still, fluff was the order of the day. Good thing they had their fun while they could, because then season 5 was largely like:

It pretty much became Les Misérables. The series finale is not unlike the barricade scene meshed with the Grey Havens. Pain! But that's in keeping with the tragic nature of (most of) the Arthur legends, and in fact as a tragedy it turned out to be very well crafted. The rifts ran too deep to fix easily; the villains frequently were human enough that I felt sorry for them (Mordred! and of course the fabulous Anthony Stewart Head as Uther). I see why Merlin fans everywhere are saying, even three years after the series ended, that they'll never be over it.

At least half the reason it's so heartbreaking, though, is Colin Morgan alone, who throws tremendous talent into his role. He's one of those wonderful actors who, like Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy, doesn't care if they're being handed a somewhat formulaic script and are going to have cheesy special effects painted onto them. They're going to live this part and treat this like it's the Royal damn Shakespeare Company, and they'll win you over forever. Actually, all the Merlin actors turn in lovely and often amazing performances--as another example that comes to mind, Bradley James and Angel Coulby seriously impressed me with their powerful Arthur/Gwen showdown over Lancelot. But Colin is the standout of the series. Which is why he won all the awards and stuff, I suppose.

And what of the shipping, you ask? The Merthur? Slash, yes/no?



Well, yes. By the end of season 5, if you have any slash neurons at all, it's kind of impossible not to ship Merthur. Unlike some ensemble-cast shows that spread the stories around more among the characters, in this one probably 75% of screen time involved either Arthur or Merlin, and frequently both. They spent an awful lot of time in each other's company. Plus, in practically every episode, Merlin performs an "I'd die for him" courtly-love gesture or declaration without any irony, and sometimes Arthur even does it back. I fully believed in their other and more canonical relationships--Arthur/Gwen made me squee, Gwen/Lancelot was done with surprising good taste and romance, that one single episode of Merlin/Freya-the-doomed-magic-girl was beautiful. But even the cast and creators say without missing a beat that the "bromance" was the most important relationship of the series.

"Even the dragon ships it," as the fans say. (Prophetic!Dragon is always telling Merlin that Arthur and Merlin are two halves of the same whole and are each other's destiny and similar shippable statements.)



So yeah. Count me among the heartbrokenly thrilled Merthur people. Devastated it's over, but thank goodness there's those earlier seasons to rewatch, and also there's fanfiction! In fact there's so much fanfiction I could be reading it the rest of my life and never run out of material, if I chose, so that's...good?

Postscript: I'd also like to thank Eoin Macken (Sir Gwaine) for his cheeky attitude and gorgeous hair.

Also if someone could send me every dress Morgana ever wore, tailored to fit me, that'd be super. Thanks.

mollyringle: (Gryffindor)
It's not The Onion, nor even Fanfiction.net:

"Rowling says that she should have put Hermione and Harry together in the Harry Potter series instead of Hermione and Ron.

“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” she says. “That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” she continued, “I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”

---

I wouldn't say Harry/Hermione are the ideal couple, but they did have rather more chemistry and a better personality match than either Harry/Ginny or Hermione/Ron, so...fine with me! Going to be fun to watch fandom go completely insane for a little while.

In any case: What a book means to the reader is what it means to the reader, and nothing can change that. And she's not revising and reissuing the books, so it's not Lucas levels of messing with stuff. I find it interesting to hear what the author thinks of the series with her hindsight, but we can all go right on shipping whoever we like--Hermione/Snape, Luna/Harry, anything at all. Tolkien never admitted Frodo and Sam were in love, but I'll always know it's so.
mollyringle: (sex/kiss-Stage Beauty)
Back in December I read, or technically re-read, Lady Chatterley's Lover. Isn't it nice how this day and age we can say that with no fear of being arrested? In any case, here's my Goodreads review, for starters:

---
Technically a re-read, but I didn't remember much of it from the first time around. This time around I found it very good. Rather than raunchiness, though, sadness, or at least poignancy, breathes through it somehow. I don't know if this is because I was aware (from reading the introduction) that Lawrence was dying of tuberculosis when he wrote it, and had to endure a lot of abuse about the book right up until his death. That certainly could be part of it. It's probably equally likely that it's the setting that makes it sad: post-WWI England was a shattered place, mood-wise. And if that society was messed up about sexual mores too, well, no surprise. Given that supremely messed-up background, the affair-turned-love between Connie and Mellors *is* surprising in its frankness and wildness. But shocking? Scandalous? Hardly, from today's point of view. No one who's read a modern steamy romance novel could think so--and in fact, those of us who write them should consider Lawrence one of our patron saints for paving the way and enduring the firestorm from the prudes.

If the book is occasionally wrongheaded (by modern standards) about some sexual issues--like the brief but derogatory mentions of homosexuality, or the apparent lack of knowledge about the existence of foreplay--well, that's no surprise, given the wrongheaded society it was coming from, which Lawrence illustrates and denigrates so well.

It has a strange repetitive narrative style sometimes, and engages in head-hopping (in terms of POV), and overdoses of dialect within the dialogue, but all of that bothered me much less than it would in most books. As love stories go, or simply as novels go, it worked for me, and I salute its melancholy charm as much as its racier qualities that made it famous.
---

Then, curious to see some movie version of it and how the film medium would handle things, I lately found a copy of the Sean Bean BBC version at the library.

Incidentally, it led to this conversation between myself and husband:
Me: So, I'm watching the Sean Bean version of 'Lady Chatterley.'
Steve: *looks a bit confused*
Me: You know, where Sean Bean is Lady Chatterley's lover.
Steve: Oh. Sean Bean. For some reason I keep mixing up him and Mr. Bean.
Me: Yeah, that wouldn't work as well.
Steve: Yeah.

But as for the Sean Bean version (which is merely called Lady Chatterley)...




Cons:
Awkward expositional dialogue and occasional weird camera zooms/movements.
Cheesy dream sequence. (Oh no, movie, you didn't! Gah. You did.)
Overdramatic background music.
Slightly too much lipstick and eyeliner on m'lady sometimes.
Numerous close-ups of Connie's wedding ring during torrid love scenes with Mellors. Yes, thank you, we did remember she's married.

Pros:
Casting. Joely Richardson makes a sweet, natural, sultry Connie. James Wilby is a perfectly deplorable Sir Clifford (poor James; he's good at those roles, but to some of us he'll always be our sweet Maurice too). And Sean Bean is a pretty hot Mellors. Who knew Boromir had it in him? Bean masters that characteristic Mellors mix of prickly-snarky-cocky and moody-vulnerable-tender. Mellors is written as having a mustache, by the way, and we know Bean can look fine with facial hair; but I approve of the clean shave they gave him for this film. A bit more handsome and less sinister.

Pretty forests and flowers. The lush beauty of nature is an important theme in the book, so it's good they got that right for the film.

They seem to have dropped what's-his-name the depressed Irish writer from her earlier affairs. (Though maybe that was him kissing her hand at a party.) Good. He was a drag and didn't add much to the story.

More of a clear happy ending than the book gave us, and I suppose that's a pro; though for unfaithfulness to the book's melancholy nature, it could be considered a con.
mollyringle: (winters jewels)
FINALLY, I saw Les Misérables, the latest film installment. It only took this long because I have kids, and arranging the sitter and coaxing my husband to use our precious date night for this, well, these things take time. (Thank you for being coaxed, dear husband.)

Thoughts in random order!

Evidently, when someone says, "Who goes there?", you should not answer, "French revolution." Doesn't go over well.

Extreme close-ups during singing: a few too many of them. It was like Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" video, over and over. Mind you, it was impressive to know we were hearing the actual singing the actors were doing during those takes. And I found it reassuring that famous beautiful people have pores and little brown spots and other skin imperfections too. Thank heavens.

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway both deserve their Oscar nods. Russell Crowe wasn't as bad as I expected; in fact, he made Javert more endearing than I usually find him. (The bit with the medal he pins on someone else who shall remain spoiler-free-nameless was a very moving addition, though that gesture isn't in the book.)

I love Gavroche, and Daniel Huttlestone did a great job, but must they always have him do an Artful Dodger accent? We are in *France* here, you know. Not London.

You know what I'm going to say I disliked, if you've read my Les Mis thoughts before. Yeah, that's right: the way they condense down the gorgeous, lengthy, super-romantic Cosette-and-Marius relationship from the book into, literally, one day. No one is going to buy it, their being "in love" when they just met a second ago. Why the hell couldn't the filmmakers give them a montage, Marius sneaking in night after night to sit and talk with Cosette in the garden, the way the book has it? In the book, it's Cosette--not Eponine--he's buddies with, Cosette (not Eponine) he sees regularly and talks for hours with and knows really well after a month or so of such meetings. In the book, he talks to Eponine a couple of times. She's obviously into him, and he's awkward about it, and he uses her to get Cosette's address because she's willing, but that's about it. But in the musical, oh no, it isn't enough that they give Eponine the most gorgeous songs; they also have to rob Cosette and Marius of any real, actual interaction that any sane person would feel sympathy for. ARGH. Don't get me started. Whoops, too late.

Give me a second while I calm down from that rant. Seethe. Deep breath. Okay.

Eddie Redmayne at least did save the part of Marius from what all too often becomes blandness and idiocy in many versions. He had the dorky, stammering, happy-in-love thing down, but also showed his noble revolutionary side well.

Favorite surprise-cutie revolutionary: Grantaire, played by George Blagden. Hel-lo! Also, much love for the book-faithful moment in which he opts to die next to Enjolras. (Spoiler there. Sorry. Whatever; no one reads LiveJournal.)

Aaron Tveit as Enjolras was, of course, beautiful. Highly well cast. And I'm so glad they did away with his Adam-Ant gold-barred jacket from the stage version in favor of a basic red one.

Impressive barricade, guys! Coffin in front, looked like. Really sends the message, "Pretty much everyone here is going to die." Oh, but I loved how one of the Friends of the ABC got the tavern mistress's chair by hauling her off it in a big long kiss. There weren't enough smooches in this film, really.

The Thenardiers were almost too lovable. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, despite looking ridiculous, pulled off the parts with surprising subtlety and humor, to the degree that I was glad to see them whenever they showed up. That's not the case in the book; the Thenardiers *are* a bit humorous, but the general reaction of most readers is, "OMFG, I hate these people." But that's okay. The movie benefited from the comic relief.

Elephant statue! Another book-faithful detail. Hurrah.

I managed not to cry in the cinema. I'm good at being stoic in public that way. But if I had this at home on DVD, there would have been waterworks.

"Bring Him Home," from the viewpoint of the book reader, doesn't make a lot of sense. Valjean kind of hates Marius at that point, but he is risking his life to save Marius anyway because it would make Cosette happy. This whole "he's like the son I might have known" stuff doesn't really wash for me, this early on in their acquaintance.

That said, 2 hours and 37 minutes is really not enough to do justice to a story of this depth and breadth. The music is wonderful, and the costumes and scenery were breathtaking, and I'm so glad this movie version exists. But someone needs to do a perfect, lengthy miniseries someday. With all the RIGHT Cosette-Marius-Eponine dynamics, dammit. Shoujo Cosette is doing a fairly good job so far actually, but it's, you know, anime. For innocent kids. With way more giggles and fluffy puppies than Victor Hugo intended.

And may I remind you that I summed up The Brick (that is, the unabridged novel version of Les Mis) with my own attempt at condensing things, so you can see what the musical changed, if you wish.

VIVE LA FRANCE. Au revoir.
mollyringle: (comet)
sirius

I'm not a good astronomer, only able to pick out a few constellations or individual stars. But Sirius is probably the one star I'd know just by looking at it even without Orion nearby to point the way. All stars twinkle, but Sirius glitters and flashes--red! blue! yellow! white! full spectrum! I stared at it a while last night, and when I pointed it out to my husband and said it could easily be mistaken for a plane due to its brightness and flashiness, he peered at it and said, "No, that *has* to be a plane...doesn't it?"

Then the Pleiades and Jupiter grouped up together in one of the skylights over the bed, so, thank you all around, clear winter skies.

Speaking of astronomy, did you know there are two, yes, TWO possibly brilliant comets coming in 2013? Comet PANSTARRS will be the more modest opening act in March, and the potentially dazzling Comet ISON is due for around November. Keep an eye on astronomy pages for details. (This blog seems dedicated to the comets in particular.)

Speaking of science in general, you could do a lot worse for a new year's resolution than this philosophy from Neil deGrasse Tyson:

degrasse tyson

Or maybe you just need something faux-literary and silly. Here you go.

poeboy
mollyringle: (Takeshi-bored-by pear_icons)
Should anyone be curious, I started an album of photos of what some of my characters look like. But you who have read my novels are encouraged to suggest other ideas for dream casting.

Meanwhile, why any straight woman, bi person, or gay man is going to be doing anything the rest of today other than gazing at this photo of Adrian Grenier, I cannot imagine:



(He's my Hades for the work in progress. Or bloody well close enough, because, I mean, look at him.)
mollyringle: (Frolijah)
If THAT post title doesn't earn me some spam, nothing will. But it's true: I am seeking such things.

One thing that helps me in writing novels lately is to find photos of people who look about like my characters. They can be famous or unknown; doesn't matter. "Casting" the story this way often helps me bring the character to life a little more.

So for my Persephone-and-Hades novel in progress, I am taking applications--or more accurately, suggestions. Show me olive- or tan-skinned, dark-curly-haired, beautiful candidates for the two title roles. (In my version, Hades is more a romantic lead and less a scary kidnapper. Similarly, Persephone is more a charming protagonist and less a victim.) The tricky part for me is that they have to be pretty young, for I am writing this as mature YA. So, think age 17 to 25. I do not know much about celebrities in that age range anymore, for I am aging. Help an elderly woman here.

All set? Okay, go! Post photos!
mollyringle: (dome - Gothic Choir)
I hadn't read The Hobbit since I was a kid, so, given the upcoming movies (evidently there are going to be two, not one), I felt it was time to revisit Bilbo and Smaug. Having finished it, my review:

Though this was a re-read for me, the first go-round was so long ago that I'd forgotten a lot of the book. (Hey, look at that! A whole passel of giant spiders! And Frodo and Sam thought *they* had arachnid problems.) Tolkien, as ever, excels at his world-building: the landscape and its unusual inhabitants feel totally real, and made me look around with new appreciation at rocks, plants, and streams in my own neighborhood, as if they all might harbor magical beings or properties.

I take a star off because, as with The Lord of the Rings, the pacing is kind of screwed up. They kill the dragon too soon (shot by a guy who barely figures in the story up to that point), then *other* battles happen as the kinda-sorta-climax, and then (as with LOTR) the giant Eagles end up saving the day at the last minute rather than our heroes saving themselves. Also, that Necromancer who Gandalf was off fighting, completely off screen--well, that makes sense if you've read LOTR (oh yeah, it's Sauron), but viewing The Hobbit as a novel on its own, that development is a bit perplexing. LOTR has more human (/hobbit/elf/dwarf/etc.) emotional drama to give it greater merit despite the pacing issues, while The Hobbit feels more like it's meant for children--and that's okay in some ways, as it's also a lot less heartbreaking.

Also, what was up with the silly elves? I said to my husband, mid-read, "The elves in this one are weirdly happy. Like, cracking jokes and being goofy. Maybe later on, the whole Ring situation, and the going-west stuff, was making them grumpier...?" But it still doesn't completely make sense. So I'll be curious to see what Peter Jackson does there. I really cannot see Elrond singing tra-la-la rhymes and dancing merrily. Legolas, maybe, if he had a frat-boy phase. Orlando could totally play that.

All that said, Bilbo is a charming protagonist, and there are lots of gems of scenes in this book. Also some actual gems, like the Arkenstone. Hah.

Incidentally, have you seen Peter Jackson's video blog entries about the making of the new films? Huge fun. I need to go back and view the ones I haven't seen yet.

From The Hobbit I moved straight to a long-intended re-read of Les Misérables. I'm now about a third of the way in, and so far I am annoyed with Victor Hugo for these things:

1) Burying a wonderful, amazing novel among a bunch of extraneous chapters about French history, which dissuades people from reading it. Therefore I recommend you read the *abridged* version--or else get the unabridged, but skim when you find yourself wading through Waterloo or the Paris sewers or someone's needless monologue. I want people to love this novel as much as I do, and they won't if they force the unabridged upon themselves.

2) The title. Jeez, Victor, who's going to want to read this? There's misery in these pages, sure, but the story is much more about love and compassion. And it's even funny or sensual in several places.

3) Creating seriously huge dilemmas for his characters, reaching a point of agonizing conflict which *my* novels may never approach. Example: Ex-convict Jean Valjean has disguised his identity and established a new and benevolent life, in which he's about to do a dying woman the favor of rescuing her little daughter from the slavery she's currently trapped in. However, that same week, he hears that the "real" Jean Valjean has supposedly been caught on a petty theft, and, being an ex-con, is going to be put back in prison for life. So. Save the innocent guy by revealing his identity, and thus get recaptured and be unable to help the little girl? Or save the girl and let the innocent man go to prison for life? I mean, seriously. I never manage to plot stuff this awesome. (Spoiler: Valjean manages to do both of the good things. That's why he's a hero.)

4) Being heartbreaking enough to hurt, but beautiful and romantic enough to keep me obsessively reading. I cain't quit you, Les Mis.

There's an upcoming movie for this too, complete with new and fully heart-rending trailer:



Marius fangirl sidenote: though I liked Eddie Redmayne perfectly well in The Pillars of the Earth, and though he looks lovely in that trailer, he just does not look like the curly-black-haired, marble-skinned Marius described in the book. For me Marius will always look like Rufus Sewell back in the young days. (Rufus also starred in The Pillars of the Earth, as it happens. Kinda why I watched it.)

Rufus Sewell
mollyringle: (Monkeemen)
If you've known me long enough, you already know I've been a Monkees fan since I discovered them in middle school on those Nickelodeon re-runs. (Look! One of my oldest LJ icons is a Monkees icon.) And because I was so young and tender when discovering them, I kind of imprinted upon them; I can't view them unsentimentally or objectively, much as you wouldn't be able to view objectively the dog you grew up with. Therefore it goes without saying that I'm stunned and, mostly, very very sad about the death of Davy Jones.

He was my first crush in the band, and a crush at that age sticks with you as part of what makes up your fabric. I'll always be fond of Davy, even if, had we all been the same age and not born tragically thirty years apart, I would have broken up with him eventually and tried for Mike (or "Nez" as the true fans say)--perhaps after a two-week summer fling with Micky. But I don't know; Davy's English accent might have kept me around a while.

Now, obviously he was cute, ready-made to be the TV heartthrob of 14-year-old girls in the '60s...



On the goofy, weird TV show invented to advertise the band, whenever they needed one of the boys to fall instantly in love with some girl and snog her on screen, Davy got the job nine times out of ten. Girls screamed and cried and had seizures for him in real life, nearly to the same degree as any Beatle ever enjoyed. Not bad for a bloke who stood 5'3" (in boots, he clarified with a grin once--and we know how high boot heels could be in the sixties).

Some of the songs they gave him to sing were the absolute sappiest, so gloppy and sticky-sweet you wanted to pour them over your pancakes. (Witness "The Day We Fall in Love," "I'll Be True to You (Yes I Will)" or "I Want to Be Free.") However, he was fully capable at singing, dancing, and acting--he was stage-trained and was nominated for a Tony in his youth--and clearly had fun at it. I highly recommend you have a look at this Rolling Stone tribute, as it gives several great, amusing examples of Davy Moments from the Monkees era.

Another great link from right here in Seattle: the excellent radio station KEXP serves up Monkees songs in their original state, and as covered by others; as well as vice-versa sometimes.

And a beautiful blog entry, complete with videos, from a fan about my age who clearly gets it.

I feel almost as sad as if one of my own uncles or cousins had died. But the somber news today has at least revived the good times I had listening to this band, watching them on cable TV, and playing air guitar to their songs with my little sister on our front porch.

Should you care, these are from my own journal archives:

A brief list of my favorite Monkees songs, split into categories like "cute and catchy Davy songs" and "psychedelia."
A short and very silly piece of fanfic in which Davy meets Legolas, which I totally forgot I had written, until today.
mollyringle: (Hughes - Night)
This has been making the rounds, and at first I hesitated to post it because I do have several friends who adore Twilight, but...sorry, these things are too funny and too sadly true.

8 Things Twilight Has Ruined (Besides Vampires)

When I noticed number 6 was "Washington State," I laughed out loud. What they say is so true: people from out of state frequently ask if we live near Forks and/or have been to Forks. And, as the article also reports with perfect truth, "the state is so big that no matter where you are in it, you're pretty much always 12 hours from Forks." (More an issue of a mountain range and lots of wilderness standing between Forks and the rest of us, resulting in slow, curvy roads if you want to get there.)

The article is occasionally harsh toward Meyer's writing style, a criticism I only sort of agree with. My main problem with the Twilight series is not the series itself, though I can think of several ways to improve the plot and writing, if you were to ask. The series isn't that bad; it started out pretty strong and compelling, in fact, and even as it deteriorates, it's still basically fun, lightweight reading material. I'm in favor of the existence of such stuff. However, the big problem is the fandom--and the article covers that in spades. Please, younger women, I beg you: don't base your ideal of relationship material upon Edward Cullen. Nor Jacob Black, for that matter. Those relationships are unhealthy in the extreme. And older women, I beg you too: please don't lose your dignity and go borderline statutory-rapist over this fandom.

Hey, I know it's fun to be a fan. I'm always a fan of something. At times I've been a hugely dorky fan, complete with perviness. Scroll a few years back in my LJ if you need proof. But even back then, I was not sabotaging my relationship with my husband/fiance/boyfriend (whichever he was, depending on the year you choose) by actively seeking a Frodo or Spike or The Doctor of my very own. And while I do own a Frodo T-shirt (and a Legolas one too), I never owned underwear featuring any dude's face.

One of the other things the Twilight series has ruined, claims this article, is the publishing industry, in that paranormal romance has taken over like a gruesome variety of kudzu. And there we have the one way in which Twilight has helped me out: before reading it or even hearing of it, I wrote The Ghost Downstairs, and lucky me, that turned out to be the kind of thing people totally want to publish and read these days. However, I don't think we can pin that entirely on Twilight. Vampire and other supernatural novels with highly romantic moods have been around longer than Meyer's been alive, let alone writing.

As for all the innocent people named Bella, Edward, Jacob, Cullen, Carlisle, Victoria, or Renesme out there, I do feel deeply sorry for them these days.

I'm kidding about "Renesme." Man, is that the clunkiest name invented in a long while.

[For this post you'll notice I chose an icon reminiscent of sparkliness in night-dwellers.]
mollyringle: (dome - Gothic Choir)
Amazing--I actually care about some stuff coming up on TV in the relatively near future:

Starz is airing the miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, beginning tomorrow. I read the novel by Ken Follett about fourteen years ago, and unlike most novels I read fourteen years ago, I actually remember some of it. I know I liked it. So I'll be curious to see that--and am especially avid given that Rufus Sewell is in it. (Playing a good guy, no less!)

HBO, as all good fantasy geeks know, is hard at work on Game of Thrones, based on the G.R.R. Martin series. Click on that link, and oh LOTR fans, feel your heart swell to see Sean Bean looking ever so Boromir-y as Ned Stark.

Meanwhile, in the Doctor Who world, I'm finally watching "The End of Time" and preparing myself to let go of Tennant and embrace Matt Smith and the other newbies. I've loved Moffat's episodes so far, so I'm actually looking forward to series 5 a great deal. Whenever they get around to releasing it on DVD. Hurrah!
mollyringle: (Hughes - Night)
Watching and enjoying "How I Met Your Mother" lately led me to look up and read this interview with Neil Patrick Harris in Out magazine.

On the sidebar I noticed this interview with Ewan McGregor from the same magazine, so I read that too. In it he said, regarding his kiss with Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Velvet Goldmine, "I remember when I kissed Johnny. It was just a rush at the end of the day. ...I like kissing boys on screen. As a straight guy, it’s quite an interesting proposition. Anything on a film set that takes you by surprise like that, that gets your blood up, is good." The magazine's writer also said, regarding that kiss, "theirs might be about the most satisfying gay kiss ever committed to film. It’s got all you need: gold lamé, an Oscar Wilde quote (“The curve of your lips rewrite history”), the deceptive vulnerability of McGregor with his wide grin, the cruel-seeming beauty of Meyers. Oh, and eye shadow -- dark, glam pools of it."

So that led me to look up the kiss on YouTube, since it's been probably a decade since I saw it. And, yes, it's gorgeous.

Also I remembered liking the soundtrack to Velvet Goldmine, so I dug that up and listened to some of it. Which in turn led me to request the Platinum Collection from Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music via our public library's website. Which should be fun once I get it.
mollyringle: (MST3LOTR-dance - arwen_elvenfair)
I got the cover art for my upcoming novel Summer Term:



Whew, it's not of the gleaming-torsos/"gimme back my shirt" variety! And it does look like a chick-flick DVD cover, so that conveys the mood pretty accurately. For what it's worth, I did sort of picture Robert Pattinson and Lauren Ambrose as the leads...




...but I understand how they weren't available to be cover models.

(Yes, it does annoy me that I find RPattz attractive and likable even though the Twilight series and fandom annoys me further the more I hear of it.)

What are some examples of book cover art you've loved? Or hated?


---

In totally "other" news, more evidence that my husband is funny...

At his place of work, they finally decided to throw out an old manual electric typewriter. A slew of facetious emails ensued upon this decision. This was his contribution, in the form of an official memo:



(No, he doesn't work for the European Space Agency. It's a different ESA.)
mollyringle: (my life is so thrilling)
The other week my older sister Kate, who knows some people in movie production, emailed me to say, "Here's your chance to send naked pictures of yourself to Tobey Maguire!"

What she meant was, they're shooting a film here in Seattle, currently titled The Details, in which Tobey plays an OB/GYN, and they needed photos of newborns and new parents in the hospital to decorate Dr. Tobey's bulletin board on set. Kate had a bunch of me, Steve, and baby Toby (how about that name coincidence?), so with my permission, she sent a few to them. (None of them were actual naked photos, I hasten to add, though when you're wearing a hospital gown and giving birth, that's always a risk.)

Today Kate received confirmation that two of our photos--one of me with baby, and one of Steve with baby--are on the bulletin board and are official Set Dressing! She sent a photo of the bulletin board, and yep, there we are. I don't know a) if I'm allowed to show you the Set Dressing Bulletin Board photo, otherwise I would, or b) if you'll even be able to see it in the finished movie. But I thought it was a fun piece of news. My son made it into a movie when he was barely one minute old!

As it happens, my regular babysitter is currently working on that film too, as a costume assistant. My degrees of Kevin Bacon are skyrocketing lately.

This all makes it sound like I totally know people in Hollywood. I totally don't, and I don't even really know people who know people. Which is why such small events, like becoming Set Dressing, make me happy.
mollyringle: (Buffy folk - by mangofandango)
Ordinarily celebrity baby news doesn't merit posting with me, but when it's Buffy gals, that changes things:

I just found out I was sharing pregnancy time with Alyson Hannigan, who has recently given birth to her first baby (a girl), and am still sharing pregnancy time with Sarah Michelle Gellar, who's due in the fall! Congratulations to Alyson & Alexis and Sarah & Freddie. Young babies, your parents shall know how to kick butt.

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