some TV

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:31 pm
kindkit: Finch and Reese sitting on a bench together (POI: Finch and Reese on the bench)
I finally got around to watching the final season of Person of Interest.

A few thoughts under the cut )

After POI I was in the mood for something a bit lighter, so I've been watching Leverage and enjoying it quite a lot. Sometimes the caper plots wear a bit thin (and I love capers and heists), but I adore the characters and the team dynamics. I even, to my surprise, really like the Hardison/Parker relationship, which seems to be growing organically rather than being forced on us, and which anyway isn't at all like a typical male/female screen romance. In contrast I deeply don't like Sophie/Nate, which is much more conventional and which does feel forced.

I must, however, note with disapproval that I'm now halfway through S4 and there hasn't been a single queer character. Really, show? Really, show that is mostly quite progressive about everything else? Really?
kindkit: Picture of the TARDIS, captioned "This funny little box that carries me away . . ." (Doctor Who--TARDIS)
Hello again! I notice that in my last post, made almost a week ago, I mentioned that it was raining here. Well, it's been rainy and cool almost every day since then, which is really really weird. But nice in a lot of ways--the longer the summer heat holds off, the happier I'll be.

As usual I have been reading and cooking, and also re-watching a lot of Person of Interest (the first two seasons really were much better than S4, although some of that original magic depended on the slow reveal of backstory, which is something that's hard to recapture the second time around when you already know).

Reading: I've just started I am Radar, by Reif Larsen. It's too early to tell if all the weirdness is going to turn out to be interesting or just pretentious.

I've checked out from the library but not yet started Hanif Kureishi's The Last Word. This despite having given up on Kureishi after Intimacy, when it began to seem as though he'd forgotten how to write books that weren't about middle-class white heterosexuals having boring personal problems. The back cover description for The Last Word sounded different enough from that to lure me, plus, well, My Beautiful Laundrette will always be close to my heart and I can never really give up on Kureishi.

I want to read some sf/f but can't find anything that appeals. Anyone have suggestions? I've already read the Radch books and Station Eleven.

Related to both books and cooking, I had to give Jerusalem: A Cookbook back to the library (someone had put a hold on it) and I miss it very much. When I can check it out again I'm going to type out all the interesting recipes and save them. (This is a thing I do, because my appetite for cookbooks is much larger than my budget for cookbooks.)


Cooking:

I have successfully made my own yogurt! Quite easy and a moneysaver.

Last week apricots were on sale for cheap, so I bought a couple of pounds. With some of them I baked this crostata, which is very nice. Because I'm an incorrigible tinkerer I made a couple of alterations: added lemon zest to the crust and lemon juice and a bit of vanilla to the fruit, and because I don't have whole wheat pastry flour I used half pastry flour and half "white whole wheat" flour. I'd never made a crostata before but I think this may be the first of many: it's less intimidating than a pie, somehow, and it produces an amount that's more reasonable for one person to eat in a few days before it can go bad.

The rest of the apricots, I poached in syrup, and those were awfully good for practically no work. I made a simple syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, to which I added 3 Tellicherry peppercorns, 2 crushed cardamom pods, and 1 star anise. I brought the syrup to a boil and then let it cool down to room temperature to infuse the spices, then added the halved pitted apriots and heated it all up again. The spicing is gentle but definitely there, and that plus the sweetness gave the rather bland supermarket apricots a big boost. It turns out that the leftover syrup makes a nice drink if mixed with sparkling water, too.


I've now succeeded in making myself hungry, so I should probably go home and get some dinner.

various

May. 15th, 2015 02:44 pm
kindkit: Finch looks thoughtfully at the computer and so does Bear (POI: Finch and Bear thinking)
It's a rainy day here, which is unusual enough to be enjoyable. I'm in Starbucks again, drinking tea, watching the rain, and wishing I didn't have to go to work later.

1) Books

I just found out that Ruth Rendell died. She and Reginald Hill (who died last year) were my two favorite mystery writers, and among my favorite contemporary writers full stop. It's sad to lose them, although both had long careers and lived to a good age.

I've been reading various things:

Ann Leckie's Ancillary Sword (enjoyable and I'm eager to see where the plot is going, although AS had less depth than the first book).

Bruce Holsinger's A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire (liked the first one very much, as I am a sucker for proper research and Holsinger, a professional medieval scholar, has definitely done that; the second one was less interesting, rescinded the happyish ending given to my favorite character in the first book for the sake of a minor plot point, and--which isn't really the book's fault--inevitably called to mind comparisons to Terry Pratchett's Men At Arms, which while not really fair, are nevertheless not always to Holsinger's advantage).

Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces (important, timely, marred perhaps by being a bit too long on journalism and short on analysis, marred definitely by a quasi-libertarian perspective that at one point equates US attempts to regulate private ownership of assault weapons with the worst excesses of the "war on drugs").

Also a lot of other things, chosen on my principle of "I saw it on the new release shelf at the library" and not memorable enough for discussion.


2) Cooking

I seem to be making meatballs a lot lately. I've made Spicy Freekeh Soup with Meatballs and Kofta b'siniyah, both from Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem. The soup was excellent; the kofta didn't quite work for me. What made me want to try them was the combination of meatballs and tahini (I adore tahini), but I didn't think they went together all that well. I'm planning to use the leftover kofta in various ways (with yogurt sauce, perhaps, or simmered with tomatoes and eaten with pasta) that I hope will turn out more to my taste.

I also baked a big batch of chocolate rugelach the other day, because I had a pound of chocolate I'd acquired in a fit of baking ambition and wanted to use before the weather got too hot here for it to keep well. (The weather has since turned sharply colder, of course.) For half the batch I added walnuts to the chocolate filling, and I used toasted coconut for the other half. They're yummy, though I think I'd prefer the more traditional rugelach filling with raisins, in part because the rugelach dough is so rich already.

I still have over half a pound of semisweet chocolate left. Any suggestions?

Yesterday I seem to have bought a pineapple. They were on sale and they smelled so nice! Hopefully the sudden craving for pineapple the smell brought on will last long enough for me to consume the entire beast.


3) Fannish stuff

I was underwhelmed by the season finale of POI--so underwhelmed that I didn't even realize it was the season finale until I looked it up. I see the show has been renewed for another season despite a drastic decline in ratings in S4. I hope that (a) the show will improve and (b) the blame for the decline will be placed where it belongs, on slipshod and uncreative writing, and not on the inclusion of more women characters or making those characters canonically queer.

I've started rewatching POI from the start, which is making me love the show enough again to search out fanfic. But from what I can tell, there's still next to none that's any good.

As for other fandoms, I badly want to see Age of Ultron, but it will have to wait until I'm less broke. And the end of The Thrilling Adventure Hour is approaching. I just downloaded what's probably the last ever episode of "Captain Laserbeam" and am hoping, hoping, hoping the Captain Laserbeam/Philip Fathom becomes canon. Apparently there's going to be one more "Colonel Tick-Tock" segment as well, and I am equally hoping that the Colonel and Bob McCrumbs will reunite and happily travel the timeline together. Right now these are the stories I'm most invested in, because I haven't loved the direction "Sparks Nevada" has taken.

Okay, this is probably enough rambling. Talk to me? I miss you all, even when it's hard for me to reply/comment in a timely way.
kindkit: Rupert Giles drinking a mug of tea and reading (Buffy: Giles and tea)
Hello everybody. I've decided it makes more sense to have internet access once a week for a few hours than to have it for one single week a month (followed by three weeks without), so here I am.

It's spring here, spring and fall being the only seasons when the local landscape attains much beauty in my opinion. The trees (such as they are--small, skinny, forlorn desert trees) are in flower or in bud and the weather warm but not yet hot. I'm not at all an outdoorsy person but

I haven't been up to much that's specifically fannish; for example I haven't yet seen the latest POI and, based on the episode description at Wikipedia, I'm not at all sure I want to. And it's hard to feel connected to fandom without, well, being connected to the internet enough for regular interaction. Probably what I'm enjoying most right now is The Thrilling Adventure Hour, which I've been unable to convert any of you to and which is coming to an end in a few months anyway. Rather against my will I've lost interest in Welcome to Night Vale; I started to get bored as soon as things returned to business as usual after the Strex arc, because it began to seem like the show is running out of ideas and trying to milk events (e.g. Carlos in the other universe) for as looooooooooong as possible.

Recommendations for good movies, books, and TV shows are always welcome.

I'm reading a lot, though fairly randomly based on whatever is available at my small local library. I read a collection of M. F. K. Fisher's writing, which was interesting in the way of someone who's a good storyteller but whose anecdotes one suspects of considerable mental rewriting and editing, perhaps not all of it conscious. Her specifically food-related pieces often irked me a bit, because while she explicitly disclaims food snobbery and avoids some of the old snobberies of her time (such as treating classical French cooking and its many sauces as the only cooking that matters), from the perspective of 75 years on it's easy to see how she's establishing new food snobberies that are still with us. As I've talked about a bit here occasionally and as other people have discussed much better elsewhere on the internet, fresh and local is all very well if fresh local food is reliably available where you live, and your finances and other life factors allow you to buy and prepare it. But it's not possible for everyone. (What US food culture needs right now, I think, is not another "farm to table" cookbook but something about how to make decent meals with what's available in an average supermarket.) There's a strain of puritanism, too, in Fisher's disdain for sweets and embellishments, and sometimes the puritanism becomes hypocritical. There's one essay in which she rants against the overuse of salt and presents a grilled steak recipe not "tainted" by salt--but which involves marinating the meat in a large quantity of soy sauce and then using oyster sauce to finish it. Fisher even notes that the soy sauce might seem like a sop to salt addicts, but it's not, she insists, it just makes the meat more delicious. Which, yes, that is what salt does.

Despite my objections, I have felt Fisher's ghostly presence hovering around me for the last week, mostly disapproving of what I cook and eat. And it's had an effect. I've found myself wanting to eat a lot more vegetables, which is not a bad thing, and the craving has been at least doubled by my perusal of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem: A Cookbook, which I also got from the library. I want to cook almost every recipe in it, especially the beautiful vegetable dishes. Alas it's not a great time of year for vegetables, and in any case I have to rely on what's in the supermarket, but sometimes tasty things can happen even with ordinary supermarket veggies. Yesterday I topped a hot toasted sesame bagel with some cream cheese, some thinly sliced green onion, and some thinly sliced cucumber. It was delicious. (More on food in a minute.)

In other reading, I picked up a copy of Kate Williams' The Storms of War from the library despite knowing it would probably be terrible. It did not disappoint. )

Returning to the happier subject of food, I recently played around with this bagel recipe, adapting it to a period of refrigeration and a slow, overnight rise to develop flavor. By which I mean I cut the yeast down to half a teaspoon, refrigerated the dough for about 7 hours while I went to work, then took it out of the fridge, did a few stretch-and-folds rather than kneading, and let it rise overnight. It rose and rose and ROSE, so I might cut the yeast down some more next time, but the bagels were the tastiest I've made yet. I've since found a bagel recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice specifically designed for an overnight rise, so I plan to try that the next time I make bagels.

I got a book about high-altitude baking from the library which has good tips and some delicious sounding recipes. I've never in my life tried to bake a proper cake with layers and such, but I can't stop thinking about the Orange Sponge Layer Cake with Tangerine Mousse, and I've promised it to myself as a birthday treat come September. I hate to bake things that I can't freeze and use gradually, but I'll make an exception in this case, I think, and gorge myself on cake and take the leftovers to work.


So how have you been? Please do link me to things you've posted that I missed.
kindkit: Tintin with his arm around Captain Haddock (Tintin: embrace)
Hi all my buddies! I'm in Starbucks, sitting on a very uncomfortable chair and drinking an overpriced frappuccino. (I fully intended to order an iced tea, the cheapest drink. Instead, somehow a frappuccino happened.)

Remember the thing from last month when I was pulled over for having one headlight out, and then got cited because I didn't have proof of insurance on me? That's resolved now, pretty painlessly and without my expired driver's license ever getting noticed. Since I spent much of the last month in a state of such anxiety over it that I was sort of emotionally paralyzed and physically unwell, this is a very very good thing. Feeling better now.

Since I remain internetless I've been reading a lot. I followed up Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger with Night Watch and The Paying Guests. I liked them both a lot, but between TLS and TPG, I started to feel about Sarah Waters' work the way I feel about Thomas Hardy's--the sinking feeling as one crushingly terrible thing after another happens to all the characters I like. Night Watch isn't exactly the most cheerful book in the world either but when it's sad, it's sad on a more normal, less cosmic scale, if that makes sense. I'll probably read more of Waters but for the moment I need a break from her.

Neil Bartlett, W. J. Burley and WWII under the cut )

Not much else to report. I'm still watching Person of Interest despite a distinct feeling, a couple of episodes ago, that the show had jumped the shark. very slight spoiler ) I wish I could quit you, POI, but I still care about the characters and want to know what's going to happen to them.


So, how are all of you?
kindkit: Finch looks thoughtfully at the computer and so does Bear (POI: Finch and Bear thinking)
Your main fandom of the year?

Probably Person of Interest, though I'm still very multifannish (and also, see below for my reservations).


Your favorite film watched this year?

Pride, which is funny and powerful and heartwarming in a completely unsentimental way.


Your favorite book read this year?

Nonfiction: Adam Hochschild's To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1914, which is about the British anti-war movement during the First World War. Runner up is Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which I will confess I didn't finish and which I certainly didn't enjoy, but which is tremendously informative and important.

Fiction: This one's tougher, because often my main criterion for fiction is "are there queer men in it?" and this means I select and enjoy books based on factors other than, strictly speaking, quality of writing. I'll say Fairs's Point, the latest installment of Melissa Scott's Points series, which I just finished and am very enthusiastic about. It's a return to form after Point of Knives, which I didn't love, and in fact it feels like something of a breakthrough. Character development and relationship development didn't feel shortchanged in favor of plot in this one, a common flaw in Scott's earlier novels, but the plot was still engaging and the worldbuilding, Scott's great strength, was an intriguing as ever.


Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?

It's far from new, but I did a lot of re-listening to Thomas Dolby's The Golden Age of Wireless and grew obsessed with "Cloudburst At Shingle Street," to the point where I requested fic about it for Yuletide and got two great stories!


Your favorite TV show of the year?

I fell intensely in love with Person of Interest early this year and devoured the first two seasons, which I still think are brilliant. S3 started out weak but recovered a little before halfway through and finished very strongly. S4 . . . well, more on that in a bit.

POI still has to rank as my overall favorite, but I want to throw in a word for a show that, unlike POI, didn't eventually disappoint me: Grantchester, the BBC series about a Cambridgeshire vicar and amateur detective. The mystery plots are silly but the characterization and acting are great. And it has actual queer characters, including a regular.


Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Besides POI and Grantchester, The Thrilling Adventure Hour, specifically "Captain Laserbeam" and "The Cross-Time Adventures of Colonel Tick-Tock." Silly fun, with what seems like a developing male/male romance for Captain Laserbeam, and the Colonel apparently having had sexytiems with various men across history.


Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

S4 of POI. The show lost the last of its good writers over the hiatus, and there've only been a couple of episodes I've liked at all so far. All the interesting new storytelling opportunities created by the end of S3 have been wasted, and the characters seem to have been replaced by robots who can reproduce a few of the originals' quirks but have no depth and no real feelings for each other.


Your fandom boyfriend of the year?

Despite everything, Harold Finch. I love a repressed, lonely, conscience-stricken genius.

Amusingly, the runner-up is also called Finch: Leonard Finch from Grantchester, who is gay and feminine and overintellectual and shy, but also kind and moral and occasionally very wise, and whom the show treats with great empathy and never mocks.


Your fandom girlfriend of the year?

Root and Shaw, who are each other's girlfriends and not mine (and canon needs to stop hinting and futzing around and make it textual, damn it). They're two deeply flawed people who, together, are starting to be redeemed, and I love that dynamic.


Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Either the "Harold turns up in Italy to find John" (and subsequent suit fittings and John being Harold's date to the museum bash) thing in S3 POI, or the unexpected appearance of two famous characters, who shall remain nameless, in Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold's Death at the Dionysus Club.


The most missed of your old fandoms?

Maybe due South? I don't miss the fandom itself so much, but I've been intermittently longing to rewatch the (Kowalski seasons of) the show.


The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?

I dunno. Rec me something?

One thing I am definitely planning to try is "Sparks Nevada: Marshall on Mars" from The Thrilling Adventure Hour. I'm approaching it with some doubts, because I'm not a particular fan of western tropes and apparently this serial is also much more het-dominated than the other TAH things I've liked, but people say it's good.
kindkit: Finch and Reese sitting on a bench together (POI: Finch and Reese on the bench)
The last episode. My episode summary is in the post; my own reactions will be in the comments on LJ. Anyone's welcome to join in. I'm avoiding any S4 spoilers that may be floating around online, so please don't mention any.

Summary )
kindkit: Finch standing by a pay phone looking tense (POI: Finch and phone)
I thought I posted this days ago but apparently my connection cut out too soon.

As always, my episode summaries are under the cut in the post; my reactions will be in the comments on LJ only. Anyone's welcome to join the discussion, but please, no spoilers for later episodes.

summaries )
kindkit: Finch and Reese sitting on a bench together (POI: Finch and Reese on the bench)
My episode summaries are in this post under the cut; I'll post my personal reactions in the comments on LJ. As always, anyone's welcome to join the discussion, but please be aware that [livejournal.com profile] halotolerant hasn't seen S3 before, so please avoid spoilers past these episodes.

summaries )
kindkit: Finch standing by a pay phone looking tense (POI: Finch and phone)
As always, my episodes summaries are posted both here and on LJ, but my comments will be on LJ only. Anyone's welcome to join the discussion, but my co-watcher [livejournal.com profile] halotolerant hasn't seen S3 before, so please no spoilers past these episodes.

episode summaries )
kindkit: Finch looks thoughtfully at the computer and so does Bear (POI: Finch and Bear thinking)
Episode summary in the post; comments will be here on my LiveJournal. Everyone's welcome to join in the discussion, but bear in mind that my co-watcher, [livejournal.com profile] halotolerant, hasn't see S3 before. Don't post any spoilers for episodes beyond the ones discussed here, please.

Episode summaries )
kindkit: Finch looks thoughtfully at the computer and so does Bear (POI: Finch and Bear thinking)
[livejournal.com profile] halotolerant and I are doing a watchalong of POI season 3. We're alternating hosting the discussion, taking two episodes each. Most of the conversation will be on LJ, though I'll post my summaries (not my comments) here on DW.

Anyone's welcome to join, but as Halo hasn't seen the rest of S3 yet, please be careful to avoid spoilers.

Summaries under the cut )
kindkit: Finch and Reese sitting on a bench together (POI: Finch and Reese on the bench)
Yeah, I missed a few days there.

9) Something from your head-canon (alternate question)

No S3 spoilers )

10) Favorite ship

No S3 spoilers )

11) An unpopular/cracky opinion you hold

No S3 spoilers )

12) How would you convert someone to your show?

No S3 spoilers )

13) What show-related fanworks would you like to see?

Significant but vague S3 spoilers )
kindkit: Finch and Reese sitting on a bench together (POI: Finch and Reese on the bench)
Catching up in this post as my internet connection has been very spotty.

6) Favorite writer (This is an alternate question, as the original question showed its Doctor Who origins by asking about the best title sequence.)

Contains very minor non-plot-related S3 references )

7) Most romantic moment

No S3 spoilers )

8) Favorite character moment (another alternate question)

No S3 spoilers )
kindkit: Finch standing by a pay phone looking tense (POI: Finch and phone)
5. Your song/fan mix for the show

Here are two songs I might use to make POI vids, if I could vid.

First, World Leader Pretend by REM. My imaginary vid is about how various people use or try to use the machine and what they want from it: power, morality, safety, contact with God. It would center on Harold, Nathan, and Root, but with cameos by the usual governmental suspects, Decima, etc.

And, because it would seem I can't resist the pun, how about a Finch/Reese shipper vid to They Might Be Giants' Birdhouse In Your Soul?
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
4) Favorite recurring character

No S3 spoilers here.

Unsurprisingly )
kindkit: Finch looks thoughtfully at the computer and so does Bear (POI: Finch and Bear thinking)
3) Favorite regular character

No S3 spoilers in this one except a couple of minor details.

click here for my unsurprising answer )
kindkit: Finch and Reese sitting on a bench together (POI: Finch and Reese on the bench)
Last night I was able to watch the S3 finale.

spoilers )
kindkit: Finch standing by a pay phone looking tense (POI: Finch and phone)
I'm using one of the alternate questions today.

Enormous spoilers for S3.

Least favourite episode )

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kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
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