Susan’s Salon: 2020 April 19/20

An open thread for people to just chat. Posted every Monday (Sydney time). It’s OK to be negative or sad and it’s OK to try and find cheery news or distractions in the comments for this open thread. However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments. Links, videos, cat pictures etc are fine. Whatever you like 🙂

Wash your hands before posting a comment.

35 thoughts on “Susan’s Salon: 2020 April 19/20

  1. My wife noticed that the 25th anniversary London performance of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was being presented online for a limited time, and she convinced me to watch it because I was one of the 3 people who haven’t seen or heard any of it, even though I was pretty sure I would not like it at all. Well, I didn’t like it at all… at least, as far as we got, which was the first two-thirds. Then we took a break for the rest of yesterday, and then we found out it’s no longer online as of today. I have to admit I’m disappointed— I wanted to find out what happens!

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    1. Can anyone explain to me why all the characters are like “there’s no such thing as the Phantom” or “even if the Phantom is a real person, why should we pay any attention to what he’s up to” for pretty much the whole first two acts, even though he’s been committing all kinds of sabotage and sending them threats and commands and they’ve been having to pay him money for, apparently, years? And no one cares except that first singer who quits because of it, but then she comes back even though it’s gotten even worse? And the second singer, who everyone knows has some kind of secret mystery man patron, gets kidnapped for a while and finds out he is the Phantom, but then no one asks her about any of that after she reappears, and they’re still like “there’s no such thing as the Phantom” and then he sends them a bunch of threatening notes and they just shrug and do the opposite of what he demanded? And then he’s audibly threatening everyone from somewhere inside the theater and the whole audience can hear it and he kills a guy in front of everyone and they’re like “well that was an accident”? The only thing that made sense to me was when they finally started taking him seriously and they decided to… try hiring some security guards, but that seemed a little late. I know arts organizations sometimes have some difficulty in making decisions, but still.

      I guess it’s possible that all of this is explained in the last hour of the play that I haven’t seen yet, but I’m not counting on it.

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      1. If I saw it live, I would probably get a kick out of all the giant sets and smoke machines. Not so much the chandelier partially blowing up and throwing sparks everywhere.

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      2. I guess they couldn’t stage it properly in the Albert Hall (that was the Albert Hall right?), but in most performances the chandelier is much more spectacular. At the end of the prologue it lifts up off the stage and swings out over the audience (signalling the step back in time to when the theatre was still working). Then at the end of the first act it drops as if the Phantom really has cut the rope (not all the way, obviously).

        I watched this too – it was great. I suspect Phantom came along at just the right impressionable part of my teens, but I love it unabashedly.

        This showing was actually part of an ongoing series of recordings of live shows released temporarily on YouTube. An actors charity (I forget which one) is arranging for them to go up on a channel called ‘The Shows Must Go On’. It’s a different show every weekend (the last one was the recent staging of Jesus Christ SuperStar with Tim Minchin). They usually become available from Friday 7pm UK time. I am not sure what the next one is.

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      3. The effects on stage, when done properly, are pretty impressive. I mean, I KNEW what and when the chandelier was gonna do (because bus and truck show years after Broadway and West End) and I still gasped.

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  2. I can heartily recommend TinyKittens.com

    They have 2 live YouTube feeds. 24/7 kittens.

    They rescue pregnant ferals, tame the kittens (and often the moms), fix them all and find good homes. They TNR lots of ferals, and take in abandoned kittens and cats that would otherwise be put down. And the chat room is MODERATED.

    Did I mention kittens available for viewing 24/7? From birth to adoption? KITTENS!

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  3. This week I didn’t have to go out. Delivery happened.

    We sat in the backyard for a while. There are a lot more birds around.

    I had the longest convo I’ve ever had with the neighbor over the fence. We were well over 6′ apart.

    Watched that all-day UN/WHO concert thingy. It’s the second one of these I’ve watched and I’m finding new music and liking the stripped-down versions everyone’s doing in their living or music rooms.

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  4. So maybe reading slump finally over or a brief respite from anxiety or the books I’m reading are particularly good and cutting through my fuzzy brain?

    I’m 70% of the way through Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang. I was hooked from the prologue and first chapter. It’s future sci-fi set in the aftermath of a war between Earth and the Mars colony. In the forty years after the war, each society has progressed in wildly different directions and propaganda from each has shaded the citizens’ views of the other. The book follows Luoying and a group of Martian children upon their return to Mars after they have experienced life on Earth for five years. They begin to question what they’ve been taught about Martian (and Terrran) culture and why “freedom” seems to mean different things to Terran and Martian society. There’s more to it than this, though. Anyway. If you liked “Folding Beijing” or anything else she’s written, perhaps you’ll enjoy her first translated novel too.

    Next up on my reading list is The Inner Life of Animals because I read a quote from it about how wolves and ravens can work together and I want to know more cool stuff about things like that.

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    1. My book recommendation is “When the Earth Had Two Moons”. All about solar system and planetary formation/geology. Everything from pop culture references to good crunchy math (mostly in the footnotes and mostly nothing more than algebra).

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  5. Cam, thanks for putting your Twitter over there on the side, or else I wouldn’t have learned that this week, MURDERBOT is free to download, one story each day. Whee! I have the first one from a Hugo packet, but only borrowed the rest. And a Murderbot and ART novel soon, huzzah.

    Just yesterday I was looking at my 2018 Worldcon badge and ribbons (sigh) which I have hung up, and right at my eye level was “Murderbot doesn’t love you. It just wants to watch its shows.”

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        1. ‘Tis but thy name that makes me trepidate
          Thou art thy own, though not a Murderbot.
          What’s Murderbot? It is not club, nor knife,
          Nor laser, lance, nor any weapon’d part
          Belonging to a bot. O, modify thy name!
          What’s in a brand? that which we call a gun
          An we call it sword would kill as neat.

          Happy putative 456th to Mr. Will Shaxpur of Avon!

          Liked by 3 people

      1. “Killer” and “Murderer” have somewhat different connotations in English, though. One can be a killer — even of humans — without being a murderer, everything from self-defense, defense of others, soldiering, or manslaughter. So I wonder about that.

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  6. All fans, and non-fans, of Phantom of the Opera should go and read PTerry’s Masquerade if they haven’t already.

    It has all the good bits from the story without all that annoying singing and Frank Spencer as the star of the show!

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  7. Dammit, I must not be a proper member of the cabal. Tor.com isn’t sending me the download link to Murderbot part 2. I even checked the spam filter and filled in the form again.

    Help?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. NVM, there it is. I’m just not used to the intarwebs being this slow. I will have to set a reminder to do that every day, I suppose. First World Problems.

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      1. If nothing else, I suspect the Goodreads Awards don’t have administrator(s) with such a heavy thumb on the scale. And their rules don’t contain sweepstakes boiler plate.

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