Interests & Hobbies: Reading (fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, mysteries, memoirs, romance, middle grade and young adult fiction--pretty much anything that looks interesting); writing, journaling, complicated villains, antiheroes, folklore and urban legends (especially the creepy stuff); podcasts, comics, and movies. When it comes to fandoms I love the MCU (especially Guardians of the Galaxy and the Netflix shows), Pacific Rim, Outlander (the books and the show), Star Wars, DC comics, and a whole bunch of others. I also read and write fanfic (mostly Marvel at the moment, though I'm hoping to expand into other fandoms).
Looking For: People who write or read fanfic, people who post about their fandoms, people who post semi-regularly, or, really, anyone who's interested in being friends! I'm a little shy, but I love meeting new people and seeing new posts on my reading page. :)
A violet sphere of energy burst overhead, and most of the nearby lights went out. Two sniper shots, muffled, but audible to a practised ear, came in rapid succession. A short burst of less-muffled machine gun fire - and then a small armoured ship appeared from overhead, dropping hard and fast to low hover. The large hatch on the side blew open; from inside, a masked figure shouted in a machine-like tone, "GET OVER HERE."
Lena ran. Ran, and dove, reacting, not thinking, onto the platform, and it raised, carrying her with it. As she tumbled to the deck, the masked figure said, "Trafalgar Square?! Points for style, but are you insane?" now with a distinctly Hispanic accent.
"It was either that or blow up Fleet House, mate. I thought this would be better."
"I'm not so sure."
"I could still change my mind."
"Get in the crash chair, we're moving quickly."
Widowmaker appeared at the opposite hatch shouting, "GO, GO, GO," slammed its close button, and dove into a second crash chair as the ship shot forward, horizontally, low, and vanished from sight over a partially darkened Old London.
The ship shot west, tilting upwards, pulling four Gs for 12 straight seconds, as it just cleared buildings.
"That... was fast..." said Lena from her crash chair as the retrieval ship broke towards the Channel.
"We've been keeping an eye on you," said Sombra, with some effort, from the pilot's seat.
"Several," said Widowmaker, somehow effortlessly. "No one escapes from my sight. But... Trafalgar? Êtes-vous une folle? Why?"
"I... I'm not even sure. I think I wanted to give 'em the two-finger salute. I wanted them to know."
"Well," Amélie admitted with a mix of amusement and irritation, "they certainly know now."
"Four minutes thirty seconds to international airspace," said Sombra, from the pilot's seat. "33 seconds to cloak recharge."
"I didn't expect you to bring in a bloody troop carrier. How are we not shot down?"
Sombra mocked, "World's greatest intelligence agency! Spycraft is in our blood! And they still rely on CCTV. Pathetic - they won't even be sure you're gone until we're too far away to care." As gravity returned to normal, she turned and tossed the semi-prone Lena a seemingly-random collection of electronics. "Much better. Here, a present for you."
"What are they?"
"CCTV relays, a couple of encoders - it's all stuff they were using to track you tonight. Junk, really." A chime from the console. "Cloak reactivated. 15 seconds, changing course."
"So you knew," said Lena, looking towards, but a little past, Amélie.
"We watched them watching you," said the spider, looking back, "and I anticipated, and made contingency plans. I did not know, until they took you in. I'd hoped, if you came back out, that you'd go out of town to summon us - not go as far into town as possible." She checked the tactical board visible on the wall from her crash chair, and to Sombra, said, "No one is painting us. I don't think we need to use the backup boosters." From the pilot seat, Sombra agreed. "Boosters on hot standby."
Lena's focus moved further out again. "They one-thirty-foured me. And they took my license. Amélie," she said, distantly, as the adrenaline surge faded. "They took my wings."
Amélie reached across the lengthening gap, and took Lena's hand. "That, I did not know. So that is why... all this." She scowled. "I know what it meant to you. I am displeased, but much more than that, I am sorry."
"I told you they were bastards," Sombra chimed in. "10 seconds to full cloak charge..."
"Tactical board still clear. At recloak, bring us down to noise level and evade; we should be able to demicloak the rest of our way out."
"Cloaked... dropping... we're in the muck. Stealthed."
"Thank you," said Widowmaker. But she stayed in her crash chair, counting seconds. Three minutes to international airspace. "Once we hit the channel, deploy the decoy east and drop below Mach 1 - let's take the long way home."
"I understand," said the spider, carefully. But it is unnecessary, she thought.
Tracer - no, not Tracer, she'd need a new name - paced around the small cabin, as the ship flew quiet and low over the north equatorial Atlantic, moving slowly towards normal traffic lanes, just another surplus straggler finding its way back to its place.
"I want to kill him," the pilot repeated. "With my own hands. I want it to be close, I want it to be personal, I want him to know why."
"I am hearing you," the assassin said again, soothingly. "I am listening; tell me. Tell me all of it."
The former Flight Officer raged, "They knew I was back. They knew who I was the whole time, toying with me, trolling me even, I see it now. They were watching me since I showed up at the consulate and they cut me off and they moved my friends and threatened the one they didn't and they bled me 'till I almost gave up and died and then they took me and they put me in a box and told me to go do nothing and be nowhere and they took my wings and they took my life and they treated it like some kind of favour and now I want to take them and show them what kind of favour it was."
"I believe you, and I hear you. Keep going."
"Why?!" the flyer shouted, "What else is there? The box, the glass room, it was a bomb chamber, I get it now, I didn't get it at time, they were ready for me to explode, or they were ready to blow me up, I don't even know which, they'd planned it since I reappeared, I am so angry and feel so sick..." Pain and anger radiated from her body, so clearly the assassin could almost see it, as she slammed her fists down onto the flattened crash chair, now a bench, and then sat, face in her hands. "Why?! Why would they do that?"
If she did not want to kill them, I would..., thought the spider, struggling to keep her own emotions controlled. No, she realised, I do want to kill them. Not for history. For her. "I will tear through them until not one is left standing, if that is what you truly need," she said, voice quick with her own unexpected cold fury.
Lena looked up, face wet, and the blue woman thought, She has had no one, for weeks. "I have missed you," she couldn't not continue, aloud, reaching out her hand, "more than I could have possibly imagined. May I sit with you?"
Lena grabbed Amélie and pulled the taller woman down beside her, sobbing as the dam broke, digging into Amélie's shoulder and gasping for air, just holding her, so tightly, "i've missed you so much, it's hurt so much "
"I stayed away," Amélie said thickly, through her own new tears. "I didn't want to, but I did, until you called. It's what you said you wanted." She pulled the smaller woman closer against her, holding on tight in return. "Please say it's what you wanted. Please, please, or I will burst, I..."
"It was..." Lena managed slowly, though shuddering breaths that she fought to control, "...I thought I needed..." another heaving breath, "oh god, Amélie, I was so wrong..."
"Everyone," said the blue woman, finding herself suddenly, confusingly happy, "is wrong. Sometimes. But you are not, for me. Not ever."
"Don't let go. Never let me go again."
Not unless you want me to, the spider thought. Only then. But that is not what you need right now. And the most rational part of her mind raced, I need you with a whole heart, but I need that heart to be whole, and it is tearing...
And then, with the clarity of stars in a deep black sky, she knew.
"Pilot," she said softly, "would you fly us home?"
Lena gasped, eyes instantly wide open. "..."
"Sombra needs a break, she has not slept, and we are not too far away now. Are you cleared on this kind of craft? Could you take us home?"
A final heaving sob out of Pilot Oxton, and then she sniffed and laughed amidst the crying, and for the first time in what felt like years a smile peeked through the tears falling like rain. "uh," she sniffed, and swallowed, "B, uh, B-10M class, right?" She looked around. "Yeah. I can fly her. If... if Sombra doesn't mind..."
"Sombra needs a nap," came a voice from the flight deck. The hacker, being no fool, had already put the ship on autopilot, and stood by the empty flight chair, smirking and motioning towards the empty seat. Lena stepped up to that chair, and looked back to Amélie. "Stay with me? It's been a while."
Lena sat down, put on the flight headset, and grasped the pilot's yoke. "Yeah," she said. "Let's go home."
2. ( cut for the ongoing sage of the downstairs neighbor and the domestic violence sitch there )
3. HAPPIER THINGS. I forgot how much I fucking love stitching in-hand as opposed to on a hoop, so now I'm zooming away on the zompocalypse pattern. I may dig out a spare... white towel? Actually we have those, and we're a bit short on white pillowcases, but anyway the POINT is, I have the Oregon Trail you-have-died-of-dysentery pattern which is on black aida, and I really fucking don't feel like going back to a hoop so I'm probably going to see about starting that in a manner suited to, you know, NOT.
4. ...I got nothing. I have a whole ton of laundry to do now that maintenance has fixed the stupid washer, so I should probably go start that, do PT, and then figure out the rest of my day. Which, to be fair, seems like it'll entail a lot of stitching, a reasonable amount of Netflix, and the occasional bit of housework. (I make it a rule that if I start bleeding over what would normally be the weekly bathroom scrubbing, I skip it until I'm DONE because seriously no.) (Those of you wondering what the fuck the husbeast does: floors, litter change, dusting, vacuuming around furniture cushions, dishes, taking out trash/recycle, GETTING groceries, and Special Projects. Which includes things like "hey so we've been talking about this home improvement for an age" and also "hey honey I think I need new $PIECE_OF_TECH pls research and get back to me with prices/features." I actually feel like we split our tasks really well given gender norms, respective mental illnesses, and personalities.) Aaaand now I'm babbling because I don't WANT to get up and go do things because my uterus is making its complaints with the world known. Come to me, painkillers.
Also my Irked with tumblr has worn off so I'll probably dig out photos for a post later today.
"The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society".
"Finding Brooklyn’s Ghost Streams, With Old Maps and New Technology".
"In 1975, a Cat Co-Authored a Physics Paper".
"Gereja Ayam, the Abandoned Chicken Church".
"Signal de Botrange: The highest point in Belgium is a staircase to nowhere".
"Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre: A magical work of architecture where a wind turbine enables monks to levitate".
"Abandoned London Post Office Railway: An unmanned underground railroad created to transport London’s mail beneath its congested streets ran for seven decades, until it was unceremoniously shut down and abandoned".
"Underground Railroad Memorial at McDonald's".
"Forgotten Giants: Six beautiful wooden giants are hidden around Copenhagen".
"Tiny Mouse Shops of Malmö: Swedish mice can dine at the Nuts of Life restaurant or take a date to the amousement park".
"FBI Spy House: A painfully obvious spy house sits right across the street from the Russian Embassy".
"Why Justin Timberlake Sings ‘May’ Instead of ‘Me’: Linguistics and vocal styling converge in this late ’90s pop trend".
"One of the Earliest Industrial Spies Was a French Missionary Stationed in China: When he wasn’t converting people, Father Francois Xavier d’Entrecolles was extracting trade secrets from porcelain producers".
"The Unsung Delight of a Well-Designed Endpaper".
"The Violent Ice Cream Wars of 1980s Scotland".
"The Surprising Challenges of Making Things Vegan".
"Judean Date Palm Methuselah: This tree was extinct for a thousand years before sprouting again from a 2,000-year-old seed".
The Establishment ( 17 links, including discussion of suicide, body positivity, and fatphobia )
I'm sure we've all heard music by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) -- but have you heard anything by Sullivan without Gilbert?
Sullivan was not always known as a composer of light opera; it was only after he met W.S. Gilbert in 1870 that his focus turned to musical theater. Before that, he composed a number of critically acclaimed pieces for the concert hall, including his Irish Symphony, a cello concerto, and his best-known concert work, his Overture di Ballo, in 1870. Interestingly, in the years after Sullivan's death, a number of critics argued that his shift to musical theater was a waste of his talents. One, Fuller Maitland, wrote in 1901 that Sullivan's early work "at once stamped him as a genius" who would never fulfill his promise as he produced fewer and fewer serious concert works. This seems an unkind assessment of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, but certainly Sullivan's early concert works deserve more attention than they have received.
Arthur Sullivan was persuaded to compose a cello concerto in April 1866. At the same concert where his only symphony premiered, Italian cellist Alfredo Piatti played the Schumann cello concerto. Sullivan was impressed by Piatti's playing, and Piatti was evidently impressed by Sullivan's symphony; after that concert Sullivan immediately set to work on a new concerto for Piatti. Sullivan's concerto, first performed by Piatti in November of the same year, filled a large gap in the repertoire at the time. In the 1860s, there were few cello concerti in the standard repertoire: Schumann's has never been frequently played, and none of the Romantic concerti in today's standard repertoire had yet been composed, so cello soloists of the time tended to stick largely to Vivaldi, Haydn, and Boccherini.
Eventually, the likes of Dvořák, Saint-Saëns, and Elgar came to dominate the cello concerto repertoire, and early Romantic cello concerti such as Sullivan's fell into neglect. After Sullivan's death in 1900, his cello concerto would only be performed twice before the 1980s: once a few years after the composer's death, and once in 1953. The score and parts were never published, but remained in storage at the offices of music publisher Chapell & Co, where they were destroyed in a fire in 1964. But two copies of the solo part survived, with indications of orchestral cues written in. In the early 1980s, Charles Mackerras, who had conducted the 1953 performance, used these two copies, along with his own memory, to produce the reconstruction of the concerto that we know today. Appropriately enough, at the premiere of the reconstructed version, the cello soloist was also someone closely connected to musical theater: Julian Lloyd Webber, younger brother of musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber!
The structure of Sullivan's cello concerto is rather unusual. The first movement, the most substantial in most concerti, is instead the shortest here, serving as a brief introduction before a cadenza segues into the second movement. The opening theme from the first movement ends up serving as a second theme in the finale, which is in sonata allegro form rather than a more traditional rondo.
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante espressivo (3:20)
III. Molto vivace (10:17)
For those interested, there's also a video of Julian Lloyd Webber playing the concerto -- unfortunately not the best audio quality, but maybe worth seeing just for the musical theater connection:
Fleet Week involves air shows. Air shows sometimes end up sending fighter planes over my house. Fighter planes over my house panic me and bring me back to my third period class on 9/11, when they were right over my school. This is not good.
And I feel so stupid about it. Nobody I knew got hurt. Nobody I knew* was even there - the closest was Jenn, on the boat. She just walked off back into the terminal and went home. Likewise, my mother and I were both on Staten Island. (And trapped here for a week!) It's not like I had to flee Lower Manhattan with body parts raining down on me.
So even though "a lingering dislike of low-flying planes, especially fighter planes" is a very, very minor side effect of 9/11, I don't like having any at all, like it's somehow disrespectful to people who actually suffered and actually have PTSD. (And you don't need to tell me that this is a ridiculous position. Knowing that doesn't make it better, and I feel like the vicious cycle this can lead to is a bit self-evident.)
On the plus side, and there is a plus side, at least I'm aware it's Fleet Week. It's only really bad when I don't pay attention to the calendar and am completely taken by surprise. One year the airshow was a week late or something, and I ended up in the basement with the girls. They thought I was completely overreacting. And I was, but if I hadn't been, I might've just saved their lives, so whatever.
Edit: Actually, I had the bright idea after typing all this up to look at the schedule. Looks like all airshows have already happened. Boy, is that a relief. Worked myself up over nothing!
(Still don't like Fleet Week.)
* This is not strictly true. My mother's coworkers were all there, and I knew many of them. But you know what I mean, I hope. Anyway, they all survived with no physical injuries.
I just finished a great book, The Disastrous Mrs. Weldon by Brian Thompson. She was a true Victorian eccentric. From the moment she was born she was overweening ego and kept grudges for everyone who ever crossed her, real or imagined.
She dreamed of a career as a singer and formed an alliance with the French composer, Gounod. He was her pet? Submissive? Lover? Collaborator? Anyway, the time he spent with her exhausted him.
One of the positive things she did accomplish through many the lawsuits she brought was public examination of the lunacy laws (because of one her life’s adventures). These laws made it too easy for inconvenient people to be locked away.
The author wrote this book because of multiple volume autobiography she wrote. In French, published in France because she would have been sued for all the libel the thing contained.
I wish the author had other books; I really like his style.
One of the benefits of being on a higher floor of the hotel, even if this also means a lot of rather tedious waiting for lifts. I was going to take and post a photo, but I really don't think that my present state of tiredness is a good state in which to get to grips with DW photo posting. Also, on essaying to take a photo for later presentation, realised that the grimy marks on the window would be rather obtrusive.
Quite a full day, which started with waking up rather earlier than I had hoped, but not horribly so.
Socialising has taken place. There was going to be a walk, but then it started to rain (I wouldn;t say there was no chance of a walk that day, but not at that particular time).
Also have been on one panel, which I think suffered a little from ambiguity in framing its terms but nonetheless evoked some interesting discussion.
Observations of note: in the stuffed toy and knickknackery shop just around the corner in State Street, there is a stufft swan, right at the front of the window display: also an inflatable pool version. However, I should eschew props for my reading.