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kit
09 December 2016 @ 04:53 pm

I *do* have a throw-away comment about the 2016 election in one of my #WalkerPapers short stories. I thought I did.

The protagonist is Ashley, the little girl from #ThunderbirdFalls, 20 years later:

“I had a grenade launcher.
I wasn’t supposed to, of course. Nobody was, especially since the country-wide crackdown after the election riots when I was seventeen.”

The story was written in 2012 and was a deliberate (given the Walker Papers timeline) reference to the 2016 elections, and I kept the line even though it made my editor say it seemed like the future of Jo’s world had gotten very dark.

Yeah, well. Jo’s world got the magic back, and we got the Minority Vote President, so I’m not sure hers is as dark as ours.

Anyway, here, have a read: Twenty Years After: A Walker Papers short story. ♥

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
08 December 2016 @ 03:38 pm

So I’m on a Beauty and the Beast kick right now and I mentioned to Ted yesterday morning that if your favourite fairy tale is BatB (as mine has always been), that it is very likely that at some point quite early on you realize that having the Beast transform back into the Prince is a terrible disappointment. The thing is you (we, Beauty) have fallen in love with the *Beast*. We want the *Beast*. We don’t want a stupid prince.

Ted’s response to this was pretty much O.O

So he mentioned the topic to his (all women) gaming group last night.

(An aside: he said this morning, with a sort of weak grimness, “Talking about blood magic w/a bunch of women is…a whole different thing. Thank god I’ve been married almost 20 years. Teenage me would have run away screaming. I almost did anyway.”)

ANYWAY, not the point!

The point: he mentions the falling in love with the Beast, not the prince, thing.

The entire gaming group, at once, with explosive hand gestures, cried, “YES!!!”

Ted is like, “That story is apparently just a completely different experience for boys than girls…”

And, I mean, look: that was part of the appeal of the 1980s TV show, right? Vincent was never going to turn into the prince. He already *was* the prince, but he was *always* going to be the Beast. HOW CAN THAT BE ANYTHING BUT PERFECT?

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
07 December 2016 @ 04:37 pm

Picoreview: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them: really not very good.

It started out slowly and took far too long to end. There were tedious bits in between occasionally interrupted by charm, but the charm was rarely presented by Eddie Redmayne’s Newt, who, as the lead, literally had a line about how people didn’t really like him very much. But that was okay, because Katherine Waterson, as the other lead, was also almost entirely unlikeable. (Wait…)

To make it worse, though, the second leads, *particularly* Alison Sudol (playing Waterson’s sister), outshone them on every level in terms of charm and charisma (which is pretty awful because I didn’t even like Dan Folger’s Jacob Kowalski all that *much*, as he was too clearly The Way In to this story).

Many of the fantastic beasts were wonderful and at least two of them were in fact fantastic. Unfortunately, there was very little in the story that actually required them, and even less about where to find them. At least one of them was dreadfully overused and added considerably to the tedium.

Lest you think I utterly loathed the whole thing, let me pause to say I thought the bad guys were terrific. I thought Samantha Morton was deadly and that Ezra Miller gave a powerful performance. I really enjoyed Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo. I got a kick out of recognizing Ron Perlman’s goblin _from his walk_, on a subliminal level, before he’d even spoken or I’d gotten a look at his face. That was good SFX. Despite all the film’s problems I was essentially ready for more.

Except then the Big Reveal completely obliterated any interest I had in seeing any more movies in the series. Just, honestly, like, “Nope, I see how you were trying to add intrigue and dimensions here and what you have done is removed all of them, so I’m out.” And then on top of that they Should Not Have Done That Thing to That Character…

…and the fact that I can think of at least three characters in the film to whom that sentence applies does not help matters any. There’s one in *particular* I mean when I say it, but there are at least three to whom it applies.

I really, *really* wish that had been a better movie. There were parts I liked. The bones were there. In fact, I’d say the bones of two *different* good movies were there. Neither of them, however, made it to the screen.

I am disappoint.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
06 December 2016 @ 02:33 pm

My mom was a dancer, and we’ve decided to offer a dance scholarship in her name, as a memorial. We’ve set up a GoFundMe page, the Rosie Murphy Dance Scholarship Fund, and if you’re inclined or inspired in any way to donate a little to the fund, my family and I would be profoundly grateful.

Our immediate goal is to secure $2500: enough funds to create a five year scholarship. Our longer term goal is to create a scholarship in perpetuity, which is possible if we can get $15,000 into our investment fund. It’s a big goal, but it’s not unachievable, and the idea of being able to be able to do something like that for Mom, and in her name, is part of what’s holding us together right now.

Love to you all,
Catie

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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kit
29 November 2016 @ 10:30 pm

Yesterday over on Facebook I posted a link to an utterly fabulous 1940s bomber-style womens’ jacket. Things almost immediately got out of control as my dear friend Leah Moore loved it as much as I did:

Leah: That is just gorgeous. I would marry that jacket.

Catie: I would show up at the altar and object because I saw it first and loved it more.

Leah: Oh damn!

Leah: With high waist trousers and a killer haircut….oh man…

Catie: actually i would show up at the altar and you would look so fabulous in your coat and your high waist trousers and your killer undercut that i’d run away with you instead

Leah: I’d fly off with you in my plane…and we’d land on hawaii or somesuch.

Catie: we would live the roguish life of passionate adventurers, travelling the world and laughing carelessly at passers-by

Leah: YES!!! I’m up for all of that. Anytime. ❤💗❤💗Wow. What a jacket…

Catie: look at the trouble it’s already causing! :)

Leah: Two broken homes and financial abandon, not to mention the fact i don’t know how to fly a plane! 😄😄

Catie: I understand *flying* a plane isn’t that hard. *Landing* a plane… :)

Leah: Is it wrong that i want to draw fanart of us?

AND THEN SHE DID!!!!

moore_murphy_fab

I have never in my life wanted so much to do a web comic. It’d be like Delilah Dirk & the Turkish Lieutenant, except two bonkers ladies fighting crime & injustice in a modern world that was a massive mash-up of all the stylistically visually amazing bits of the past 140 years. It’d be brilliant modern social commentary. With great clothes. *flails*!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
21 November 2016 @ 05:18 pm

I’ve spent most of the past several years a lot more checked out of the news cycle than I think I should be, because so much of it is toxic or religious wars in politics and I simply have not had the emotional bandwidth to deal with it.

I *hate* that. I grew up in a very political family and I feel like it’s my duty to be informed and aware and able to formulate an intelligent opinion.

I also grew up in an era when the news cycle wasn’t a hyper-excited 24 hour freak-fest desperate to get viewers at any costs. There were biases in the local and national papers, yes, but all of it was literally slower paced and therefore less reactionary, and less rabidly trying to seize an audience with short attention spans.

So a lot of my response, because I can’t deal with the huge influx of what is frequently only questionably news, has been to step back and trying not to deal with it as much. I don’t watch the evening news because it’s almost always a cycle of horror: all the bad news, unrelentingly bad news, emotionally devastating bad news. I hate not knowing the political situations going on around me, but the vehicle for that information is so miserable that it’s better for my mental health to not allow myself to be dragged into it.

I’ve been deeply, profoundly invested in the US election, obviously, and I stayed offline almost entirely for a week in its aftermath, because my ability to cope with the results, and the results of the results, was so limited. I’ve been online more in the past few days, and you know what? It’s not good for me. I’m stressed and scared and angry and helpless.

And the news cycle feeds on that: it’s a negative cycle that we as humans get into very easily, and the more scared we are, the more reassurance or wreckage we search for online, the more hits the news sites get, and the more reason they have to continue with the anxiety-inducing splashes.

Don’t get me wrong: I know for good goddamn sure there’s reason to be scared. Brexit and the US elections have offered carte blanche to people acting on racist, homophobic, misogynistic, fascist beliefs. I’m not blind to that. I’m pretty protected–privileged– living in Ireland, straight, white, my atheism doesn’t show on the outside, etc. I have a lot of friends who aren’t protected by those things, and who are outright terrified. I’ll do anything I can, whatever I can, wherever I can, to create spaces of safety and tolerance and love for people to rely on.

But for me to be able to do that, I need to remember that I can’t deeply engage in the discussions and the reports designed to achieve a hyper-reactionary result. I’m no good to anybody if I’m a wreck.

I think I may ask for some renewed, and new, magazine subscriptions for Christmas. Because I want to be informed, but I can’t do it the way the online news cycle is set up, not and retain my own health of mind.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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kit
16 November 2016 @ 08:31 pm

I was invited last week to see the Abbey Theatre‘s new play, Donegal, which is billed as a light-hearted play with music.

I think the Irish have a different idea of what constitutes ‘light-hearted’ than I do.

I mean, nobody dies in it, and there are moments that are funny, so I think that’s why it qualifies as ‘light-hearted’. But the play is about an Irish country-western star whose peak has passed, her son who left Ireland to very successfully pursue his own country-western career in America away from his mother’s shadow, and the rest of their absolutely horrible family, who are all in the business of supporting Mama’s Career, which has tanked, and now they’re all broke and desperate and vicious (although clearly the vicious isn’t new, it’s part of how the family interacts, and I don’t think that’s funny at all) and have asked The Successful Son to come home and save them all despite them being utterly nasty pieces of work.

The play is well-acted and well-sung, with the glaring exception of The American Girlfriend, who had a lovely voice but was not, I’m quite certain, Actually American. My impression was that her struggle to maintain the American accent left her unable to accomplish anything else. I have mixing spoons that are less wooden. I felt badly for her because I suspect she’s a quite capable performer under different circumstances. Her lines were also badly written: they sounded like an Irish person trying to write an American and not quite succeeding. I was mentally revising them for her as she spoke. (I’m also not actually convinced she knew all of her lines cold. There were some that were so awkward that they sounded ad-libbed.)

Killian Donnelly, the Successful Son, has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, and would have been even more splendid if the sound balance had been better. Unfortunately, during a Key Song, in which Much Is Revealed, I could barely hear him, much less understand him. The pieces where there was less or no accompaniment, though, wow. Not just him, but the whole cast: wow. But him especially.

About three quarters of the way through the play, Successful Son sings an absolutely heart-rending Irish folk song called “My Donegal,” and I thought, “Ah. This is why this play exists. Somebody has recently written a truly beautiful song and wanted a vehicle to present it through.”

I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly seemed like it. “My Donegal” and the two or three other trad songs were far and away the best *music* in the show. The rest of it seemed to me to fail to understand what Irish country-western music is/was (it is, in my experience, very like older American country-western music) as well as being unable to capture what current American country music is. It didn’t feel like it was *deliberately* bad, which would have been a valid stylistic choice in terms of the play, but rather that the songwriter didn’t know the genres well enough to do them justice. (It’s possible they *were* deliberately bad, and that the performers were good enough to elevate them beyond the deliberate badness, but not into actual goodness.)

So: a superb performance of a not-very-good show. I don’t think I’d go so far as to recommend it, although I would really *love* to get a single of “My Donegal,” which really is a magnificent song.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
01 November 2016 @ 11:11 am

Up until a few days ago I was still entertaining the notion that somehow, sure, I was going to pull Nanowrimo out of the hat and participate. I’m not sure I thought that was a realistic goal, but I was hanging on to it anyway.

I’ve come to my senses. Most of the reason I’ve come to my senses, probably, is that my editor got the revision letter for REDEEMER back to me, and given that the book is now pushing 2 years late (*cringe*) that kinda has to take priority. And I’m GOOD with that, that’s OKAY, I’m HAPPY, because I want to get the book out to my backers, and also because the reality was that I was never going to succeed with NNWM this year and no longer feeling like I should try means I won’t have something else to beat myself up over when I fail.

October…October was not a month of getting a lot of things done. At least, not a lot of writing. Or any writing. I did read a few books, which I hadn’t done in what felt like a long time. I made jam. I watched Sense8 and Doctor Strange. We Halloweened. Many of these things will (hopefully) get separate posts of their own soon. :)

Anyway, there’s a lot of writing to do this month, but none of it is even vaguely shaped like NNWM. I have at least two (and ideally four or five but let’s be (slightly) realistic here) short stories to write, two books to revise, and a third to get into production.

I should probably stop blogging and get to it.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
26 October 2016 @ 10:31 am

And when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, and when I say ‘talk’ I mean ‘write this down, maybe it’ll make more of an impression’.

Years ago after having a spectacularly bad hangover (that’s all I get, is spectacularly bad hangovers, which is why I basically don’t drink. I’m not reserved enough as a human being to require the inhibition-loosening aspects of alcohol and I stay hung over for *days*) I wrote down all of my symptoms to clarify to myself why I shouldn’t do that. I haven’t drunk to excess since, because the act of writing it down made it seem more real and memorable, apparently.

So I need to do the same with sugar. Or fat, one or the other, probably both, but it’s sweetness that I’m thinking of/craving when I go for junk food, so: sugar.

Aside from the fact that sugar makes me swell up (like, i get fatter, not, like, an allergic reaction, except i like saying it like it’s an allergic reaction :)), my persistent inability to only eat a little leaves me feeling *terrible*, and it’s like I can’t remember that from one gobble to the next. Or rather, I can, I just don’t care enough, and live in this vague belief that a hit of sweet stuff will Make Me Feel Better This Time. I know better. I *know* better. But my desire for the stuff overrides the intellectual knowledge almost every time.

Even more offensive than the heavy pit of grossness in my belly is that–especially if I eat too much sugar in the evening–it’s started to have the same sort of *effect* that drinking too much has on me. Not a hangover* per se, but the accelarated heartrate I get from drinking too much. It’s not nearly as extreme, but it’s noticeable and unpleasant, to the point of keeping me awake if I’ve gone to bed too soon after eating all that crap.

There’s a bunch of other things too. The fact that sugar doesn’t trigger satiation properly so I eat a bunch of junk and then I’m vaguely hungry again half an hour later but Real Food doesn’t sound appealing (because sugar (and salt, for that matter) creates a craving for More Of It, rather than something actually satisfying. I didn’t even used to *know* that, and now that I do I can sort of recognize it sometimes and grimly break the cycle by eating Something Else, but it’s an active act to do that, requiring thought and effort.

Or the pretty horrifying thing where I realized that VERY OFTEN when I want ice crea it’s because I’m thirsty, and what I want is something cold. How fucked up is it to go for ice cream when you need water? That’s FUCKED UP. I’ve pretty well got that one under control, I’ve learned to recognize & rewire it, but holy shit, dude, that’s messed up.

And I know from experience that really the only way to cope with this is to go off sweets (candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, hot chocolate, etc) entirely, and cold turkey, because if I let myself have ‘just a bite’ that’s the whole shooting match, for me. After about three weeks it’s not that hard, but getting through the initial window is very, very difficult. I’ll go 3 days and think “that wasn’t so bad, I can have a little something, it’ll be fine!” and it never is. Never.

And knowing it doesn’t make it stick any better, but maybe writing it down will…

*I’ve had one sugar hangover in my life and it was awful but also very funny and fun because I was out with a bunch of girlfriends and we’d eaten hardly anything for most of a day and been up all night before binging on Krispy Kremes and got sugar-drunk and five hours later we were all like SWEET GOD WHY ARE WE HUNG OVER. To this day I don’t know that any of us can eat Krisy Kreme doughnuts. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
17 October 2016 @ 04:57 pm

So Octocon was great fun. I went into it tired (because i was an IDIOT and i got a new phone on THURSDAY and i couldn’t get it to update properly and i stayed up until TWO IN THE MORNING getting it working right, the day before a weekend-long convention started!) and had a panel Friday night so I had to be vaguely functional through that, and more or less was.

It was a weekend of selfies because I didn’t have the camera with me a lot because I couldn’t find the purse that more or less went with my outfits. :)

Friday night pincurls & rebellion T that I designed. For some reason I always feel like a particular badass with the pincurls and do-rag. :) Got lots of compliments on the shirt. :)
Friday night pincurls & rebellion T that I designed. For some reason I always feel like a particular badass with the pincurls and do-rag. :) Got lots of compliments on the shirt. :)

Ted was one of the judges for the Golden Blasters Film Festival, so he was busy Friday night watching the films, but we had dinner with Nicholas and Mikaela before that, and we managed a bit of saying hi to everybody before collapsing into bed at a relatively sensible hour. I had Saturday morning panels while Ted set up our stuff in the dealer’s room and went to get Young Indiana from Dad’s house, where he’d stayed overnight.

Saturday morning. The idea was to become increasingly glam throughout the day. :)
Saturday morning. The idea was to become increasingly glam throughout the day. :)
Indy & Auntie Kate
Indy & Auntie Kate

I brought about 50 jars of jam and jelly and we sold them all. I also sold some books, but the jam went really fast. O.O :) Ted, who had (has, poor guy) a cold, brought Indy home Saturday evening after Indy charmed everybody he spoke with all afternoon and was a genius at pitching the wares (“Magic & Manners! That’s 15 euro! RAVEN HEART is 5 euro! The jam is four euro each!”).

Indy and author Paul Anthony Shortt at the dealer"s table!
Indy and author Paul Anthony Shortt at the dealer’s table!
Indy took this one. Slightly more glam. :)
Indy took this one. Slightly more glam. :)
me & my boy
me & my boy

I spent the day becoming increasingly glam…

Pincurls released!
Pincurls released!

…until I was dressed as Agent Carter from the Marvel movie universe for the evening’s Rebellion Ball.

Gratifyingly, the moment I walked out the hotel room door someone said, "AGENT CARTER!!!" :) :) :)
Gratifyingly, the moment I walked out the hotel room door someone said, “AGENT CARTER!!!” :) :) :)

(The decorations for the ball were SO GOOD! The theme was ‘rebellion’ because the Irish Easter Rising was in 1916, so it’s a big thing around here this year, and they’d done up crepe paper banners with all kinds of symbols of SFF rebellions, and had screens with the Matrix code and it was great!)

Honestly, I had every intention of bailing on the ball around 10:30pm and falling into bed, except we were all having so much fun dancing and talking that I stayed up until the music ended, and then, intending to sensibly go to bed then instead of going to the bar, had someone say, “Agent Carter, your mission is not yet finished,” and that was pretty much an irresistable pitch, so I toddled off to the bar to chat until I almost literally fell over at about 1:30 and figured that was Quite Late Enough.

Rey & Agent Carter!
Rey & Agent Carter!
Marvel represents with Agent Carter & the Winter Soldier ("the two loves of Steve Rogers" life," as a friend said!)
Marvel represents with Agent Carter & the Winter Soldier (“the two loves of Steve Rogers’ life,” as a friend said!)
My hat looked great on everyone. :)
My hat looked great on everyone. :)
I took a super hot bath at 1:45am and felt good about my life choices as I went to bed. :)
I took a super hot bath at 1:45am and felt good about my life choices as I went to bed. :)

I thought I had two panels on Sunday and only had one, which was good because I was pretty loopy. Everybody was getting pretty loopy, in fact. *laughs* Octocon is a small convention, but it’s full of love and friends and we had a wonderful time.

Less glam on Sunday morning, but still rocking a pretty good eye-makeup game :)
Less glam on Sunday morning, but still rocking a pretty good eye-makeup game :)

I *was* kinda crushed that I managed to get to not *one* of the Guest of Honor things, what with being either on a panel or at the dealer’s table during everything they were doing, but that’s the kind of thing that happens, so there you go. :) It was a lovely weekend and I got home last night and stayed up and talked with Ted a while, fell into bed, got up to bring Henry to school this morning and came home to take a 2.5 hour nap on the couch, which I really never do. I could go back to sleep, too, omg, but it was such a nice weekend. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers and everybody!

the author with her latest works :)
the author with her latest works :)
Shilling for Dublin 2019!
Shilling for Dublin 2019!
GoHs Diane Duane & Peter Morwood rendered speechless as they recieved the Golden Blaster film award for career achievement, as GoH Rhianna Pratchett applauds!
GoHs Diane Duane & Peter Morwood rendered speechless as they recieved the Golden Blaster film award for career achievement, as GoH Rhianna Pratchett applauds!
This isn"t actually the last picture I took at Octocon, but it accurately represents everybody"s level of exhaustion by Sunday evening. :)
This isn’t actually the last picture I took at Octocon, but it accurately represents everybody’s level of exhaustion by Sunday evening. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)