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Media Consumption Wednesday

Back by no popular demand whatsoever, but I felt like it.

Reading

Rosemary Kirstein, The Steerswoman, The Outskirter's Secret, The Lost Steersman, The Language of Power
It took me a while to get into the first book but then I began really loving the main characters for their similarities and differences, the way they were described, the way the steerswoman's thought processes are described, the ways interactions between characters who don't know each other are described, the idea of the Archives, the way the map of the area got drawn in my head as I read, and the fact that there are very few sexual relationships or romances centered. I liked the first one a lot because of the worldbuilding, and after that I liked The Lost Steersman best because it had these pretty fascinating non-humans, and a character I liked a lot. The writing is beautiful. Oh, also: a lot of books have action scenes that make me want to skim them to figure out what happened, without wanting to carefully read the scenes themselves. But I really enjoy reading Kirstein's action scenes.

Listening

Professor Anne Curzan / The Great Courses, The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins
36 half-hour lectures about various aspects of the English language (not just origins, and not just individual words) and of the ways that people study and document the English language. I especially liked that she went into some detail about the studying and documenting; a lot of popular works about linguistics don't seem to do that. Her lectures are all very organized and clear, like this: "Here's something about X. OK, what do I mean by that? Well, X is like Y. Here are several examples." I also especially liked how she treated sexist language (in a lecture entitled "Spinster, Bachelor, Guy, Dude" and the movement in the 1970s that resulted in some sexist language actually changing (in a lecture entitled "Firefighters and Freshpersons"). I was amused that she managed to talk about taboo words without ever saying any of them (except "cock"). And she did a good job of covering some Internet language, although she didn't discuss LOLspeak or my current favorite phrase ("I can't even"). Recommended.

Watching

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
I watched this a while back, but it is awesome and I want everyone to know about it. It's an Iranian-American vampire spaghetti western (that's the label the filmmaker uses) and it has a vampire who dresses in chador and rides a skateboard. Very atmospheric, beautiful noirish cinematography, good soundtrack.


Spy
Directed by Paul Feig, starring Melissa McCarthy (same team that did The Heat last year. Passes the Bechdel test. I did a lot of research on this one to find out if it had fat jokes, because fat jokes really ruin movies for me. All the scuttlebutt said there weren't any. That was almost entirely true. However, the beginning of the movie relies a lot on the trope that middle-aged women are in essence frumpy and unattractive. It's important to the plot to set that up, but it was uncomfortable to watch for a while. I really liked the middle of the movie, where Melissa gets to go out into the field and kick ass. Then it got uncomfortable again at the end because it seems that she still has a crush on Bradley, the jerky agent she works with, who doesn't appreciate her enough. And the final scene, where she wakes up in bed with Rick, not remembering anything, and he says 'You loved it.'" is hugely problematic. So, Stef-Bob says walk out five minutes before the end.

Playing

I'm mostly playing BigFishGames hidden object adventures, which are all alike, and you probably already know whether you like them or not. But I did also pick up Catlateral Damage on Steam. You play a cat and the object of the game is to knock everything onto the floor. There are timed modes and free play modes. I find this much more satisfying to work off frustration than games where you have to shoot poor helpless monsters.

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