Sonic

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Had my toughest exam at school yet today, though it was not on the subject of the badly-translated documents we'd been told would be a part of it; that was just the teacher's tactic to make sure everyone did the reading. There was no written test at all: it was another completely practical exam. I was still worried about that, mostly because I was worried I would run out of time. As it was, I finished my exam last among this morning's group, but with about 20 minutes left (out of three hours), and I did pass. Whew.

Big upside of practical exams: you know right away whether you've passed. I wasn't as neat as I wished I could have, because I drilled one hole a bit out of alignment and had to scramble with a metal file to enlarge it, but all my practice with the jigsaw meant I didn't have too much filing to do elsewhere, which saved me a good amount of time.

The class is split in two groups for practical exams, half in the morning & half in the afternoon. Gives everyone a bit more breathing room around the power tools and the sometimes-tiny mechanical components.

Using a bunch of different screwdrivers IRL to assemble stuff makes me really appreciate the wish-fulfillment value of a sonic screwdriver. Not having to root around for the one with the right size or tip shape! Though I imagine it'd be almost as annoying to have to constantly change the setting — but then, that's be less of an issue if it wasn't also a damn magic wand/tricorder....

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Cherry Bomb

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Is the title of a song by The Runaways, nobably currently featured on the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy.

It's also the name of the Lea Thompson's character's Runaways-evoking band in the movie Howard the Duck.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

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I will say, it was odd to see Kirk from Stars Hollow's latest job endeavour as a space mercenary. But not too surprising, since his big brother was the director.

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Seen at Fantasia so far

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Life After Beth: pretty good dark comedy with zombies, on the theme of why people shouldn't hang onto dead relationships. Maybe stretching its pun-based conceit a bit thin for a full-length feature (extrapolated-from-premise funny stuff happens, but the side plots don't add much depth to the story arc, and the characters, on the whole, remain caricatures). Exceedingly male-POV-centric, despite Aubrey Plaza's top billing as the title character.

To paraphrase a Q&A answer from Plaza, who attended the screening with the director and one of her co-stars, on the subjects of zombies: she thought she might do a lot of research, but then she decided: zombies aren't real!, so she felt free to act as she wished in the part. :)

White Bird in a Blizzard: a sometimes funny, sometimes stilted (especially during the cardboard-background Symbolic Dream Sequences) story of a girl's (Shailene Woodley) coming-of-age (based on a YA book, I think?) set against the matter of her mother's (Eva Green) disappearance. More of a character piece with emphasis on sexuality than an detective story; filmed as a late 1980s/early 1990s period piece! Directed by Gregg Araki, and knowing that almost counts as a spoiler. Featuring brief appearances by Gabourey Sidibe, stealing the show whenever she's onscreen, as the main character's obligatory black best friend.

Honeymoon: slow-burn huis clos thriller edging into horror of a happy newlywed couple's honeymoon at a lakeside cabin. In the woods. Directed by Leigh Janiak. Starring Rose Leslie (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Penny Deadful's Frankenstein) with slightly distracting American accents. Very well-made, although the POV being more from the groom's perspective as things start to go wrong, so soon after watching Life After Beth, made me tired of the monstrous-feminine trope. Though this one's version was more nuanced. Maybe because knowing it had a female director made me see it as a possible metaphor for spoilersCollapse )

There was a short film called "Emptied" starring Mackenzie Davis (whom I recognise from Halt and Catch Fire) as a vindictive dentist playing before Honeymoon.

Yasmine: coming-of-age/sports and Much Better Than It Sounds movie about a girl who joins her new school's silat club, against her father's wishes, to impress a boy who's studying at another school. First feature film from Brunei Darussalam in ages, from first-time director Siti Kamaluddin, who attended the North American premiere screening along with her action choreographer, Chan Man Ching. Very enjoyable. Silat (rather than Karate) Kid-format but with more solidarity, Quran-reading lessons taught by a woman, mixed-gender martial arts training, teens texting each other advice, and father-daughter relationship bridge-building.

They announced today that Yasmine has just got a distribution deal, so if it ever gets screened near you, I'd recommend it. Kid-friendly, if your kids can handle Karate Kid-level martial arts violence and subtitles (with occasional English words thrown in).

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Guardians of the Galaxy

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Couldn't get a ticket to see The World's End at Fantasia last year, but this year I did manage to buy tickets to the Fantasia screening of Guardians of the Galaxy!

Yesss!

Got two of them, but it looks like margueritem can't make it. So I have a spare left.

The screening's July 29, at 19h30.

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Jun. 24th, 2014

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Les détonations de feux d'artifices me dérangeraient moins si je n'avais pas à me lever tôt demain matin pour l'école.

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"He Would Never"

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Abigail Nussbaum has an excellent article on the fourth season of Game of Thrones, its portrayal of rape and violence against women, and the cultural discourse around it up on her blog:
http://wrongquestions.blogspot.ca/2014/06/he-would-never-thoughts-on-game-of.html

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Books read since I started classes

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Because I have time during my lunch hour, I usually bring a book.

a bunch of Lovecraft short stories
Secret of the Lost Race, by Andre Norton
Soulless, by Gail Carriger
The Martian Child, by David Gerrold
The World of Star Trek, by David Gerrold

Also started but have not finished a few other titles.

I'm midway through an Agatha Christie but mostly read that on the bus or subway on weekends.

Down Town by Viido Polikarpus and Tappan King, because the premise looked cool, but the writing is sooo dull I set it aside and haven't returned to it yet. It should be cool, but it's like a textbook example of how not to write compelling drama. The protagonist has just got lost and started seeing weird things, but it's like watching paint dry. He's a dull, passive boy, and the narrative draaaags. If anyone's read this: does it get better?

Started The Borribles today. Stuff happens in that, at least, although I'm not sure the the central conceit of tribal Peter Pan street urchins will work for me.

Most of these (except for some library loans) are second-hand paperbacks I picked up cheap, for a dollar or a couple of dollars.

I'm reading a lot more since I started school again.

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Peephole exam

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Had another practical exam this morning. It began by installing a peephole in a door. I had a moderately nagging thought last night because I realised there was another hardware component we might have to install that I hadn't actually installed before — didn't think to do it during the last school day we had to practice whatever we felt we needed to brush up on, nor had it been shown to me specifically — but it was relatively simple and it went well; the teacher gave me a pointer and let me fix a small issue with the installation (due to a slightly angled drill hole). The part I was most concerned about was in fact drilling holes that were straight and even, and they weren't perfect yet, but they weren't too badly crooked. And I managed to screw in the door closer carriage bolt that was too loose in its hole by clamping a vise grip on the other end.

So it was moderately demanding, but I made it through with a passing grade, and very minor scrapes and burns from stray bits of metal. (Flecks of metal tend to go flying when you're drilling through it. Some of them quite hot. A small one landed on my arm and felt like an insect bite and left a sesame seed-sized welt. I expect it won't be the last.) Yay.

Half the class took the exam this morning and the other half was scheduled for this afternoon. So we had half the day off. This morning two students walked out without finishing (out of eight). I think for one of them it was mostly due to chronic absenteeism, and the other one was looking for an excuse to quit. I don't know if they'll be back. If they don't return, that'll be a third of the class gone since the start of the program (counting the others who left before now).

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RIP, Rik Mayall

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Just learned that Rik Mayall has died. Too young, though his health had been compromised by a biking accident some years ago. Very sad news about a very funny comedian and actor.

I saw him in Blackadder, of course, and watched some fragments of Bottom and The Young Ones ages ago on television, but I remember him more clearly from his guest roles on Jonathan Creek, and from the movie Drop Dead Fred.

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