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More playlists, I promise I will get to the people I still haven't made one for yet. Eventually.

For [personal profile] primeideal, A playlist of songs with interesting lyrics (I am choosing to interpret this as lyrics I absolutely do not understand)

"No Fish, No Meat" by Tsarew

- because if anything is 'interesting', this is it

"Pac-Man Lunchbox" by LisaLovesMilhouse

- A song that literally stops to ask what the hell is happening midway through

"259,000" by Two Five Nine

-A song I once sent to [personal profile] cahn to figure out if there were secret Mormon numerologies I wasn't aware of

"A Fey Well Canorous" by Iron Steel

-A song about a magic well? I guess?

Playlist for Primeideal

For [personal profile] angledge, Middle Eastern sounds blended with rap, or at least, a set of Hebrew hip hop

"T'ni Li" by Subliminal

- Subliminal, who tried to come across as street by acting aggressively pro-government. Look, the '00s were a weird time.

"Adon Olam" by Jewdyssee

- German Jewish hip hop band performing a familiar Jewish prayer, with a Yiddish coda.

"Killer" by Noa Kirel

- One of the biggest names in Israeli pop music at the moment, with a brag track punning on her last name

"22 Otiyot" by Victoria Hanna

- Rap about Jewish mystical ideas about the alphabet

Playlist for Angledge This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comments.

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Dear Festividder,

Thank you for making a vid for me! I spent much of the last year working on my Jews dancing fanvid "The Sequel" and as a result, the tiny fandoms that I was left wanting more vids for are all fandoms in which Jews dance. Well, with three notable exceptions.


I love this movie's blend of deep realism and spiritual possibility, the ushpizin who are at once unwelcome and unpleasant guests and also harbingers of a higher kind of visitor. At its heart this is the story about all of the complexities of a marriage and I'd love to see a vid exploring that marriage.


I sure could use a bright technicolor joyful vid about this bright technicolor joyful movie.

The Last Five Years

I was really excited when this was finally filmed, I've seen it on stage multiple times. I love how intricately plotted and specific it is. I think a really interesting thing a vid might do is play with how the show thinks about time. A vid that moves straight from beginning to end, or a vid that moves backwards from end to beginning, would be a really striking way to present a different view of this relationship.

Party Down

Anything that captures the show's magical, alchemical balance of affection for its downtrodden heroes and clear-eyed recognition of their many faults would be appreciated.

Le Chat du rabbin | The Rabbi's Cat

Go big or go home, on this one. This is such a beautiful movie, it highlights the art in motion so well, and I'd love to see a distillation of the visual delights The Rabbi's Cat has to offer.

Holiday Date
Mistletoe and Menorahs
Double Holiday

Last December we were blessed with all three of these terrible 'holiday romances', Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Channel's ill-conceived efforts to be inclusive by making movies in which Jews ended up dating Christians and negotiating the Christmas/Hanukkah season together. All three of them are beholden to Christian hegemony and none of them make sense Jewishly at all. And Jews do not dance in them.

I don't expect that you offered any of these movies, but they are silly and slight and go by quickly, and if you end up stuck on your original offer, I'd love it if you tried to make a vid playing with these three movies together in any combination. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comments.

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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I signed up for the the Boswords crossword league, which is running weekly timed themeless puzzles through October and November on Monday nights. It has three divisions ranging from hardest cluing to easiest (all three use the same grid, they just use more or less obscure ways to clue words.) I decided to sign up in the hardest division, knowing it was something of a reach. I'm reasonably good at crossword puzzles but definitely not elite.

The first week's puzzle destroyed me. Every clue was a misdirect, often a brilliant misdirect. It wasn't an unfair puzzle, and a lot of the solve was really satisfying when you figured something out, but it was brutally difficult and at the end I finished in 25 minutes with three mistakes, putting me just shy of last place. Of 300 people in the hardest division, I finished 269th.

This week I did much better. Perfect score in 13:23, putting me preliminarily in 124th place for the week, with at least 75 solvers in the division slower than me. (The league is semi-asynchronous, with people having until Wednesday to attempt the week's puzzles, so more scores are still to be reported and my score presumably will drop a bit when those people are added.) I'm capable of being faster on puzzles like these, but it's still a pretty good score for me. So I'm not outclassed quite as badly as I feared, which hopefully bodes well for future rounds.

Regardless, it's fun, chatting with other puzzlers between puzzles, being competitive but also playful. I'm glad I signed up even if I'm not going to win anything, this kind of competition has mostly been out of my life since college. And the puzzles are well written and well-edited. In particular, the week two puzzle was a lot of fun, full of slangy internet phrases but in a way that didn't feel obnoxious to me.

Edit I now stand at 231st place after two weeks. With the late scores I ended up in 186th for week 2, way better than my week 1 269th, but still plenty of room for improvement. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comments.

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It was a mostly good first days of Sukkot. My new sukkah stood up, the weather was terrific, I cooked tasty food, and I had a good time. But I struggled with the loneliness of doing Sukkot all by myself.

Friday evening I ate my chicken dinner by myself and sang zemiros while reading from the newly translated R' Chaim Kanievsky commentary on zemiros, and I listened as my neighbors sang zemiros from their sukkahs, and then from the other side there were zemiros from a few houses down the block, and it was nice to feel like part of that community even though I was also distanced from it. And I felt a sense of peace of almost sinking into the familiar holiday feeling. But it also really made me miss going from sukkah to sukkah and sharing meals with people.

I think it also hurt a little that my new sukkah is noticeably bigger than my old one. I got tired of the crummy half-assed wood frame I put together a few years ago, which has gotten harder and harder to assemble, and more and more unreliable to stay up, as the wood warps in my warm, sometimes humid basement year to year. So last fall I bought a bunch of PVC pipe to replace the wood frame, and it has mostly been a success in terms of stability and ease of assembly, but having a bigger hut and less people to sit in it sort of intensified the loneliness. I"Y next year, it will still be bigger and easier to assemble and more welcoming.

I also bought some of those programmable color-changing LED strips to hang in the sukkah and that was a big success, plenty of light and I can do fun mood lighting effects when it's not chag. I'm looking forward to playing with that for the next week.

Over the rest of the chag I spent a bunch of time by myself in the sukkah, reading and eating and drinking and hanging out. My cholent came out really well! Sunday afternoon I spent a few hours drinking beer and reading Lavie Tidhar's lovely Central Station, finally, which is a fantastic way to while away a Sunday afternoon. I also finished Georgette Heyer's Cotillion.

It was a good holiday and I enjoyed myself, and yet COVID has just set the bar for what I accept as good noticeably lower than it was before and I couldn't escape also being aware of that.

Chag sukkot sameach, everyone. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comments.

Vidrec Thursday

At the next to last Vividcon, I passed out randomly selected DVDs from those cheap DVD multipacks you see in discount stores and dared vidders to make a vid from whatever source they got, to premiere at next year's Vividcon. We got two premieres, both masterpieces.

Somebody's Watching Me by [personal profile] diannelamerc is a vid for a 1980s made-for-TV movie about the Robert B Parker detective Spenser. It's a really fun vid that decided, since the source is terrible and badly made, to make a vid about how badly made it is. "I always feel like somebody's watching me" may be a commentary on the actual plot, I wouldn't know since I have no interest in watching the movie, but it's definitely a commentary on the way so much of the film is shot from such wide angles that you can't even tell what the actors are doing.

As a vidder, this is a really tricky tightrope to walk. People usually watch vids because they're fannish about the source and invested in the narrative. That is the opposite of the case here, but [personal profile] diannelamerc makes it work by constantly upping the ante both in terms of the jarringly silly filmmaking and in terms of her own creative use of the source. Too-spot-on lyric matches, rhythmic cuts, motion-matching cuts, shots completely obscured by trees. And then we go the quad screens, which have a kind of closed circuit security camera energy, just when it's starting to flag. Every time I watch "Somebody's Watching Me" it's a jolt of joy. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comments.

Gone Girl

Okay, first of all, I grabbed Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl because I'd heard it was fun, but I didn't know anything about it other than that it was a twisty thriller. So imagine my glee when I discovered it's centrally about a puzzle hunt! I had so much fun with this book! If you like puzzles and puzzle hunts, this is the thriller for you.

I really enjoyed it and have lots of thoughts, but I think that it probably is better here if I actually use a cut tag to hide the spoilers. I know, I know. Maybe it's the post-Yom Kippur trying not to be as much of an asshole as usual. Feel free to engage even if you haven't read the book, if you want.

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Vidrec Thursday

There's only one vid I could rec this week.

[personal profile] colls's "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves" is a beautiful tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, zichronah livrachah.

It was one of the centerpieces of my Jews Dance in this Vidshow playlist at Vidukon this year.

The way it places the real RBG in contrast to Felicity Jones's fictionalization, the way it sets that fictionalization against Kate McKinnon's SNL version, the way it finds value in the legend of RBG and in trying to understand who the real person is, it's an astonishingly inspirational piece of art at the intersection of reality and mythmaking. The way it situates Ginsburg's accomplishments within a movement, the work of many people, without diminishing her own contributions to the movement, is so insightful. And that's a marvelous synchrony with the song, whose chorus involves the exact same seeming paradox- how can Sisters- in the plural- do it for themselves?

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comments.

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I took a COVID test this past Sunday and tested negative. Tonight I'll be going to my parents to spend Rosh Hashanah with them and my brother- my sister and her family are skipping this one, what with the three month old and all. We've booked holiday tickets in the shul's outdoor tent. It's going to be a weird new year.

It has been a weird six months and it will continue to be weird moving forward, I don't really know what to expect or want from the new year other than for as many people as possible to stay healthy. Over the holiday we'll read a number of prayers reflecting on the idea that this week, God is standing in judgement over all of us for the next year. True Divine Justice, not some human idea of fairness or equity or right, but a perfect combination of mercy and truth. That is terrifying, particularly this year. The Rabbis teach that all we can do in the face of it is have faith in God's goodness. And remember that in spite of all the bitter we've seen in the last few months, we have also seen sweetness.

I appreciate all of you guys, and wish you all a sweet and good New Year. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comments.