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February 20, 2009


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Susan, I'll be home for Easter weekend. I am going to a friend's birthday party on Sunday, but otherwise Chris and I plan to get some work done on our irrigation system and our game room, and I'll probably do some beading. Plus there will be video games, DVDs, and Chris talked about getting some programming done.

I doubt very much that it will be a 3-day weekend, either. Independent contractors don't get a lot of holidays :/

AJ... Independent contractors don't get a lot of holidays

That sounds like the normal way of things for me, and I'm a full-time employee.

Maybe it's just that programmers don't get a lot of holidays, then.

AJ... Well, full-time programmers do get holidays. Officially. Unfortunately, once we get back to reality, we often find ourselves working longer days to make up for it. I think this situation affects pretty much anybody who can do her/his work on a computer. Mind you, while I am at FiestaCon or at the worldcon, Reality will be the farthest thing from my mind.

Well, my version of a "holiday" involves doing my taxes, cleaning house, and writing a paper on 15th-century Italian dance. When you have a day job and several freelance careers, you don't really get free time.

I have made it back from the beer festival and am very nearly sober. I voted for the Leeds brewery's Ascension Ale for ale of the festival, although as I voted at the end of our session there, I can't be sure if that was the best one I tasted, or just the one I could remember at that moment. Still, at least my vote was for one of the beers there (or for an actual beer, as to my certain knowledge, one vote was cast for a local band who disbanded several years ago)

For the rest of the weekend, my plans include cleaning, doing accounts, mending the shoulder strap of my bag, cooking and eating with my parents, meeting some friends and replying to a wedding invitation.

I kept misreading that as you voting for one of the bears there. And I'm stone cold sober.

My weekend plans continue to be to stay home and see no one and try to get things accomplished. Accomplishments are proceeding at a very leisurely pace. But I did get all the cookies baked, packaged with the CDs, and into the mail to the far corners of the globe!

I kept misreading that as you voting for one of the bears there.

I think that would be very, very unlikely.

Bear puns, Neil? Ursa'rtainly asking for trouble.

My weekend plans of yard/game room work were derailed by a rain storm. It's cold. And wet. In Tucson in April. This is highly unusual.

Still have a party to go to, but I doubt that it will be a picnic as originally stated and I doubt I will wear my cute brown cotton sundress and new brown sandals, though I may find something else to wear that will match the nifty necklace that I made to wear to said party with said sundress.

It rained quite a bit here too. It even hailed. Not the most cheerful weather, but Albuquerque can use the rain. Still, this meant no gardening, and no digging of holes. Hopefully tomorrow's elemnts will be less inclement.

I went to the local SF club's monthly meeting last night. It was an auction so I brought some pre-recorded tapes I had replaced with their DVD counterpart. A set of 3 of my movies that included Time After Time fetched a little over $10. Appropriately enough, this being an SF group, the evening started with our not being allowed into the premises until the owner had corraled his cats away.

It poured here Friday and yesterday. Today it's sunny but still on the chilly side. All I've done today is grocery shop, make a truly excellent meatloaf, and torrent the latest Doctor Who episode, which I loved.

I accidentally left my copy of Repo! at my friend Claire*'s and she watched it one day while recovering from jet lag** and really liked it. The two of us tried to explain what it was about to the other 7 people eating supper round the table with us last night. I don't know that we turned them all on to it - "it's a musical about surgery and drugs and family secrets and opera with Antony Stewart Head, Paris Hilton and Sarah Brightman. There's lots of blood!"*** - but they know it exists and some have expressed an interest. I will reprot more if I ever get the DVD back.

* AKA Beretta on Heckler and Kochk
** Or maybe she was ill, or just had the day off, I missed that part of the story
*** I think some of them thgouht we were making it up, except we were too consistent in our description

It's really hard to explain succinctly without sending people screaming away in horror, isn't it?

I'm now trying to arrange a showing at Balticon in <3 weeks. Nothing like a concom that plans ahead...

Ok, just finally watched Repo! tonight, and I much appreciate the warning on how well-telegraphed the nasty eyeball scene was. I made Chris tell me about it afterwards, so I knew what I missed, and even that was almost too much ;)

My opinion: Entertainingly bizarre, but I don't know if I liked it. Loved the costuming and aesthetic, but I still can't stand people singing all of their lines.

Chris's opinion: "I think I might have been entertained, but I'm not sure."

He's going to recommend it to his business partner, whose tastes run even more to the bizarre than ours do, and who doesn't mind musicals.

Well, so far the ratio of Rixo people who like it to ones that don't is about matching up with reactions among my local friends...

Well, after a week thinking about it, I decided that I liked everything about Repo! except for the fact that it was a musical. I ended up rating it a 4 on Netflix, and it would have been a 5 if the musical aspect hadn't annoyed me.

We have Chris's business partner and one of our gaming friends convinced that they have to watch it, but they haven't yet.

I was going to tell my friend Mara to watch it, but forgot, and then yesterday she showed up saying how she had watched it over the weekend, absolutely loved it, and couldn't stop singing Zydrate Anatomy. She even wants me to make her a necklace that looks like a vial of Zydrate.

I'm glad it worked out to liking it! I've no idea how you manage an "except the music" thing, though, since it's such an integral part of it!

I know there are other people doing the Zydrate necklaces; I can probably dig up the specs on the Repo forums, which are currently all screwed up.


Leaving aside the music, I liked the aesthetic, the concept, the casting, and even some of the musical numbers -- which puts it ahead of Sweeney Todd, where I liked the aesthetic, the concept, and the casting, but hated pretty much all of the music.

This is of course odd, since I love music. I think it's just a matter of finding it unrealistic when people burst out into song instead of speaking lines.

I'm willing to bet that there are people making much cooler Zydrate necklaces than I could manage, so if you find any info, please let me know. I'm rather limited by working with beads, which don't glow. There are some that glow under black light, but as far as I know, they only grow green, not blue. I considered the idea of using transparent bright blue beads and a little white LED, but I'd have to recruit my Dad to do the electronics.

AJ... I think it's just a matter of finding it unrealistic when people burst out into song instead of speaking lines

I used to feel that way when I was quite young.

Whereas I think the problem is not in the musicals, but in reality: why is my life not filled with people bursting into song? When I go shopping, why doesn't this happen? I don't know what I'm doing wrong!

(Okay, for that particular song, presumably the problem is that I'm not getting married. But still!)

But if your life were like a musical, Susan, you'd have to make sure that everybody is in on this because otherwise, as you gracefully dance off the sidewalk onto the street, a distracted truckdriver talking on his cell phone might put an end to your days.

Serge, are you saying that I'll feel differently when I'm older? ;)

And by the way, people do randomly burst into song in my life. But by people, I mean my husband, and my burst into song, I mean grasp onto even the most tenuous connection to start singing an '80s song or commercial jingle that I'd rather forget. It's not all it's cracked up to be.

AJ... Well, I feel a bit creakier as I get closer to the age of 54. Wiser? Not so much.

It's not all it's cracked up to be.
From Rodgers & Hammerstein to a 1980s song.
I'd say you're right.

A good director would avoid these problems!

I think that's different from on-topic songs. You clearly need a new composer and lyricist for your life. :)

Susan... A good traffic director?

A good director, period. I think my life needs a little tightening up of the plot, too, so maybe a script doctor as well.

AJ... Ever seen The Band Wagon? It's from the 1950s starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, and is a hilarious musical about putting a musical together after it makes a detour toward a Faustian Tragedy. One song, about baby triplets who hate each other, would not fly well with modern audiences, especially the part where they each wish they could shoot the remaining two triplets.

Susan... Ever read Marvin Kaye's story collection The Incredible Umbrella of the early 1980s? One of the stories has the hero's crossdimensional Umbrella take him to a reality where everything is a musical based on Gilbert & Sullivan.

Actually, yes, though it was so long ago I'd forgotten the details. I love Marvin's work.

I do not, however, wish to have my life based on G&S, thankyouverymuch. I can only do G&S in very small doses.

Susan... Then it's a good thing I couldn't find on YouTube that musical number that Gilda Radner once did on the Muppet Show with a 7-foot-tall talking carrot. Yes, it was called "The Carrots of Penzance".

I just stuck The Bandwagon on my Netflix queue -- haven't seen it in a long time -- but they don't have The Incredible Umbrella.

Marilee... You might want to take a look at 1999's movie Topsy Turvy, about how Gilbert & Sullivan came to create The Mikado. Jim Broadbent plays Gilbert.

Serge, I don't think I've watched any classic musicals all the way through, with the except of The Sound of Music and Singing in the Rain, and I can't remember if I watched the entirety of the latter. All of the rest I've just seen in snippets.

Susan, a new composer and lyricist might very well be in order! Maybe a voice coach for the leading man, too ;)

AJ... a voice coach for the leading man

Good thing I don't know your hubby's email address. Hmm... Is he coming to FiestaCon? Bwahahahah!!!

For your musical entertainment, I bring the finale of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", a comedy about a Roman slave and his young Patrician master, who is in love with the girl next door - except that next door is a bordello. There's also crossdressing. And gladiators.

A comedy adapted from Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, about the mistaken identities of a set of separated-at-birth twins and their separated-at-birth twin slaves.

Susan... Thanks. I did think it felt like a Classical situation, the kind of plot that someone like Molière enjoyed, where the family's servant really was the one person keeping everyone and everything from falling apart.

It's even more Classical than that: it's adapted from some of the plays of the Roman playwright Plautus, second century BC.

More recent playwrights on whom Plautus was a major influence include Molière - there you go, Serge - and Shakespeare. Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors is also adapted from a couple of Plautus' plays, but not the same ones that A Funny Thing... is adapted from.

(There is a musical based on Comedy of Errors, though: it's called The Boys from Syracuse.)


Thanks for the catch, Paul. You're absolutely right, it's Boys from Syracuse I was thinking of. I worked on both musicals long ago (20ish years ago), haven't seen either one since, and managed to get them scrambled in my head. I was even IN Boys and still managed to space out on which plot belongs in which musical! *beats head against wall*

Sorry, Serge.

And yes, Shakespeare did raid plenty of previous authors for his plots.

What is there to apologize for, Susan? You have so much knowledge inside your head, so is it surprising that some of it gets mixed up?

About authors raiding older plots... This was the subplot of one of the Marcus Didius Falco mysteries, when he and his girlfriend wind up with a traveling theatrical troupe in Judea. It also involves killer clowns.

I quote Hedonism-bot from Futurama: "Surgery? In an opera? How wonderfully decadent! And just when I was beggining to lose interest!"

I assume I am not the first person to apply this quote to Repo.

Thanks, Serge! Topsy Turvy is on my queue. (Susan, I'm not getting any html to work.)

I saw a bit of Topsy Turvy and liked it. I wouldn't mind seeing the whole thing sometime.

Marilee: can you be more specific about what's not working? Are you trying to add html to a post? Or are someone else's links not working?

The links to a particular comment on long threads aren't working for me at the moment. I just had to click through aaalllll the pages of comments on this post to get here.

The same thing happened to me for the last hour, but things appear to be back to normal now, Marilee.

Links to specific comments are working for me, but html is definitely gone wonky. I'll look into it.

Apologizing for correcting someone and being incorrect myself is appropriate.

I tried one Falco novel and didn't find it interesting, so I haven't tried any others. Right now I am working my way through Margaret Frazer's Joliffe series, which is four novels so far, plus rereading the four Frevisse novels in which the character appeared. More on this soon.


Re apologies, true, but hitting your head against a wall as part of the process is not necessary. Then again, there are times when I've wanted my own apologies to be followed by forcefully connecting my face with my fist so I understand the urge.

As for the Falco stories... It didn't work for me the first time I tried it, but I came back and it worked. Still, it's one of those things where it'll click or where it definitely will not, without much middle ground. Which reminds me that I should probably resume reading the Amelia Peabody mysteries, after that dud where Peabody's hubby lost his memories of their marriage.

As a data point, the links to specific comments still aren't working for me. (So if you changed something, it didn't fix whatever the problem is.)

Marilee... It's not just you. And HTML appears to be kaput.

I'm getting directly to comments (just got to this one). I have a help request in on the HTML. Remember I control nothing about the setup here! I haven't made any changes, so this is some kind of Typepad glitch. For now, put any URLs into the comments in their entirety and I will come by and play Link Fairy and make them into live links.

Susan... Oh, I didn't expect you were doing anything nefarious with your site's code. I figured it was TypePad acting up again.

Susan, it's both -- Serge's html and my html didn't work. I can't get the direct links, either.

I'm not getting direct links to any of the comments -- it seems to have gone back to the old broken system of assuming that all the comments are on a single page.

And all the HTML in all the comments seems to have disappeared; not just links, but also things like adding italics for emphasis or to mark quotations from a previous comment. (I've included some italics for emphasis in the previous sentence, but you probably won't be able to see it.) My guess is that some kind of filter intended to block malicious code has gone rogue and is blocking everything.

(I was away in Phoenix for two days and am now trying to catch up)

Serge, my husband will hopefully be at FiestaCon, and I told him about the pun panel, which piqued his interest. This is assuming, of course, that he doesn't get stuck working. One of his clients doesn't understand the words "I'm going on vacation for two days."

And what of you, AJ? Are you likely to be at FiestaCon, with or without your hubby?

Well, if the husband is going then I definitely am. However, I don't drive, so if he isn't able to go, I may be out of luck. I need to start trying to plan it out this weekend.

Do plan, AJ, do.

"Surgery? In an opera? How wonderfully decadent! And just when I was beggining to lose interest!"

I assume I am not the first person to apply this quote to Repo.

Well, you're the first I've heard do so, but I'm not a habitué of Repo forums.

I've shown the movie to a few more friends recently, but the overall percentage of my friends who like it (small) does not seem to be shifting much. It seems to require a very uncommon combination of interests.

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