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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)
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: (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.)
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Last day of Launchpad. My brain is still completely full, but I wanted to at least take the time to commemorate me performing some kind of physical activity besides giving someone a judgemental glare:



Believe it or not, I'm there, behind some of the foliage, a few hundred feet up Vedauwoo. (Thanks to Marjorie for the picture!)

Shortly after this photo was taken, we were attacked by ground squirrels, who tried desperately to look cute so we'd feed them. When we wouldn't, they started staking out our bags in case we made the critical strategic error of wandering away from them for a moment. (We didn't. They were bummed.)

Home tomorrow, where I will see Inception (FINALLY, THE LAST PERSON IN THE WORLD TO SEE IT), and start to catch up on the appalling amount of work that has piled up while I was furiously taking notes about spectrometry and dark matter.
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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.)
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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. )
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Wow, that was kind of a long hiatus! (I made the last one in 1996, it looks like.) I know this has become something of a habit, like that time I tried to make a picspam of my French vacation and only got two-thirds of the way through, so if you are a literalist it looks like I never actually came home but am instead blogging from an attic somewhere overlooking the amusement park in Rouen. (Note to that person: well-spotted, mon frère!)

But I have my act together now, and the time has come for another Catherine Cookson Experience!

Today's is different from most of the others, because I genuinely love this one. It is a pulpy mess, and I enjoy every second of its cheesy glory. You will be able to tell this soon, but I thought I might as well warn you up front: this one is awesome, and I have the eight thousand photos to prove it! This is The Rag Nymph.



Vital Stats:

Era: 1850s, looks like.
Heroine: Millie
Siblings that require looking-after: Well, initially Millie is the one who needs looking-after (when you were niiiiiiiine!).
Illegitimate (Self or sibling): It's like a Law and Order episode; it takes you almost until the end to find out, and by then you don't even care.
Asshole Father?: Oh, jeez. Every father in this thing is a total jerkbag.
Romantic interest(s): Mr. Bingley, Paul Atreides. Tough call!
Bairnsketballs: Nope.
Fistfights: Somebody knifes a pimp. It counts!
Assaults: Oh jeeeeeeeez.

Under here, more When You Were Nine goodness. )
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Artist Marina Abramović is currently performing her interactive piece The Artist Is Present at MoMA. She sits in a chair, and people come in and sit across from her, and they look at each other.

This is clearly about a lot of things. This is about connection between people, and about humanity as performance art, and about how long you can go without crying, and about how celebrities can cut the line and sit without waiting. (I'd argue this is for their safety and the general calm or something, but the kind of people who are skipping work to go to MoMA and sit in this exhibit would never, ever, EVER break their cool to a movie star, and we all know it.)

However, I have to think that the enduring point of this piece is that people on the internet will:

1) get interested in anything.
2) get obsessed about anything.
3) form a community about anything
4) get bitchface about anything.

Take this photo:



This woman is another artist who appears several times in the photo set; as far as I could see, this is the only time she's covered, though she tries to vary her appearance every time.

Below the photo are the following comments:



Oh, internet. Never change.
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There's something ceaselessly awesome about silent films. They're a living time capsule of social mores, markers of technological leaps, proof of humankind's deep affinity for storytelling, employer of piano-players everywhere.

The great ones are fantastically evocative and moving. The bad ones are hysterical.

Conveniently, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is both!



Also apparently a little judgey! )
glvalentine: (costume)
So, last night was the Oscars, that gleaming bastion of class and merit, where they will give a woman an Oscar for directing the best film of the year and then play "I am Woman" before throwing to commercial. In keeping with this grand tradition, Hollywood takes the opportunity to go all-out, lining up for the fashion police in a glittery, flawless parade.

I am kidding. It was a disaster. This face says it all:



And when Kristin Stewart speaks for all of us, you know something is wrong.

It's a sad, sad day. )
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Today, two great tastes that taste great together: Olympic Pairs skating, and the greatest sports movie ever made, The Cutting Edge.



Here's the thing about The Cutting Edge: it's a seriously early-90s movie, as evidenced by D. B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly. It is super-predictable. It also tries to tackle What Ambitious Women Are Up Against, and ends up saying, "Ambitious women are up against an awful lot! Poor thing; let's give her a boyfriend to help her with that."

On the other hand, it is a movie that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about pairs skating, so at least it's useful! It will be especially useful when applied to the Pairs event that just wrapped at the Vancouver Olympics.

It's a bounce spin into a throw twist? )
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
The first time I saw it, I realized I was in the presence of something truly beautiful. And now, for all of you, this valentine:



via Ironic Sans


Whether or not you celebrate Valentine's Day, know that Carl Sagan loves you every day of the year. Cosmos is, in fact, a heavily-coded love letter written just for you. (But you knew that.)
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These excerpts from a 1930s guide to dating are some of the best dating points ever.



Forget manners; she took that hanky and wiped a period right off the end of that second sentence. Don't mess with grammar, missy.

This date only gets better. )
glvalentine: (costume)
So, two things about this year's Golden Globes:

1. The wrong people won a lot of important awards.
2. It rained.

That second thing disrupted the event in a way that the horrible results seemed not to, which means that people were running through the drizzle with the sort of look generally reserved for the otters you see in the oil-spill commercials. Style this year was largely related to how nonchalantly you could hold an umbrella.



We'll get to that.

It's dial-up madness in here! )
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I have mixed feelings about Tim Burton's recent work, and mixed feelings about this Alice adaptation (really, you need an actress and the first thing you think is "Anne Hathaway"?), but the guy knows how to give good image.



Click to enlarge; it's totally worth it. A little royal portrait, a little Last Supper - I can dig it.
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So, among the many graduates of Awesome British Actor Camp, there's a little subculture of actors who are probably perfectly nice people who enjoy things like accounting and pinochle. Unfortunately, they have a particular aura about them that make them look like escapees from a gang of creepers.

If they really were a gang, and nine of them were being chosen to go up to the Bronx to hear Cyrus give his big speech, Cillian Murphy would be the leader. Dude is an awesome actor, but no one is ever surprised when he turns into a total raging revenge murderer an hour into 28 Days Later, is all I'm saying.

Second one chosen would be Hans Matheson.



If you need more evidence than his face, it's under the cut. )
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So, The Young Victoria comes out today! I had the honor of seeing it early on a plane coming back from France. (I also had the honor of seeing it three times, because we sat for two hours on the tarmac and a bunch of other weird things happened. Maybe you guys want to have more than one watchable movie per flight, Air France? Cool.)



Anyway, after seeing it three times in a row, and realizing I always felt like I had dozed off for parts in the middle even though I hadn't, I had some problems. Then I realized if I watched it three times in a row and enjoyed it, then I had some OTHER problems, but we'll get to those some other time.

The point is, review and picspam below! Be warned, there's vague spoilery talk, though nothing that happens in the movie should come as a surprise, since it happened a hundred years ago and we've all had plenty of time to catch up.

In which there are more puffed sleeves than you can handle. )
glvalentine: (costume)
So, the Robin Hood promos have begun to trickle out from behind whatever fortress Ridley Scott lives in, which means it's time to decide if you're in or out. I wrote it up over at Tor.com, but let's face it, after that teaser trailer, I'm in.

The promo photos are not super-exciting, though, I have to say. I understand keeping spoilers under wraps, but most of these photos look like someone snuck onto the set with an iPhone and got a few shots in before security chased them away.

MARVEL as someone points a camera at a boat! WONDER as Ridley Scott tells Russell Crowe to do something! THRILL as Robin Hood and his men sit on horses!



They ride single file to hide their numbers, I guess.

But even these boring photos yielded the most exciting moment of my day yesterday. What that says about my day is up to you.

Be warned: under this cut, I nerd OUT over the Moy Gown. )
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
This weekend, the Miss World 2009 (2010?) competition happened. Despite not knowing anything about pageants, I'm going to make the sweeping generalization that this pageant is in general less fun than Miss Universe, because there's no parade of national costumes, which is just a shame.

On the other hand, there's always the talent competition.



Ladies and gentlemen, your Miss World. She's from Gibraltar, and below the cut, you can see who she beat!

(Though apparently she didn't win this talent portion, because no one could stop looking awkwardly at their papers long enough to write any scores down.)

Lots of Hostage Eyes, lots of sequins. It's how pageants roll. )

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Genevieve Valentine

September 2010

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