glvalentine: (Default)
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: (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: (Default)
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
glvalentine: (Default)
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.
glvalentine: (Default)
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. )
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
So, over the course of the last few months, NYC subway ads have been hit by the most adorable vandalism ever: The Moustache.



A partial record of his handiwork is here on Flickr. Men, women, kids; everyone gets the same cursive moustache.

Today I saw an ad with a gentleman's face, a messy Sharpie scribbled on his chin. Someone had made a little arrow in a different marker, footnoting it: "Not the Moustache."

Let the record show.
glvalentine: (Default)
So, I'll be doing the episodes of The Pillars of the Earth one at a time, since it's all my ancient laptop can handle before Netflix crashes my computer for the night.

The good news is, this kind of comedy gold is worth every frustrating moment. I'm going to hit five things in every episode worth watching it for. We'll slap it behind a spoiler cut, I guess, though the book's been out for twenty years. (Also, this is so unrelated to the book that it wouldn't matter in any case.)



Look at those hostage eyes. You know you're in for a treat!

Five Reasons to Watch Episode 1 of Pillars of the Earth. )
glvalentine: (Default)
The Pillars of the Earth premiered on Friday! It's based on the Ken Follett bestseller, which means that, as with any Ken Follett book, there will be a lot of research into the topic, many people will die in gruesome ways, and women will do ridiculous things at all times for no reason.

Still, that book was my jam when I was 11, so I thought I might as well check it out, since it's got every ham actor who ever hammed. It's an Ultimate Ham-off!

After seeing the first episode, I can tell you with authority: this is the kind of Ham-Off they will write about for a hundred years. And by "they" I mean "me," and by "a hundred years" I mean "for the next three weeks."

I mean, the cast aside (Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, Donald Sutherland, Sarah Parish, just for starters), the subject matter is perfect for half-starved scenery-chewing. I think most of what I'll be doing the next three weeks is developing a drinking game for this thing, because I suspect it will need it.

For those who doubt how much cheese you can get in less than two minutes of footage, I give you a vaguely-spoilery trailer!



Tomorrow, Episode 1 (A New Ham-off)!
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Or, if you're me, any day!

Up at Fantasy Magazine this week, I posted Ten Cheesetastic Fantasy Flicks for Summer. For once, there's no competition for which one is best, because they're all the best!

Except maybe Xanadu is the best.



(Look at those hostage eyes. Yipes.)

The thing is, some of the movies on that list are cheesy but legitimately good. The Mummy, for example, is pretty unapologetic summer-blockbuster pulp, but I've seen it quite a few times and it always holds up, because Pulpy and Bad are not synonymous, even though a lot of things that aim for Pulpy end up at Bad. (That's another essay. I'm just noting it here.) Lost Boys is awesome, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is amazing. I'll even make a case for Earth Girls are Easy being a pretty solid flick! (Somewhere, Joseph Campbell is cringing.)

But there are some movies (...XANADU) that defy explanation.

Explaining it more doesn't help. )

(I've seen this movie like, six times. It never gets any less confusing.)

It was hard to choose a representative clip. The scene where the sisters wake up from the mural they're painted on (really happens) is pretty good. It gives the right tone for the film, both because the song makes you want to slap your ears off, and because it looks like the people actually in the scene were just as confused as anyone else, and the choreography was called out in a series of impromptu orders. ("Look at your hands! You have some hands! Have more hands! HAVE MORE HANDS.")

But I think this clip has to win.




Notes: this clip has been severely chopped, so you are missing out on the Gene Kelly-led rollerskating step routine and the part where Kira and her sisters sing this in half a dozen different styles, including Country Western, in which Michael Beck (SWAN, WHY) has to shake his shoulders like he's trying to wrench an arm out of the socket so he can be excused to the medic and just keep running and never look back.

Also, many of those sisters aren't the same sisters from the beginning of the movie. I'm just saying, that's the kind of show you're in for.

An awesome one.
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
They're not just narratives; they're snapshots in time, moments of pure joy.

Just like this scene from The Lost Boys, which came out in July of 1987. This means that they probably filmed in 1986, that moment when the 80s were just realizing what they could really become. It was a time of innocence and wonder; a time when a man needed only purple tights, leather underwear, and some chains to be fully dressed; a time when Jami Gertz had a promising career. (Remember Quicksilver? Anyone?...anyone?)



Full disclosure: this actually takes me back to a time when I was in high school and taking Photography. This was back when you had to know how to wind the film on the spokes in the dark and then pour in the developer and shake the canister, and if you did one thing wrong you ended up with a bunch of underdeveloped splotches and chemical burns on your hands, and then you had to develop each of the prints by hand using a series of complicated machines that they use for background props in movies like Splice now.

With the hours and hours of after-school work necessary to take that photo of your parents' backyard and make it into something you could pass off as your "Garden" assignment (because your photos of the Botanical Gardens looked like a thin black plate with some cottage cheese on it), you had to have something to listen to as you stumbled around in the darkroom accidentally bleaching the crap out of your clothes. And for whatever reason, the soundtrack to The Lost Boys did the trick, and I must have spent about 800 man-hours that year with it on repeat on my Discman (FOR CDs - WOW, this was long ago).

That is to say: this clip is cheesy and dorky and hilarious, and I am fully implicated in it, because I have heard this song about a bajillion times in my youth, and I probably loved it every time.
glvalentine: (Default)
This weekend, I found myself on the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island, despite having been pretty apprehensive the last time. (I have no answers; I just suddenly appeared on the Wonder Wheel again, like it was a dream and I was escaping a chemistry test by flapping my arms really fast and that's just what happened.)

At night, Coney Island is packed and filthy and loud. (I would say it changed how I feel about Coney Island, but anyone who reads "And the Next, and the Next" in the Living Dead 2 is going to get an idea of how I feel about Coney Island.)

However, from the Wonder Wheel, there's something very melancholy about it:



The blackness isn't just my questionable camera; it really is a blaze of lights and then the huge, sapping darkness.

I walked across the empty beach and into the water, which was so dark that when the waves came in over my knees, it looked like tar. (I guess it still might, soon.)


The next day was the Natural History Museum, which has one of my favorite things in the world, the Wall of Completely Overwhelming BioDiversity:






And speaking of overwhelming, the IMAX Hubble movie talked casually about the 90-trillion-mile-wide Orion nebula, which is a birthplace for stars and galaxies:



It confirmed two things: the universe is an amazing place, and I am completely unprepared for Launchpad next week. (I did, however, pick up a lot of fun facts about marine life, so we'll see if that comes in handy at any point.)


There's no outward connection between the two days, but somehow I feel as if there was; as if I was reminded how lonely the world is, before I was reminded how teeming it is, before I was reminded how insignificant it is.

(And, oddly, how much the universe looks like Coney Island at night.)
glvalentine: (Default)
Okay. This is the big Eclipse post.

Ten Things About Eclipse has covered the bases.

Yesterday, my piece about The Decline and Fall of the Twilight Empire went up at Tor.com. There, I discussed the fact that as the fandom grows, the quality of actual filmmaking seems to sink like a stone.

(I will be honest, though, looking at my notes for New Moon, I'm not sure if endless music-video tracking shots are any worse than establishing shots with voiceover that then cut to a different location/scene entirely. Still, Eclipse had more to work with and did less with it, so it's probably still the worst movie of the three. I'll have to think about this.)

But first, as always, there was The Line.

Stampede-free, Burger-King-crown heavy. )

I still think the line winner was the girl in a Cullen crest shirt, looking very displeased with her friends: "I was here early IRONICALLY."



These kids speak for all of us.


And then it was time for the movie. Oh, was it ever. )
glvalentine: (omg no)
And the Eclipse postmortem begins! First up: Ten Things You Should Know About Eclipse, at Fantasy Magazine. This information might just save your life. (Or, two hours. Whichever.)

4. Howard Shore did the music.
You’ll know because whenever Bella and Edward make out, it sounds like every pervert in the Shire is creeping up on them.




His hand looks like a questing, half-hidden octopus, doesn't it? (Go ahead, unsee it. I dare you.)

I have an article forthcoming at Tor.com about the franchise in general and the trend in cinematic quality (hint: yeeeeesh), and last up will be the line report and blow-by-blow, because seriously, you guys? YIKES.
glvalentine: (omg no)
It's not that I mind getting the blood drawn. It's just that I look like this for three days afterward:

Just in case, let's cut for the extremely squeamish. )

Go to the doctor, look like a tiny boxer punched you right in the elbow; it's just one of life's unspoken trades.

WIPs

Jun. 24th, 2010 11:11 pm
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Please note, I apparently don't have time to write about anything in depth, but plenty of time to make graphics about what I'm doing. Mmm, logic!




1. Reference image for a story I'm working on; originally was used for a story I just finished, but this image had another purpose. (It's a worker.)

2. If I am not writing a story about someone in a coat of some kind, then I am writing a story about a post-human singularity...in which robots wear coats.

3. This looks like a still from a fantastic movie. It is, in fact, a still from One Night with the King, which is an absolutely terrible movie you will be seeing more of shortly.

4. Ditto. This is from Bathory. Not pictured: Hans Matheson painting a portrait of a baby that's been stored inside the block of ice. (Oh, it happens.)

5. This is a picture of a juggler. Technically, he's from an Anthropologie catalog, and he's probably just a juggler because Hans Matheson found another stand-in. In my imagination, he's my imaginary circus boyfriend. His name is Ben. You will probably see him again.

6. The novel currently with my agent takes place in a river city. This picture was from [livejournal.com profile] vintagephoto, and the time between me seeing it and me right-click-saving cannot be measured with modern instruments.

7. My next novel is set in the 1920s. Researching dance crazes of the time is repellent, grueling work that I absolutely do not enjoy whatsoever, but it has to be done.

8. Because it's never the wrong time to watch Gleaming the Cube.

9. Inception. I have a piece about this movie lined up for Tor.com; in the meantime, just know that Joseph Gordon-Levitt must have signed an extra wire-work clause or something.
glvalentine: (Default)
(You have to use all the 'o's. Everyone in the movie does.)

Over the weekend, as ordered, I actually told a ticket taker "Jonah Hex, please!" and saw it.

We all knew it was going to be bad. But I honestly could not have predicted the scope of awfulness here. This was no ordinary awful. It was almost magically bad. I snickered uncontrollably pretty much nonstop.

I also made this face a lot.



(Michael Fassbender, you put this movie down RIGHT NOW.)

Check out the details at Tor.com, but be warned that the written word cannot do justice to how sublimely, accidentally hilarious this movie is.

Splice

Jun. 15th, 2010 05:55 pm
glvalentine: (Default)
People often use the phrase, "Ambitious, but flawed" to describe a movie. I use it a lot; it helps hint at a film that was trying to be more complex than The Blind Side or something, and depending how you put the emphasis, it can mean anything from "there were a few things that didn't sit quite right" to "what a magnificent collection of moving images that had no discernible narrative cohesion". (Oh, Sunshine.)



Splice tries very hard to be a Frankenstein for our times; a CGI creepfest; a meta-horror; a complex dissection of parenting norms; a parable of nature vs. nurture. At the same time. (You can see already where we're going to have problems.)

As for how well it did at any or all of those things…how big can I make "Flawed"?

And 3D, if you have it. )
glvalentine: (Default)
So, this weekend I saw Splice. I will be talking about it tomorrow, but it's just not the sort of blog entry I want to face on a Monday. Especially since I also saw Dhoom 2 this weekend.

Dhoom 2 stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, who had been paired to great effect in Jodhaa Akbar (despite Aishwarya's lack of actual acting ability). I thought, "Well, they did well in the other one. Let's check out Dhoom 2!"

Do you guys remember the first Mission: Impossible movie, when everyone had latex masks on all the time and they spent four hours just double-crossing each other and jumping around pulling off latex masks to reveal other latex masks and shooting bullets in an arc and running around and pulling off other people's latex masks, and you spent the whole movie thinking, "What is wrong with these awful people in this movie I don't understand?"

The maker of Dhoom 2 looked at that movie and said, "This is missing two things: dance numbers, and a man dressed up to look like the Queen. I can fix this."



And so, Dhoom 2 was born. )

Best part: I was thinking about writing this up, and I thought, "Well, it won't be the same without a compilation of Hrithik Roshan walking in slow-motion towards the camera with his shirt unbuttoned and his scarf fluttering in the wind, but where the hell am I going to find that?"

Turns out someone made it, and put it to a love song. Thank you, internet. Thank you for everything.

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Genevieve Valentine

September 2010

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