tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (molly blank background)
It's time for a meme!  This comes from [livejournal.com profile] ladymercury_10.  I apologize for being a trifle long-winded.

Comment on this post with the word SPARTACUS and I will choose six interests from your profile. You will then explain what they mean/why you are interested in them. Post this along with your answers in your own journal so that others can play along.

1. florence + the machine
Florence + the Machine are currently one of my favorite bands/musicians. I love the intelligent dark romanticism of the lyrics, Florence Welch's unique vocals, and the fascinating instrumentation.  (How many other rock bands have a harp?)  The very first time I heart them was when I saw this excellent Master & Doctor fanvid set to "Drumming Song."  I was struck by how cool the song was as well as how perfect it was for the Master in New Who, but I didn't immediately seek out anything else.  Then I downloaded an Adelle Dewitt (of Dollhouse) fanmix that included "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" and fell utterly in love.  (I don't know if the DL links are still live, but that fanmix was A+++; it was also my introduction to Mumford & Sons.)  I love both of F+tM's full albums that I have with a passion. Mostly I don't listen to music on repeat, but I can loop either Ceremonials or Lungs pretty much endlessly without tiring of them.  If anyone out there is living under a rock and doesn't know them, here's the video for "Shake It Out."



2. unicorns
When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with unicorns.  I pretended to be a unicorn on the school playground with my friends.  In third grade I planned to write a novel about unicorns, going so far as to inform my parents that they were going to need a bigger mailbox because of all the fan mail I would soon be receiving.  (I no longer remember what the plot was going to be beyond lots of unicorns.  I wrote maybe four pages of it before quitting.)  I had a ridiculous amount of unicorn-themed stuff.  In middle school I mentally escaped from horrible PE classes by daydreaming of unicorns invading the gym to take me away.  I am significantly less obsessed now than I was then, but I still have way more un-ironic love for unicorns than most adults do.  I like that they are magical creatures that are powerful without being violent.

3. folk music
I listen to a ton of folk music.  I enjoy lots of different types of folk:  traditional music (especially from the British Isles and US), classics of the 60s folk revival, indie folk, folk rock, country folk, bluesy folk, filk, and pretty much any other subgenre that can reasonably claim to be part of folk.  I like folk music with a blatant political message and folk music about nothing of consequence.  I like electric folk, folk with big acoustic bands, and folk that's just one person and a guitar.  I have a particular love for multi-part harmony contemporary folk with pop, rock, or alternative influences, including groups like Girlyman, the Wailin' Jennys, and my all-time favorite band the Indigo Girls.  I appreciate the focus a lot of folk has on lyrics and instrumental ability rather than post-production effects.  Listing my other favorite folk musicians would take way too long, so instead here is a link to an awesome folk-centric internet radio station, Folk Alley.

4. science writing
I adore books that do a good job of writing about science for laypeople.  Science is absolutely fascinating, but sometimes the concepts are complex enough that it isn't possible for everyone to get the sense of wonder without some background info.  Some science writing involves a great sense of adventure as the authors travel to exotic places and follow scientists who do strange/dangerous things in the quest for knowledge.  It can be tremendously funny, because let's face it, there's a lot about the universe that's pretty weird and hilarious.  It can be moving or important, especially when it's about the science of politically relevant issues like climate change.  Some of my favorite science writing books include The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, Stiff by Mary Roach (or any of Mary Roach's hilarious and informative books), and Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson.

5. molly hooper
Molly Hooper is a character whose role seems small at first, but she is both important within the story and surprisingly richly drawn.  She has a morbid job cutting up corpses, but she loves cutesy things like cats and cherry-print cardigans.  She's deeply socially awkward, but she is also such an astute reader of people that she sees things about Sherlock even John doesn't spot.  She has a crush on Sherlock that she can't quite get over even when she realizes it will never be reciprocated (maybe not admirable, but how many of us have been in that same boat?).  Still, she has been known to call Sherlock out when he is being an asshole strongly enough that he actually apologizes.  She's got terrible tastes in fonts on her website.  Still, you know she must be fiercely competent at her job because she is consistently the morgue technician Sherlock chooses to work with.  Also, she's a total BAMF.  As a macro I saw on tumblr pointed out, she dated London's most notorious criminal mastermind, then dumped his ass.  Then there's the little detail that she appears to have been the key to Sherlock's survival, and she is possibly the only person (aside from maybe some people in his homeless network?) who knows that he is alive.  Molly keeps her secrets.  She's always counted.

Molly-centric fic recs, to share the Hooper Trooper fun:
Advanced Surveillance by spastasmagoria (Molly poses as Sherlock's date for a case.  Hilarious and sexy.)
The Mourning Woman by M_Leigh (post-Reichenbach, lovely)
The Anatomist by rosa_acicularis (Mollyarty, now thoroughly jossed by s2, but still essential reading for those who like a touch of the dark with their awesome Molly)
The Breeze Deep on the Inside by [livejournal.com profile] seren_ccd (Molly/Lestrade, great characterizations).  Further Molly recs very welcome!

6. dar williams
Dar Williams is a folk-pop singer-songwriter whose work I've loved since high school.  I don't recall how I first heard of her, but I know the first album of hers that I owned was Mortal City.  I listened to the title song of that album on repeat my freshman year of college, when I was lonely, homesick, and very cold.  Her songs are smart but also often catchy.  While some of her songs are really funny ("I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono"), she has also written about depression in ways I find deeply resonant ("After All").  She also writes a damn good political song.  I got to see her live back in 2006, when she played at a music festival near Tallahasse, where I lived then.  She puts on a great live show.

Here's "The Mercy of the Fallen," perhaps my favorite of Dar's songs.  (You can tell I really love it because I titled a fanfic after it.)
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (twirl on)
My muse has sadly been in a state of deep hibernation for quite some time.  However, it recently occurred to me that I never bothered to publicly own up to a little fragment of Sherlock crack I wrote for the kink meme many moons ago (original thread here). The prompt was Sherlock and Moriarty duel with banjos fancy violins.  My response is a bit of doggerel set to the tune to "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."  If you aren't familiar with the song, go listen because otherwise my parody will seem even more nonsensical than it already is. 

This is un-betaed and utterly ridiculous.  I apologize in advance for abuses to rhyme and meter, especially the part where I rhyme "umbellas" with "oh hell yes."  I should probably be much more ashamed of that than I am.

Moriarty Went Down to Baker Street )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (the sound of torchwood)
I've done this meme before, but [livejournal.com profile] isiscaughey just did it again.  I thought it might be fun to play again.

1. Open up your music player. Hit shuffle.
2. Record the first few lines of the first 25 songs that come up that do not give away the name of the song. Skip instrumentals, but don't skip the embarrassing ones.
3. Make hapless LJ/DW denizens guess the song names and artists. Google is cheating. For musical songs, the name of the musical is acceptable in place of the artist.
4. Cross out the songs that have been guessed.
5. Pass it along.


Clues under the cut )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (sherlock faded backdrop)
-"The Reichenbach Fall" is tomorrow.  In preparation, I reread "The Final Problem" earlier today.  So glad I didn't experience this in real time with the Victorian fandom.  Even knowing that "The Empty House" will reunite them, Watson's grief at Holmes's death still has my emotions in a twist.  I'm even more emotionally invested in the BBC versions of these characters, so I suspect tomorrow is going to require ALL THE SHOCK BLANKETS. 

-
spoilers for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows )


-I have a Tumblr now.  Unsurprisingly, I'm tardis-stowaway. I'm not planning on taking too much of my activity over there, since I find the platform not very conducive to social interaction.  Also, it favors graphics-based fandom, which is not an area where I can really contribute anything more than reblogs.  Still, I like looking at the pretty pictures (and enjoying the crackiness of Sherlock fandom over there), so I figured it made sense to get myself an account rather than just visiting the individual pages of people who post interesting stuff.  If anyone on my flist has a tumblr and/or can suggest interesting tumblrs to follow, let me know!  Also, I have noticed to my chagrin that people tend to post spoilers without any form of cuts over there.  I understand there is something called Tumblr Savior that helps you block posts tagged as spoilers, but I don't know how this works or where to turn it on.  Help me, Obi Wan Flist. 

-Most of this illustrated review of War Horse could have been written from inside my brain.  (contains spoilers)
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (falling slowly)
I grabbed this one from [livejournal.com profile] eponymous_rose.  Let's play!

1. Open up your music player. Hit shuffle.
2. Record the first few lines of the first thirty songs that come up that do not give away the name of the song. Skip instrumentals, but don't skip the embarrassing ones.
3. Make hapless LJ denizens guess the song names and artists. Google is cheating. For musical songs, the name of the musical is acceptable in place of the artist.
4. Least hapless LJ denizen wins admiration. That's right, just like a lobbyist in budget season, the points don't matter.


ETA: 17 guessed, 13 to go! Some of the remaining ones are pretty obscure or hard to guess from lyrics alone, but there's a few I bet someone out there knows.

Do you hear my iTunes sing? )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (vastra/jenny)
I have decided that the news about Doctor Who having a shortened series in 2012 only makes sense if Moffat needs to free up budget and writing time for the development of a Madame Vastra/Jenny spinoff series.  All other possibilities are madness.  (Or at least depressing.)  Victorian interspecies lesbians who fight crime can make even this sour news palatable. 

After the tragic passing of Elisabeth Sladen, the Whoniverse is down a children's show.  My concept is that Vastra and Jenny start employing a pack of rascally but adorable street urchins, Baker Street Irregular style.  Eventually they adopt the core group of urchins and become a crime-fighting family that happens to be headed by two mommies, one of whom is a lizard.  It will be the best show ever.

Meanwhile, you must watch this if you're one of the few people on the Internet who hasn't seen the Grand Rapids Lip Dub, a video wherein the people of Grand Rapids, Michigan responded to being labelled a "dying city" by Newsweek by creating a giant, highly-choreographed lip-synch video to "American Pie."  It's got a pillow fight, dancing in the streets, a wedding, kayakers, and more cool stuff I don't want to spoil.  It's also quite moving.  With the shitty economy and general messed-up state of the world I think we all feel a bit like a generation lost in space, so this celebration of life despite the supposed death of the music (or Grand Rapids, or the world we thought we knew) is really resonant. 

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (the sound of torchwood)
At a concert Friday night (Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band), I started thinking about musical instruments and how many of them have distinct personality types stereotypically associated with them.  Of course there's plenty of exceptions to these stereotypes–I've known shy trumpet players and smart drummers, and one of the most macho guys in my high school played the flute–but they aren't entirely without basis in fact.  After all, people sometimes choose an instrument because it speaks to some aspect of their personalities.  Then my mind drifted into fandom.  Now I've got a question for y'all.

Which characters do you think play or used to play an instrument, and which instrument?  Sherlock plays the violin, of course, and John says he learned the clarinet (though there's no evidence he's kept it up).  The Doctor has been observed playing the recorder (as Two) and the organ (as Ten in The Lazarus Experiment).  I'd love to hear more canonical examples, but even more than that, dear flist, I want your speculation.  (My examples below are from Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms, since that's where I mainly hang out, but if you feel like discussing something else, go for it!) 

Does Lestrade spend his off-hours playing electric guitar in a band with some of his mates from the Yard?  Did Amy Pond decide to rub her Scottishness in the faces of the people of Leadworth by learning the bagpipes?  Does Eleven play the banjo, because banjos are cool?  Does Captain Jack like to blow a trumpet?  Does Anthea get the finger dexterity for that Blackberry from playing the piano, or does she let off steam playing bass in an all-woman punk band?  Does Anderson enjoy how his trombone sounds like he's always imagined the call of the noble Parasaurolophus? 

For the record, I played the French horn from fifth grade until I graduated high school.  If any of y'all play(ed) instruments, feel free to share that too. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (the sound of torchwood)
Tonight I went to a concert of old-time music by Evie Ladin and her band, part of a local concert series in an old barn converted into a community center.  The music was excellent, able to set feet stomping or move my heart.  In addition to the usual bluegrass instruments like her banjo, the group also did body percussion, and at one point the string bass player pulled out a bass harmonica.  I had no idea that harmonicas came in bass, but apparently they do.  It was a lot larger than a normal harmonica; you wonder if bass harmonica players get teased about compensating. 

Most of the music I've seen live in the past few years has been in really small venues like this, like coffeehouses, contra dances, free community outdoor concerts, etc.  Though the music I listen to at home includes plenty of genres like alternative, pop, and rock, the large majority of the live music I hear is folk and traditional music.  While at the concert tonight, it occurred to me that there's a certain similarity between this niche of music and what we do in fandom. 

The emphasis in traditional-style music is not producing something staggeringly new.  Artists play plenty of covers of tunes that have been around for centuries and songs written by other contemporary artists, and even when they write original tunes they are working with a set musical vocabulary rather than trying to make something utterly unlike anything that came before.  However, there is still ample room for individuality in old playing styles, and there's tremendous artistry involved in making an ancient tune one's own.  Fandom is also not about creating something never before seen, but there is still plenty of creativity in making someone else's characters shine in a way unique to the fic writer. 

Both fandom and traditional-style music emphasize community and participation.  The concert I was at tonight featured an open jam session before the main performance started.  Other community members participated by organizing the event, doing the sound, or arranging refreshments, and everyone in the audience gave feedback directly to the artist with our tapping feet and applause or talking to band members during the intermission.  At a contra dance, the musicians and the dancers collaborate to create the beauty of the dance.  In fandom, everyone is encouraged to pick up a metaphorical fiddle by writing their own fic if they feel like it, but they can also participate by making vids or fanart, hosting comms, etc., and even those who don't create or organize can still interact directly with authors in a way that TV and mainstream literature don't allow. 

The point is making something that people enjoy, not money.  Of course, many musicians, unlike fic writers, are trying to earn a living through their art, and I try to put my money where my ears are in support of them.  Still, they know they could probably be making more money doing something else.  Some of them have day jobs.  It's about love of the creative process, love of the audience appreciation, love of listening or reading. Sometimes the songs and stories have a larger purpose, like protesting for social change or empowering a character neglected by canon, while other times they're just fun tunes to dance to or fun stories about favorite characters having sex.  It's all part of the community.

People have made music and told stories since long before there was any way of recording them.  It's in our souls.  There is value in a well-played tune or a well-told tale: original or derivative, high art or low, for an audience of millions or a dozen.  Capitalistic society has tried to convince us to follow a large-scale, top-down approach to stories and music, and the money mobilized by this approach allows for some pretty impressive creations.  That's great, but it's not the only worthy way to create or enjoy other people's creations.  The community of fandom is as grassroots as bluegrass and just as full of life and beauty.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (kaylee parasol smiles)
Last night, I had the late night urge to combine my new muffin pan with the blueberries I'd bought at the previous week's farmers' market. Blueberry cinnamon muffins happened.  Yum!  I am the Evil Midnight Muffin Maker What Makes Muffins at Midnight. (Anyone who gets that The Tick reference gets +5 points.)

Today, I did a nice hike up Bishop's Peak, ran some errands, bought more produce at the big Farmers' Market/street fair in SLO, and settled in at Linnaea's Cafe to try to accomplish a bit of work on the Jack/Doctor fic I'm writing.  It turned out that there was going to be live music, a fairly common occurrence at the cafe, and generally a welcome one.  The woman onstage tonight had a lovely voice and a "folk funk" (her description) sound that I was really digging.  Then, a few songs in, she announced, "this song is about River Tam."

I did a double-take.  Yes, she meant Firefly's River Tam.  I had serendipitously shown up at a geek concert in a non-convention venue, as another audience member more prepared than me soon proved by donning a Jayne hat.  The concert included several more songs, maybe a third of the ones she played, vaguely or not-so-vaguely referencing Firefly mixed in with the more standard singer-songwriter fare.  The non-filk songs often had a humorous touch ("You're like an avocado, baby.  You're only really good for one day.")  She also played an anthem about being a geek, featuring percussion played on a manual typewriter.  I repeat:  manual typewriter percussion. 

Her name is Marian Call, and you should check her out!  You can listen to some of her music streaming on her website.

The concert must have helped with the fannish brainwaves, because even though my fic only had half my attention, I finally managed to write a version I like of a scene that had been giving me trouble.  Hooray!

Bonus geek moment of the week:  I wandered into a local bead store a few days ago, just to see what was in there (answer:  beads).  The woman behind the counter became the first stranger to ever speak in recognition of the small TARDIS pin on my purse.  

Fantastic

Jul. 4th, 2010 02:38 am
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (sorta fairytale 9/rose)
Tonight, I went to see Celtic band Molly's Revenge in concert.  I've seen them once before, but they were definitely worth a second visit.  They put on a wonderful, energetic show.  The presence of bagpipes in a fairly small concert venue means that the music overpowers you, but in a good way.  The feeling is not argh, my ears; it's hey, my toe is tapping of its own accord! Woo!  Meanwhile, I seem to have fallen behind in the TV meme again. 

Day 21:  Favorite Ship
pictures and a bit of squee behind cut )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (change is good)
I don't know what the folks at Huffington Post are on, but I suggest that they keep at it.  They posted an article on which US politicians ought to be cast as the Doctor.  If you're not going WTF?, you're not paying attention.  The article is moderately amusing for their explanations of why certain politicians are like the Doctor, though mostly I can't possibly conceive of these people in the role (even aside from the fact that they are American politicians).  Hillary Clinton might have regenerated her public persona, but, meaning no disrespect, none of those personas have been very Doctor-ish. 

However, the article did propose one Doctor and companion pairing that won the Internet forever:

Doctor:  Barack Obama
Companion:  Lady Gaga

WORLDS OF YES!  I WOULD PAY IN CASH AND POSSIBLY BODY PARTS TO SEE THIS.  Obama has Nine's ears, Ten's geekiness, and the general Doctorish commitment to hope and idealism with a steely underlayer.  A depressingly large number of Americans are already convinced that he wasn't born in the US anyway...why not Gallifrey? 

The true genius of this, though, is the companion casting.  Obama!Doctor's intellectual calm with side of dorkiness would be well (and hilariously) balanced out by Lady Gaga's total out-there in your face personality.  Anybody who goes out on stage wearing those insane heels she sometimes sports is brave enough to be a companion (though let's hope she takes it down to only two- or three-inch heels when she has to run).  If they wanted to have a companion who wasn't from 21st century earth, viewers could easily believe that she's from the future and/or alien.  (Heck, I like the idea of Michelle Obama as the relatable human companion and Lady Gaga as a second, alien companion, or possibly a personification of the TARDIS or something.)   Cosplayers would be overjoyed at her distinctive outfits.  Every episode could have a musical number. 

Heck, even without Barack Obama, I would be endlessly amused to have Lady Gaga on Doctor Who.  Kylie Minogue was a singer who appeared as a co-star, so there's precedent.  Amy Pond is already pioneering the territory of how to be a companion without trousers.  Lady Gaga could take over the Daleks so instead of shouting "Exterminate!  Exterminate!" they shouted "Puh-puh-puh-poker face!  Puh-puh poker face!"  Who's with me?
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (sorry your planet imploded star trek)
I saw The Road the other night at my local independent movie theater.  I can't say that I enjoyed it, because it's not really the sort of movie one enjoys, but it was extremely good, and I'm glad that I saw it.  This is an apocalypse movie that doesn't even bother explaining the mechanism of the destruction, focusing instead on the bleak aftermath of increasingly hopeless survivors in a ravaged landscape.  A lot of apocalypse movies (and books and TV shows) feel like adventures; this felt like the end of the world.  The scope and thoroughness of the vision of death for the earth and human civilization alike was stunning.  Shooting that movie must have involved making odd statements like, "Damn, it's sunny.  Gotta shoot inside today."    Viggo Mortenson gave an excellent performance.  He looked like he had lost a really scary amount of weight for the part.  Maybe some of that was effects, because otherwise someone needs to give that man a sandwich, stat.  The kid playing his son was also quite good.

The post-apocalyptic landscape where plants no longer grew was populated by people so desperate for food that they'd turned to cannibalism.  There are a few really scary and horrifying scenes that gave me some trouble when trying to fall asleep afterwards.  It reminded me of the butchers in the Epitaph episodes of Dollhouse or Reavers in Firefly, but these had the extra horror value of having reached that state without any drug or technological brain alteration, changed into monsters just by desperation and the breakdown of social controls.  The film was as sad as it was scary.  I cried at a scene where Viggo is trying to bring himself to get rid of mementos of his dead wife, then again at the end.  Buckets at the end, although oddly enough it was the grace note of a little faint hope (well, not so much hope as less than total devastation) that made me cry the hardest.  Overall, this movie is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who can deal with both creepy basements and existential angst it is very much worthwhile. 

Meanwhile, I just came across the band Florence + the Machine, and I've rapidly become obsessed.  (Note:  I live under a rock, and thus sometimes hear about bands and such much later than normal people.)  "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" and "The Drumming Song" alternate in continuous rotation in my head, but I can't bring myself to mind.  (For one thing, they've finally dislodged "Bad Romance," which has refused to entirely unstick itself from my brain for ages and ages.).  Pop music with a harp and unique, sometimes fairytale-like lyrics?  Yes, please!  Here, have the trippy, beautiful video for "Rabbit Heart." 




Other exciting find of the week:  the gray tights I bought for an Amy Pond costume for Gallifrey One turn out to be the most comfortable tights I've ever worn.  The brand name is Hue, and they are so comfy I didn't want to take them off.  Score!
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (spuffy fools for love)
While looking at local newspaper's event listings in search of some excuse to get out of the house, I saw that Common Rotation was playing in SLO.  Though I hadn't previously  heard any of their music, I'd heard of this band, both because people have recommended their music to me and because one of the band members, Adam Busch, played Warren on BtVS.  After hearing them, I am now quite smitten with their indie folk-pop harmonies.  They put on an excellent show!  There are several songs available on the website linked above, and many more live recordings, works in progress, etc archived at theunionmaid.com, including a live version of "Bitter Honey" with Amber Benson (Tara!) and Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls.  (How much fun am I having discovering this?  A lot!) 

The concert was in an art gallery/coffee shop with only about two dozen people in the audience.  Somewhat bizarrely, the audience consisted mostly of San Luis Obispo's two major demographic groups, college students and retirees, but with substantially more of the latter.  I expect to see the old folks when I see concerts by people playing things like bluegrass, but I hadn't expected to see quite so many of them here.  Is this these particular senior citizens' usual sort of music?   Were they Buffy fans?

I was dealing with some cognitive dissonance from watching the guy who shot Tara playing harmonica and singing pretty harmonies.  You can be 100% grounded in the reality that actors are not their parts, but it's still kind of odd to see a face you only know as a villain doing something so different and wholesome.  I'm glad there were no robots (that I know of!), world domination attempts, or flayings during the concert.  Hooray!
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (the sound of torchwood)
Things that were awesome about today:

1.  Mini singalong in the Goodwill store! I was looking at trousers (no success) when "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" came on the store radio.  At the part where it bursts out loudly "I! Love!  You!  BA-ABY!/ And if it's quite alright.." I realized that not only was I accidentally humming under my breath but two other people, apparently not in the same party, started singing along.  If a few more people had joined in I'm convinced that backup dancers would have spontaneously appeared.  It happens in movies ALL THE TIME.  

2.  I saw the movie Whip It and had a ton of fun! You could describe it as a coming of age, teen girl rebellion movie crossed with a sports flick, which sounds like a recipe for badness but turned out to be awesome.   That's the sort of thing that capable screenwriters and actors can do.  Plus, the sport in question was roller derby, which is delightfully bizarre.  Ellen Page (from Juno) played the lead with pizazz and heart, and the rest of the cast was excellent as well.  It was funny, full of action-packed contact skating, and a bit moving.  The plot was somewhat predictable, but the dialog and characters were fresh enough that I didn't much care.  It's a film about discovering your passion, families both natural and chosen, and growing up alternative in a small town.  (Bonus: this showing was a sneak preview, so they had local roller derby women skating around outside the theater trying to interest passers-by. Fun!)

3.  This photo of the Spanish Prime Minister's family posing with the Obamas is great.
Apparently Spanish law allows the Prime Minister to prevent the press from publishing photos of his teenage daughters, so nobody had seen them.  The US state department didn't get the memo or something, released the photos (oops!), and revealed the big secret: the daughters are kinda goth. 

I like this photo for several reasons:
a.  Barack and Michelle seem to think this is great.  Admittedly they must have practice smiling in weird situations, but I think Barack is probably thinking that teenage goths make a nice change from the power-hungry old men in suits that he has to spend much of his time with.

b.  The Zapatero parents are accepting enough of their daughters' phase (or lifestyle...who knows at this age) that they have not strongarmed them into wearing something more conventional.  Admittedly we don't know whether they tried.  I imagine there were intense negotiations before the photo session.  "Honey, if I let you wear the Doc Martens will you change into a simple dress with no latex or fishnets?"  "Mooooom!  *sigh*  Fine.  But I'm not taking off the black nail polish!"

c.  The girls appear to be in a dilemma about how happy they can look without losing Goth cred.  On the one hand, Goths don't smile, and they are having to pose with their totally embarrassing parents.  On the other hand, they are getting to meet with Barack Obama, who even a teenaged Spanish First Goth has to admit is kinda cool. They have settled on uncertain half-smiles.  The huge slumps indicate their disapproval for Obama's message of hope.

d.  The fact that the girls have such lousy posture indicates that they are not trained in media appearances, which is somewhat refreshing.

e.  Other people's awkwardness is hilarious!
 
I do feel sorry for the girls, given that there will undoubtedly be a lot of commentary that is not so nice.  At least it will provide fodder for some properly angsty teenage poetry. 

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