Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Interesting Things


1. A Twitter discussion broke out about lesbian, aka f/f romances, and the recommendations have been storified
2. This Radiolab episode about the photos taken of a dying soldier by an embedded reporter was powerful and raised some interesting questions about how the permission rules surrounding such reporting, impact what the public ends up seeing.
3. And researchers believe they have found the oldest tea in Britain. (Spoiler: they did not drink it.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

7 Things: Sing It On


I have watched the first two episodes of "Sing It On" and I adore it.  So, this follows five college a cappella groups as they compete in the ICCA's.  Most people when I say this, go, so like "Pitch Perfect", which yes.  Although college a cappella groups, even ones that are big into the competitive side, often do other things, performing at parties and events, and while so far there have been tiny glimpses of some of these things, the focus here is the competition which is fine. 
A couple of notes. 
1. If you don't like a cappella, or singing, well, not sure why you're still reading.  (Kidding, love you!) But nothing about this will turn the tide for you. 
2. These college folk have all clearly been briefed on the appropriate competitive reality jargon.  The one notable exception, is that they are all there to make friends, because everyone loves everyone in their a cappella team the mostest (except when they don't).
3. The second episode in particular leaned hard on the put-aca-in-front-of-a-word thing.  It's hard to say if they are being coached to do so, or if it's a natural evolution of a thing folks squarely in the "Pitch Perfect" target audience might have naturally started to do.  But, probably don't put that on your drinking game or anything, for safety's sake.
4.  While the rise of musical television has brought more singing to my TV, one of the things I like is seeing people rehearse and occasionally not sound great.  Or the difference in three soloists interpretations of a piece.  Or people rehearsing in a classroom or hallway that sounds like a classroom or hallway. 
5.  Different people process pre and post performance differently, and that's normal and valid (and honestly true of many other things). 
6. Two sets of the teams are at the same university (which is to say five teams representing three universities) which also offers a glimpse into some inter-group interaction.
7. There was an argument about a pitch pipe.  Seriously, these are my people. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mad Max

I did not think I was the target audience for "Mad Max: Fury Road".  I have seen one possibly part of two of the prior Mad Max movies and while they are fine, I don't have any particular attachment to them.  I have reached a certain level of ennui with dystopians in general. While the actors seemed lovely for this, there was no one that tipped me into needing to see this.  The clips I had seen were not particularly intriguing.  And then, people I know, in real life and on the internet all went collectively cuckoo for it, saying that not only was it fun and something that made some men's rights people mad, it was actually, feminist.  And I can't even tell you what tipped me over, I don't see every feminist movie, I don't see every fun action movie, but suddenly I had tipped from a person who was happy this movie was out there in the ether, to a person who was going to see this movie.  Okay, I can't say for sure, but reading this post about Charlize Theron's amazing, and oh yeah, disabled character helped some.
If dystopians aren't for you, it is still dystopian.  I have paid little attention to whether this is supposed to be the same Mad Max or some other dude named Max* who also lives in this futuristic desert world, but in the end, I enjoyed it.  Not sure it bears multiple rewatches, but it was fun, things blew up, and there were females, toting guns, wielding chains, and generally acting like people.  There were guys too.  There's still more men in this movie than women.  There's still more white people in this movie than non-white.  And while I did do some tiny internal cheers at some choices they didn't make (all of which would have been boring, I'm a girl so rifles are heavy type choices) the fact that the characters in this movie all have, well, character actually says more about other action movies than it does about this one.  But it was fun.  If you want to watch stuff blow up while competent people try to reach their destination, this movie is a great choice.
*Later internet readings have indicated it is same dude. So, sure.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Three Interesting Things

1. Rookie interviewed an amazing teen who started an organization to support teens who lost a parent.
2. Carlyn Jewel had some thoughts on the important ways that social media fails women
3. And this may have already been across your social media, but the Hebrew Edition of why you shouldn't get a tattoo in a language you don't speak. (The dictionary one is my favorite.)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Gaithersburg Book Festival

I made my first trek to the Gaithersburg Book Festival this weekend and had a great time.  I got a later start than hoped, although the free shuttle they ran from the metro was nice and easy, so I missed most of the We Need Diverse Books crew.  But I buried my sadness in a delicious food truck veggie rice bowl. (Also, as a side note, I read the first few chapters of Aisha Saeed's Written in the Stars, and O M G.)
But I got to hear Gene Luen Yang speak.  He talked about many of the things he had at the National Book Fest, but really, the man has great thoughts about the cross cultural implications of comics, how it appeals to people who feel like outsiders, whether children of immigrants, or others.  He also talked about the rise of the nerd, how now you see "jocks" wearing Avengers t-shirts.  And, I happened to get a signed copy of The Shadow Hero (which made a wonderful read for the metro ride home). While in line I had a great chat with an enthusiastic middle school librarian.
I then listened to Phyllis Reynolds Naylor talk about wrapping up the Alice series.  She also talked about how her writing process has changed over the years. Then Ally Carter was introduced by two teen writers* who were both Gallagher Girls fans.  Ally talked about writing the Embassy Row series, and her journey to being a young adult writer.  She said her fans usually have lots of questions, and one in particular asked if she would do more crossovers.  (There is a novella containing a character from the Gallagher Girls and a character from Heist Society.) She said she enjoyed doing it, but it makes legal things like film rights tricky so she would have to be careful about that.
Kwame Alexander spoke about the process of setting up a book festival from scratch and how he had done that, and then, after not winning a fellowship, deciding to create his own, which led to a published picture book.  Then, at a children's book panel, a librarian asked him if he had ever thought about writing for older kids after he read some love poetry he had self-published earlier in his career.  He said yes (this was a theme, saying yes) and ended up writing The Crossover, which went through about eight different versions and was rejected 20 times, before finally being accepted for publication.  He read parts of it.  So great. 
And about then, the sky started to dim and it seemed like a good time to head back home.  (Wonderfully, I came out of the metro station in DC to text messages from friends letting me know that there was a storm warning.) 
Also, Montgomery Community Media put together a Storify of tweets from the festival (and yes, I am in there) which has tweets from the panels I missed, so you can experience it through tweets.

*They were likely doing this all along, I just happened to miss all the other intros and I made my way back and forth.