Top of the Lake

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I have been writing a post about Top of the Lake for literally like 4 years. FOUR YEARS. I keep writing drafts and never finishing them, because it all just feels so enormous and too much and I need like an entire day to get all my thoughts in order.

But, it's happening today friends. IT'S HAPPENING TODAY. SO HELP ME, THERE WILL BE A POST. It will be cobbled together from different drafts I've started over the years, but IT WILL EXIST.

So, below are my thoughts, which were written a few years ago, before I'd seen Mad Max: Fury Road, before Jessica Jones, before Wonder Woman.

Anyway, this post is still not even a fraction of the thoughts I have in my head about this show, BUT. We are doing this. THIS POST IS GETTING POSTED.

*

Well, there's now not one, but two versions of Broadchurch (both starring David Tennant!) and I still haven't gotten around to the show that, to me, is the far more subversive, far more interesting, far richer and more beautiful original version of what has now become a multi-season franchise.

I haven't been able to write about Top of the Lake until now because my talents do not lie in talking about the things I find overwhelmingly amazing. I had to wait such a long time for the edges to fade, for this show to settle in my head and become digestible (this is after multiple viewings, because of course I rewatched parts of it ad nauseum) and analyzable and describable.

The non spoilery version is this: Robin (Elizabeth Moss) is a detective who comes back to her small town in New Zealand to visit with her gravely ill mother. At the same time a 12 year old girl in the town is discovered to be pregnant. Robin is called in, because of her big city specialist training, to help interview the girl - however the girl claims she remembers nothing, and Robin ends up leading the investigation into what happened. To unravel this mystery Robin will have to face old friends and enemies, the local gang, police corruption and the secrets of her own family.

If you, like me, are utterly bored by detective stories and mysteries, let me attempt another pitch: Top of the Lake is probably the greatest story I've ever seen about a heroine who is flawed and competent and human, who's allowed to unravel, whose power is never undermined even when she's as low as she's ever going to get, even when the odds are insurmountable. Robin is a heroine you root for when, like Buffy, she has nothing left but herself, her body, her wits. She's someone you root for while you recognize her blind spots, her privileges, her biases. Robin is someone who always, always comes through. Stripped down to the bone she rises, like Lazarus, unstoppable in her passion, her moral duty to do right by the marginalized, her incredible strength.

The amazing thing about Top of the Lake is that it's about a girl who loses everything, but never loses herself. It's about trauma, it's about survival, it's about revenge, it's about justice, it's about compassion and love and forgiveness, it's about asking the ugly questions about ourselves and being uncomfortable and trying as hard as you can to be the best person you can be. It's about trying to make sure no one has to suffer the way you've suffered.

And of course - Jane Campion is an amazing director, and stepping into her world for 7 episodes was like suddenly finding myself in an alternative universe where complex, challenging visual stories are told for me, as a woman. Where the male gaze is not even a distant memory.

Here's one last way of putting it: Robin and Leslie Knope (of Parks and Rec) are two extremes on the same continuum. Leslie is Robin in a light-hearted, brightly lit comedy - Robin is Leslie in a graphic, gritty detective story. Robin is the grown up version of Veronica Mars. The settings, the moods, the tropes are different but the women are the same - beacons of resilience, fortitude, open-eyed optimism, competence, who are the heroes rather than the victims of their narratives.

spoilers )

*

And now an addendum written by today!me:

Top of the Lake is the spiritual mother of so many modern shows, and I'm so happy (SO SO HAPPY) that I get to place it a broader than ever tapestry of women heroes of all kinds.

Yuletide noms!

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:24 pm
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)
[personal profile] astolat
They close tomorrow so hurry and get your nominations in!

Mine are:

Witcher: Geralt, Emhyr, Ciri, Dandelion (duh)

Dragonriders of Pern: Menolly, Robinton (I totally want Menolly/Robinton NOT SORRY)

Dune (the book): Paul, Jessica, Stilgar, Feyd -- I don't know exactly what I want here, I think I want some outsider POV on Paul maybe?

My runners-up were:

Rome: Pullo, Vorenus, maybe Octavian -- man, I would love a story that undid what the show did to Octavian in S2 so much

Gladiator: Maximus, Commodus

Brimstone: Ezekiel, The Devil

Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon: Eric, Hank, Sheila, Venger

Battle of the Planets: Mark, Jason

and my perennial hope-springs-eternal Dracula: the Series: Lucard (hope doesn't really spring very far lol)

I am totally not mentioning these here in hopes that someone has a spare nom they wouldn't mind using on one of these. ;)

Yuletide nominations end in 3 days!

Sep. 13th, 2017 01:45 pm
roga: coffee mug with chocolate cubes (Default)
[personal profile] roga
Just a short PSA to nominate your yuletide fandoms before the 16th :-)

I have nominated Younger (TV), The West Wing Weekly (for gen fic but uh I want it), and Captain America (Movies) RPF, because I need more Anthony Mackie fic in my life. Reserving the right to change stuff in the next 3 days, but I think that's where I'm going.

*

I went to the beach for the first time this summer on Friday afternoon. It's a little weird that I hadn't been to the beach in over a year, but as much as I enjoy the ocean, I somehow never end up going too much; it's hot, and there are like five whole weeks when it's blocked by jellyfish, and I'm not a huge fan of going to the beach alone. But we spent some time in the ocean, and paid $5 for a chair and parasol, and I got some floating time, which is my favorite thing.

'Going to the beach' is for me, by definition, going into the ocean with 100% of my body. So like, I might see the ocean other times of the year, might even take my shoes off and stroll through the shallow waves, but it's not going to the beach unless I'm all in, which is why I only do it in the summer, when the water's warm enough. I do know from past experience that what I consider too cold is completely reasonable for others (mostly non-Israelis), and I recently looked up sea water temperatures to understand what the real difference is.

Here's what I discovered:

1. If seatemperature.org is to be believed, it's not just that the Mediterranean is warmer than the ocean, it's that Israel is located along the warmest parts of the Mediterranean.

2. I've always hated going in the sea in Eilat because the water there felt freezing. This same website's map of Red Sea temperatures felt validating for a moment - Israel is at the top right fork of the sea where it branches out at the top of that map and I thought, aHA, you can SEE how freezing it is! But it didn't quite make sense, and other websites show that the water temperature is a lot higher than that. Today for example Tel Aviv has 30c/86f degrees water, and Eilat has 25c/77f, which doesn't seen like it should be quite that big a difference. I wonder if the water in Eilat feels colder because the outside temperatures are usually so much hotter? Tel Aviv is 31c/88f degrees, today, while Eilat is 39c/103f.

I have been thinking about Eilat mostly because I was trying to plan a short trip to Jordan, which can only happen via the Eilat border crossing. My family's never been, and while Dad has no interest, my mom and sisters want to go and I was looking into options for day trips to Petra. The main deterrent were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel warnings. They've pretty much had a constant travel warning to Jordan for the past... many years, but it was a medium threat level; something we were worried about but were willing to maybe brave, if not for the super special ISIL warnings that came on top. Then two days ago the government issued a renewed warning, upgrading the threat level to high, and that was the end of that idea. It's fairly futile and a lot to ask for but damn, I wish we can fast forward to whenever this whole thing is over and we can peacefully travel to our neighboring states. At least some of them.

(Researching for this trip, I was interested to learn just how much prices have changed. When I went to Petra 9 years ago, I paid around $170 for an entire day trip. These days, I assume in order to encourage tourists to spend the night, Jordan has special prices for single day visitors to the country: a $60 visa which is waived if you stay overnight, and the price of entry to Petra for single day visitors has risen to $132 - and that doesn't include any of the surrounding travel and transportation costs. It's... a bummer, but I'd be willing to give money if I could, you know. Get there.)

Anyway, here are photos from my last time there, which is what I'll have to settle for for now, I guess.

*

After putting off going to the dentist for, let's not mention a number here but just say years, I've finally started getting various treatments. Don't think there's anything gross here but I assume not everyone wants to read about dental health. )

The best advice I got from a friend who had also procrastinated going to the dentist for years like me, was: don't leave the clinic before you've already scheduled your next appointment. This has proven to be excellent advice, and is 100% the reason I've been following up treatments, so. In case anyone needs prodding: you just need to muster up the courage/energy to make that first appointment, and then don't leave until you've scheduled the next, and you're good.

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:29 am
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I know everyone is tired of hearing how busy I am, lol, but this week has been truly ridiculous. In a lot of ways it's been filled with wonderful things, as well as boring stressful things (contacting city hall, the water company, the electric company...), and in a way I'm grateful that I can survive this kind of week now, disability-wise, since I definitely couldn't have a year ago. But I'm... intensely at the end of my rope, and things are not going to calm down for like, at least another 48 hours, and IDK if I can honestly survive that long.

stuff and things )

(no subject)

Sep. 7th, 2017 10:28 am
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
This week has been... a lot.

exhaustion )

Anyway, it's basically going to be this ridiculous hurricane until I go abroad in late September (a trip for which NO PREPARATION has been undertaken because it's still not 100% certain we're going) and I'm already... so tired.

Things that are cheering me up/ruining my life in the meantime: Kris Ripper The Scientific Method books, of which there are a billion and I've read and reread basically all of them in the last few weeks. [personal profile] were_duck dropped them in my lap right before London, and they are solely responsible for me not watching a single moment of TV or movies that I'd brought with me when I was on that trip. It was just all reading all the time in my spare time.

They are this lovely universe with a bunch of poly, kinky relationships between various dudes (and non-dudes, though those are mostly in the background) and they are just Trope Central in the best way. (THE BEST WAY.) It's not easy to make me really enjoy a relationship dynamic that has little to no internal conflict, and I'm also not a huge fan of "new to kink" stories - I prefer characters who already know quite a bit about their own kink issues.

And yet the main series, that has all of these tropes, really really worked for me. (Also, the side book that actually does have experienced characters and tons of internal conflict was FIRE.)

For a more detailed reivew that includes a plot summary and details about the characters, I highly recommend [personal profile] beta_vulgaris' post: Book review: The Scientific Method Universe by Kris Ripper.

That universe is just... all the comforting tropes. ALL OF THEM. In the tradition of good fanfic writers everywhere, it also made me enjoy kinks I don't usually enjoy in fiction. Although part of the reason I liked it is that it doesn't push any of my humiliation-squick buttons too hard. These books are very "everyone is a consenting adult and everything is really well negotiated" kind of poly kink romance.

The only warning I'd give about these books is that... I am in no way an expert on this, but to my outsider eyes it seemed like they handled race in ways that were a little weird. Like the author was clearly Trying, and there are books and stories devoted to non-white characters, but it always came off to me like the author didn't really know how to write people who weren't white (in terms of cultural experience) and fell into a lot of tropes and traps that are somewhere between trite and harmful. It doesn't affect the main series so much, but the side stories were... iffy, for me, in that regard.

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