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16 August 2015 @ 05:52 pm
Woke up last night at 4:30 from a bad dream. It was unpleasant, but I usually get up at 5:30 anyway, so I just stayed awake and played video games.

This was actually kind of nice because I managed to drag myself outside at 6am to go for a walk, playing through the first mission of Zombies, Run!. It was pretty damn pleasant, considering how hot it got up to during the day, so I think I'm going to start the Zombies, Run! 5k edition tomorrow. Working out at home has gotten a little stale, and it's nice to have both variety and a specific goal to work towards.

(My strength training goal is 'be able to do a full push up'. Little to no success on this yet.)

I was looking into local 5ks, and I think I found one that might work as a fun target, though it lands around week 7, so I'm not sure if I want to sign up in the 'Walking' or 'Running' category. Decisions are hard. Ask me again in a week.

Speaking of cardio, I also looked up local Parkour classes, and there's one that miiiight work on Fridays. I'll check it out this Friday and see how I feel about it, though it might make me too sore to go to yoga on Saturdays. I'm in TRY ALL THE THINGS mode right now.

One of the reasons why I'm doing so much and thinking so much about it is because I'm doing better at -- either through yoga or meditation or both -- of feeling connected to my body and feeling pleasure in making it do things. It hurts, and it sucks, and I'm awful at pretty much everything right now (and I am discovering the pleasant shade of beet-red my face turns whenever I get my heart rate up), but it's kind of awesome, too? My body does things? I can make it do things?

I read an essay today by the head writer of Zombies, Run!, Naomi Alderman, that really captured that feeling of it: There’s No Morality in Exercise: I’m a Fat Person and Made a Successful Fitness App. There's a lot here that's good, but I'm going to spoil some of it by posting the part that really spoke to me:
No, what happened was better: I started to enjoy being in my body. I felt better. I felt good. It is a very different feeling to be in a fat body that is moving a lot to one that hardly moves at all. It feels like love. As simple and as joyful as that.

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03 August 2015 @ 08:21 pm
Just after I wrote my last post, I managed to injure my left shoulder trying to do burpees. I think it was just a pull, because it hurt for a few days and then was fine. Still was obnoxious, though, especially trying to figure out routines to work around it. Ugh, burpees.

Besides that, I've kept up general workout things! Daily cardio has been pretty great so far. It's been really good at the beginning of the day, dragging me into wakefulness even when my body doesn't think it's ready for anything. I've settled into doing Zumba twice a week, but I might just drop that because I'm enjoying doing exercise from home more. I'll give it a few more weeks and see how I feel about it.

I bought a kettlebell because the internet agrees that strength training is great, and more women should do it. And I also like the idea of getting physically stronger? My arms have always been kind of puny, even when I was doing martial arts a lot, so this is new and exciting territory for me.

Yoga has been good. I've enjoyed switching it to the evenings. It's relaxing and centering when I'm still feeling a little tired and cranky after work. I'm doing it in the mornings on days that I have Zumba, and I think it's just a little too sedate in the morning to really force me awake and buzzing the way I really need right now. Classes are still great for Saturday mornings, and I'm definitely tempted to try one of the 6am morning classes.

I have also been tempted to get Zombies, Run! 5k (h/t to [personal profile] zulu) even though that involves getting earbuds, and also, involves running. My brain is warring between my love of video games and my hatred of running. It's still a little warm to start doing any sort of jogging outside these days, but it might be something to table until the fall, when hopefully I'll have a better sense of how my current workouts are feeling and how I can work it into my morning schedule.

I, um, get a little fixated sometimes when I try something new. Have you noticed?

I have also been working on some fic, and I'm like 88% sure it's never going to see the light of day, so I'm not sure why I'm so annoyed that I can't seem to finish it. Just slap a cheesy, shitty ending onto it, brain! It's not that difficult!

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24 July 2015 @ 09:28 pm
This week was really awful. Getting into the details of it is more than I can or want to deal with right now, so I will not do that. It's at the point where I've semi-abandoned my weird experimental fic in favor of stress-writing terrible other fic because other fic is easier to think about and work on. I can just spew words into this document, and it's almost kind of soothing.

But on the other hand, I've started doing cardio, and I think I've found cardio that I don't hate? Zumba wasn't really fun per se, but I enjoyed it more than the other cardio I've done before? I didn't feel like throwing up at any point. My lungs didn't want to crawl out of my chest. There were plenty of breaks where I could stop for water. I was terrible at any of the parts that required actual dancing skill, but I managed to keep up with the footwork for the most part. Or worked really hard at trying to keep up with the footwork, which is pretty much what I'm there for anyway.

I think the key things for cardio and me is that (a) I much prefer working out more than one muscle group when doing it and (b) I need someone else to set the pace for me and guilt/encourage me to get through things. I think I push myself too hard when I try to do things like running, and then I just feel awful at the end of the workout instead of energized. I get side stitches, and I can't breathe, and yeah. Bad place.

I found some home cardio videos that I liked well enough. The first one that I saw offered up low-impact alternatives to the moves they were using, and halfway through, there was a water break. Even though I haven't done cardio in forever, it was still pretty doable. I usually end up gushing sweat at the end of it, which is the goal, I think. I also get a nice pleasant buzz, which I'm guessing is the mystical runners' high that I've heard so much about but have never experienced in association with running. I might go hunting for other videos to see if I like them better, but even if I don't, then I at least have these to fall back on.

I am slightly worried that it's not cardio 'enough' and am tempted to get some sort of heart rate monitor, though I think that's the internet talking and not me. Ugh. I'm not in this to get to my peak physical condition or lose a ton of weight. I'm just in this to maintain a decent amount of mental and physical health. I guess we'll see how I feel about keeping up the routine going forward.

This is on top of the daily yoga that I've been pretty good at maintaining, even when I was sick earlier this week. There are yoga videos for when you are sick, because there are yoga videos for everything. Just finished Day 26 of 30 Days of Yoga, and it's been good. I like the variety that she presents. I've been doing once-a-week classes, which are good for pushing myself harder and also for inducing bile in the back of my throat when I push myself to hard.

So. I guess I'm now someone who does exercise on a regular basis. I'm someone who talks about the exercise I'm doing on a regular basis. Gross.

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20 July 2015 @ 09:37 am
Definitely sick. I feel like crap today, and I'm lounging around my apartment despite it being gorgeous (and also probably too hot) outside today.

New York was lovely, as expected, though I was getting exhausted and homesick at the end of it. Maybe that's probably me just getting sick-sick at the end of it.


I generally enjoy it, and this time was no different. I wouldn't say that I necessarily 'understand' a lot of modern art, but I do enjoy looking at it. I find the fact that it's weird and challenging and at times total bullshit far more interesting than staring at my 5 millionth portrait of a famous person from 300 years ago.

They had a few exhibits of note: Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series, and the oddball one that lined up with my work/interests: Design for Common Good.

I also hung out in the sculpture garden for a bit, enjoying the weather and did a bit of writing. That was fun. Being around art can definitely inspire you.

Brooklyn Museum

I was super impressed by this museum. It was trying to do the oddball thing of creating some of its exhibits around theme rather than time period or style, so it had this really cool mashup effect. The highlight for me was
Diverse Works: Director’s Choice, 1997–2015
. Lots of interesting stuff all put right next to one another.

I was also impressed/intimidated by The Dinner Party, which was extremely large and extremely detailed and still felt weirdly off. It might have been all the unsubtle vulva imagery.

The FAILE exhibit was also pretty decent.

One thing that I also really dug about it was how diverse the patrons were. It felt like the museum itself had a progressive direction that works its way through everything it does, which I thought was cool.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Lovely! Wandered for a bit, but ended up spending a bunch of time at Lilypond Terrace, which was really nice. Very relaxing.

Hedwig round 2

I tried the lottery a couple of times and decided I didn't need that sort of uncertainty and instead caved and bought the best tickets I could get, which turned out to be in the 4th row. Darren felt a lot more settled into the role, and it was still a good time. I think, for me, one thing that makes the show really interesting to me is the fact that it feels more about abstractions than about characters and still remains compelling to watch all the way through. I don't mean that it's shallow, necessarily, just that it's kind of a show of metaphors reflecting metaphors until you get to the end and then it goes almost entirely abstract. You can watch it a dozen times and get something different out of it each time.

Magic Mike XXL round 2

Possibly even more fun the second time around, because it gave me a chance to be (even more) shallow about things. Matt Bomer singing with his Neal Caffrey hat! Everything about Channing Tatum's ridiculous dance to Pony! Even the convenience store scene was more goofy fun this time instead of just weird and creepy.

Okay, back to drinking my tea and watching Don't trust the B in Apartment 23. Maybe I'll even start in on my hot and sour soup.

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19 July 2015 @ 07:39 pm
I am so happy to be home again after my trip to NYC. I might also be sick or it might be some sort of allergies, but it's still unclear right now. I think it'll be very clear tomorrow one way or the other.

I feel like I should write up a longer post on the things I did, but right now I'm just feeling kind of down and sad. Anyone got good Netflix/HBO pick-me-ups that I could watch? I've already made myself some tea, and that helped somewhat. My appetite has been totally shot, though.

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11 July 2015 @ 08:22 pm
I was extremely delighted by this movie! I saw it with some other fangirls, and while there wasn't a lot of people in the audience (matinees are like that, I guess), there was at least one woman in the row behinds us also cackling with laughter and joy.

The first movie was very much split down the middle in a lot of ways, like it was two different movies welded together in a way that didn't quite fit. This movie is about taking the side of that movie that was more enjoyable (hint: it involved dancing boys) and throwing itself headfirst into that.

The first movie was so sad, so full of sleeze and misery, and this movie is so joyful. You can see how they're connected, but you can also see how the filmmakers decided to pivot for this one. And I think ultimately, they pivoted towards talking about women, which is odd in a movie where most of the characters are men. Here, women are allowed to have voices. In the first movie, there was Mike's love interest, who remained the only female character with a voice and personality. The women who existed in the crowd scenes only expressed their interests and voices by throwing dollar bills and occasionally were dragged onstage to be dry-humped. They're still dragged onstage and dry-humped, but now they're asked about what they want, who they are. Mostly, anyway.

The scene with Andie McDowell looked so cringeworthy in the trailers, an older woman who needs to taught how to get her groove back with a bunch of strippers, but it's played so much smarter. She's so active and present and in control of it.

But there's definitely an oddness to the movie and the way it treats female pleasure. M mentioned that it's a fantasy universe in which rape doesn't exist, and I think that's the simplest way of describing the confusing contradictions at the center of the movie's attitudes towards sex and gender. I think Tasha Robinson's essay on the movie's take on female pleasure expands on that idea really well.

Still, though. This is a movie about the joy of entertaining, of making people feel good through your art. I've never been much of a live performer, but I know the little hit I get when someone comments on my fic with smiley-faces. So that felt very real and happy-making to me.

(Also, on a shallow note, I'm really glad they got Twitch to join the crew as probably the only other person on the cast who can match Tatum as a dancer. And hoo boy, did they look good dancing together.)

Other takes on this movie that I have enjoyed:

Film Crit Hulk's complete adoration for it

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Wooo, another fic, because apparently everything decided to land this weekend.

Title: Stacking the Dice
Fandom: How to Get Away with Murder
Pairing: Connor/Oliver
Word count: ~22,000
Summary: High School AU. Connor makes a bet with Michaela. Oliver gets caught in the crossfire.
Notes: I was going to say that this was kind of my version of a Cruel Intentions AU, but I hadn't actually seen Cruel Intentions at the time (or even read Dangerous Liaisons). Now that I've seen the movie, I can say that this is probably more like an off-brand copy of a Cruel Intentions AU.

On AO3 | On Tumblr (in parts, sorry)

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05 July 2015 @ 06:18 pm
I wrote a thing for Remix Madness last week! Author reveals are now up, so I can finally link it here:

Rituals (Sing Without Words Remix) (1477 words) by thedeadparrot
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Elementary (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sherlock Holmes/Joan Watson
Additional Tags: Slice of Life
Summary: The things that they notice and the things they don't say.

It's been a while since I've written Elementary fic, but I've really enjoyed the show, and it was nice to have the opportunity to revisit them now that they've had time to really shift and change. This was a fun experiment in no-dialogue-allowed remixing.

Two people also wrote remixes of my fic:

Sometimes Grow Thin (The Let it Go Remix) (1112 words) by coricomile
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sirius Black/Remus Lupin
Characters: Remus Lupin, Sirius Black
Additional Tags: Marauders' Era
Summary: They can only move forward.

Every Junkie's Like The Setting Sun ("If I Fell" Remix) (3292 words) by Maribor_Petrichor
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sherlock (TV)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Summary: Sometimes the first step is admitting you have a problem. Sometimes the last step is admitting you don't care.

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04 July 2015 @ 06:50 pm
So you probably haven't heard of this movie, because I hadn't heard of it either. But Beyond the Lights is a show-biz romance movie, and despite how terrible it sounds on paper, it's actually rather good. (You can find it on Netflix and/or on Amazon. Amazon has it at 99 cents to rent!)

Here's the synopsis: Fake-Rihanna almost commits suicide and then falls in love with the LA cop who saves her life.

Like I said, sounds terrible on paper.

But it's a lot better than that. The movie plays all of the melodrama in a low-key, understated way. The actors are great and turn in lovely performances and have great chemistry. There's a feminist streak to the whole proceedings, trying to explore the ways in which the recording industry uses women without being heavy-handed about it. It's a romance between too black characters in a movie made by a black woman (she also did Love & Basketball!).

And in the end, for all that the romance is sold to be front and center, it's a story of self-determination, about learning how to find yourself when everyone else is trying to control what you are.

It feels a little like a good fanfic in a lot of ways. It goes through the predictable motions of a romantic drama, but it goes through those motions with enough skill that it doesn't drag everything down, and adds a lot of interesting character development and nuance and care on top of it. It's not a mind-blowing, revolutionary movie, but it's good enough that I'm sad that I'd never heard of it, and I think that other people would enjoy it too.

Here, have a trailer:

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20 June 2015 @ 05:42 pm
I'm still kind of a blubbering mess over this movie, so bear with me.

So, I have to admit that I have a heart of stone and don't really cry over movies or TV. I didn't even cry over Up, okay? Sure, it was a super sad movie, and I felt sad while watching it, but I didn't cry.

This movie made me cry.

So I guess I will answer [personal profile] bironic's question about whether or not the movie did a good job for advocating for sadness as an emotion, and I would say that it's actually the central thesis of the movie. When the other emotions try to prevent sadness from getting a say in Riley's life, everything breaks down and the main plot begins.

What I also find interesting about the thesis is that it also feels like a statement of purpose from Pixar, that the reason their movies turn us into blubbering messes is because feeling sad, genuinely sad, is as important to us as feeling joy.

other thoughts, no spoilersCollapse )

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