November 12th, 2016

ffx2 - paine smile

Want to take a break from election talk...

But I can't really think of much else to say. Like for many of us, it's been pretty heavily on my mind, and a central feature of conversations both virtual and in-person.

Other things, other things... I have a concert week coming up. We're singing Durufle's Requiem, which I sang in college and really, really loved, so I'm enjoying the opportunity to connect with it again. Work has been on the busy side, with a report coming due very soon and a few other projects ramping up. Meanwhile, I'm also thinking about getting back on the job market to see if I can find work that takes more direct action toward social justice. Working for a research organization accomplishes that goal somewhat, but in a much more nebulous way. I had the same impulse after the 2004 election, but I was looking for library jobs in parallel and found a librarian position first. Still, the thought has long remained in the back of my mind, and now may be the time to really start.

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quote - eliot hollow men

Arrival

I've been anticipating this movie since I randomly saw the first trailer as a YouTube ad a few months ago. An intelligent-looking science fiction movie about language, starring Amy Adams, based on a story by Ted Chiang? Sign me up. So we went to see it today, and I was more than satisfied. Amy Adams was phenomenal, the story was smart and thoughtful, the visuals were effective, the music set the mood perfectly. It's a meditation on memory, and the blessing and cure of foreknowledge. If you're interested in a sci-fi movie that's heavier on the thinking and lighter on the explosions, I definitely recommend it.

I hadn't read the short story, "Story of Your Life", so I decided to read it this evening. It was quite different, and less to my taste than the movie -- the story went into much greater detail on the linguistic details of language structure and language learning, and it also spent quite a bit of time on physics, which the movie barely touched on. I feel like that level of detail would have bogged down the movie, which moved as a fairly slow pace as it was. Not too slow -- it actually felt just about the right length -- but any slower and it probably wouldn't have worked. As it was, I think Arrival does a good job of taking the main ideas of the text and transforming them to film.

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Good movie. Go see it. Strong contender for best SF/F film of 2016, for sure -- you can bet that this will be on my Hugo ballot.

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