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Tired, cranky, headache. Don't want another family birthday. Even if it's my niece's. ::whine::

Since I never seem to have the time to actually sit/lie down and really read anything recently, I haven't much more than browsed through Russell T. Davis's book (although I have started at the beginning now, and it's rather fascinating. Also his frustration with TW 2.1, which I was going to say maybe was the reason why KKBB never completely worked for me, but apparently it got dumped on Chris Chibnall eventually...), reading a couple of pages here and there (so he wasn't completely happy with the Rose/Doctor.2 ending, either), but leafing through the pages I stumbled across this.

Put a man and a woman of roughly the same age on screen and you're telling a story. That's a love story. (Storytelling is very heterosexual in that sense. But that's why gay storytelling is exciting, because the images are still new.) The choice to put those two characters together on screen, in a story, is the crucial thing. Everything else is just detail. And luck. That's what makes you care. The archetypes. They run deep. [...] Man, woman, on screen = love story. Very little work necessary. (p 123)

Which I kind of agree with and kind of disagree, because while it's undoubtedly true, this (and I've said that before) is what for me makes so many of the heterosexual relationship on screen essentially uninteresting. Maybe/probably my brain is simply wired wrong, but if too much of the subsequent story relies just on this, and only this, I'll yawn and and switch off — or start slashing, depending on how interesting the rest of the show and the other characters are. It may be a love story, but it's also often (to me, at any rate) a boring love story. Now I'm not saying that I've never followed or enjoyed one of the will-they-or-won't-they-get-together storylines, but on the whole they don't make for the best storytelling, because once that question is resolved most of the time a) the show is over, b) they're heading towards break-up, or, special bullet point for Joss Whedon, c) someone gets killed.

So generally speaking putting a bit more work and character development into it is not actually a bad thing. The IMO still perfect example of Doing It Right are Sheridan and Delenn on Babylon 5, my OTPest OTP for something like a decade. It's hard to attempt looking at a show one has watched & rewatched with a fresh eye, but was there ever even the suspense of whether they'd get together? I don't think so, or at any rate one was rather more worried about them winning the war and saving the universe. Having a plot that encompasses and mingles action and romance rather than dividing it in two separate storylines, and upsetting a lot of tv gender clichés in the process is what made it so epic and unique. Thank you, MJS. :)

Now Joss Whedon frankly sucks at writing relationships, especially happy relationships, because as a rule he only sets them up to end them in the most painful way possible, but Buffy and Spike, in their own messed up way were a bit like that; even when it always was pretty clear they wouldn't have a happily ever after, they both learned something about themselves and each other in the process, which changed them for the better, it was plotty and not boring to watch. OTOH most of the male/female relationships on Angel were completely uninteresting; Cordelia/Angel as well as the Wesley/Fred/Gunn triangle, because they're indeed little more than man, woman, on screen = love story, and barely that, maybe partly because they never needed to work as relationships for the plot to go forward. I don't think saying that canonically Angel and Wesley had the most complex, if completely fucked up, relationship on that show has anything to do with slash googles, and one day I'm really going to write that essay. Or, Smallville, when I was still watching; Clark/Lex vs. Clark/Lana.

On a similar note, to be perfectly honest, Jack/Ianto would never have caught my interest, and certainly not got me writing all those endless rambling meta posts, if it hadn't come after Cyberwoman with the Fragments backstory and all the... if not exactly canonical, then at least canonically implied complexity and ambiguities resulting from that. So granted, once again a bit messed up, and maybe unhealthily codependent and whatnot, and apparently I've got a faible for that kind of thing, but take that away, and the banter-innuendo-coffee thing would be really kind of boring.

Well, in my opinion. It's pretty obvious that 90+% of fandom differs. Cf. above, brain wired wrong, and all that...

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Quick summary of, er, since I last updated. (Funny how every time I make a big dramatic post about OMGjournalingblock&self-hatred, updating suddenly becomes easier...)

Around All Saints Day I took a couple of days off for a four days trip to Salzburg, where I took a lot of walks as well as a lot of photographs, and felt, if not exactly happy, at least mostly relaxed and content and a bit more like breathing freely.

a few more pictures )

Also watched S5 finishing my B5 marathon and I cried through the best part Sleeping In Light from the moment Susan gets Sheridan's letter, which must be a new record. One might think I'd have become a bit desensitised by the third or fourth time, but apparently I'm getting even more sentimental in my old age. ::sigh::

Surprisingly enough I found I liked - the telepath[s of the very glossy hair, and does it come with the gene?]-arc aside - S5 best of all, maybe because it's the most grittily realistic. Maybe I've become too old and cynical, or maybe it's the spirit of the time and we've all become harder and more disillusioned, but at times throughout the earlier seasons I caught myself thinking that this would never work out, people are just never that idealistic, self-less and heroic and not the least bit corrupted by the power the wield. (And I guess MJS must have been aware of that potential problem, or he wouldn't have gone to such lengths to establish Sheridan and Delenn's personal integrity, not to mention Sheridan's personal memento mori.)

The character I most identify with is still Garibaldi, Sinclair can be surprisingly, dare I say it, hot on occasion, and somehow Ivanonva doesn't live up to the memories I have from when I watched the show on tv.

reading: Naomi Novik: Empire Of Ivory, Perihan Maǧden: Two Girls, Clive Barker, Mister B. Gone )

Since then, work, procrastinating (as usual), two birthday cakes (cheesecake for B. and M. at work, apple cake for my father), a bit of a lingering cold, more work with books arriving at the last possible moment or later, skipped Spanish class & belly dancing class this week because I was too tired and sick, with a sudden pain in my back/right hip to add to the general miserableness, snow, cold, heat in my apartment not working when I tried to turn it on Saturday (repair guy comes tomorrow), being wrapped in blankets with a hot water bottle as a result, starting to watch the Hornblower DVDs I bought a while back, and while it's a bit like O'Brian light, the boy is ridculously pretty as well as heroic, and it's fairly enjoyable to watch...
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1) I seem to have turned into a very lazy lj-er, & 2) how is time passing so very fast? I still remember rather vividly writing about being happy at having daylight again when I leave work, and now it's already almost dark when I bike home. Gah. Stop!

Spanish continues [Different VHS, different teacher who explains things much better and more clearly, although I had a bit of a shock in the first lesson when everyone was recounting their holidays in indefinido, which, OMG panic! we hadn't learned last semester, but that wasn't too difficult to catch up with, and I'm getting along fine otherwise, so I'm staying. Plus, it's on Monday, and there's at least a chance I'll still be slightly less dead then during the Christmas season than later in the week.], as does belly-dancing (still moving a bit too fast for my taste mostly because my brain needs more time to process and put togehter the parts of the choreographies we're doing, and on top of that almost everyone in the class has much more experience than I have, but perhaps I'm simply masochistic, or perhaps it's that however frustrated I get, I'm still pleasantly surprised that I'm able to do this at all (Me! Dance!), but I'm continuing for the moment.).

Two birthday cakes were made, and what is it with all the autumn birthdays in my family. *sigh*

I've been watching B5, only a few epiodes left of S3 now, but I'm not really feeling the love, somehow. Nostalgic fondness, yes, and there are moments when it grips me, but something's missing...

And when I have the time and energy I've been out photographing, once with H. (flickr guy), and last Saturday there was a meeting of the Vienna flickr group, which turned out to be really nice, especially considering that I almost hadn't gone, because OMG people I don't know! Scary! Stress! Do not want! Why is it so very hard for me to maintain enough of a mental balance to keep up at least a minimal social life (minimal on my standards, not the rest of the world's)?

Work is getting increasingly hectic and if I'm exhausted already, how will I cope with Christmas?

And speaking of which, I had one of my recurrent I-can't-stand-this-job-for-another-minute crisis a couple of weeks ago... )

And speaking of depressed... )

Feeling better now, although I was already dithering on the brink of Sunday-afternoon-depression again today. (Of course it doesn't help that tomorrow morning I'm having the orthodontist appointment from hell, first having my teeth cleaned and then getting the braces adjusted, which by itself is enough to leave me in a state of nervous breakdown most of the time...)
solitary_summer: (storm 3 (© clive barker))

Fandom meme, version B5. Because [ profile] soavezefiretto's wish is my command.

1. The first character I first fell in love with:
God. It's been what, ten years? However, I had fond memories of Sinclair, and since he's only really there in S1, he must have struck a chord with me, even back then.

2. The character I never expected to love as much as I do now:
Garibaldi. I never disliked him, but it took some growing up and re-watching the show on dvd to really appreciate how his character works, caught up between extremes, perfectionism and the fear of failing and losing control, all or nothing. This is something I can very much relate to now, and perhaps this is why I ended up liking him so much. (And then of course there's Sheridan, whom I've always liked, but at the same time am constantly surprised at liking, because he's not really the type of character I'm usually drawn to.)

3. The character everyone else loves that I don't:
Stephen. Again, I don't dislike him, not in the least, but for some reason he's not a character I connect with strongly.

4. The character I love that everyone else hates:
Byron is pretty much the only really hated character on B5, isn't he? Well, I can say that I don't hate him. I don't really like him, either, but I think the main problem is that his character was under-developed. Do people hate Zack? Because I'm kind of fond of him, too.

5. The character I used to love but don't any longer:
Ivanova. I distinctly remember loving her, but when I re-watched the show on dvd, I felt very indifferent about her. This is also one of the instances where - I think - I preferred the German dubbing voice.

6. The character I would shag anytime:
Who, little me? They're all so damn epic. Sinclair in S1, possibly. It's that voice. Or Lyta, because she's gorgeous, and I have a thing for red hair.

7. The character I'd want to be like:
'Want to be' is almost presumptuous, but I'd like to have a little of Delenn in my personality.

8. The character I'd slap:
No character as such, but pretty much all the ISN people on The Illusion of Truth.

9. A pairing that I love:
Delenn/Sheridan, to no one's surprise.

10. A pairing that I despise:
Couldn't say. There are so few couples on B5 in any case... I wasn't entirely happy with Garibaldi and Lise, Lise's personality specifically, but despise? Certainly not.

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Sunny and warm, beautiful day, slightly tainted by the faint melancholy of Sundays. Did this breakfast & movie thing with some people from work, we saw Fatih Akin's Crossing the Bridge, which is a truly amazing, wonderful film about the music of Istanbul and the power and impact of music, regardless of genre - everything from rap to the music of the Roma, Kurdish music, traditional Turkish music... Very powerful; beautiful shots, too.

I think I'll have to check out Gegen die Wand now. And buy the soundtrack, although I really should re-reconsider buying not really necessary stuff in view of the possible computer situation... ::le sigh::


Trying to unclutter notepad. Still. Again. Never ending story rambling. The 10? 12? 20? (can't quite remember) favourite emotional tv moments meme, picked up a long time ago somewhere in the wastes of lj-land.

Jossverse-centric, because that's what I've been watching recently, and while I would love to give a comprehensive and conclusive review of [ profile] solitary_summer's most favourite tv moments evar, re-watching five season of B5 (or any other tv show I was ever fond of) just isn't happening at the moment. And really, I don't want to consider what it says about my psychic make-up that I even consider this an issue and would this be a good place to confess that I shuffled my interests around quite a bit for the 10 interests meme?

Sorted chronologically and by fandom, not squee factor.

17 (16) favourite emotional tv moments )
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Project uncluttering notepad, pt. 1:

Happy relationships make for boring television [or not], or B5 vs. Angel )

More AtS thoughts: Wesley, and S5 Wesley/Fred )

I really should write an entry in [ profile] _thankyou_, because Russia made me appreciate and re-evaluate a lot of things in my life I took for granted or even bitched about... I doubt this epiphany will last long, but it's worth noting.

On a rather less philosophical note, I can't believe I bought the German cast We Will Rock You CD because of an almost ten year old ex-crush, who's barely on it anyway... this seems to be the most pointless musical, ever.


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More B5 (re-)watching...

There's another reason why I empathise with Garibaldi... so much of B5 is big destiny, epic love, ancient greek tragedy stuff, and while obviously this is something I like about the show (how could I not), I kind of sympathise with Garibaldi's frustration about not being able to have a simple conversation that isn't all about matters of life and death to pass the time on a boring shuttle flight. Moreover, he's the only real, almost defiant, atheist among the main characters: I mostly appreciate B5's spiritual angle (except for a couple of episodes that are too religious-heavy for my taste), I love Delenn as much as the next person, and as far as my own life is concerned I've trying to have a more open mind in this respect recently, but this religious approach is not something that comes naturally to me, and while I admire Delenn's character, she is not me, and I have a much more immediate sympathy for someone who's trying to make sense of life and live it in a good way without being able to fall back on the certainty that it does make sense.

More (mostly random) thoughts about this and that, but... later, i think.

[I always tend to skip the opening credits after one or two episodes, but I love Michael O'Hare's 'It was the dawn of the third age of mankind...'. ::Mmmsigh::.]
solitary_summer: (brothers (© clive barker))

Work is unexpectedly ok, and at this point I'm still surprised at myself how consistently cheerful, energetic & unstressed I seem to be. I guess it helps when part of your mind isn't occupied in a hamster-in-the-wheel-like fashion with some variation of the thought that your life is meaningless & you might just as well kill yourself.

On the other hand... it's not so much being tired in the evening, rather the higher brain functions seem to shut down, or something to this effect. It takes forever to type a sentence, and even then... there are words, but most of the time they don't convey much of anything - an (occasionally passably pretty) Potemkin village with little or no substance behind.

Though I'm not so sure either, that this is actually a result of the stress... there has been a lingering dissatisfaction that either I can't find words to fit my state of mind, or that there are too many of them, and I'm hiding behind a barrier of phrases, words, words, and more words, until there is nothing real left.

And this makes no sense whatsoever.

So I've embarked on my mission to watch B5 from the first to the last episode, and it's certainly strange to go from S5 to S1 with barely a break. Londo's hair looks funny, Garibaldi still has hair, and neither has so much as a premonition of what the future has in store for him. And while S1 got so over-shadowed by the more dramatic developments of the later seasons even in my own mind, it reminded me how much I've always liked Sinclair and really would have liked to see more of him before he goes to Minbar and from there into legend. (On a more superficial note, he's not classically attractive, but there's something about him... body language? can't quite pinpoint it.) I love the Sheridan/Delenn arc, but watching S1 reminds me that Sheridan especially is not the kind of character I normally am fascinated by or attracted to; and my interest in him certainly increases with the hard-won edges and darker sides he develops with time. Even then it's not Sheridan alone, it's Sheridan-and-Delenn, part of the package.

And here's a funny thing I never noticed at all the last time I watched Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi!: Lorien's Big Epic Question has already been foreshadowed [(?) or is it merely a slip, an unintentional repetition?] in the very beginning in episode four, Infection:

Garibaldi: "(...) So they keep looking for ways to go out in a blaze of glory. Some people call that being a hero, maybe so; I don't know I've never been one. Me, I think they're looking to find something worth dying for, because it's easier than finding something worth living for."

Sinclair: "Finished?"

Garibaldi: "Yeah. I guess that covers it."

Sinclair: "Michael. I don't have an answer for you. And... I think maybe I should. Thanks"
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Wednesday as usual; Got a haircut I'm indifferently pleased with, there's something about my hair's recent tendency to fall into my face that no one has been able to fix to my satisfaction for the last year or two. But at least I'm no longer blinking at customers through a fringe down to my cheekbones, so I guess there's improvement.

Thursday, Nick Cave with U., a rather pleasant surprise. I'd associated him only with his ballads, Where The Wild Roses Grow & such, and always found them too pretty, too... smooth for my taste. Now I knew all of three songs from the set-list (Weeping Song, God Is In The House, Red Right Hand), I still don't much like the ballads and slower songs, and there were a couple others that seemed, not sure how to put it, a little too generically rock, not particularly interesting, but at other times he built up an amazing tension, a distinct hard, dangerous edge, very intriguing from a musical point of view, too, as far as I am a judge of such things. Which I'm really really not, beyond personal taste, but anyway.

I'm actually considering checking out the new cd...

I also watched the whole fifth season of B5 in one week (instant gratification, exasperated sigh) - on my sofa & my TV. Ha.

thoughts... )

I'm going to miss it, not that this makes any sense, but waiting for the fifth season's dvd release was still something to look forward to, and now... all the dvd sets are sitting on my shelf... sigh. B5 is just special in a way. The actors' commentary on Movements of Fire and Shadow is mainly about how much they loved it and how special it was &c., which on the one hand is somewhat beside the point, because I'd have preferred a commentary on the episode, but on the other hand... it's noticeable, I think.

Now do I want to start with Buffy? I only dropped in it mid-fourth season, but seven seasons with the dvds about twice as expensive as a season of B5?
solitary_summer: (meditation (© clive barker))

I really thought I'd make it through Sleeping in Light without tears this time, that maybe all the crying last time I watched it was due to my generally depressed state of mind, but when Delenn appears at the end of the corridor, dressed in white... ::sob:: And most of the rest of the episode, really.

I'm generally not very sentimental, or cry easily or often, but something about this, the two of them, still gets me. It's not so much sadness, rather the fullness and depth of emotions... I can't put it into words.

And now I want to start again with the first season. Sigh.
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Nothing to say, really.

Lazy Sunday, sleeping in, not doing much of anything.

Re-watched M&C and a good part of the extras dvd; The "making of" is very impressive indeed, not so much the storm trick-sequences, but the way they actually rebuilt the ship, trained the actors to sail her, to shoot the cannons &c.; Crowe learning to play the violin is extremely cute; Bettany's voice is strangely sexy. The deleted scenes especially Jack going for a swim should have stayed in the movie... they'd have provided a better sense of the daily routine of the ship.

I hadn't really noticed the first time, but Crowe's Jack gave me a bad case of déjà vu, and after an exasperating couple of minutes, it struck me - Sheridan, from B5. I'm still not sure whether it is something in the voice, a similarity of personality, a streak of boyishness both characters share, the way both slightly pout when they can't get their way... Which would make Stephen... Delenn? *slaps self*

[ETA, following through the last thought, disregarding self-censoring strike-tags: It's not as absurd a comparison as it might seem at first. The main literary/artistic/emotional appeal of any close relationship, sexual or otherwise, is when it transcends gender stereotypes, simply showing a deep connection between two human beings who balance and complement each other in certain ways. I'm struggling with an essay on friendship and (or, vs.?) marriage In O'Brian's novels, trying to pinpoint my frustration with him in this regard, but it always comes down to the (rather useless) complaint of why even introduce a wife, when to all appearances she'll never be allowed to have as close a connection with her husband as the two male protagonists share: historically accurate perhaps, given the age the novel is set in, but nonetheless frustrating to me as a female reader. Now for me a great part of the appeal about the Sheridan/Delenn relationship has always been that it deftly ignores any such gender stereotypes, showing only two people who are very much equal in every respect, two strong, independent personalties who nevertheless shape and need each other, fight a war together and fall in love. In fact in terms of literary prototypes IMO Sheridan and Delenn's relationship in some respects is closer to the dynamics of male friendships than to most male/female romance plots.

'I'm not in the least degree interested in women as such', said Stephen. 'Only in persons.']
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[ profile] 50bookchallenge:

#31: Thomas Mann, Tagebücher 1933-1934

Interesting as always, not the least because of the historical/political background.

#32: Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander

Very well written, a joy to read, introducing you to a world you've so far been unfamiliar with, a book to make you giggle and laugh out loud, characters quirkily original, at once interesting and likeable... How can you not love them? What more can one want in a book? I so enjoyed reading it that I feel quite bad for finding any fault with it, but the novel's one weakness is its plot, or rather the lack thereof. Over four hundred pages, where nothing much happens; there's the odd sea-fight, we see Jack establishing his authority and forging his crew into a well-functioning unit, there's the court martial in the end, but there are no great dramatic arcs, no real emotional build-up. Dillon's conflict of consciousness is touched upon, but never really resolved, the plot-line cut short by his death. It gives the whole thing a kind of soap-opera-esque quality, but after all, it only is the introduction to a twenty volume series...

But this is really a minor quibble and doesn't diminish the enjoyment.

What actually most amazed me was to learn that the series has a sizeable male following, because techno babble nautical terminology and details aside, more often than not this is reminiscent of nothing as much as Jane Austen. A gay kind of Jane Austen, on ship board instead of in a drawing room. More explict, with darker, appropriately realistic touches - while he doesn't exactly dwell on the more unpleasant sides of naval life or battle, he never lets you forget them for too long either - but there's a quite Austen-esque irony, sense of understated humour in small touches.

Perhaps one can't altogether escape clichéed ideas what male or female writing is 'supposed' to be like, even while rejecting them in one's mind, because what I find really wonderful is that these characters were in fact created by a man, male characters that aren't gruff, monosyllabic and generally emotionally stunted, but men who are emotional, moody, who have no problems talking about their feelings, who have this really deep, beautiful friendship...

And don't even let me start on the slashiness, that's a subject for a entry of its own...

Another pleasant thing is that this is a novel you can read whether or not you are interested in or knowledgable about ships: I don't have the slightest emotional attachment to ships (Conrad's novels tend to leave me slightly baffled) and probably couldn't identify the various parts of one even in German, but at the end of M&C one has acquired a tolerable knowledge of what's what, without ever having been left in a lurch for too long or bored by over-lengthy explanations.

I'm good for at least another volume or five, if perhaps not for all twenty of them...

#33: Peter David, The Long Night of Centauri Prime. Book 1: Legions of Fire

Not bad at all; the best and most in character B5 novel I've read so far. Perhaps not perfect, but definitely an improvement on what I've come to expect after Cavelo's and Drennan's work; competent prose, fast paced, the canon characters spot-on and the original characters quite interesting and fitting well into the plot.

#34: Donald Windham, The Dog Star

Strange, how in some ways utterly alien a novel set in the south of the US during the 40ies can be... Came across this book in TM's diaries, and it is indeed a powerful novel, that drew me in, despite the fact that the subject itself didn't instantly appeal to me. The protagonist's teenage angst sense of alienation, search for identity, the male insecurity turning (among other things) into misogyny and violence, is something that at this point of my life I have only limited interest in.

It was only towards the end that the narration really gripped me, when Blacky's decision to reject any outside influence, to cut all emotional ties, drives him faster and faster towards the inevitable outcome; here in my opinion the story transcends the subject and becomes more... universally valid, in a way.

The prose is maybe what fascinated me most throughout - quite spectecular, simple, clipped, sometimes almost brutal, yet at times also astonishingly poetical; very evocative, creating images and impressions that linger, lines and paragraphs that make you stop and re-read.
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[ profile] 50bookchallenge:

#21: Roswitha Gost, Die Geschichte des Harems

Picked up at work; focusing on the Ottoman empire, informative, unsensationalist.

#22: D. Ellmauer - H. Embacher - A. Lichtblau (Hrsg.), Geduldet, geschmäht und vertrieben: Salzburger Juden erzählen

#23: Horst Klengel, König Hammurapi und der Alltag Babylons

Interesting; turned out to be good preparation for Jospeh and His Brothers, even if I didn't read it with that in mind.

#24: Douglas Preston - Lincoln Child, Relic

Trash, obviously, but sometimes you need that kind of thing at the beginning of a holiday, sitting on the balcony in the sun... and what can I say, I just can't resist the combination of museum, academia and brain-eating monsters from South-American jungles.

#25&26: Thomas Mann, Joseph und seine Brüder

I'll admit I had some reservations because of the biblical subject (my lingering anti-religious prejudice is sometimes hard to over-come), and the first 100, 150 pages were a little hard to get through, but then, without really noticing when or how, I fell utterly in love. How did he do it, that even knowing the story and its outcome it is at times almost a page-turner, one still wants to know what happens next... It's not even that I exactly sympathised with Joseph or any other character, rather it's the book itself, the sheer scope of it, the humanism, the humour, the lovely style, richness, layers and layers of theology and mythology entwined ... the way he weaves his concept about repetition and variation of certain leitmotifs in the human mind throughout the novel, off-handedly hinting at Christ as one more natural and necessary variation of the complex relationship between god and man, of the theme of a god killed and resurrected...

I don't even know how many hints and connections I may have missed because of my sketchy theological and philosophical knowledge (and lack of an annotated edition); like, while it's never spelled out, the phrasing makes it obvious that Mut-em-enet, trying to bewitch Joseph so that she'll have at least his body, if not his soul - "Tot und verschlossen werden mir deine Augen sein in unsrer Umarmung, und nur dein schwellender Mund, allerdings wird mein sein" - is Salome's predecessor, is Salome, in the eternal repetition of things.

#27 - 29: Jeanne Cavelos, Casting Shadows; Summoning Light; Invoking Darkness (Babylon 5: The Passing of the Techno-Mages, I, II & III)

Readable, occasionally even good.

spoilery review )

#30: Thomas Mann, Tagebücher 1918-1921

(I kind of rushed through this one, the political rants didn't interest me all that much and I wanted to get to the 'Joseph' diaries...)
solitary_summer: (Default)

Unser Menschenhirn, unser Leib und Gebein - Mosaiken seien sie derselben Elementarteilchen, aus denen Sterne und Sternstaub, die dunklen, getriebenen Dunstwolken des interstellaren Raumes beständen.

(Thoman Mann, Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull)

Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain, perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe, made manifest, trying to figure itself out.

(Delenn to Sheridan, in B5: A Distant Star)

[Even if it isn't the most original thought ever, and most likely there are one (or several) common source(s) behind both quotes, it's still nice... connections, again.]
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Read. Ate.

Watched a taped episode (the one after the pilot, I think) of Six Feet Under, which I kind of liked (first scene, interracial gay couple - what's not to like...), and kind of didn't, because how many shows about dysfunctional families can a person watch and not get tired of it; a funeral home setting doesn't make that much of a difference. And the sister so far seems to be something of a clone of whatshername from Cybill.


Re-watched the first two S4 B5 episodes, and am still trying to make sense of how we're to understand what happens to Sheridan on Za'ha'dum. There's the literal reading, obviously, but there's a metaphorical? psychological? philosophical? level to it, too. This isn't only about physical death, but what does Lorien mean by surrendering to death? Confronting your mortality? Giving up your sense of self, stripping yourself of everything, every desire, even the desire to live? Facing the darkness within yourself (as opposed to the idealism of seasons 2 and 3)?

Somehow I think there ought to be more to it than Delenn giving him a reason to live. It kind of connects with Comes the Inquisitor, but on the other hand it seems to me that another person, however beloved, cannot be the answer to the questions Lorien asks...

What happened, what did Sheridan see or realise, that turned him into the man we see afterwards, who in some ways is like Lorien said he needed to be, showing less doubts or fears, but also by consequence a lot harder, quick to take some pretty harsh decsions. How does this connect with the idealism and integrity of the character carefully established during the earlier seasons?

I understand how people can have issues with Sheridan's persona in S4, except that I don't believe he's supposed to be quite the same person as he was. We're meant to see the darker, dangerous side for what it is.

S4, with the resolution of the Shadow-war is metaphor for growing up (in fact IMO the metaphorical level overshadows the story telling level in this case), the emancipation from parental figures and the unquestioning acceptance of their values. But like the biblical myth of the fall of man, this must result in a loss of child-like innocence, which Delenn refers to in War Without End. (In fact there's an interesting detail that gains an extra perspective with the knowledge of how events really turned out - when the Delenn from the future talks about the terrible cost of winning the war, which could only have been avoided at too high a price, at this point the obvious meaning was the horror of the Shadows winning the war. But in retrospect the too-high price would also have been to remain in a state of child-like dependence and spiritual immaturity.)

I believe we're meant to see this loss of innocence already beginning to happen here.

There's another thing, though. The problem may be that Garibaldi's arc determines so much of S4, to the point of them having to fit Sheridan's arc around it; I think his character may suffer from that.


Las gestern die in der Mitte begonnenen Hadrianmemoiren zu Ende, bestaunte die Bibliographie des Arbeitsmaterials und fing von vorn an zu lesen. Tatsächlich benommen wie ein Jüngling von der Schönheit des Buches. (TM Tagebücher, 12. 12. 53)

He. It's always nice to discover a connection between your favourite authors. Makes me want to re-read it, too...
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Too much B5... six episodes yesterday & six today. Now I do remember I always felt the resolution of the Shadow war fell somewhat flat after the S3 build up, and that sentiment is still lingering; it doesn't help that what I now see in my mind's eye is Picard yelling at Q, 'Get off my bridge, my ship... (etc and so on & so forth)' to no avail whatsoever, and he being rather more convincing yelling at omnipotent alien beings, too. (Sorry, Bruce) So 'Get the hell out of our universe' rather fails to impress me...

But there's something else about S4 that vaguely bugs me, though I can't quite pinpoint it; especially about Sheridan's arc. Something about the implications of what happened to him on Z'ha'dum, the surrendering to death, what it means and, how it changed him... but I guess I'll finish watching the whole season first, because I already had to slightly revise my opinion after Lines of Communication, though this, too, raises some questions of its own.

Channel surfed into the 50ies movie of TM's Königliche Hoheit, but switched it off again, disgusted, after Imma is shown disrupting the changing of the guards not on her way to university, but to the Ministry of Finance.

solitary_summer: (Default)
Further thoughts after a Sunday mostly spent idly in front of the tv...

B5 really brings out the closet romantic in me. )

Also? Here I was, mentally beating myself up for entertaining even vaguely slashy thoughts, because, you know, B5 is the holy grail, B5 canon is to be worshiped and not to be altered, interpolated or otherwise meddled with, and then I was listening to the cast commentary for 'Interludes And Examinations' and there are Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle and Richard Biggs blithely slashing Garibaldi and Franklin, quipping about 'lost arcs', 'i'm sleeping on the couch tonight', 'this marriage could have been saved'. I never even saw this (what I do see are possibilities for Sinclair/Garibaldi and vague possibilities for Zack/Garibaldi), and now of course it's impossible not to see it. :: headdesk:: And I'm not even touching their commentary on the scene where Sheridan confronts Kosh...

Great. Now it's 2:30 am and I'm not even remotely tired.
solitary_summer: (Default)

:: sigh ::

...some books I actually did manage to finish

[ profile] 50bookchallenge:

#4: Akif Pirincci, Cave Canem
Not badly written, an original voice, quite a few very touching moments and as a kind of allegory about racism and ethnic violence it's effective, but never over-moralistic. Still, this crime-novel-featuring-cats thing is a little too unrealistic for my taste. I might be tempted to check out something else by the author, though...

#5: Kathryn M.Drennan, To Dream In the City Of Sorrows
Irritating. I don't usually read tie-in books, but I bought this in a fit of B5 enthusiasm/addiction to bridge the time until S4 is released on DVD. And maybe I expected too much and this kind of book shouldn't be measured against normal standards of literature, but as B5 itself sets some very high standards... I expected better.

Actually I think this book might have been better if it'd been written by anybody but JMS's wife. For all it comes with the official seal of approval of being 110% canon it's flat and lifeless, it just drags on and on; I had to force myself to actually finish it. The writing is very average, workmanship like; bemüht, but never inspired. 'Show, don't tell' obviously isn't a concept she's familiar with: every thought, every emotion is spelled out in excruciating detail. It lacks almost everything that makes B5 so special, the subtle foreshadowing and stunning revelations, the emotional impact. In the introduction JMS says how his wife was 'not just rigorously logical', but 'relentlessly logical' and maybe she is, but logic alone doesn't necessarily make good writing. In fact I'd rather put up with a few minor plot-holes.

It's the kind of fanfiction that while not toally OOC always leaves you with a slight feeling of disorientation and disappointment, because the characters are so much less than how you perceive them.

I would maybe be less harsh in my judgment, if the book's subject were a different one, but Sinclair's arc and its resolution in 'War Without End' to me has always been one of the most stunning story elements on B5 and to have it flattened like that... E.g. when Sinclair says "All my life, I've had doubts about who I am, where I belong. Now I'm like the arrow that springs from the bow. No hesitations. No doubts. The path is clear." this is an awesome moment, in a shiver-down-your-spine way. And K.M.Drennan tortures this metaphor to death throughout the book. What's more, it's applied to him by the Vorlons, while Sinclair resents and continuously rejects it for himself.

Finally, not only is the writing flat and uninspired, where the plot is concerned personally I have a harder time connecting the Sinclair at the end of this book with the Sinclair in WWE than the Sinclair at the end of S1. I can't see him being quite so zen when he'd only recently lost Kathrine to an uncertain fate, possibly death. It feels slightly wrong, just as the large part of the novel assigned to the Sinclair/Kathrine romance feels wrong and in terms of fanfiction smacks of Mary Sue. The vaguely open end just smacks of sequel.

#6: Thomas Mann, Tagebücher 1944 - 1946
I enjoyed that. On a personal level the style and form as well as the mostly emotionally distant tone fit my current mood just right; form a historic perspective it offers an interesting insight into the emigrants' world. But I enjoyed it on a literary level, too. There's a kind of unconscious poetry about the interplay between the leitmotif of daily activities, walks, lunches, weather, and the variations and breaks from it. The mostly rather restrained, almost laconic tone of voice emphasises when he does depart from it and becomes more personal and emotional and lends certain statements a whiplash quality.

Also? Occasionally it's dead funny. ("Schuhe und Anzug zum Reinigen. Nie wieder Strand-Ausflug")
solitary_summer: (Default)

Just spent a mostly fruitless couple of hours going through adds & internet sites in search of an apartment; maybe I should be less picky. I want something a bit larger, since I earn a bit more than last time I went looking, but most two room apartments are slightly too expensive. An old building, since I’d like to keep the loft bed and I need high rooms (3m+) for it. Preferably facing a yard, because I want to sleep with the windows open in summer. Preferably a yard with some sort of vegetation. Or a nice view. & so on & so forth...

:: facepalm :: At this rate I’ll be moving in with the parents again in July.

B5: 2.5 The Long Dark )
B5: 2.6 Spider in the Web )
B5: 2.7 Soul Mates )

And then there's 'A Race Through Dark Places' 'The Coming of Shadows' and 'GROPOS', but I have to re-watch to be able to gush appropriately. :: sigh :: I’m such a fangirl… though truth be told, I was a little apprehensive when I put the first disk in the player, because while B5 is something I loved very much, 9 - 5 years is quite a lot of time and I was a little afraid I might be disappointed or just like it not as much as I used to. I'm not generally overly nostalgic, but I'd have hated to have that happen with this particular show.

I’m actually wondering whether I ever saw season 2, though… I have enough vague memories of 1 and pretty distinct memories of 3 – 5, but 2… I’d surely have remembered something from 'A Race Through Dark Places' or 'The Coming of Shadows' ?!


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