aruan: (Sherlock - 221B)
2014-01-28 10:18 am

going to ride these endorphins for a long minute

'Sherlock' recap: Season 3, Episode 2, 'The Sign of Three' | Metro US

You guys, I was the toast of Tumblr last night after basically every BNF in Sherlock fandom linked to my Metro recap of The Sign of Three. I'm 99% fannish enthusiast, not creator, so the last 12 hours on the other side have been like one long fizzy high. I mean, I had a ton of fun writing these (here's The Empty Hearse, which IMO is funnier and just as ho-YAY!) and could say that's its own reward, but there is nothing more validating than the enthusiasm of hardcore fans.

PS. All fannish emotion aside, I could defend every word of it to my editor as an unbiased assessment of what happened in the episode. This stuff writes itself.

Slight spoiler in the editing question. )

PPPS. This one time, South Korea was not exaggerating.
aruan: (Sherlock - all these things I've done)
2014-01-21 01:51 am

how I learned to stop worrying and love The Empty Hearse

I'm not the comedian in my social circle. As the enthusiastic magpie, my forte is effusive bursts of emotion on the esoteric subjects I know a ton about. To that end, I've spent many happy hours between Tumblr and the AO3 "preparing" for the third season of Sherlock. Meta, fic, art - my fannish life of the last two years consisted of little else.

Which was exactly the problem when it came time for The Empty Hearse. )

Back in September, as my newspaper's resident Sherlock expert, I agreed to write episode recaps, which we try to make amusing (nothing TWoP-caliber, but not everyone wants to read a few thousand words on a single episode of their favorite show, either.) The formula works: While I watch neither Homeland nor Scandal, our synopses are often so amusing that I almost forget people die with some frequency on both shows. So it was with that goal to find humor that I approached my recap of The Empty Hearse - and realized what I've been doing wrong from the first scene.

Summarizing something forces you to focus on what's happening in the story, and only that, while being funny puts the drama in perspective. I learned to love the episode by setting aside two years' worth of emotional investment (which still needs a good catharsis - this is the closest I've come). Take things as they happen. Let the characters react in their own ways. Instead of allowing a scene totally jar me out of the story, take a deep breath to consider that the people who made it probably weren't intentionally setting out to fuck with their audience. Allow things to unravel as the writers intended instead of imposing limitations and requirements. I know you're all rolling your eyes, but as a journalist I'm trained to look ahead and anticipate what's next - but the effect is prejudicial in the real world, and joy-killing in entertainment. With that in mind, the episode actually turned out to be damn good, accomplishing everything it needed to without becoming maudlin. I'd give it a solid B+.

tl;dr Sometimes the characters serve the plot, and sometimes the plot is determined by character development - and both are valid storytelling approaches.
aruan: (Sherlock - all these things I've done)
2013-12-08 12:55 am

on and on through the night and the milky way

Aside from a pleasant Thanksgiving spent with friends and their family (though B. gets credit for making a ridiculously fiddly Hungarian dessert, the latest attempt to sublimate the stress of long-term unemployment with baking) there just wasn't anything notable about November. We bought a vacuum during Black Friday, but it was through Amazon so that doesn't quite count. And now, somehow, it is improbably December. I just want some real snow soon, is all I'm saying.

Oh! Actually, there was one thing. Back on Nov. 11, I attended the book release party for Rene Redzepi: A Work in Progress, the new memoir-cookbook by the head chef of Noma in Copenhagen. There was free champagne and lots of people dressed in black who looked like they don't actually eat anything, and I managed to snag a brief chat with him. Amusingly, here is a video of him utterly terrified about just how serious coffee people can be.

In ALL the news of the past week, Sherlooooock. Last year, fandom had [personal profile] greywash's advent calendar with the 26 chapters of as many names as snow, and this year we seem to be getting daily interviews, photos and other chum in the waters ahead of the Jan. 1 premiere of The Empty Hearse. As if we needed any provocation, but I'll take it. For the record, mustache haters to the left, I am ALL IN.

In college football news, I don't have any strong feelings about Michigan State but good job breaking Ohio's 24-game winning streak because, though reveling in Urban Meyer's pain may be shallow I'd drink his tears if I could. Yes, this Gator is still bitter.
aruan: (Sherlock - all these things I've done)
2013-09-07 11:31 pm

he could become my little problem

It feels like there hasn't been any new news for two weeks. Of course, this doesn't mean we didn't put out a paper, because the 24-hour news cycle doesn't need something worthy to happen to keep churning along as anyone who's watched cable news will tell you. But it did make for some long coffee breaks while we wondered what the hell the world has been up to, and the hilarity of a weeklong Miley Cyrus twerk binge morphing into whether we should retaliate for the chemical attacks in Syria.

Speaking of those long coffee breaks, a male colleague told us about a party where they played a game that involved everyone trading phones and having free rein for five minutes, and I can't imagine a more heinous way to spend five minutes. I don't want to know that much about anyone else, and vice versa.

Rewatched Order of the Phoenix today, and didn't remember the showdown in the Ministry for Magic being that underwhelming. However, this was only my second time watching this movie, since of all of them it was the worst offender in terms of omissions.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappucino: An A+ way to tide your cravings over until the weather turns cold enough for lattes.

There will come a time when my life isn't all Nicki Minaj all the time, but this week was not it. Now if you'll excuse me, my pumpkin coffee and I are going back to scrolling through all the beautiful pictures of Cumberskittles at the Toronto Film Festival (speaking of him, ICYMI, there's now glorious footage of the Star Trek Neutron Cream prank.)
aruan: (Sherlock - all these things I've done)
2013-09-06 12:01 am

this is why the BBC needs to air Sherlock at the same time everywhere

Today, my editor asked if I'd be interested in writing episode recaps of the upcoming season of Sherlock because "you know more about it than most." Stand down everyone, the award for Understatement of the Year has been claimed. I enthusiastically accepted, but then had to explain that the last two series had months-long delays between the British and American airdates, and we debated whether people in the States would wait or try to get their hands on it illegally (really though, we were debating whether publishing it right away or waiting would get more pageviews).

I'm tempted to say that fans of the show, and therefore the people likely to read episode analyses, would watch it as soon as possible (god knows I'll spend that night obsessively hitting the refresh button on Pirate Bay) if for no other reason than it would be next to impossible to remain unspoiled about how Sherlock faked his death if you're on any kind of social media website or read any pop culture blogs. Of course, the wider Internet isn't your commuter paper, where you wouldn't be on your guard for spoilers if you didn't known the episode had aired. Ugh. I don't know what the right call is here.

In other TV news, Jon Stewart returned to The Daily Show from Jordan a bit culture shocked and high strung, and man do I have buckets of sympathy. Every year we came back home for a two-week break from the Middle East we felt the same way: really grateful for Target and Mexican food; a bit disconcerted by how little clothing people wear in public after wall-to-wall dishdashas and abayas; and wanting to bathe in Americana (which in Florida meant a trip to the theme parks and World of Beer).

These feels don't happen on arrival - they take a few months of frustration at not being able to buy what you want at grocery stores, trying to deal with labyrinthine bureaucracy designed to waste your money and time, and adjusting to an entirely different pace of life and social discourse. We were chatting in Ikea maybe a couple months after arriving in 2008 when a man walked up to us. "Are you guys Americans?" he asked in a slightly desperate tone. We nodded, a little freaked out, and he burst into a huge smile and shook all our hands in both of his, saying that it's so rare to hear American accents and how happy he was to meet all of us. It struck us as strange at the time, but yeah, we got there eventually too.

Finally, fannish marketers are so much more savvy than the people actually paid to promote a show: [personal profile] cesperanza may well have talked me into Luther with the line, "It's as if Batman fell in love with the Joker." Um, YES PLEASE.
aruan: (Sherlock - all these things I've done)
2013-08-30 10:32 pm

we're never going to feel like we did

I have a VividCon recap in me. At the very least, I have half a Moleskine notebook's worth of amazing panels that tried very hard to shellack a veneer of technical competence onto my raw enthusiasm. But writing it all down would feel like letting it go, sort of? At least that's how getting words out of my head and onto a page works for me. But it will happen! Just as soon as I'm not constantly refreshing Twitter for Sherlock filming photos, half-storyboarding a vid idea before being seized by another one, and trying very hard to hold back the tide of SGA feels from out of nowhere. It's been a busy couple weeks.

One of the few perks of journalism is the occasional free samples distributed around the office. This week, I discovered Salt of the Earth chocolate chip cookies, which besides featuring sea salt use chocolate sheets instead of chips, creating a more predictable taste experience. Recommend!

Speaking of work-related perks, I got to do a cool thing last Friday! Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, unjustly headlined by Robin Thicke (who is a 20-year veteran of lounge singing who suddenly has a massive pop hit on his hands - and nothing else to play for the rest of a 45-minute show) played a small concert in Manhattan before the VMAs. In no small part because of [personal profile] bradcpu's Thrift Shop vid and several fun remakes of Blurred Lines mean that I jumped at the chance to go. Macklemore is, for lack of a better word, adorable (as much as a rapper can be) and literally stepped onto the hands of the crowd during Can't Hold Us (it's all in my official review.)

Yes, I watched the *NSYNC reunion at the VMAs, and just want to say that if you're receiving a lifetime achievement award, and acknowledge that half the accolades of your career were a group effort, then your group should get half the spotlight during your acceptance performance. Otherwise, looking good, boys.

But the REAL news this week was finally finding competent Chinese food - and it's literally around the corner. Pic Up Stix was recently upgraded from a restaurant grade of C to A, and we decided to reward good behavior by getting lunch. Not at all bad, with the impressive feat of a sweet&sour sauce that was neither noxiously sweet nor electric orange.

And then we spoiled our meal with a string of terrible James Spader '80s movies (don't watch Tuff Turf, it's not worth it even for barely legal RDJ.) Though it's a blessing for all other men in the '80s that Spader didn't cultivate his charm until sometime after he chopped off his foofy blond hair, otherwise none of them would've gotten laid the whole decade.
aruan: (30 Rock - bored now)
2013-08-20 08:37 pm

for the purposes of a Superfreak vid...

Would Iron Man and Batman count as superheroes? (Thanks, [personal profile] par_avion, it's your fault that I've been thinking about this all day.)

Oh god you guys, I need to be eased back into the real world after five days of conventioneering, because my boss came in today and this was our word-for-word greeting:

Boss: "Hey, welcome back! We missed you!"
Me: "I didn't miss anyone here."

In non-feral English that was actually, "This weekend was so intense and immersive that there was no awareness of the world outside SpringHill Suites, so I couldn't miss what didn't exist." AND THEN:

Boss: "Do you think you'll write about [VividCon]?"
Me: "I don't think norms would understand it."

FFS YOU DON'T SAY 'NORM' TO A NORM. In my defense, I was caffeine-deficient and spent 15 hours in a car yesterday on top of five days of being able to say exactly what I was thinking as soon as I thought it. But seriously, it felt as heinously embarrassing as my nightmare of walking around high school without pants.

Fortunately, my boss is both sympathetic to post-vacation funk and generally cool, so she waylaid the conversation into theorizing about whether one of her ovaries was possibly "exploding" and suggested we become the kind of co-workers "who say inappropriate things to one another at 9 a.m." My husband has been displaced as the person I love the most today.

Some links:

  • It's only a matter of time before Google can answer personal questions.
  • "The royal couple playing at 'normal' parenthood is no more authentic than Marie Antoinette dressed as a shepherdess."
  • Another reason not to ride a bike in New York: Cops will crash you to write a ticket.
  • aruan: (finally)
    2008-10-26 12:41 am

    let's hold on to each other above anything else

    My new job began this week, but I use that sentence lightly. Getting used to the new 11:30am start time has been the hardest part, as half the editors I'll be working with were either still doing their old newsroom jobs or just started in their Weekend Edition capacity, so there was no actual copy. Basically, I spent a leisurely week pretending to publish my own newspaper, editing and designing a 24-page section. There were stories about the Chinese converting 'night soil' into biogas and the French left gloating about the current financial crisis and dead mothers coming out for hurricanes. It was an entertaining but overall depressing exercise, like reading the news tends to be these days.

    But mostly, any free time I've had the past month or so went into the abyss that is the Twilight series. Should anyone feel the need to find out what the teenies are going crazy for this season, ask me about it. I've read all four books, seen all the trailers and have promotional photos. Also, very complex feelings, most of them some variation of [blech]. The first book was fun, actually - if you like high school romance and vampires, but also have a high tolerance for repetition and stupidity like prismatic skin and basing relationships on the way your significant other smells - but the rest is just insufferably stupid without any emotional payoff. Also, the series enshrines codependent, abusive relationships, not to mention that Bella's only characteristic is that she loves Edward - no hobbies, no friends, no motivation other than being with him. All of which, of course, begs the question of why I'm still here: pretty icons, the promise of incestuous bloodplay fic (still searching for that), and Robert Pattinson's magical hair.

    Other things I've been doing:

    - Smiling randomly that Lance is on Dancing with the Stars
    - Cheering on the Tampa Bay Rays, as Brandon is a St. Petersburg native. One of the photo editors, Mike, is from Tampa, so we've been exchanging gossip and shaking off losses and sharing "Whoo, World Series!" fist bumps
    - Mainlining 30 Rock
    - Learning keyboard shortcuts for everything
    - Counterbalancing my love for Winston with the worthless brick of an iPod that Apple sent for my birthday
    - Partaking of the zombie silliness in World of Warcraft. Also, discovered shamans, possibly never going back
    - Drinking lots of tea because my mom handed off TWO giant tubs of biscotti to us in Europe
    - Shaking my head. The barista Alison spoke with about getting a piece of pumpkin bread for our Dubai road trip two weeks ago shook her head and said, "Pumpkin season is not until January!" [dies]
    - Playing Rock Band again. Short story: A dear friend, at all of 25 years old, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma back in July, and he's been getting treatment in New York. It didn't start well, but he finished chemotherapy with two fewer rounds than expected and is in total remission. His plane back to the 'Dhab landed on Thursday and by that evening we had gotten the band back together. It's so fucking good to see him again.

    You don't want me to do the controversial meme. ) Obama's got a lot to fix, but I've got more confidence in him than a warmongering coffindodger and his ignorant pandering sidekick.
    aruan: (work oh work)
    2008-07-29 05:07 pm
    Entry tags:


    The thing about offices with open floorplans and wall-less cubicles is that you hear everything even from across the room. Today, some sick person who wants for the suffering of all within earshot has changed their ringtone Right Here Waiting. It's rung twice in the hour and a half I've been here, and the urge to throw it against the wall is already mounting. How have we wronged you?
    aruan: (work oh work)
    2008-07-09 10:03 pm
    Entry tags:

    American-to-Queen's English

    Tonight's bit of hilarity: The deputy desk editors looked at me (and, it should be noted, the paper's deputy editor, a former New York Times writer) as though we were illiterate at the suggestion of acclimation. It seems Brits and Australians exclusively use acclimatisation (yes, with an S - it's been a grammatical rollercoaster since we've stepped off the plane).
    aruan: (work oh work)
    2008-06-15 02:57 pm
    Entry tags:

    vita detestabilis

    I've got O Fortuna in my head. That's how well work is going.
    aruan: (big boy with a big gun)
    2008-05-01 07:53 pm

    just because it's the end of the week doesn't mean we're all off the clock after 5

    I'm falling asleep at my desk because after packing for the past two days, we moved all of our this-side-of-the-worldly belongings into the new apartment over three hours this morning. For dinner, I wanted Cosi, because they serve coffee instead of just Nescafe like every traditional restaurant in the area (does Islam frown on caffeine too?) But upon calling, I'm kindly informed that "we don't deliver today." Huh? That's not even comprehensible to me.

    Also, the abominable security woman at the front desk made me put my purse through the X-ray machine again today, after laying off a couple weeks into our starting work. It's not the time but the principle of the thing - what reason would I possibly have to jeopardize my job? Why haven't I done it, say, before the launch of the paper if sabotage was my intention? If she does it again I'm pitching a fit. Grr!
    aruan: (happiness is a ZPM)
    2008-04-23 10:42 pm
    Entry tags:

    we keep forgetting there's no need to shred proofs anymore

    After a lot of hammering during work hours, there are four flat-screen TVs hovering over the newsroom showing whatever happens to please them (this afternoon there was everything from Sabrina the Teenage Witch to tennis.)

    Just now though, an Arabic news channel was showing footage from a stock market trading floor, where the day's stragglers were having a sit - and reading The National. Whoo!
    aruan: (big bang baby)
    2008-04-17 04:46 am

    my fingers are smeared with ink, like I'd voted 10 times in an Iraqi election

    I'm about to go sleep the sleep of one who stayed up for the day's first call to prayer, but there was no way we were leaving the makeshift printing hangar without getting a copy of the very first edition of The National.

    Yeah, slightly blue, but it's Volume 1, Issue 1! We're finally official! None of us left our seats tonight despite a lighter-than-normal workload because suddenly, after three months of putting out what felt like a college paper with minimal responsibility for the end result, the whole world would see today's edition. Despite standing in heels for four hours, two paper jams and much doubt, we launched a newspaper. I'm not sure anyone will ever get to do that again.

    [ETA: Check out the video on Arab answer to The New York Times? In the teaser shot, Mike is in the foreground with my hubby just behind him!]
    aruan: (rockin' the space-time continuum)
    2008-04-03 11:14 pm

    a party means we're official, right?

    After nearly three months of training, dry runs, long nights and all the other assorted pleasures of starting up a newspaper, management thought we could use some an open bar and catering to celebrate. It was a lovely affair, chronicled with yellow-tinged flash-free photographs here!
    aruan: (no Earth-bound misfit I)
    2008-03-23 04:32 pm
    Entry tags:


    The editor in chief just announced he's presenting our baby to advertisers tomorrow at the Emirates Palace Hotel, and all indications are that we'll barely get any copy onto the pages from all the interest. I'd so love to be there, to see the prototype up on a gigantic projection screen and have someone who hasn't been cooped up in our cold, dark hovel slaving over it for months say it's awesome, too. Alas, we have to work, but it's really happening. The press has arrived (after buying it from a Russian paper behind schedule and commissioning the world's largest cargo plane to get it here, if rumors are true) and a building risen around it (that five-story structure was definitely not there about a week ago), so it's finally real. I can't wait.
    aruan: (rockin' the space-time continuum)
    2008-01-02 03:07 pm

    the last two months, let me share them with you

    If I don't occasionally cut my losses with updating, it's like nothing happened this year besides work, and that's not how I want to remember it.

    That is the opening line of an entry I began typing sometime late November. It involved exhaltations about this television season (Pushing Daisies! Journeyman! Chuck! Kid Nation!), seeking SGA fic from Sheppard's point of view, the food and family dramas of the holidays, and speculation about the far-off prospect of a job at an unnamed start-up newspaper in the Middle East.

    We've come a long way, baby.

    In short: Brandon and I accepted job offers from Emirates Media Inc. to be on the staff of a British publication in Abu Dhabi (I needed the map, too. For photos of the city, see here.) About three weeks later, after cautions that were we to cohabitate as an unwed couple the authorities may well come around to say something about it and a heartfelt confession in the middle of Warcraft by Brandon that he would "totally courthouse marry" me, we did it properly in the backyard of his family's St. Petersburg home.

    With bonus best in-laws ever! )

    By the way, if you ever want to wreak some havoc? Walk into a bridal shop on a Saturday saying you need a dress for your Monday wedding.

    Despite blissful unemployment since the 10th, I've been too busy packing and traveling all over the state to catch my breath, let alone update (though I do mean for that to change, one way or another.) More than that, my head's been clogged with uncertainty and, to be honest, a little worry. But our coworkers seem cool, the most recent DVD seasons of all our shows have been purchased, and the region abounds with all my favorite ethnic foods. This is pretty much all we know about the paper too, and while I'm optimistic that the project will be progressive - the crown prince has certainly made a significant gesture by giving the publication independence - even if it only turns out to be a working vacation it'll be an amazing experience.

    Uh, I think that's it. What's new with you?
    aruan: (ohgodWHY)
    2007-10-09 01:14 pm

    so Michael, what's to stop you from doing this?

    I turned 25 on the 30th, an experience best left as low-key as it was; there's no joy in being able to measure one's lifespan in terms of a century. My father and aunt came through town for a whirlwind lunch at Olive Garden on the 1st, leaving Godiva chocolate and some wicked good nutty mini croissants in their wake. My mom spent the past weekend up here, shopping on Saturday (have you ever bought something off the rack that was meant for you? TWICE) with dinner at Texas de Brazil Churrascaria (the garlic sirloin was dreamy, though really, if you're going to have men with large knives and skewered meat walking all around, take away their shirt privileges) and Universal Studios on Sunday. )

    Workwise, I haven't not wanted to go into the office as much as today in a long time - my co-crime reporter quit two weeks ago, conveniently right after being out for a month for surgery, and the reporter who mentored me and commiserated about the fact that one of our direct supervisors actually uses the phrase "I'm gonna need you to go ahead and..." has switched offices because he hated being stuck with higher education (after BOTH our education reporters left, with no replacements planned) and now works out of our Winter Haven bureau. I may have cried a little watching him pack up his stuff Wednesday night. Oh, and they switched my weekends to Saturday/Sunday a couple weeks ago to keep the cops shift covered with overtime, so I now see [ profile] flatword for an hour before work, for a half-hour dinner if we can get out, and about two hours afterward until I inevitably fall asleep on the sofa. Let me tell you how well that's working out for us.

    But then... )

    Otherwise, Brandon plays a lot of Halo 3, I play a lot of Warcraft, and we respectively try to make time for reading and TV. )

    Oh, and how did the Defuser win Who Wants to Be a Superhero? Hyperstrike must've kicked a puppy or something in the last episode.
    aruan: (this is really happening)
    2007-08-11 01:56 am

    chloroform the one you love

    Before they get into journalism. )

    Yeah. I hear Disney's hiring?
    aruan: (no Earth-bound misfit I)
    2007-05-15 11:02 pm
    Entry tags:

    I think she looks beautiful.

    Ousted Largo City Manager Steve Stanton has re-emerged as Susan Ashley Stanton - Susan for the name his mother would have chosen for a girl, and Ashley because he's "never met an Ashley who wasn't sweet and kind."

    Whether or not the people who knew him as Steve Stanton support his decision, I hope Susan gets the chance she's wanted for people to know her.