taelle: (Rylance Prospero)
I have this - possibly silly, possibly productive - habit. I do not really argue with people about tastes - if you don't like X or Y, fine, who am I to argue with you, even if you give the weirdest reasons for not liking it. But: I keep arguing with an unseen opponent, formulating for myself what I wouldn't say to an actual person.

So someone once said something about strongly disliking the Tsukigumi Hamlet, and citing as the reasong that Masao played 'an hysterical woman in a leather coat' instead of Hamlet, a role that requires a strength of spirit. Well, I never quite know what people mean by strength of spirit, and Masao is a woman and wears leather coat onstage, but. Dismissing someone's Hamlet as hysterical (not even touching on whether hers _is_) struck me as weird. I mean, Hamlet is so much interpreted that it seems to me that it will hold almost any interpretation as long as it's internally consistent - most certainly including the 'he's hysterical' one.

Which led me to thinking about various Hamlets I have seen (not that I have seen that many). I don't know much about the modern Japanese theater, and the only Japanese Hamlet I have seen besides Masao's is Nomura Mansai's - and compared to his Hamlet, Masao's a fount of serenity by any measure. Might it be a common tradition of dramatizing and overdramatizing? I never can analyze anything properly, because any analysis of mine turns into 'I know too little, and I need context'.

Also, I need to rewatch the Tsukigumi version, but instead I am watching the BBC one with Derek Jacobi (I tend to use the BBC late 70s-early 80s set of Shakespeares as a control group for anything). And dimly thinking a lot of things including how Hamlet really felt about his father when he was alive, and how much the meeting with the ghost looks like a dream.

* * *

Jul. 12th, 2012 03:27 am
taelle: (persuasion)
Maybe there should be a law about never reading fantasy based on your own culture. Because really, the _Grisha_? How dumb is that?

... maybe it's strange that the Takarazuka versions of Russian classics don't turn me off, I dunno.

* * *

Feb. 14th, 2012 10:40 pm
taelle: (siennes)
I keep thinking about my attitude to blogging. Thing is, diary keeping is a habit of mine, but blogging - a public exercise by its nature - sometimes makes me worry that I am doing something merely to blog about it; or that I only ponder on things to blog about it. Does a thought exist if you do not declare it to everyone around? I mean, I do love sharing things and I come by this honestly - my father is always prone to grabbing people and giving them lectures about whatever interests him now (like all my friends by now know more than they ever wanted to know about Takarazuka), but... I still feel uncomfortable and at these times I count it as an achievement if I have done things I haven't blogged about.

Back to Takarazuka, today was the big news day - the announcement of the new top stars of Moon Troupe, long delayed: and I swear that since the first show with new tops will be Romeo and Juliette, they were waiting for Valentine's day! Of the news themselves... I'm not sure what I think - they are promoting people too young, and they're playing some complicated games with the internal hierarchy. I am worried, curious and impatient to know how this new arrangement will work.

Oh, and I finally got my prize from Ahmad  Tea company - a lovely green teapot, totally worthy of having to endure our post office (queues. Headache-inducing and dizzying queues. I do so hate queueing).

* * *

Jan. 28th, 2012 03:24 am
taelle: (Leningrad)
I was reading a blog of a fannish not-quite-acquaintance and, looking at the blogger herself and her commenters, realized suddenly that there's a lot of people who buy fannish stuff online on impulse and then when it comes, they're not so enthusiastic and don't know what to do with it - and still do it next time, just for the thrill of "want => have". ... now, I suspect there's people who do this not only in fandom circles and with fandom stuff, but I feel like fannish shopping is more relevant to my life (also, I don't buy stuff like clothes and makeup etc online). Especially with Takarazuka as my new hobby, as it's rather shopping-heavy. But still... this is a sin I do not commit - I am the reverse, I plan a lot, and I get my thrills by buying after a long time of planning. Double thrills: (a) I have this cool stuff, and (b) my plans were realized.

Otherwise, a slow day at home, mostly working. I am still kind of cold, and have my period, and a lot of work. And between work I am still watching the Takarazuka Anna Karenina bit by bit. I spent some time wondering why they cast such a young actress as Karenin, and then I stopped seeing her as book-Karenin and decided to view her character as a rather young man, who found himself in a high position and tries to compensate for his youth for being extra serious. ... this way it was far more sensible. Also, I enjoy a lot how they do emotional scenes through dancing, very lovely - and the race scene is a dance too. Fun; though I am not up to finishing it now, I still have half an hour of the show left.

Also, today - well, yesterday, the 27th - was 65th anniversary of the end of Blockade. I did not go to the Piskarevka memorial - I don't do it every year, and it's _cold_ - but it's not as if I can forget. Not as if anyone can forget these graves, marked with the year only. My great-great-grandfather is there somewhere... maybe. He was an old man already, so he did not survive the winter of 1941/42. And I still cry every time I read things about Blockade.

The past is still here, hidden under the present of the city.







... the first photo is very close to where I live. It was a heavily bombed area. The second is Nevsky Prospect, the main street.

* * *

Jan. 27th, 2012 07:08 am
taelle: (books)
I am picky about weather, some people might say: I don't like having above-zero temperatures in winter, it's bad for the nature and makes me suspect spring will be late; and at the same time -14, as it was this morning, is too cold for me. Too cold is when you have to dress for warmth specifically and not for nice clothes. And especially when it's too cold for skirts.

And even without being cold, this was a complicated and not too productive day: I've been staying up late to work and then sleeping late, but this morning I had to meet a friend's train and then spent half of the day with her - after which I fell down to sleep, since I had less than two hours of sleep at night. Which, naturally, led to staying up late again. And trying to do two jobs at once.

Not reading much, mostly watching Takarazuka shows bit by bit in pauses between work. Now I am watching Anna Karenina, and Takarazuka adaptations of Russian classics tend to amuse me (but also I like this Anna - she's more believable to me than many Annas in the ordinary films). I think I should reread Anna Karenina - but I probably should finish War and Peace first.

* * *

Nov. 28th, 2011 12:28 am
taelle: (crafty)
I read a story today which involves an Englishman from 1911 travelling in time and arriving in 2014, IIRC. Upon learning that his female acquaintance is a published writer, he is very surprised that here women can write and publish books. This Englishman in his time is a footman in a big country house, with just four years of village school, but specifically described as someone who loves books and at night sometimes takes books to read from the house library.

... it seems to me that stories about people from the past either have them have too modern ideas, or paint their time as way too backwards to believe. Or both.

Also, today I have been watching the Takarazuka version of Captain's Daughter in the living room, to the lively interest of family and friends. And no, nobody objected to kitsching up Russian culture. ;) (me: Where are these Oriental dancers entertaining Pugachov supposed to come from? Mother: from Bashkiria, obviously). Though nobody, including me, could guess at why they renamed Grinyov Nikolai.
taelle: (crafty)
I finished watching the Takarazuka version of Twelfth Night and enjoyed it a lot. They've got the right spirit for this play, I think. Also a bonus: Viola and Sebastian do kind of look like one another. Orsino is young and coltish and amusing, Viola is very nice, but unexpectedly I most loved Sir Toby. Unexpectedly - because he turned out to be much less ridiculous drunkard and more a handsome bonvivant than it's usually done (also, in this version there's Toby/Maria and it makes sense). I also liked Feste quite a lot.

All this, with knitting. For my cross-stitching projects I (a) need to redo some backstitch which I did in black and should have done in white - can't be done while watching videos. Maybe an audiobook? I got so annoyed with Hagrid that I paused listening to Harry Potter; and (b)I need to find a cord for finishing a project. I am bad at finishing.

* * *

Nov. 13th, 2011 07:13 am
taelle: (diary)
I wrote today, and quite easily, but it was the beginning of a new story, not any work towards the continuation of the two I already have started. Bad me? Good me? Remains to be seen. And writing is better than not writing in any case.

I also started watching a new anime; since it's only 13 episodes and I am already in the middle of the third, maybe I won't get stuck in something I feel obligated, and not inspired, to finish. I'm getting very tired of all the unfulfilled obligations lately.

... and of the time I'm losing, too. Time, why are you slipping through my fingers? (yes, I am banal)

Somehow today I watched many bits of European musicals. I love Takarazuka to bits, but why aren't they training their actresses to sing properly? Somehow Takarazuka actresses with good voices who aren't as free in using it as they could be make me even sadder than those who are just bad at singing.

* * *

Nov. 7th, 2011 12:14 am
taelle: (London)
Weird day: doing nothing in particular, still feeling tired. Though it's a nice feeling when you realize that something you plod through just for the process, not expecting any results worth announcing, does start giving at least some results...

Otherwise - spent a couple of hours playing butterfly mahjong or whatever it's called - I am a prey to simple and repetitive games. Rewatched the Dancing Heroes encore ten times, and now I have the Kiseki song stuck in my head. Started watching the BBC Twelfth Night, but though I usually like these 1980s BBC Shakespeares, this failed to grab me - Felicity Kendal as Viola kept reminding me of a type of a female clerk with difficult life popular in Soviet melodrama films. And everything felt too stodgy. So I gave up and went to see Takarazuka Twelfth Night, curious how they managed the crossdressing problem. ...For now I am satisfied with their Viola and the way she works it, Orsino is ridiculously young and cute, Sir Toby is less comic and more scheming than usual, but I like the Toby-Andrew-Maria dynamics. This is much more fun - I do believe that Twelfth Night should be a young and merry play.

I'd like less headache, still. Took out my backup glasses - maybe they will make things better? Perhaps I should go to sleep, but I'd like to write a bit today.

* * *

Nov. 1st, 2011 05:29 am
taelle: (rain)
I want to hide from the world (this, of course, is why I post in a public blog, right); no, really. I need the sense of being coccooned - like making a playhouse by putting a blanket over a table, - to pull myself together (this is, of course, where any sane person would ask me what I need to pull myself together _from_). Maybe I _am_ an hypochondriac, I dunno.

I am reading Eric Hobsbawm, which is kinda... different after some postmodernist historian stuff I've been looking at lately. But I hope I do remember stuff. I think with years I have started reading more slowly - though I always wondered whether things stay in my mind. This is one of the reasons I've always kept a diary - to prevent time from sifting through my fingers.

Halloween in Russia is taking strange forms. I am afraid that in a year or two it will be considered polite to give people best wishes for Halloween and to send postcards. Or something. There's already children's events - day events! In local cultural centres!

I started watching the Takarazuka Hamlet - and liking it more than I expected, for all its rock opera glamour (also, eternally amused by female Rosencrantz and by the gravedigger girls who look a bit like the younger version of Macbeth witches).

Still continuing my story - or trying to. Wrote an interlude before a talk which I'm not sure how to do (well, the character planning to have that talk is not sure either, but that does not matter). I am an okay writer on a phrase-and-paragraph level, but story-level... that's what happens when you stick to vignettes.

Also I should go to a dentist.

* * *

Oct. 26th, 2011 06:55 am
taelle: (diary)
Apparently my characters are going to have a row. Good for them; not sure whether it's good for me, and whether I will manage to finish this story. I'm surely going to try, though.

Anyway, even though I am up at a not-sensible time, I've been mostly sensible, and finished work fairly early, and did some cross-stitching while listening to the Victorian lectures. The end of that corner of sky is in sight; and I have only one lecture left - I probably will try listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone next, since I'm in such a rereading mood. As for lectures, I'm still rather blah about them - I did need some blank places filled in my knowledge of Victorian England, but I feel like this particular lecture course is a bit too popular, and rehashing a bit too many popular myths. I'll have to find something more serious (also, I want a biography of Gladstone. He's interesting)

In other news, I finally solved the problem of making screencaps, which led to my rewatching random bits of Dream Trail concert and taking caps. I was sort-of-sensible and haven't started to rewatch it all. I love Dream Trail: both pretty and joyful. I am in the need of joy.

* * *

Oct. 24th, 2011 04:45 pm
taelle: (rain)
I might have planned to write a sensible post about Victoriana, since I have finished George Eliot bio (then again, I might have just gone on about how some things about her really speak to me, and some things... really don't).

But I woke up to the news that Kiriya Hiromu is retiring, and that kind of chased out all the sensible thoughts out of my head. ... yes, it's not the end of the world. She's sure to have a good post-Takarazuka career, she's so splendid and talented. But. But. But.

* * *

Oct. 20th, 2011 03:23 am
taelle: (city)
Why wasn't I provident enough to go and start learning Japanese five years ago? Silly me.

... that was me watching a Takarazuka show together with a very nice person who translated the dialogues to me. Weird feeling, this being able to understand what's going on (and not to guess from gestures and facial expressions. Which, in Takarazuka, are expressive but not _that_ expressive).

In other news, still no writing is happening. The resolution of writing every day is rather hard to follow when you don't feel like writing drabbles and the planning for all the longer stuff is stuck.

And it's getting colder: no sun today, and fairly sharp wind (they say there was first snow in the morning, but I missed it). I still like it: the architecture around where I live is the late 19th-early 20th modern and eclectic commercial housing, with lots of brick industrial buildings, and it's mostly all warm colours (especially the dark red brick - I do love it so). So when the weather is not sunny and everything is greyish, the houses look soft and warm to me, in all their unpreposessing shabbiness.

(My autumn/winter jacket is dark grey - but so wonderfully light! - but I do have a bright scarf. Maybe I will make another: I am so colour-dependent)

* * *

Oct. 9th, 2011 05:07 am
taelle: (sad)
Today my body seems to have decided that I'm having a holiday, and that's it: I got up and worked for less than an hour, and then I climbed back into bed and couldn't get out of it until maybe 4 PM.

After which my evening plans, earlier discarded because of some people being unavailable, suddenly reinstated themselves, and I went to visit some friends, mostly for Takarazuka-themed chatting and much watching of photobooks and oohing and aahing. Well, at least from my side: I firmly approach this fandom from the position of "there are no actresses I dislike, there are just actresses I don't really know". It's more fun for me that way; unfortunately that also makes me a bit tired after a contact with someone who doesn't share this approach.

That is not to say that I didn't have a nice evening; I did. (also, I finally got some DVDs that took their time in coming to me) I am just having a... seasonal increase in introvertedness? Or something. A prolonged contact with the majority of human population leaves me rather tired. Trouble is, I grew into a habit of needing that contact; ten years ago I was rather happy as a fandom lurker, with my books, my music, my fics, etc. I don't think I could return to this - looks like I grew rather too socialized, and it troubles me. I don't like to be dependent on people.

And I did write today, after missing a day. Go me! I'm not sure it will go somewhere, as it's an exploration of the motivations of a character in a long story I'm not even sure I'm writing (and which has no plot, only a group of characters and some basic events they were involved in).

No Tolstoy today, but some of the George Eliot bio. Two things strike me in what I read today (finishing the chapter on Adam Bede): the way people reacted emotionally to a novel - waiting for it excitedly, being unable to leave it, writing letters to the author... rather fannish reaction in a way. And another fandom-related thing - the way George Eliot was sensitive to criticism. It feels like a page out of a discussion on fandom criticism - "you were so harsh to so-and-so's fic, she's thinking about never writing again".

It's raining outside; I'm sorry it's a bit too cold to sleep with an open window - I like the sound of rain.

* * *

Sep. 11th, 2011 02:47 am
taelle: (Default)
I still feel ill and completely brainless. And useless. Also, conducting negotiations with a tooth of mine to convince it not to ache until I get better, since I'm so not up to going to a dentist.

I remember being little and enjoying being ill. Staying in bed and drinking tea and tasty things my mother brought me to make me feel better. Where has all this gone? I mean, I don't even feel like reading! Though I do read - I finished Karin Calvert, and also a book called "Re-thinking history" (much slower going than Calvert, especially since it was in English. It doesn't matter to me which language I'm reading in - until I fall ill, and the little bit of additional effort that English requires starts being more noticeable). Reading... it makes me feel less useless.

Though, remembering my childhood illnesses, I remember spending a lot of time leafing through a big book with a lot of photographs of La Scala. And today I relaxed and cheered myself up by looking at my Takarazuka photo books. So not that much is changed (except for possibly my tastes getting less elevated).

About my tastes, by the way: I notice I'm getting... less tolerant, maybe. When I notice someone dismissing things I love, like writing online about a book I liked a lot and saying that it is silly/empty/badly written, I feel like coming in and commenting 'Shut up, what do you know about it anyway!'. Not that I do, of course. Though - who knows, maybe I will, in five or ten years.

And I am still cross-stitching that corner of sky.  Being all sniffly isn't particularly conducive to cross-stitching. Though I finished watching the musical I started yesterday. Or maybe the day before yesterday.

* * *

Sep. 10th, 2011 12:47 am
taelle: (Default)
Last night/this morning it became apparent that I have a cold. So I spent most of the day in bed, hating everything and everyone starting with myself. Cold seems to me to be a particularly stupid illness; that is, I keep thinking it's not enough excuse to stay in bed and feel sorry for myself. I mean, I don't even get fevers (a medical friend of mine says this is not so good, actually).

Trying to recall things of a pleasanter nature... yesterday I got a card from a Takarazuka actress I like. Most of it, however, was in Japanese - I guess foreign fans finally exhausted her English. So today I had to go look for someone to translate it. Which led to discussion with some people about the reasons I write to Japanese actresses (discussion, mind you, not with the translator of the card, who is a fellow Takarazuka fan). However, I think all such questions must have multiple answers (if you do not go for the 'I like it' option). I still tried to put together my reasons, at least for myself. I do like such things - I remember trying for several years to put together a good explanation of why I like slash (I stopped trying when slash stopped to be something to take into consideration).

So, postcards? I mean, first of all, I really like postcards; I collect them, I do postcrossing, I keep looking for pretty ones. So, it's very natural and easy to go send a postcard. Then, I like saying thanks. I do not always leave comments on fanfics I read, true, but I try to comment where there are few other comments; also, Takarazuka is much more of an emotional experience, so I feel more need to express and give back these emotions. Then again, popularity seems to be a factor in the career of a Takarazuka actress, at least with the younger ones, so I hope another card is always a bonus. And also, I like participating in all fan activities that I can. ... now, why have I written all of this here? If I discount the 'I felt like it' factor? Oh, bother, I feel too ill for another round of self-analysis; I'd better go finish watching a show if I'm not falling asleep just yet.

Also, I am reading this book; (in its Russian translation); seems to be very interesting. I do not know enough about the subject to see how accurate this all is, but it ties in with what I know and takes it a bit further, which is the best kind of non-fiction books for me. And yes, I love books about material culture/the way people lived, very much so. I think in a way it's the writer in me; I have a very... sensory imagination, when I write something I need to see before my eyes just how it was, what kind of things surrounded the characters, etc. That's why I very much doubt I'd ever write things with historical settings - I feel like I'd never know enough. ... and still I read.

* * *

Sep. 9th, 2011 03:49 am
taelle: (Default)
... I keep thinking how knowing something well/being good at something reduces the amount of things in that sphere that you are able to enjoy. Like, I am told that a person with a good ear/good vocal training can't bear listening to Takarazuka. That may very well be so. I have a bad ear. I and I was even worse before I got some musical education. But I am maybe glad about it, because I like being able to enjoy Takarazuka (now, my inner voice repeating some people's arguments about how bad this is... another obstacle but a lesser one). And I do know that I am unable to read, say, fanfics which I'm told have interesting ideas if they have insufferable syntax. (Mind you, I was never quite able to believe that a text with awful syntax can have interesting ideas).

I like eating at McDonald's, too. But then, among many my acquaintances I have this image of a cultured/highbrow person which annoys me a lot. To my mind, I have simple and banal tastes - I like mysteries, biographies and travel books, that is, stuff that basically predictable. And also sushi and hamburgers while I could go challenge myself with some other cuisine. And sparkly Japanese musicals. And cross-stitching, the least creative of handcrafts.

I'm a boring person, me.

Now what was I talking about?  Oh well,. never mind. I should perhaps take photos of some of my cross-stich WIPs except that I'm lazy. And also can't wait to finish my musical-watching xstitch. I have two projects going - a musical-watching one and an audio book listening one. The second is more complicated, since I am able to consult the pattern; the first only needs to have one corner finished - one colour. Of the sky. There's a lot of it. Very boring, even with the musical (I keep trying to type 'muscial').

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