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My author interview for The Living Dead 2 is up at the anthology website! Hint: I am a nerd who has complicated feelings about Coney Island.

I should probably amend this answer, though:

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I think it’s common knowledge that the human body is pretty disgusting, so the research went quickly.


While I think no one will argue that the human body is full of various squishy internal parts knocking together like sacks of pudding in a bone-jar, that is not the entirety of the research I did. I also went to Coney Island many times to research this story. And to ride the Ferris Wheel against my better judgment. And also maybe to eat funnel cake on an empty beach. (You can't prove it!)

If you want to know what kind of story comes out of eating funnel cake at Coney Island, you can check out "And the Next, and the Next" for free here.
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Last week I was invited to a sneak preview of Boardwalk Empire, HBO's new show that is about giving awesome character actors lots of chances to be intense at each other, and also a little bit about Prohibition, I guess. (I am more invested in the former – I feel like in a lot of ways HBO is becoming the BBC, where limited-run shows employ excellent casts purely to make me happy.)


(Steve Buscemi, chairing a meeting of the Character Actors Association.)


From the relatively brief preview I saw, there's a lot to like here. They certainly did their historical research, and I look forward to many montages of Al Capone sneaking Canadian Club whisky across the Detroit River, intercut with something seemingly-unrelated yet thematically relevant, as period-correct music plays. (I have nothing to say in my own defense; I am a sucker.)

(During the preview, when Michael Pitt introduces himself as Jimmy Perspectivecharacter and Stephen Graham says, "Name's Al – Al Capone," half the people gasped. Well done, preview editor!)

A shorter version of the preview we saw is below. Bottom line: it's about Prohibition, jazz music, flapper dresses, Temperance, and character actors. How could I NOT watch this?

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A nerve cell; New York at night; a map of the universe.

Ignore the awful cobbling; I just liked the patterns here.


Photos: (via, via, via)
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I suspect I am the last person on the entire internet to find this, but it struck such a chord with me that I wanted to blog about it anyway.

This is a self-described valentine to film noir, and man, is it EVER. Such great editing with a great selection (though in the notes she points out that she missed "The Sweet Smell of Success" and "White Heat" with the broken-spirited air of someone who has been smacked around by a million YouTube commenters). It's just the best thing ever, basically, if you enjoy some hard-boiled black-and-white shenanigans.

You know how to make an awesome tribute video, don't you, Steve? You just put your noirs together...and rock it.



P.S. I found this video while I was searching for a font. I love the internet.
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Wow, it has been a while since I posted. Sorry! A lot of things came due at once. I'll try to pull myself together and get back to making squawking noises about movies in the near future.

Writing news: my story "And She Shall Be Crowned According to Her Station" is live at Strange Horizons!

The first roach appears in the sink, mahogany-dark and glossy against the stainless steel. Jessie grabs a sponge and slams it down, listens for the crunch of wings.

The second roach is in the living room, crawling along the molding. Jessie waits with the vacuum until it's close enough that she can suck it up. Just before it disappears into the hose, she sees it spread its wings and point its antennae backwards like it's offended.


A warning on this one: so, so many roaches. If crawlies make you squeamish, fair warning.
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Just for the record, this is not an endorsement of any kind. The movie this clip is from is a disaster. Never watch it.

That said, this clip is my go-to on a bad day, because no matter how bad my day is, Cillian Murphy going about his daily tasks while sobbing uncontrollably never fails to make me laugh. (That sounds meaner than it is. I hope.)



(Let me state again that this movie, Watching the Detectives, should never be viewed by anyone. Cillian Murphy is a very talented actor who has made some great movies. He has also made some total stinkbombs, of which this one vies for the top slot. Trust me on this. If you're on a Cillian Murphy kick, go rent Disco Pigs or Sunshine or something.)

I have been so busy that my Netflix queue is backing up, I didn't even watch the Emmys, and apparently this is the last day of August, a joke I find unnecessarily cruel. Hopefully I'll have a handle on everything soon, at which point I will be able to go into detail about the filmographies of various actors with questionable taste. (Man, I am looking at SO MANY ACTORS right now.)
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The website for The Living Dead 2 is live! There are a ton of goodies on the site, including early reviews and a series of author interviews.

I have a story in this one, and it's one of eight stories available on the site as a preview.

"And the Next, and the Next" takes place on Coney Island, home of the Warriors and the Wonder Wheel, and a place about which it's almost impossible not to have feelings of some kind. (Unless you're a zombie, I guess - and even then...)

Anyway, take a look around the site: I'm really excited to be a part of this anthology!

(Thanks to my sister for this picture. I'd dedicate the story to her, too, since she was the person who visited Coney Island with me the first time I ever went, but it seems kind of mean to be like, "So I wrote a story about the mindless, doomed hordes - and I dedicated it to you!" That'll give somebody a complex.)
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This is not actually about the mechanics of elevators; I have no idea how elevators work-work. However, I feel like some people might need a primer on how elevators Work - taking the invisible, unspoken social contract of personal space and making some cartoons out of it because people in elevators are starting to really confuse me.

So, here's an elevator with one person in it. We'll call this person Bill.



Having an elevator to yourself is a dream come true! Spread your arms wide, twirl, relish your tiny, ascending luxury apartment. Do the Mashed Potato if you want!

As more people enter the elevator, things obviously get more cramped and more complicated (now if you want to dance you'll probably have to partner up, and that gets awkward, and it's a whole thing.)

But in general, the rule of thumb for anyone with the common sense of a pigeon would be to maintain some kind of equilibrium in the space between people, while trying to avoid blocking the doors until it can't be helped any more.

So, as the elevator fills up, it looks like any combination of these:





In each of these, people are attempting to give each other a little cushion of space. Bill is fine with this. This is how elevators work. Everyone's doing a very good job of elevatoring.

(In one of those elevators, we're actually ready for a game of Simon.)

Sometimes people know each other and are talking (usually at 50 decibels, about something awkward like state secrets or baby poop), and things go off-balance a little. That's okay! We're still fine:



Sometimes there is just nothing for it, and you are in an elevator during rush hour, and it's like this:



And that's also fine! It's an elevator, not a park. You try to avoid the guy who's bringing his bike up with him, and you get out of the elevator, and you live your life.

This, on the other hand, is the one I have been experiencing a lot recently:



I mean, I am pretty sure that unless someone is translucent, there is no reason for this configuration to happen. And yet, it has happened to me so often that I'm turning into that jerk who stands right near the button panels even if the place is mostly empty. But what can I do? Crime begets crime!

I guess the rule of thumb is this: if you are close enough to someone to perform dental work on them, and there is space available elsewhere, maybe consider sidling a few inches. Enjoy your stay in the elevator!
glvalentine: (costume)
More fun writing news today: "Bespoke" is up at Podcastle! I haven't listened yet (*shakes fist at office computer's lack of speakers*), but I'm excited! Give it a listen, if you're so inclined.
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I found out this morning that my story "Light on the Water" has been nominated for A World Fantasy Award, alongside some seriously amazing work.

I am still reeling a little, but I gotta say, news like this has a way of making one's morning.

Cleaning.

Aug. 21st, 2010 03:09 pm
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I am sacrificing some writing time this weekend to do a hardcore apartment clean-out. I do this on a semi-regular basis, and am relatively good at not keeping things around because of sentimental value, and yet am always astonished at things that have managed to elude me between one purge and the next. (Mix CDs from my sophomore year of college, I am looking at you. Notes from people in high school, I am studiously not looking at you, since I don't want to die of embarrassment before I discreetly shred you.)

A side effect of all this cleaning should be that, when I finally sit down to write, I will be so sick of cleaning that even recreating the Lost 7K of 2010 should be a pleasure.

That's if I ever make it through the cleaning to begin with. If I never emerge from this pile of old ConEd bills, think well of me!
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Until today, the Dora the Explorer Inception spoof trailer was my favorite. ("You're talking about dreams...sueños.")

However, for sheer "Go Big or Go Home", this one might be catching up.

...INEBRIATION.




Bonus: as someone who leaves the house sometimes at night on the weekends, I think I've actually seen the end of this movie on sidewalks throughout the city. And I've seen the middle of this movie at diners throughout the city the morning after. ("It's only once you sober up that you realize you were actually plastered.")

Also, no joke, the attention to detail here is kind of great. That elevator lobby is amazing.

ETA: Another of my favorites, which I had seen and then unforgivably forgotten about, is Bill and Ted's Excellent Inception. Back when I wrote at Tor.com about the effect Inception might have, I mentioned that if it did well, we could expect more smart sci-fi. I was shamefully unprepared for its potential for parody, which might exceed all of its actual effect on smart sci-fi in Hollywood.
glvalentine: (costume)
Last year I covered Miss Universe's National Costume Contest. I didn't realize when this year's was, but it was pointed out that pictures were out and I had better get started.

I'm not sure who the actual winner of this event is (I think that doesn't happen until Monday?). Since I have a different criteria than the judges of the pageant - they enjoy "bras that look like eyeballs" and I enjoy "Icelandic schoolmarm" - I wasn't sure exactly how to go about picking a winner of my own.

I looked for overwhelming trends this year (including Nonsense Capes, Escape from Prom Island, I Was a Project Runway Challenge, and Shit You Have to Carry), but I finally stumbled across a picture that made me realize the difference between perception of these national costumes and their reality.

This is Japan's national costume.



First of all, and I mean this: way to improve over last year, everyone. Sure, it's completely over the top, but this is Miss Universe, not the Parade of Dignity, so whatever. And yes, she's holding a fan as tall as she is, but hey, you guys got the memo about Shit You Have to Carry, so you're just doing your job.

But, uh, here's what it looks like in person.

In which pretty much no one learns a damn thing from last year, except Canada. )
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I have a Tumblr. It's mostly useful for an aggregated feed of handy screencaps of shows I don't even watch, just so I don't fall behind in knowing what's going on with all the shows I don't watch. (This is my life. I have no explanations.)

However, sometimes you get an image that is so awesome you don't even know what to do except blog it on Tumblr, and then immediately blog it on LJ.



(Click through for hi-res and source.)

This image brings joy to my heart, forever. (And also fear, because I will have to begin tracking down the ones I don't recognize, which will cut into my catching-up-on-shows-I-don't-have-time-to-watch time.)
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Last weekend I visited my parents. They live in a suburbia that I have been in the position to know for a few years, leave for many, come back to for a few years, leave for many, and then return to every once in a while for trips where I stick my head out the window a lot and marvel that there are trees right alongside the road like nature just exists wherever it feels like. (New York City: where mold is considered a houseplant.)

One thing that has changed remarkably little from my childhood is the strip mall a few miles away from my house, which still has the same ice cream chain, pizza chain, and grocery chain as it did when I was seven. It also has the dance studio where I spent one memorable year. Only one. You'll see why.

The year? 1988. The class? Miss Somebody's Pretend Jazz Dance For Mildy-Uncoordinated Young Ladies. Your writer? A GIANT. (No joke, in the picture of us in our recital costumes I'm about three inches taller than everyone else, which makes me look like I was held back three times for being an Exceptionally-Uncoordinated Young Lady.)

The recital number: "I Think We're Alone Now," by Tiffany. Hell yes it was. It was 1988.

The outfits: black camisole leotards with diagonal rows of hot pink sequins and fringe, as if Barbie had become a demented flapper. Plus, one of those hot pink sequin headbands that gave you migraines and left a sparkly residue on your forehead for weeks.

How long it took to put the routine together: one billion years. Stars were born and died before a room full of 7-year-olds had figured out how to get through this dance.

What I remember of the routine: a lot of repeat foot-taps on each side to fill time. A bastardized version of the Running Man, to be used during all relevant lyrics. Turning our backs to the audience and hugging ourselves for the "put your arms around me" lyric. Lying on the floor and lifting our pelvises into the air. (I don't know what to tell you. Apparently this is an okay thing for seven-year-olds to do in a dance recital. They were more innocent times, I guess.) Doing The Lawn Sprinkler. A big leap near the end.

How I was: PISSED. I was one of three girls who had memorized the whole thing (this is before my memory turned to pudding). They put one of us in the first row, center, and the other two in the back row, on the edges. "To anchor the other girls," they said. I was so far off to the side of the stage that I spent most of the routine behind a trellis.

This is actually, as it turns out, the ideal way for me to perform anything. The next time I got in front of an audience for debate or something in middle school, there was no trellis, and I had an attack of nerves that ended with me turning around and walking offstage and bombing that grade. (Whoops.)

However, at the time I was really proud of being one of three people who could memorize The Entire Thing, and I was not happy about being unable to prove it to anyone. In the VHS recording my dad took of it, you could occasionally catch a glimpse of my face through the trellis, absolutely fuming, looking like I was waiting to be alone with the song's object so I could murder them without witnesses. ("The beating of our hearts is the only sound...soon to be singular.")

That video has vanished into the mists of time, because the internet wasn't popular yet (THANK YOU GOD), but as I drove past that strip mall last weekend, I got a memory rush of the entire thing, and realized I could remember more of that dance routine than I could of almost anything else that has actually happened to me in my life.

This is either a testament to the power of music, or proof that my brain is allocated as follows:



You make the call!
glvalentine: (kitty the typewriter girl)
So, over the weekend, I wrote 7,000 words on the WIP. I was thrilled with the progress, but because of lack of internet access and flash-drive access, I didn't have a chance to back it up...

...before the netbook bluescreened and I lost all of it.

Since that is the only corrupted file on the hard drive, and it is the first time in years I haven't emailed a WIP to myself at the end of the day or had a flash drive on me for backup, I can only assume that my netbook was trying to tell me something. (It was trying to tell me to smash it into tiny pieces and buy a new one, I expect.)

I'll be working on that this week, obviously. I will also be having a flash drive installed subcutaneously in, say, my elbow, so I am never again without a handy backup resource.

I fear it will end up sounding like this:



(Still one of my favorite riffs of all time.)

Inception

Aug. 4th, 2010 05:40 pm
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I saw Inception last night, for the second time.

A couple of lingering questions I had from my initial viewing were cleared up. A couple will just never be answered. I'm largely okay with it; I'm certainly willing to overlook them and enjoy the movie.

I'm definitely willing to overlook the things I didn't like to watch some of the fight scenes and chase scenes, and to watch Cillian Murphy pulling a compelling emotional through-line out of ten lines in the script. Cillian Murphy: literally acting his way out of a bag since whenever Christopher Nolan started putting sacks on the poor guy's head.

(Also, to watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page doing pretty much anything. Also, Tom Hardy, who is so much more in his element here than in Wuthering Heights that it seriously boggles the mind. Also Dileep Rao, and Marion Cotillard, and Ken Watanabe. Basically, see the picture below.)



One of the things that bothered me on my initial viewing was the seemingly-excessive exposition in the film's first third...until last night, when something happened in the audience that made me realize why all that exposition might be necessary.

Vague spoilers for a minor subplot under here, and other random nattering about the movie. )

This is outside the cut because I really want to know this even if you are not the clicking kind:

Usually I feel like a movie can be enjoyed in the privacy of one's home just as much as at the theatre, if not more so. However, the group viewing experience here seems worth recording. So, I'm totally polling on this one; I want to know how everyone's audiences reacted after the movie was over. POSTERITY, ETC.

Music!

Aug. 3rd, 2010 11:45 am
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I'm guestblogging over at Ecstastic Days over the next week or so, and after a handwavey attempt to link writing and music (they are...both things that I like), I start things off with Nine Movie Composers to Know.

This is timely largely because of Inception's amazing soundtrack, by the seriously productive Hans Zimmer (composer of 8 bajillion movies), and has brought new attention to the role that a score plays in a movie. Naturally, all scores play a large part, but this one in particular gets points for the cleverness of some of its cues. (Can you tell how hard I'm avoiding spoilers here? Please, everyone, just see the movie so we can all stop hinting.)

However, I've been a score nerd pretty much ever since I was a movie nerd, and the nine composers there are far from the only ones whose stuff I hoard. Yoko Kanno, Ennio Morricone, Clint Mansell, Trevor Jones, Bear McCreary, Philip Glass, Peter Nashel, Brian Tyler, Jeanine Tesori, Stephen McKeon - basically, I had to cut it off after nine, or it would have been a six-thousand-word blog post about how awesome music is.

Instead, I'll leave you with one of my favorite pieces of movie music ever. (Both times it was used, Graeme, I see you over there recycling! You stop working for terrible TV and score a good movie this instant!)

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And I thought the first episode was amazing!

I'm not saying it got cheesier. I'm just saying that if I ran a drive-in movie, this would be the summer special.



These men are just confused that they are one of the few promo stills available and 80% of them haven't even appeared in the miniseries yet. Mostly because this miniseries is a battlefield they aren't on. You know who's on that battlefield? The people under this cut.

Five Things About Episode 2 of Pillars of the Earth. )
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And she...knows how to use 'em? That doesn't even make sense. This header is falling apart!

So, the Pillars of the Earth recap is coming, I swear. (Maybe tomorrow, just in time to make you not want to watch it on Starz, since no one actually has Starz! And also because it's pretty terrible, and apparently no one but me likes watching awful things for comedy value. This is a mistake, which you'll see when I talk about Sarah Parish sexing up her onscreen son. Oh, it happens.)

In the meantime, though, some publishing news! I'm pretty stoked about this:



My story "Things to Know About Being Dead" will be in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's YA vampire anthology TEETH, alongside some seriously august company.

The final (awesome) cover is up there, the release date is set (April 2011), and the full TOC has been released - it's at Ellen's LJ for the curious (and you should be curious, because I am not kidding about august company).

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Genevieve Valentine

September 2010

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