Three sentences about 2017-09-14

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:00 am
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[personal profile] irilyth
A sleepy day after the long one yesterday, but I made good progress at work nonetheless. I think that not eating during the day helps a lot; I've noticed that I'm often very tired, and also often somewhat more grouchy and impatient, right after dinner for an hour or two. The school's annual "ice cream social" was tonight, which basically involves Richardson's ice cream, some chocolate and caramel sauce, and lots of running around on the playground. :^) It started to rain partway through, but not for long, and stopped and started fitfully after that. Junie headed out with a friend who lived partway between school and home after one drizzle, though, and she then walked the rest of the way home by herself, because she is Big. :^) Q and I stayed basically until the very end, and had a good time.

Three sentences about 2017-09-13

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:31 am
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[personal profile] irilyth
Up at 05:30 for some off-hours work; my only other note is that there was frisbee. :^) It was ok; we were playing against an "indie" team, of people who had signed up as individuals, and they were a pretty mixed bag of skill levels, and pretty uncoordinated as a team, which I suppose is how the indie team I played on last fall must have seemed to everyone, but there wasn't an indie team in the spring league, so I'd gotten used to playing against folks who'd been playing together a lot. Anyway, it was ok; we scored the first six or eight points, and then started to slack off somewhat, and offered to mix up the teams and play just for fun, but they wanted to practice playing together, which seems legit. I didn't play very well, but was pretty tired after the early start to the day, so didn't beat myself up about it too much. I stayed up a little too late, but more like midnight than like 02:00, so not disastrously bad on that front.

Three sentences about 2017-09-12

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:53 pm
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[personal profile] irilyth
Heh, I guess the last time I posted was me saying "I feel reluctant to post things". I didn't mean that to apply to Three Sentences. :^p Time to catch up!

...but I have no recollection of Tuesday, and no notes. Probably there was work! Q had his first day of basketball at ABGC -- I'm never sure what to call this, it doesn't feel like a "class", it's not a "league", there's not a "season", he's not on a "team", he's not "practicing" for anything, who knows; anyway -- and seemed to like it. (I wasn't there, but based on his reports, and Amy's.) Junie's LEGO robotics class (see, that one feels like a class! shrug) is a week shorter, so it starts next week but ends the same week as Q's basketball. That's all I got.
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[personal profile] psocoptera
First, the funerals: the Inexplicable Logic of my Life is a contemporary YA by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Three friends and one of their dads compare paths to the dead moms club. Definitely a crying book, I kept being reading this in public places and regretting it. I liked this less than Aristotle&Dante, probably because it's not a romance, and also Sáenz' teen voices worked a little better for me when they were set in the 80s than set now. The texting in this never sounded quite right, in particular. But Sáenz writes some powerful moments, and captures some subtle and complicated feelings. He's at his most interesting to me when he's exploring identity issues like what it means to be born Anglo but adopted and raised by a Mexican-American family, interesting stuff there. The main character chooses something at the end that bothered me, but I can see what Sáenz was getting at and it made sense for the character, just, eegh.

And then, the dinner parties. A Civil Contract (1961 Georgette Heyer Regency novel) and Home Again (2017 Reese Witherspoon film) might seem like an odd pair of works to want to pair up for reviewing, but actually they're perfect, because Civil Contract is a difficult novel because it refuses to give in to the pull of wish fulfillment, while Home Again is an enjoyable movie because it's wish fulfillment all the way down, and they both involve the male romantic lead standing up the female romantic lead for an important dinner party.

Civil Contract's dude hoped to be career military, but dad/untimely death/aristocratic responsibilities, you've heard this before if you read Regencies at all. He's in love with someone, but he's broke, so he has to marry her friend, the daughter of a rich businessman, instead, to save his estate. If Courtney Milan is writing this plot, he would discover that she had some kind of awesome interest or compelling backstory, he would fall in love with her, yay. Heyer, however, doesn't let us have that fantasy - while he does come to *appreciate* his wife's comparative lack of drama, and the comfort that he gets from her catering to him, there's no real indication that he finds her attractive, or is interested in her as a person. (She's been in love with him all along, which is why she's so willing to completely shape her life around his comfort, and do all the emotional labor of managing her feelings without ever bothering him with them.) In theory, I like the idea of a romance novel pairing that focuses more on in-jokes and child raising than bodice-ripping sex, but in practice, it doesn't even really feel like a romance. I am interested in the decentering of *desire* from the narrative, but what I really read romance for is the mutual passionate admiration! That's the stuff! It doesn't feel like a happy ending to me if she's in limerence with him and he's not with her. (There is a long and excellent discussion thread here with, among others, Courtney Milan herself basically making this argument.)

Home Again, in contrast, delivers passionate admiration in spades. Our 40-year-old recently-separated mom heroine has *three* nice young men fall for her; she's only ever romantic with one, but she gets to bask in attention (and emotional and household labor!) from all three of them. It's not just a fantasy of still being desirable, although that's obviously part of it, it's a fantasy of getting to enjoy the excitement and fun of a new romance even after already having had one good marriage. (Although her ex as we see him onscreen is awful, I think we're supposed to have the impression that it was a good relationship for a long time, until it wasn't anymore.) She eventually decides that the life-stage gap between her and her young man is too big for a relationship, but they all three will still be around as part of a found family with her and her kids and her mom, yay - she may have given up the sex, but she gets to keep the admiration.

Oh, and the dinner parties? I had curiously opposite reactions to them. In Home Again, the missed dinner party is the precipitating event for the end of the relationship - it's supposed to be their first "real date" beyond their fling at her house, he's going to meet her friends, but he stands her up rather than risk offending the guy he's hoping will help them get their movie made. She decides that this means their priorities are just too different, but I found myself more sympathetic to the dude than she was - the movie pushes how these guys are these aspiring filmmakers who Really Believe In Films, and he's young and new to navigating Hollywood, and believes this is an important chance. And unfortunately it falls into her ex's pattern of blowing her off for flimsy work reasons, so it makes sense that *she's* just like "I'm not doing this again", but it didn't make *me* think they wouldn't work. Civil Contract dude on the other hand has promised to be home for his sister's engagement party but instead borrows a ton of money to gamble wildly on a military outcome so that he can have money of "his own" instead of his wife's money - it turns out he's right but, ugh, he takes this enormous risk for no real important benefit, I lost so much sympathy for the character and of course his wife is just like "that's all right honey you know best, nice work honey". It's the climax of the book and I guess the idea is that now that he doesn't "owe" her he's more able to realize that he's fond of her and doesn't resent her for having had to marry her. In a way, these stories end the same - with a friendship rather than a romance - but what a difference, coming to it from opposite directions.

Three sentences about 2017-09-11

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:37 pm
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[personal profile] irilyth
A very good day at work today, lots of progress on Omni stuff, and some more this evening too. Shopped on the way home, and made tacos for dinner, yum. A bit of kids in the evening, including a difficult part of Hat Full Of Sky (upsettingly cruel bullying), but they kids didn't seem too upset by it, and we had some good conversation about it afterwards, so yay. Now it's gotten late and I gotta sleep.

Approximately weekly diet report )

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