For some reason, this movie from 1995 bubbled up to the top of my memory. Antonia follows four generations of women (five counting Antonia’s mother) over decades following World War II in a small town in the Netherlands. Antonia returns to the village of her birth after 20 years, bringing with her a daughter and no husband. Antonia quickly connects with old childhood friends, themselves outsiders to the farming culture. Olga the Russian takes on three of the harder jobs of the village: bartender, midwife, and undertaker. Crooked Finger lives as a philosopher hermit in a house that somehow persists through years of decay. Antonia returns to bury her mother, but her mother is still alive, at least for one scene. Death and renewal becomes two of the big themes of the movie, along with Antonia’s ability to build a community through simple acts of kindness, personal integrity, and not giving a shit about whether others will accept her actions.
Spoilers and some discussion of sexual assault.
Having established characters and setting in the first half of the season, the second half is able to dig deeper into some of the character conflicts that were barely introduced in the first half. Amity, in particular, is revealed to be one of the co-protagonists, and background characters emerge as some of the more vexsome antagonists of the series.
I feel like along with The Witcher, The Letter for the King points to a wave of non-English European fantasy. Keep in mind that I’ve not read either.
The series starts with a fantasy infodump. The Northern Kingdoms have always been at war with the Southern, Evillan. The reasons why are never made clear, beyond the casting of black actors as the people of Evillan and woooo, mysterious and dark magic. Tiuri (the younger) is the adopted son of Tiuri the Valliant, a knight of one of the Northern countries. Father pushes the son into a tournament to prove his knighthood, and what Tiuri lacks in marital prowess, he almost makes up for in heart. Almost, because as we discover, Sir Tiuri will do anything for his son, including rig the tournament to ease Tiuri’s advancement.
Simultaneously, younger Prince Viridian completes his conquest of Evillan by burning the crops and killing Evillan’s spiritual leadership. He sees himself as the savior of prophecy, the man who will bring an end to war and strife. Viridian sends out a half-dozen letters to his supporters. It’s pretty clear from the start that Viridian plans some sort of coup, in spite of attempts by his father to appease him. Unfortunately, one letter is intercepted by the Black Knight with the White Shield, who is pursued by the Red Riders.
The threads merge on the night of Tiuri’s vigil. Tiuri breaks his vigil to help The Black Knight with the White Shield, who passes on the stolen letter and a horse who is probably smarter and more charismatic than any other character in the story. Tiuri must take the letter cross-country, and somehow get it into the hands of the King before Viridian can usurp the throne and bring about the end of the world as we know it. Tiuri may also act as one of the characters in the prophesy, the last son of the last shaman, maybe. The few people who understand what Tiuri is up to want him dead before he can deliver the letter, the rest want him dead for other reasons. This includes the diverse candidates for knighthood who saw their chances spoiled when Tiuri rode off.
Big spoiler under the cut…
One of the more annoying pain points in working between MacOS and Linux on a regular basis is that the
datecommand is not at all compatible. MacOS uses the BSD
dateutility, which uses the
-voption to print a time in the future or past. Linux uses the gnu date utility, with options like
--date="today + -1 day". Trying to code something that figures out which date utility you’re using is an awkward problem.
So I whipped up a single-use python script which will travel in time and deliver a formatted date string from the future or past. It takes one argument, the number of days it should travel. And using
sys.stdout.write()it doesn’t produce any additional whitespace or newlines. If it can’t parse the date, it just returns today.
As is typical, checking for missing or unreadable input takes up more lines of code than the date calculation.
It’s been a wild and pleasantly bewildering month:
- Poet Kae Tempest announced their new name and transition. On a personal level, their explanation of the derivation of Kae as an Old English variant of Jay filled in a search for nature-based names beginning with ‘K’. Also I’ve considered Tempest to be one of my modern muses in terms of poetics, along with songwriters Tom Waits and Neko Case.
- Actor and bi activist Sara Ramirez clarified a social-media pronoun change. I’m more familiar with their work in bi activism than their TV performances.
- CBS announced that trans and nonbinary actors have been cast for trans and nonbinary roles in Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery. While I don’t expect CBS to deliver on the same level as Yoon Ha Lee, JY Yang, Anne Leckie, or Martha Wells, Trek is still one of the more high-profile SFF projects, and more representation with appropriate casting is welcome.
“I can copulate for England at any distance.” – Andrew Wyke
One of the first things I thought of when I saw Knives Out was, “hey, someone there must have seen Sleuth.” Rian Johnson later admitted that it was one of his favorite movies, and Jolly Jack Tar–one of the more memorable mechanical characters in cinema–is given a cameo in Knives Out.
Sleuth showcases Lawrence Oliver at the end of his career as entitled mystery writer and avid gamesman Andrew Wyke. Opposite Oliver is the much younger Michael Caine as Milo Tindle. Milo grew up the son of an Italian watchmaker, owns a chain of fashion salons that capitalize on the “latin lover” stereotype, and makes love to Andrew’s estranged wife. Andrew invites Milo to his manor filled with games, puns, and practical jokes for a “discussion,” before giving Milo the bait. Milo, who is strapped for cash and about to marry a woman with upper-class tastes, will steal Andrew’s tax-shelter jewelry. Andrew will profit from both the insurance and the divorce. In the end, they both get what they want.
Of course it’s too good to be true. Significant spoilers.
The good news is that Disney is joining Dreamworks and Nick in expanding their LGBTQ representation in animation. The bad news is that it looks like getting there involved the same kinds of corporate censorship for Dana Terrace that Rebecca Sugar and Noelle Stevenson faced. Hopefully pressure to keep LGBTQ characters out of animation will become less severe with each iteration.
So, my work computer got re-imaged without a lot of the tools that I had been using. No more aspell, make, or taskwarrior. Emacs is substantially less useful to me without spell check. So I’m working on adapting my old process to things that can work outside of emacs.
I had peeked around at todo.txt a while back, but never really got into it compared to taskwarrior. Since deadlines are more important than priorities in my work, I switched things around a bit with the deadline at the front. An example looks like:
2020-08-30 (A) +tag Call mom (not a real todo)
One issue to work around is that Linux and MacOS use incompatible versions of date. However ksh93 has some nice utilities for working with dates that are cross-platform.
ksh -e "printf '%(%Y-%m-%d)T' '7 days ago'"creates a timestamp from a week ago and works on both MacOS and linux.
Problems Performing Normality: Kae Tempest, Rebecca Sugar, Noelle Stevenson, Orville Peck, and Melissa Etheridge
Orville Peck covers Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy.”
This hiding from myself has led to all kinds of difficulties in my life. And this is a first step towards knowing and respecting myself better.
I’ve loved Kate. But I am beginning a process and I hope you’ll come with me.
So as a project, I’m on gopherspace now. Gopher was a competing protocol to the World Wide Web that focused almost exclusively on plain text files. If you have a gopher extension like OverbiteWX for Firefox, lynx, or elpher for emacs, the url is gopher://garnet.cbrachyrhynchos.com/ or you can go use the web proxy.
Media discussion under cut: