Mad world! Mad kings!

Jul. 28th, 2017 09:59 pm
aris_tgd: Daenerys "Come not between the dragon and her wrath" (Daenerys dragon)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
So I watched the Stratford Festival's recent King John yesterday. King John is on my list of favorite Shakespeare plays that almost nobody performs, so it was really awesome to have another production of it. The only previous version I'd seen was the Complete BBC Shakespeare, which is in many ways terrific but invites comparison.

This one was good! They chose to do Elizabethan costumes, which makes sense, since the play is chock-full of anachronisms. (For one thing, everyone's running around firing cannons at each other, which didn't happen for another hundred years or so in English/French warfare.) Their John was terrific. He was full of energy and self-importance, and seemed to be genuinely having fun being king. (Until the last act when everything went wrong, of course, but the first part of the play was a lot of him trooping around grinning at people.) Their Arthur was just fine, and nowhere nearly as awful as a lot of child actors--there's a lot of emotion to land on a kid in this play, especially the scene where he's threatened with eye-gouging, and there's a really hard balance to strike where you want the lines to come off as terrified but also kind of naively trusting in the Powers That Be to get him out of there. It's half-mystical and half-grasping and it's a lot for any young actor to handle stuff like:

No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with grief,
Being create for comfort, to be used
In undeserved extremes: see else yourself;
There is no malice in this burning coal;
The breath of heaven has blown his spirit out
And strew'd repentent ashes on his head.

WOW. So yeah, the kid was good! Not brilliant, but good.

Their Constance was lovely, angry and elegiac. Lady Blanche was also terrific, she had some great side-eye and nailed her "What the heck do I do NOW" speech. (She also came off as just the right level of flirtatious with the Bastard Faulconbridge to keep my ship alive.) Eleanor was also pretty great, but that part doesn't really have any stunning Moments that I come back to. She was elegant and fierce and that's what we want from an Eleanor of Acquitaine.

I didn't quite like their Bastard as well as George Costigan in the BBC Complete Shakespeare, but he was still pretty fantastic. (In the BBC version I think he got to play it a little smaller and more directly to the camera, which helps with some of his longer and more winding monologues.) I especially liked his little happydance when his mother confirmed his parentage.

As I was watching the play it occurred to me that this is a play about failed communication, broken promises, and people going "WTF just happened here." In many ways it's a play for our times.
aris_tgd: "Tune your ear to the frequency of despair and cross-reference by the latitude and longitude of a heart in agony." (Lyttle Lytton Spider-Man Agony)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
But between massive high-level incompetence and irritating low-level incompetence I'm not sure I believe it.

So I ordered a thing online, and like many things it was made in India, and it was shipped by Express Mail--and due to shenanigans, if I wanted a tracking number, I had to order it sign-on-delivery.

So I got a message--not from the post office, but from the person I ordered from--that they attempted to deliver on Saturday, didn't get me, and I needed to phone up and figure out what to do next.

Well, I phoned up the USPS, spent something like forty-five minutes on their phone tree, and got a confirmation that they would hold it for delivery at the downtown post office.

... I actually get mail from the westside post office?

When I actually went to the downtown post office, they were also confused. I did convince the postal worker to check the confirmation number, and he confirmed that it was at the westside office... and had been scheduled for redelivery.

So THAT'S annoying. Especially because there's really no way to get over there before I have to be on campus tomorrow (I have to leave around 8:30 to be there in time for our lab prep, with the way the buses run, or I'd drive over first thing.) So I'll have to leave campus early to make it back in time to drive out before the office close, which is of course earlier than the downtown office. Irritating! Not vital, but annoying.

And now it's time to figure out how matrix algebra works, grade, and take a nice hot shower to work on the kink in my back.

Time wasting

Jul. 24th, 2017 03:22 am
aris_tgd: Whitestar crashing, "And when you fall as Lucifer fell, you fall in flame" (Whitestar Lucifer Fall)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
I got an invite to the closed alpha of Sunless Skies, so when it wouldn't load I decided to take Sunless Sea for a turn and make sure that it wasn't on my end. Turned out there were a few things I could fiddle with to get both of them working properly (Sunless Sea originally wouldn't load, then I looked in its settings and found out that it had been set to a window size of 1280x3. Not 300, 3.)

So... Sunless Sea, man, that's rather addictive.

I now have like five dead zee-captains. Alas, poor... whoever.

My favorite death actually was when I was out of fuel and prayed to one of the gods of the underzee, who decided to drop me in port at Kingeater's Castle, the farthest point on the map. It was obviously somewhere my tiny little steamer Should Not Have Been. And then I got blown to smithereens, which is how most of my adventures have ended.

Still haven't managed to get back to port with those smuggled souls for the Cheery Man, blast it! I managed to pick them up successfully once, but nothing else.

Oh, Sunless Skies? Looks pretty! It hasn't really crashed since I got it to actually run, but there's not much to actually do in it yet. They're still building systems.
aris_tgd: "Tune your ear to the frequency of despair and cross-reference by the latitude and longitude of a heart in agony." (Lyttle Lytton Spider-Man Agony)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Should I get a Goodreads account?

I mean, if nothing else it might be a good way to organize lists of "things I want to read" on my e-reader, since the e-reader's library functionality is terrible.

It might also help me to not purchase the same book four times.

Hack and slash

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:56 pm
aris_tgd: Sarah Chambers, Cleric (Sarah Chambers cleric)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
New Game of Thrones! It's epic and it checks in with all our favorites and that's just what I wanted! Specifics under here )

I've been continuing to watch Critical Role, I'm on Episode 62 (the second live one), and I'm about ready for them to get out of the Feywild. I mean, I think my least favorite thing for the gang to do is bluff social scenes as a group, and there's been a lot of that. They're not very good at it and especially Percy/Talesin is much less good at it than he thinks he is. (I don't know if that's an IC thing or a player thing. I feel like it's a player thing.) There's just a lot of embarrassment squick going on there.

So I was working on grading today and then I couldn't find several of my students' papers, which was bad. Now I have them, which is good. But grading isn't done, which is really bad, since all the grading for the course is due at the end of the week, and ugh ugh ugh. I'm too tired for this.

A complete thing, now

Jul. 16th, 2017 08:50 pm
aris_tgd: A black and white spiral on a Go board (Pi spiral)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
What Football Will Look Like in the Future (17776 Football) is complete, now, and y'all should read it if you like stories about robots, combating loneliness, knowing your terrain, things ending, ambivalence about change, and games.

Somewhat bridled domsesticity

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:49 pm
aris_tgd: Whitestar crashing, "And when you fall as Lucifer fell, you fall in flame" (Whitestar Lucifer Fall)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
So I had a cooking moderate success yesterday, in that I managed to pan-fry a steak to edibleness and roast asparagus (which tasted divine), but I also managed to set off the smoke alarm and today I left my cookies in the oven for too long, meaning they're over-crispy (but still chewy on the inside, thankfully.)

I've also been brain-staticky the last few days, and feeling like I'm finally coming out of it? I'm still behind on things, but at least I feel like I might be able to cope.
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