sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-07-26 10:55 pm

Come on, shape-shift with me—what have you got to lose?

In today's political news, I would like to introduce the man in the White House to the Greek hero Kaineus (m.), born Kainis (f.), whom it took the entire Centaur side of the Centauromachy to defeat, his invulnerable body hammered all the way down to Hades with stones and piled pine trees. We can argue about what the United States should be doing with its armed forces, but not about who counts sufficiently as people to continue serving safely in them.

1. On the very crowded Red Line around five-thirty this afternoon, I saw two girls—late high school, early college, one white-looking and one not—practicing what they called "subway surfing," keeping their balance without recourse to poles or hangers or fellow passengers as the train rocked and bucked between Harvard and Davis. I appreciated what they were doing; the car was so sardine-packed that I couldn't get near a handhold myself, plus I was carrying a couple of books from the dollar-sticker carts outside the Harvard Book Store (I sense a theme) and a halva brownie from Tatte's that was trying to melt through its paper bag. It was a miserable commute experience and they were making the best they could of it. I did not appreciate the male commuter about my age who turned around as he got off the train at Porter to yell at the girls for "screaming in [his] ears." They stopped subway surfing after he left. They separated and found different poles to hang on to and did not try to talk to one another across the thinning space of commuters between them. The thing is, the guy had not even been their neighbor. He'd been standing right in front of me the entire time, holding on to the pole I couldn't find room on. He could legitimately have yelled at me for breathing into the nape of his neck, but even had the girls been shouting at the tops of their lungs, thanks to our respective positions their conversation would still have had to travel through me before getting anywhere near his ears. So when the train ground to a halt between stations—because there was another train on the line, because the T never has enough money, because Charlie Baker would rather privatize public transit than allocate it any reasonable amount of public funds and incidentally fuck the unions—and there was a brief lull in the racketing noise, I attracted the attention of the nearer girl and told her that she and her friend were great subway surfers, that I'd seen and appreciated them, and that the guy had been completely out of line. I hope it didn't weird her out. I wanted to give them a reality check. The guy annoyed me. Congratulations, you don't like being on a sardine car at rush hour—neither does anyone else, but at least those girls were getting something fun out of it. They weren't losing their footing and banging into people. They were laughing. Don't yell at people when they're trying to make the world better. I feel this lesson can and should be generalized.

2. I did not expect to find myself explaining the technicalities of 70 mm to a completely different set of kids at the door of the Somerville Theatre, but they all bought tickets for Dunkirk (2017) and showed interest in the upcoming 70 mm festival—they wanted to know not just about the format itself and whether it would look different from a DCP of the same movie (spoiler: yes) but the system on which the film would be shown, which I could at least explain was not a Hateful Eight retrofit but a pair of Philips Norelco DP70s designed for just this format, installed in this theater well before Tarantino started shooting in Ultra Panavision, lovingly maintained, and capable of magnetic rather than digital sound. Then I got asked how it was possible to show 70 and 35 mm on the same machines and at that point my knowledge of down- and upconverting degenerated into "I'm not the projectionist! I don't even work here!" (After the conversation was over, I promptly went upstairs and bugged David the projectionist about the specifics just in case this ever happens to me again. I hate being asked technical questions for which I have only partial answers; it makes me feel worse than having no answers at all.) Mostly they seemed concerned that they wouldn't be able to appreciate the beautiful information density of the format if it was filtered through a system that wasn't built to handle it, the same way the high fidelity of a recording is immaterial if all you can play it back through is some crackly laptop speakers. I could reassure them that was not going to be the experience at the Somerville. I realize that programs for movies are not so much a thing anymore, but I'm thinking for this one maybe it couldn't hurt.

3. I like the photograph of this person who looks like they are wearing a spell of the sea: Taylor Oakes, "Rhue."

4. I am delighted that I have now read multiple poems employing Wittgenstein's concept of language-games, also specifically this ambiguity: Veronica Forrest-Thomson, "Ducks & Rabbits."

5. In unexpected and welcome writing news, Clockwork Phoenix 5 is a finalist for a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. I have a story in it, so obviously I hope it wins, but the rest of the list is full of extremely cool people and the extremely cool things they have written and I wish everyone luck!
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-07-27 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you spoke to one of the subway-surfing girls, regardless of how she took it (though I hope and expect she took it in the manner intended and didn't get weirded out)--I'm all for reinforcing good things and interpreting the world to others in a way that highlights the good, and you were doing that. The guy sounds cranky and out of line. I think sometimes people like that are jealous of other people's capacity for (or attempts to experience) joy, and try to quash it. WRONG MOVE, JERK!

And somehow your friendly action (and the girls' attempt at fun in a crowded subway) are especially meaningful in the face of 45 and his nightmarish actions.

... How strange: the duck rabbit comes up in something that I'm editing for work.

Yay, Clockwork Phoenix 5! Fingers crossed.
gwynnega: (Leslie Howard mswyrr)

[personal profile] gwynnega 2017-07-27 04:01 am (UTC)(link)
I'm so glad Clockwork Phoenix 5 is a World Fantasy Award finalist!
alexxkay: (Default)

[personal profile] alexxkay 2017-07-27 05:43 am (UTC)(link)
I don't recall having encountered Kaineus before. Damn, that's a badass death scene!
redbird: subway train, the cars sometimes called "redbirds" (redbird train)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-07-27 11:56 am (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you spoke to those girls. I also wonder what the free-range asshole would make of me doing what they were, white hair and all. At my age I find myself explaining to strangers that no thanks, I don't want to sit down, I am doing this for my health: which is true, but at 13 and 15 and 16 it was purely for the fun of it. (There are reasons I have a subway car userpic.)
nineweaving: (Default)

[personal profile] nineweaving 2017-07-27 08:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Kainis/Kaineus arises as a golden bird! May that be auspicious for Clockwork Phoenix!

Edited 2017-07-27 20:21 (UTC)
lost_spook: (writing)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-07-27 09:01 pm (UTC)(link)
5. In unexpected and welcome writing news, Clockwork Phoenix 5 is a finalist for a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. I have a story in it, so obviously I hope it wins, but the rest of the list is full of extremely cool people and the extremely cool things they have written and I wish everyone luck!

How exciting! Congrats for your part in it! \o/
dhampyresa: (Epic shit happening on the internet)

[personal profile] dhampyresa 2017-07-28 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)