elaby: (Cheburashka)
My birthday was Tuesday, and I’ve had a really wonderful birthday week <3 Rachel gave me one of my presents earlier in November, because I was sad and she wanted to cheer me up. It was an exquisite acorn necklace, made out of a real acorn cap with a droplet of amber-colored glass as the acorn itself. Inside the glass, there’s a beautiful metal oak leaf that’s silver on one side and orange on the other. It’s so lovely, and I cherish it <3

My mum’s birthday was the Friday before (November 14th) so we took her to Dobra Tea in Portland on Sunday for our joint birthdays. They moved to a new location, and while it feels a bit smaller, it’s lighter and more airy because it’s right on the street instead of inside another building with no external windows like it was before. The tea, as always, was perfect. I can’t remember the name of mine, but it was from an island in China with a thousand-year-old tea tradition and a statue of Guan Yin that looks out to sea. I also had warm pitas and goat cheese. Rachel had a spicy Middle Eastern tea with honey and almond milk, with rice Casablanca (rice mixed with fruit, nuts, spices, and honey), and my mum had rose tea and a couscous dish with olives and feta cheese. We perused Mexicali Blues in the Old Port and then headed to Whole Foods (the closest one to us), where we bought some sweets and some things for dinner.

For my birthday, my parents got me some cute tree ornaments and a Blu-ray of the Miku concert I went to in Los Angeles in 2011 (gosh, that long ago!). It’s the Western release so it had English subtitles for the songs, which was beyond wonderful. Along with a really skillful, close-up recording of the concert (*swoons*) it also had a “Making of Mikunopolis” short that had snapshots of Miku doing touristy things in California. ADORABLE. My parents also got me a new pair of black and red plaid pants for Aster <3 She's borrowing Taylan's shirt here.

Aster in her new birthday duds

On my birthday, Rachel woke me up by plomping my gift bag down on the bed beside me and going “Happy birthday, daahling!” like Norma Desmond XD I was still half asleep so I just took one of the wrapped presents out and hugged it and laid back down. But I eventually woke up enough to open them :3 She got me the most wonderful present: recent reprints of Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies books, where the original watercolors were scanned using cutting-edge technology to show every bit of detail. Unlike one of the more recent collections of the Flower Fairies poems, which doesn’t reproduce every illustration exactly like the original, the books she got me include all the illustrations in their whole, unedited forms. They’re breathtaking – a perfect combination of botanical drawings and fairy artwork. I’ve started to read the poems to Rachel in bed before we go to sleep, because poetry deserves to be read aloud <3 Rachel also sneakily bought me a beautiful amethyst bracelet with a tree charm at Mexicali Blues when I wasn’t looking XD

It was so nice to get so many Facebook wishes on my birthday. My coworkers brought me whoopee pies and a Barnes and Noble gift card, and after work Rachel and I had dinner at the Olive Garden with my parents as another joint birthday celebration. My parents had another present for me: a delicate necklace with a silver Moon Stick pendant (Sailor Moon’s first weapon/purification item). There are tiny clear gems in the pendant, and it’s the perfect size – identifiable but not gaudy. I love it so much!

On Wednesday, we saw [livejournal.com profile] _melisande_, and she gave me a gift card to Michaels so I can buy more oil painting supplies <3 I’ve been feeling a little trepidation about the coming winter and how it’ll effect my mood, and this all was a lovely bright spot in the cold November <3
elaby: (Purple twilit tree)
I started taking an oil painting class in September, and this past Thursday, I signed my first painting! It was thrilling -- everyone clapped for me <3 I enjoy painting with oils so much. I learned to oil paint when I was in elementary school, taking a class in my slightly-crazy painting teacher's breezeway, with the wood stove blazing at all times of the year and unfamiliar junk food piled in bowls. I loved it then, but I don't remember anything I learned, so I found a freestyle painting class about 45 minutes away from our house when I wanted to start again. This class is wonderful, because the students paint whatever they want at their own pace and the teacher walks around the room giving guidance and advice. You come when you can and pay for each session rather than for a series of classes. Mary, my teacher, is a fantastic painter and a very friendly, kind person. The other students are all older than me and are very welcoming. Every night I go is a refreshing, relaxing experience.

I based my first painting on a bunch of different landscape photos I found around the internet. I snapped some cell phone pictures of it every time I made progress, and after I finished, I put them all together to post here!

Long, loooong images under the cut )
elaby: (LotR - Galadriel blue)
You may remember back in the spring of 2013 how I posted about discovering that a forest I walked through at work had been bulldozed. A happy consequence of this was that because I was forced to find a new walking route, I found another path through the woods that led to a glorious meadow and pond. For a year and a half, I've walked there almost every day when the weather would allow for it. I've watched it move through the seasons and I know it's a place of magic.

On Friday, after a week of rain, I was going stir crazy at work. I went out for a walk in spite of the chill and drizzle.

And I found yellow POSTED signs at the gate and all over the trees lining the path to the meadow.

They state, in no uncertain terms, that trespassing for any reason is strictly forbidden. I called Rachel and cried and she comforted me and on her suggestion I e-mailed the local development authority (who had posted the signs) to ask if walking there, leaving no litter and disturbing none of the plants and animals, could possibly be allowed. I thought it was a nature preserve. I haven't heard back -- I probably won't -- but I'm not giving up my meadow without even inquiring.

Luckily, unlike my other forest that was torn down, I have many pictures of this forest path and the meadow. It's a breathtaking place.

Photos under the cut. )
elaby: (Vocaloid - Miku Luka kiss)
Rachel and my seventh wedding anniversary was October 6, and this past weekend, we took a little vacation to Boston to celebrate <3 Most years, we go to Rhinebeck to the sheep and wool festival on this weekend in October, but this year we didn't manage to plan early enough and when we tried to book a hotel room, they were ALL sold out T_T It all turned out for the best, though, because we had the most wonderful weekend in Boston.

It didn't start out all that smooth XD Our plan had been to park our car at the train station in Dover on Friday, have my parents drive us to an end of the T line, and take the subway in to our hotel. We'd then take the train home on Sunday and our car would be at the station. However, when my parents were waiting to pick us up at the station lot, we discovered that we would have to pay $0.25 per hour all weekend to park there. It's never cost to park there before. I had forgotten my camera, so we had our parents meet us at our house to drive us down. My mother graciously agreed to pick us up from the train on Sunday <3

We arrived in Boston around 11:30. Even though we couldn't check into our hotel until 3:00, they had a luggage storage service, so we went there to drop off our suitcase - and they let us check in early! It was wonderful to be able to settle into the room before going off our adventure. The hotel was a "boutique hotel" (I'm still not sure what that means) and it was very beautiful and fancy. Everything was nautically themed because it was right near the harbor (very close to the New England Aquarium).

Cut for such an awful lot of photos )
elaby: (Droplet trees)
One of the reasons I embraced paganism is that I wanted to feel more in touch with the seasons and the turning of the year. When I was little, I imagined the year to be like a circle or clock: Christmas was at 12:00, Easter at 3:00, the Fourth of July at 6:00, and Halloween at 9:00. I was somewhat off, but that’s pretty close to the pagan wheel of the year. As I grew older, I became more and more irked by the calendar definitions of the changeover from season to season. I mean, anybody who’s lived in New England can tell you that it starts to feel like winter WAY before December 21st. I wanted to celebrate the seasons by how they felt, by the changes in the weather and the earth, which is what the seasons actually are. As I learned more about paganism, I looked to the pagan calendar - the solstices and equinoxes and cross-quarter days - to remedy what I felt was erroneous in our secular calendar.

At first, this simply meant shifting the “wheel” in my head, as if I’d taken a circular 12-month calendar and superimposed a translucent circle with quarters for each season on top of it -- with just a 1/8th counterclockwise shift, the first day of winter now lined up with Samhain, the first day of spring with Imbolc, the first of summer with Beltane, and the first of fall with Lughnassa. This fell into place nicely with the old words for Yule and Litha: midwinter and midsummer. In my mind, the 21st of December felt a lot more like the middle of winter than the first day of it, and it made sense that winter would span the lead-up to the longest night of the year and the weeks after, when the sun was starting to return.

This adjustment made the seasons and dates line up a little better and soothed my literal-minded need to categorize things. However, it wasn’t perfect. In New England, it sure doesn’t start feeling like fall at the end of August, nor does the beginning of February feel like the start of spring. Both fall and spring are shorter and the changes in them more rapid than winter and summer are (much to my regret).

This year, I’ve felt particularly attuned to the change of the seasons. It’s not really anything I’ve done differently… I’ve tried to notice every year, but this year I feel like I had more cause or more opportunity to watch the wheel turn. In the spring when I was sick, being outside was one of the only things that made me feel better. At work, there’s a pond behind my office and a swath of long grasses and reeds between the parking lot and the water. I’ve been going out there almost every day, just to stand and breathe in the air and soak up the sun. It’s amazing what you see when you watch something grow over several seasons. I saw the cattails turn from green pencils to brown sausages and then bubble with fluff, wooly seed motes that floated in the air around me on my walk at lunch today. I saw dark purple spears appear at the tips of the long grasses and then bloom like fireworks into burgundy tufts, which have now mellowed to silver-gold. I saw purple crown-vetch replaced by Queen Anne’s lace replaced by asters. I saw butterflies give way to wasps and bumblebees who then made room for dragonflies.

It strikes me now that trying to delineate the seasons, trying to make the dates line up with the changes I see, is just as silly as trying to cram anything else into a neat, easily describable box. The number on the calendar is meaningless, because the shift between seasons is gradual and awe-inspiring and just as much its own “season” as any other. In fact, the time “between” seasons is always my favorite, because I love to watch the changes: to taste that first scent of crisp, dry grass on the air that signals autumn, to see the monarch butterflies appear.

Happy Mabon <3
elaby: (Kirk and McCoy - Reboot BFFs)
Tonight we got our Graze boxes in the mail, and we were discussing the contents and whether to keep one with Brazil nuts in (neither of us are big on Brazil nuts).

Rachel: I'll take it. I'll just pick the Brazil nuts out.
Katie: On the bright side, it has pecans. *pronounces it PEE-cans*
R: Do you mean pecans? *pronounces it pick-CAHNS*
K: No, I mean pecans!
R: Is this like that apricot thing? *pronounces it AY-pricot*
K: It's APP-ricot.
R: You're wrong and you know you're wrong so you should feel wrong.
K: *aghast*
R: I… I'm sorry. But you're still wrong.
K: You're just a FOREIGNER.
R: I was BORN here!
K: But you didn't grow up here! Nobody from here says "pee-CAHN" or "AY-pricot".
R: Okay yeah but YOUR FAMILY COME ON. Don't be setting linguistic norms by your weird-ass family!
K: ...You have a point.

:D :D :D

Sep. 6th, 2014 10:23 am
elaby: (Makoto - Earth child)
So last week, Sailor Moon Crystal wasn't on even though it was two weeks since the last episode, and there was SO MUCH SADNESS LET ME TELL YOU, but this week it was on and that makes up for it!

No spoilers, but I just have to say, for the record: NO WONKY FACES OR DUBIOUS ANIMATION FOR THE PAST TWO WHOLE EPISODES. \o/ The animators were just getting their sea legs. And after this latest one, I'm floating on a cloud of happiness <3

!!!!!!!

Aug. 25th, 2014 06:04 pm
elaby: (Usagi - Within me)
So I've been avidly keeping up with Sailor Moon Crystal, devouring each new episode when it airs, but SOMEHOW I TOTALLY MISSED THIS.

It's the official music video for Momoiro Clover's "MOON PRIDE", the Sailor Moon Crystal theme song. It's fully animated and extremely high-quality (much higher than most of the episodes). I kept seeing all of these gorgeous gifs and wondering where they came from... well, this is it.


*watches it about a skillion times*
elaby: (Holmes - Livanov Holmes furrowed brow)
Last weekend, Rachel and I went to one of my favorite places in the world: the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Rachel’s library has a membership so we can reserve passes to go down there whenever they’re available. Rachel got up early to put the egg strata we’d made the day before in the oven, so it came out hot and smelling delicious when I woke up. She made it using a small loaf of bread we’d bought at the previous weekend’s farmers market and topped it with veggie sausage patties. I usually have to wait a few hours before I want to eat breakfast, but I snarfed this down right after getting up – it was that good <3

We drove down to Boston using a new route, because the last several times we’d gone, the GPS and Rachel’s phone had taken us different circuitous routes every time. This time, we used a freaking map XD And it worked out perfectly. I think it might’ve taken us a bit longer, but the route was simpler and didn’t require that we go all the way downtown first to get to the T station on the north edge of the city. We also went to a different T stop than usual, as recommended by one of Rachel’s coworkers :) It meant we didn’t have to change lines at all and we just had to walk a little ways to get to the museum. We left our house at 9:00 and were through admission by 11:30.

Explore the museum! )

Lyrical

Jul. 18th, 2014 08:30 pm
elaby: (Writing hand)
I've long had a love affair with poetry. From the moment my mother read me The Hobbit, I was awestruck by the way meter and rhyme can twine together to create this lyrical, evocative thing, like the lovechild of music and prose. For years, I held onto the notion (snob that I was, and still sadly have the capacity to be) that poetry could only be that which has both meter and rhyme. In high school, I was enamored with Edgar Allen Poe, particularly his most musical and metrically perfect poems like "Ulalume" and "Bridal Ballad". In college, I took numerous courses on the Romantics, treasuring especially the storytelling poems of Coleridge and Wordsworth in Lyrical Ballads. I came to recognize that poems that didn't rhyme were sometimes even more complexly meaningful than ones that simply sounded beautiful. However, I rejected my professors' assertion – and still do – that a poem that portrays complex ideas necessarily has more value than a simpler poem constructed for the purpose of pleasing the ears.

A few years ago, a friend of mine recommended a poet named Amy Lowell. Lowell was a nature-reverent woman who loved women, writing in the early 20th century. I borrowed a book of her poetry from the library and started to page through it. There was no meter, no rhymes.

And I fell head-over-heels.

I look back with embarrassment on my former belief – if only privately proclaimed – that the only poetry worth reading was that perfectly constructed, metrical rhyming sort. Poetry doesn't need these things to be beautiful, to be valuable, to be a worthwhile pursuit either in reading or writing it. The flexibility of poetry seems uniquely freeing to me: in writing prose stories, I still believe that there are certain elements that must be executed with skill in order for the writing to be high-quality. With poetry, though, anything goes. Even the accepted rules of punctuation and capitalization, which I would never purposefully violate in prose writing, can be stretched or completely ignored when writing poetry. As someone who is frequently paralyzed by self-imposed standards of quality when writing prose, poetry is a delectable escape.

Because of my depression, I had written practically nothing since winter. In May, after the Fairie Festival, I came home and the world was blooming. There was so much beauty, now more easily visible to me with the help of medication and therapy. I had been deeply longing for quite some time for a way to express my adoration and appreciation of nature, but writing stories felt exhausting and pressured, and my attempts at botanical drawing fell short of my standards. As much as I've loved reading poetry, I've very rarely written any, and my prior attempts at perfect meter and rhyme were too constricting for sustained enjoyment.

One day in May I took my notebook and I went out into our yard. I sat down beneath our maple tree, in the grass amongst the clover and phlox and bluets, and I wrote a poem. And then another. They had no meter and no rhyme, just the natural flow with which the words slipped onto the page. Without the goal of writing a certain number of words or setting up a coherent story, and without the confines of meter and rhyme, I could focus on choosing one perfect word after another. Refining the final draft, tweaking each sentence so that it reflects precisely what I mean, has always been my favorite part of writing. When I write poetry, I can do that from the start.

My notebook is slowly filling up with poems. I don't feel pressure to excel when I write them, just the desire to reflect what inspires me. It occurs to me that this is what art is all about, but for so long that's gotten lost in my expectations and yearnings and "I should"s. Predictably, it's helped me write prose again, too. Rachel and I are writing together in the carefree way we used to when we were in college. It's blissful.
elaby: (Madoka - Sayaka Kyoko forehead touching)
It's been forever since I put up a bunch of pictures, but I've been taking them all the while :) I find that I like taking pictures better than I like looking actually through them and uploading them XD Rachel and I have been doing all sorts of happy things together this summer: taking walks in the elegant old Victorian cemetery down the street, going to the beach, seeing fireworks up close and personal at our neighbor's Fourth of July party... and today, we did a little redecorating and rearranging in our bedroom to give it more of a cozy, witchy, magic-cabin-in-the-woods feel.

Lots of pictures ahead!

Violets, gazebos, waves, and exploding stars )
elaby: (Rei - Eyes)
I don't think I've EVER been as excited for the premier of a TV show as I was about Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal. Sailor Moon was a huge, huge influence on me as a teenager, second only to Utena, and I still covet my ancient fansubbed tapes. Friendship, love, bravery, acceptance – its merits go on and on. The new series, which doesn't remake the old anime but is rather adapted directly from the manga, aired this Saturday, July 5, at 6 a.m. I watched it Saturday night, palpitating with joy.

Spoilers under the cut :3

Ima yo, Sailor Moon! )
elaby: (Twelfth Night - Tale)
I'm not sure if I've squeed here about The Secret of Kells before, but it's one of my favorite animated movies of all time. It's one of the most beautifully imagined and realized things I've ever had the pleasure of setting eyes on. It's about a boy, Brendan, living in a monastery in medieval Ireland, and a faerie girl, Aisling, and how they use the power of the written word to survive a dark, violent time. If you haven't seen it, I highly, highly recommend it. And if you have seen it...

OMG OMG OMG LOOK WHAT THE SAME STUDIO IS RELEASING THIS YEAR :O



It's called Song of the Sea *vibrates with anticipation*

Dolly yoga

Jun. 17th, 2014 09:21 pm
elaby: (Holmes - Leap the couch)
I haven't posted about my new doll, Aster! She's a LUTS Delf Arwen, and she's 58 cm tall -- the biggest addition to our dolly family. I had no idea how big she would really be! She came so quickly (only a month after ordering her!) that I didn't have time to buy or make her any clothes. I did have a wig for her, and I made her a sweater and some pants soon after she arrived, but they're far from the style I envision for her. Hopefully the new wig and clothes that are coming in the mail now will suit her better :3 Even though her temporary clothes aren't perfect, she still looks cute in them and she's just incredibly gorgeous all on her own.

We attended a doll meet in Boston the other weekend and had SO much fun. Everyone was so friendly and it was really nice to talk to other dolly people (and other Vocaloid fans! :D) The next day, Rachel and I decided to do some doll maintenance. I hot-glue sueded Aster's neck joint so her head would pose better, but her other joints were already pretty perfect, and I was afraid adding a layer of hot glue to them would throw off her balance. I started trying out some positions to see if she needed sueding anywhere… and it just seemed natural to put her in all of the poses I've been doing in yoga lately :3

Nude, bald doll in creative positions ahead )
elaby: (Snufkin - Journey)
I love the internet. I love it to what is sometimes an obsessive degree. I depend on it to distract me. But lately, instead of finding it relaxing, I feel like it dusts me with a vague melancholy, like snow, that grows heavier with accumulation.

I'm going to try an experiment - one week with no internet. No e-mail, LJ, or Tumblr. I'm going to see how it effects my mood, and hopefully the result will be a better way to manage my self-care.

Love you all <3 If you have my cell number, please feel free to call or text. I love to hear from all of you; it's the obsessive refreshing-for-distraction that I'm trying to get away from, not my wonderful online friends <3
elaby: (LotR - Galadriel smiles)
I've been taking a lot of walks, since the weather has turned pleasant, and I often take my camera. I thought I'd share some of the pictures I've taken as kind of a "here's what I've been up to lately" :)

Photos under the cut. )
elaby: (Orange sun through the trees)
I finished my fourth reading of Lady of the Forest <3 I love it. The thing I noticed the most this time was that in my memories, it never had such a coherent story. I remembered the first series of events very clearly, and then the rest of the novel was sort of a blur of dim castles and political machinations and a rather brief sword fight. I'd always thought the parts I remembered took up the first couple of chapters, but in actuality, they span the first three-quarters of the book. All 700 pages takes place over just a handful of days, and events lead from one to another in a very meticulously planned sequence - nothing like the jumble that I vaguely recalled.

The thing that surprised me the most was that it's at least 500 pages before anybody gets to outlawin'. In the back of the book, the author describes how she intends the book to be more of a prequel, explaining how the characters were able to move through the social classes into the positions legend has put them in, which makes sense. It's unfortunate, though, because my favorite things about the Robin Hood legend are the ensemble-cast-outlaw-camaraderie-banter and the gadding about the forest.

Still, the book as a whole is really delightful and incredibly well done. Although Robin bored me at the beginning, he loosens up considerably. Marian is a constant delight - strong, beautiful, believable. The supporting cast is brilliant. The Sheriff of Nottingham is probably the most complex character in the whole thing, and I do appreciate a complex villain :3

Spoilers under the cut - more specific things I liked and didn't like. )

I bought the sequel on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to reading it, since it'll likely have more of what you'd normally expect from a Robin Hood story: robbing the rich to feed the poor :3

(We also watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves the other day - but how much I adore that terrible movie is another post XD)
elaby: (Miki - Sky)
My gastroenterologist is pleased with my improvement, and advised me to keep up what I'm doing for the next six months *headdesk* So much for my assumption that I'd get to add foods back in after a month of the elimination diet. I'll keep avoiding wheat, soy, eggs, and nuts until September. I honestly haven't been feeling as deprived as I would've expected, though. It's hard to find wheat-free baked goods that are also egg-free, but we've found some, and we're prepared to get creative.

Yesterday, there were leftover hotdog buns at a party Rachel's library threw, and she brought them home with the suggestion that we go and feed the ducks today. The idea filled me with delight. Of course, we didn't know WHERE we would find any ducks XD We tried two tidal rivers before we finally gave up and decided to go feed the seagulls instead, but as we drove toward York beach, I thought of one more place to try... When I was a kid, my mom and my grandmother used to take me to this duck pond in York. We'd stop at the Cumberland Farms and buy a loaf of Wonder bread first. One time, as I was standing right up at the fence, an overzealous goose bit my sneaker. Geese are pretty terrifying when you're a toddler. I had no clue if we'd be able to find the place - I hadn't been there in 20 years, if not more. But I knew it was kind of... that way *gestures vaguely to the left of the main road* so we took a random road that looked to lead in the right direction, and THERE IT WAS. I was so impressed with myself that I yelled something to the effect of "FUCK YES!!!!" and startled Rachel XD

The pond was frozen over except for a little open area that was teeming with ducks. The geese were still there (presumably descendants), and today, I hand-fed them pieces of hotdog roll without the slightest danger to my footwear. They were still overzealous. The ducks were mostly Mallards with one or two American Black Ducks mixed in, and even an American Black Duck x Mallard hybrid. Pretty cool!

After that, we drove down to the beach for a picnic, because it was 40 degrees, holy crap. We ate on the Nubble (the local lighthouse) and bird-watched there, too. We saw Buffleheads, Surf Scoters, White-Winged Scoters, Great Cormorants (magnificent!), and - MUCH SQUEALING - Harlequin Ducks! I'd never seen any before, and they're SO pretty.

Rachel and I talked during lunch about how birds for her are like knitting for me - we love them because our wife loves them, and we love to go on outings related to them, even if they're not "our" personal hobby. I'm so lucky <3
elaby: (Trees - Gnarled)
The other day when I was feeling sick, Rachel insisted that we watch Robin Hood - the Disney one with the foxes <3 <3 <3 It's really the first Disney movie I can remember watching, and it's always been one of my favorites. It kicked off a bit of a resurgence in my Robin Hood obsession, which is nearly as old as my Lord of the Rings obsession.

It started with the Disney movie when I was very wee, and then the Kevin Costner movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, solidified it. I would've been nine when it came out, and from then on, every one of my daydreams involved archery and tree-houses in Sherwood forest. Around the same time, my mother was reading a book by Jennifer Roberson called Lady of the Forest and, in spite of the fact that it's 761 pages long, I decided I had to read it too. It's classified as a romance novel, but it's really more like 40% romance and 60% political intrigue. The important part is that it became my Robin Hood headcanon for quite a numerous span of years, and even though re-reading it is a pretty big undertaking, I do so every so often.

Aside from the fact that I just adore this book in general, one of the most enjoyable things about it is that every time I read it, I notice something I never noticed before.

When I read it the first time, I was probably somewhere around the age of 10, give or take a few years. The things that stuck out to me were surface-level details about the characters: Marian was very dark of hair and blue of eyes, and Robin was pale pale pale, white-blond. Will Scarlett's wife had been killed by Normans - I reacted with loathing to any mention of Normans for years afterwards. Somebody broke Alan-a-dale's lute. Little John was a giant; Much was a boy they called "simple". The frightening things stuck with me too: Robin's violent flashbacks to the battle of Acre; Marian's scary dream about some unfamiliar monster called a bean sidhe. (Years later, a Brian Froud book supplied the pronunciation - "ban shee" - and my brain exploded.)

The second time I read it (when I was a teenager) well, good heavens - it appears I completely missed the sex the first time around. Even the dreaded bean sidhe nightmare comes right after sex, which my unready brain skipped blithely over. This time, I certainly noticed, and I paid more attention to political plot, which I understood enough of to find incredibly long-winded.

The third time I read it, I was in college. Again, I noticed that the political plot was given as much weight, if not more so, than the romance, but I liked it better this time. I found Robin and his stoic-controlled-angstfulness considerably more tedious than before. But the real revelation this time was about Robin's relationship with Richard the Lionheart, who he followed on crusade. The first time, I completely missed the numerous blatant references to Richard's romantic inclinations toward menfolk. The second time, I noticed them, but what I didn't catch until the third time was that Richard had been interested in Robin, and Robin hadn't been able to return his feelings - and Robin was tormented by this failure to accommodate his sovereign. This reading was, as I dubbed it, the "I couldn't shag my king" reading.

I'm only 120 pages into my fourth reading, and already I'm more interested in Marian and how the women of the story navigate their positions than before. I'm hoping for another massive revelation like "I couldn't shag my king"; we'll see :)
elaby: (Vocaloid - Rin approves)
The results from my lactose test are back, and it turns out I'm not lactose intolerant! I was pretty happy to hear that (although I still have no answers about what IS wrong with me). Being able to eat dairy again has made it significantly easier to get protein into my diet.

Last night, Rachel and I went to the live Welcome to Night Vale show in Boston. It was AMAZING. I haven't been to a large fan event like this since Anime Expo in 2011, and this was of a different flavor because anime cons tend to be 90% people under the age of 25. The WTNV show had people of all ages, which was pretty cool. We were at the Berklee Performance Arts Center at the Berklee School of Music, and the theatre was gorgeous. When we arrived there yesterday afternoon, we were peering around, wondering if we were in the right area, looking for our parking garage… and then we realized that ALMOST EVERY person walking down the sidewalk was carrying an instrument, and we knew we were in the right place XD

The show was fantastic - thrilling performances, awesome music, so much thought and care put into the content - and it was such an incredible experience to see and hear something live that had, before, really only existed for me on the internet. The internet used to be such an island, a little secret-club enclave, and these days culture is changing so the internet bleeds into "the real world" faster and faster. I really like that change. Random strangers can come up to you and say "Hey, I bet I don't even have to ask what you're doing here today!" when they see your Night Vale t-shirt, three or four hours before the show. It makes shared experiences so much easier, and allows us to have the in-person feeling of community about something we really love rather than something that's only mildly interesting but conveniently close to where we live.

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March 2016

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