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A Fangirl's Playground
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21st-Feb-2025 07:35 pm - Sticky: Introduction Post!
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Hi there! I'm Sophia, and this is my journal. If you want to know more about me and about what you can find on my journal, this is the place!Collapse )
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Sometimes when people post things (fic, meta, reactions, gifs, fanart, etc) with spoilers in, they preface the spoilery post with DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN/READ/PLAYED [INSERT THING HERE].

As someone who actively seeks out spoilers before seeing/reading/playing most things (I get stressed out and unable to enjoy the thing because I'm too worried about what's going to happen), I find this annoying at best and insulting at worst. I'm guessing that the people who do this don't mean it that way, but to me it comes across as policing the internet law about spoilers that spoilers are somehow inherently bad and wrong.

Instead of straightforwardly saying "This contains spoilers for [insert thing here]," which allows the readers to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be spoilered, the habit of telling people not to read if they haven't already seen/read/played the thing is a way of telling the reader that the author of the spoilery post knows better than you about what you do or don't want to know. It's a way of telling me that my way of interacting with the world is unacceptable. It's a way of telling me that I don't belong.

And I really don't appreciate it.

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5th-Apr-2014 09:42 pm - Cap 2! [fandom: superheroes]
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Today I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier! HUZZAH it was great. Of course, being me, I read a million spoilery reviews before going to see it, and the thing about doing that is that it means that afterwards I don't feel like I have anything new to say on the subject of the movie. So I guess here are a few personal reactions that don't intend to encompass everything about the movie:

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Heroes & Heroines, Monsters & Magic: Native American Legends & Folktales as told by Joseph Bruchac

Does exactly what it says on the tin! The stories are enjoyable, and well-told. I was already familiar with a couple of them but most were new to me. One thing I particularly liked was that there were multiple stories about turtles winning races through quick wits and trickery, which I enjoyed comparing with the aesop moral about turtles winning by being "slow and steady". I do love how different folk traditions use similar motifs to say very different things!

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Reading multi-author anthologies is always a frustrating experience for me, because of having to reset my expectations at the beginning of every single story. I can't just settle into the book, because the book changes after each story. It's more than just having to settle into a new story, it's about what I should expect about the story given the author. Because different authors are, well, different, and I need to figure out whether I should be prepared to face -isms in the story, and whether it's the sort of story that'll likely end on a hopeful note, and what kinds of things the author thinks are important or interesting to focus on, and so on and so forth. It can get kind of exhausting! Basically it comes down to: do I trust this author to tell me a story I will enjoy? And I HAVE NO IDEA whether to trust the author or not because I don't have any prior experience to draw on!

All of which is to say that I found this anthology, like any multi-author anthology, very uneven. Let me go through story-by-story:

Mostly no spoilers. Does spoiler the end of one story, Screaming for FairiesCollapse )

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For inexplicable reasons (no really I have no clue why) this was the Pratchett book I reread the most often as a teenager. As such, rereading it was a deeply familiar experience. So it's hard to be objective about a lot of it? Because it has been a part of me for so long!

One major difference this reread is that I have since read a whole bunch of meticulously researched Age of Sail novels (thank you Patrick O'Brian) and thus have an entirely new sense of UTTER HORROR at Vimes's behaviour on that boat. AUGH VIMES NO.

Also I've never been fond of Colon-and-Nobby storylines and that's only gotten worse as I've gotten older. I ended up skimming or skipping over those scenes this time.

But overall the reading experience was just nice nostalgia. (and also a creeping realization of how utterly bone-deep familiar Pratchett's narrative voice is for me. I read SO MUCH PRATCHETT as a teenager! I guess it was kind of inevitable!)

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I've listened to the Concept Album and the Original Broadway Cast recordings of the Scarlet Pimpernel multiple times each and I am ready to have some preliminary opinions - keeping in mind, of course, that at this point I am not capable of hazarding which character is singing most songs.

And my opinions are mostly that there are some things I like better about the concept album and some things I like better about the OBC, and some things I rather strongly dislike about each, and does another cast recording exist please?

The OBC has much better ordering and pacing and choice of songs than the concept album, so listening to the album as a whole is a much better listening experience. I find myself skipping a bunch of the concept album when I listen to it, whereas the OBC I listen to straight through.

But on the other hand, I am REALLY UPSET about the change of words for the titular song "The Scarlet Pimpernel" between the two because the concept album's lyrics for that song are OBVIOUSLY SUPERIOR (in my not so humble opinion). That's the song where the changes are most marked, but even for, say, "The Creation of Man" the way it's done changes between the two and I like the concept album's version better. There are a few minor changes that I do like in the OBC bust mostly I prefer the concept album's versions of lyrics and spoken interjections.

So for most individual songs I'm happier with the concept album, but for the overall musical I'm happier with the OBC.

And in minor nitpicky opinions, there are a few lines in the OBC sung by bit parts where the choices of the voice actor REALLY BUG ME so it makes me frustrated to listen to the OBC. And is it just me or does Marguerite's french accent come and go? And Marguerite at least attempts a French accent, but Chauvelin doesn't even bother and is just half-American half-British? CONSISTENCY YOU GUYS.

Anyways no but seriously do other cast recordings exist? These were the only two I could find! And as far as I can tell neither of them accurately represents the musical as it is generally staged today?



Relatedly! I started watching the takarazuka production of The Scarlet Pimpernel! (Star troupe, 2008) and within the first ten minutes I was already like OKAY THIS IS THE PERCIEST PERCY TO EVER PERCY, EVERYONE ELSE CAN GO HOME NOW. I'm no longer 100% convinced of that (mostly because wowwwwww that is a really terrible disguise) but I still utterly adore this Percy. Also everything else about this production. Really all you need to know is in this picspam/reaction/summary by skygiants. So far I'm up to Percy in tiger-print.

What other versions of the Scarlet Pimpernel should I watch?

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Through the Narrow Gate: A Memoir of Life In and Out of the Convent, by Karen Armstrong

The author, Karen Armstrong, is a very well-known writer of nonfiction about comparative religion. This is her memoir. Well - the first half of her memoir. It's about her experience of becoming a nun at the age of 17, why she stayed for seven years, and why she eventually left. It's a very powerfully-written book. I cried all over the place during the latter part.

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I have to start by saying that that is a really unfortunate choice of flower name for one's secret identity, because at least in my experience the scarlet pimpernel is not a well-known flower name these days, and the only real association with the syllable "pimp" is, well, pimps. And "scarlet" doesn't really help with the pimp association. So the name sounds kiiiiind of sketchy instead of sounding like an innocent wayside flower.

ANYWAYS.

cut for spoilersCollapse )

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There is a lot that I love about this book! There is also a thing that I do not love.

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Last night I watched The Gods Must Be Crazy II! I had heard conflicting things about whether it was better or worse than the first movie. My judgement: it is better in some ways, not as good in others, but overall I do like it more than the first one, because unlike the first one there isn't anything I dislike about it.

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So I figured being home sick was the right time to watch Párizsi élet. And - welp, now I've seen it. And my levels of bafflement are SO HIGH RIGHT NOW. SO MUCH BAFFLEMENT.

Like, I can manage to figure out that there are a lot of sex jokes? and also that the characters are pretty drunk for at least a couple of the major scenes? But other than that I am just a lot of ????

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS when you watch a show when you don't know the language and don't have subs and don't even know the plot. So. Um. I really liked the scenes Bobinet and Gardefeu were in together! They were super adorable dorks around each other. But that was a relatively small percentage of the running time, and I couldn't tell ANY OF THE OTHER CHARACTERS APART FROM EACH OTHER. (well, except Alphonse)

So! I am willing to bet that if you have even a little bit more of a clue than me then this is a great show, but as it is.... I think I'll just go reread the one extant fic for this production, which is charming and adorable and great and comprehensible

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To find out why I chose to read this book you have to look backwards in my life QUITE A FEW YEARS. Like, a dozen years at LEAST. As a kid I had this book called "Horses Forever" by Lawrence Scanlan - it's a nonfiction book about why horses have so much appeal to people. I reread it a LOT for a few years, during my most horse-obsessed age. And in one part of Horses Forever there's reference made to Tschiffely's Ride, apparently in glowing enough terms that I remembered the name for a dozen years as something I wanted to read. Gosh. That is an IMPRESSIVE FEAT given the generally poor state of my memory!

Anyways, fast-forward those dozen or so years, and I was wandering a used bookstore and saw Tschiffely's Ride on a sale shelf for like one buck. I was immediately like SOLD and then I took it home and put it on my bookshelf and didn't touch it for several years. (I am SO GOOD at reading things on my to-read list...) But! Finally I have read it!

It's a nonfiction book written by a white dude in the 1930s who randomly decided he wanted to travel on horseback from where he was working in Buenos Aires, Argentina all the way to Washington DC, something everyone said wasn't doable. Because he was bored and wanted adventure. This trip involves a lot of deserts and mountains and other such fun things. It took him 2 1/2 years. And he wrote this book after his successful completion of the journey!

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4th-Mar-2014 07:17 pm - Chess again [fandom: musicals]
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I don't know how many times I've listened to Chess in Concert over the last couple days but it's a worrying number.

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The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

I would have been a million percent into this book as a kid when I eagerly read every single horse book I could, and I will not lie, I am super into it now as well. It is basically Misty of Chincoteague with MAN-EATING WATER HORSES awww yeah. SUPER INTO IT.

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2nd-Mar-2014 12:11 pm - Chess the musical [fandom: musicals]
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So I read some fic for the musical Chess back in 2011, decided I ought to listen to the musical and... proceeded to not listen to it for years.

BUT I FINALLY HAVE. (the Chess in Concert recording)

I really enjoyed the music! Except for the song "One Night in Bangkok which is rather orientalist.

My OTP: Florence/getting the hell away from all those assholes. I would also be down with Florence/Svetlana/getting the hell away from all those assholes.

I do not have a lot of patience for these types of assholes. I think I am the wrong audience for this musical....

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YOU GUYS I WENT TO THE LIBRARY AND GOT OUT BOOKS. This...should not be as unusual as it is. For the past I don't even want to know how long, I've been almost exclusively reading either a) books off my bookshelf, b) books off my sister's bookshelf, c) books my sister got out of the library for herself, or d) books I borrowed from other people. NO MORE. I HAVE THE POWER TO SEEK OUT NEW BOOKS ON MY OWN. Once upon a time I was at the library every single week......... those days are long past but maybe a new era is dawning? Where I go to the library maybe once every couple months? That seems reasonable.

Here are some of the books I got out and proceeded to read!

Darkbeast, by Morgan KeyesCollapse )

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, by Mary RoachCollapse )

Klee Wyck, by Emily CarrCollapse )

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16th-Feb-2014 07:13 pm - on sex and asexuality [thing: asexuality]
Combeferre
so hey I wrote a thing on tumblr and forgot to post it over here as well. WHOOPS, FIXING THAT.

All too often when I come across people talking about asexuality, there's a "but don't forget to talk about how ace people can have sex too! and enjoy it!" thing. And that's understandable - after all there ARE ace people who have sex, and ace people who enjoy having sex.

But here's the thing: when I come across that kind of interjection, over and over and over again, it feels to me like it is just re-emphasizing what society already tells me: society says, "everybody has sex!" and this says, "everybody has sex, even ace people, so there is no excuse!"

And I'd just really like the acknowledgement, sometimes, that it is okay that I have never had sex and have zero interest or intent to change that at any point in my life.

When one person says, "ace people don't experience sexual attraction," and someone else always immediately jumps in with, "but they can still have sex!" it makes me feel like my experience of being ace is less important. Like what's important is to make sure the sexual world understands that we the ace community acknowledge the importance of sex in everyone's lives!!!!!

It's akin to how when you wander the asexuality tag on AO3, the majority of fics are rated explicit for sexual content. What? What? Why is having sex the most important thing to talk about when talking about being ace?

I know it's important to have some of this kind of discourse out there - after all, it IS the lived experience of plenty of ace people. But there's also the rest of us, and I for one would really like to not experience the pressure to have sex even in supposedly pro-ace conversations.

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11th-Feb-2014 06:33 pm - coriolanus some more [fandom: shakespeare]
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Continuing my thoughts from yesterday - the other thing is, Coriolanus is such a political play! And I'm not sure how I'm supposed to interpret its politics either. cut for spoilersCollapse )

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