The Curious Evolution of Jennifer K. Oliver
A stroll through the mindfields
entries 
jenniferkoliver: (Steampunk Woman)
Watched Excision (2012) the other night and found it was not at all what I was expecting. At first I wasn't even sure if I liked it, but by the end I thought its surreal awkwardness, unforgiving teenage angst, and glimpses of genuine bittersweetness made it work well as both a horror and a dark comedy. It's certainly gory and uncomfortable, but at the same time it doesn't always take itself seriously. I think this contributed to the impact of the ending—and I truly was surprised; the balance of horror and humour was so finely done that I had no idea which way they were going to go with it. You can see the trailer here. A lot of the gore scenes are shown through the disturbed sexual fantasies of the main character, Pauline, and are intentionally bizarre, mixing art and absurdism and blood—something I found different and oddly amusing. At times I rooted for Pauline, and at other times I wanted to bash her over the head for making life harder for herself (and everyone around her). If you're looking for something dark but not always too serious, I'd recommend giving this a try. Though be warned, it is messed up.

I also really want to see Exit Humanity. Civil War zombies!

It's always a little unsettling when someone from my past adds me on Facebook. Not that it's terrible or anything, just peculiar to see them again after so many years. A lot of folk from school haven't changed much, and I wonder if they think the same about me. I feel so different from even five years ago; I can't believe how much has happened and changed in fifteen years. While I don't use it very often, I'm on Facebook here if anyone wants to connect. I rarely read my timeline, though, so please don't assume I'll see everything. At the moment I can only just manage a blog and Twitter. :)

Lately I've been thinking more about Dreamwidth and the flush of LJ users who are migrating and cross-posting. I still don't want to leave LJ, but it's starting to look inevitable, and I think eventually most of us will have to. There've been a lot of downtimes here, a lot of bad press in the last few years, and I can't see that changing. If I can figure out how to code one of the DW layouts to match my LJ, I probably will post there and have entries mirrored. I would still reply to messages and read my friends page here, for as long as the majority of it exists here. But if more and more people switch, I may have to rethink it all further down the line. If you've recently moved to DW or set up a backup, my username is the same: jenniferkoliver.

And a short article that tickled me: 4 Copy Editors Killed in Ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual Gang Violence - from The Onion. Love the bit about the serial commas.

Almost Over, by Limp Bizkit.
jenniferkoliver: (X-Men First Class | Charles & Erik)
I've got 1k words of my new short story (the one about facial web design) and over 4k of the novel draft #2, so I'm taking a break with a caffeine-free diet Coke (yeah, I know how to live it up) to celebrate writing actual words, and post about the numerous bits & bobs I couldn't fit into my previous entry. Hoorah.

I try not to get cranky about movies. If a movie is based on a book or comic that I know, it's kind of like watching a live-action fan fiction. If it's not based on a book or comic that I know, I'm unlikely to have an emotional investment beforehand anyway. But there's something that's been bugging me more and more lately. It's hard to explain, 'cause here's the thing: I love a good movie score. I've been buying scores for more years than I can remember. I have scores from movies I haven't even seen, simply because I love the composer and know I'm going to love the music. However, I can think of instances in the last few years where I've come out of a cinema feeling highly emotional, but later realised it was mostly because John Williams or James Newton Howard or Hans Zimmer was bashing me over the head with a symphony orchestra for two and a half hours. I do love those composers, but I'd be interested to watch certain films with the soundtracks removed, see how it changes their effectiveness. I bet it'd be quite the eye-opener (or ear-opener).

Anyway, always absurdly late to these things, I finally saw X-Men First Class, which I avoided when it came out because I was worried it wouldn't be as good as it looked, pretty much the same reason why I avoided X-Men Origins: Wolverine for so long. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and should have had more faith! )

I didn't mention that I picked up a copy of Skyrim for the PS3 a few months ago, probably because, once I started playing, I faded from the land of the living and entered the strange, hi-res Otherworld that is Gamer Mode. I seriously don't know where the month of April went. Did it even happen? I have no proof that it did. Some nerdy Skyrim stuff under here )

Oh, and the web design life is hopping at the moment, too. I've been working on two commissions as well as that on-going branding revamp for my own site, and there are a couple more projects on the horizon. It's seriously the best work ever when in a writing slump, because I still get to engage the creative, thinky part of my brain.

That's all for now, as this post is already rather long and rambly! I'll leave with this:

We Are Young, by Fun. They keep playing this catchy tune on Radio 1, and I think I might just love it.
jenniferkoliver: (Default)
Wishing everyone a very Happy Holidays! If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a fabulous day anyway, full of good food and much cheer and other shiny things.

I'll be here most of the day writing and plotting and generally messing about, as I rarely do big, busy Xmases, so if you're also online tomorrow and want to chat, drop me a comment or an email.

I just saw an ad on TV for a new show set to air next year, Eternal Law. I'm not a massive fan of law shows, but this one has angels and other supernatural elements. Plus, it's written by the same team who put together Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, which is enough to pique my interest.

Then there's The Hobbit. I'm terribly excited about the whole thing, but there's one detail from the trailer that made me boggle—the apparent Galadriel/Gandalf squishies. Does, um, anyone remember a load of unresolved sexual tension in the books? I read them too long ago. Then again, this may simply be some sneaky, misleading cutting on the part of the people who put together the trailer. Time will tell! But oddly, I kind of like the idea. IS THAT WRONG? She's older than she looks, you know.

And since this is literally the only time I can post this, here is a short piece I wrote for my writing group, purely for entertainment. Warning for some gore. And possibly the obliteration of childhood dreams and wishes.

'Tis the Season to be Exanimate
By Jennifer K. Oliver
Festive silliness, with a grotesque twist. 1,800 words.
Many thanks to Dabs for eyeballing this. Any remaining mistakes are my own.

The big man works us to the bone three-hundred-and-sixty-four days a year under extremely stressful conditions. We're not allowed out of the workshop. Ever. And we get paid in candy canes. I have zero sympathy… )
18th-Aug-2011 12:07 pm - 35 Watchmen icons
jenniferkoliver: (Watchmen | Rorschach)
Saw the Watchmen movie for the first time a couple of weeks back. I've seen it three times since. :) My favourite types of heroes are anti-heroes and my favourite types of villains are the ambiguous villains, and you never really know who's bad to the core or who's doing a bad thing with the best intentions. Ahh, fabulous! The ending satisfied, in that it wasn't riddled with goodie-two-shoes clichés, and I was mightily impressed! And thus, I have iconized…

Icon resources are listed here.
Please don't hotlink or re-post these.
Credit would be lovely!




Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon… )
jenniferkoliver: (Indiana Jones)
Happy Easter to those who celebrate it! I don't really celebrate, but I can totally get with a holiday that has grown to honour chocolate. Look, here are my favourite chocolate bunnies.

Yesterday I was fail on the writing front and didn't get anything done, even though I had grand plans to write my daily 1k. Partly this was due to suddenly having more icons spaces, thanks to the kind generosity of [livejournal.com profile] aigooism, and my need to fill icon spaces whenever they become available. But I've hit a snag with an image I want to use, and just like a stubborn story, it's not flowing at the moment and I don't know what to do with it. Guh, icon maker's block.

Oh, but I did make an Indy icon, which I'm using for this post. Mmm, Indy...

Last night I re-watched Spirited Away, which never fails to reduce me to a wibbling lump. Haku and Chihiro falling through the air to that incredible score is so beautiful I can barely watch it. Sometimes I think I'd like to know what Chihiro is like now, grown up, but then other times I can't imagine her as anything but the little girl out-growing her childhood petulance and discovering who she really is. The other thing that floors me is how subtly rounded all the characters are. There's no preachy good and evil, and even characters like Yubaba have a softer, sympathetic side. And No Face, polluted by the greed of those around him. It's stunning! I wish this film had been around when I was a kid.

Next on my list is a re-watch of Howl's Moving Castle, one of the few Japanese animations I've seen where I've liked the dub as much as the original. I still haven't read the book, though. It's on my To Read List!
14th-Mar-2011 01:21 pm - Oh, Japan. :(
jenniferkoliver: (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Here are some places where you can offer help toward the Japan earthquake appeal: this list (US) and here or here (UK).

There's been some discussion about whether people should continue posting to their blogs and social sites as normal, and I think yes, yes you should post about your day, your cat, your writing, whatever is going on at the moment. If we all stopped posting every time something terrible happened in the world, we'd never post again. We post to keep each other informed, offer support, communicate. Without communication, nobody would be able to support anyone else during times of great sadness or happiness.

Of course, it works both ways, and nobody should feel they have to post (or donate) because other people are. We all deal with stuff differently.

*


Accessible websites with clear links and information make the Internet a less frustrating place, to be sure. But I wish some website owners would keep in mind that the more widgets they use, the longer the pages may take to load, and the more visitors they could be losing. I see this a lot in writing blogs and websites—you know the ones, jam-packed with about every social slider, widget, and gadget out there, plus animated ads, buttons and banners. I rarely wait more than 10 seconds for a page to load (and I'm not even on dial-up here), especially if it's simply to post a comment reply on a blog. Ideally it should take no more than five seconds, but even then you could be losing visitors and valuable commenters.

/random web design thought for the day.

*


Usually I ignore the Oscars buzz each year (well, except for the red carpet dresses and shoes, which I'm always interested in seeing!) because by and large I find the films that don't win anything just as deserving as the ones that do, but having recently seen The King's Speech I have to hand it to them: they picked a corker. Such amazing acting and writing, right there. If you haven't seen it yet, and you don't think it would be your cup of tea, go see it anyway. I wasn't entirely sold beforehand, but it was excellently done, poignant, and very funny in places. Plus, what a cast! :)
jenniferkoliver: (Predator | Hand)
Listening to The Last Airbender movie score as I write, particularly "Flow Like Water", which is utterly, intensely stunning. I listened to the last minute while writing a chase scene earlier, and now it's fast becoming part of my own personal soundtrack to The Big WIP. James Newton Howard is genius through and through, and if you listen to a single piece of music today, let it be the one above. I was saying to someone on my f-list the other day that if Hans Zimmer, James Horner, James Newton Howard, and Danny Elfman ever collaborated there'd be a possibility my head would implode. And it would be the best head-implodey experience and totally worth it, IMO.

Also, I loved the movie, and I'm a massive fan of the original cartoon. Oh yeah, I just went there. ;)

Btw, can everybody see the videos I link to on YouTube? I know some vids are only viewable in certain countries, and I don't want to inadvertently exclude anyone. Is there a way of checking which vids are viewable by all?

*


Saw District 9 yesterday at a friend's, because we both missed it when it came out and we're often late to these things. Overall: thumbs up. There's even a possibility of DVD purchase. My reactions were thus (in order of appearance):

WTF?! AHAHAHA. OMG. D'AW.
26th-Jan-2011 02:26 pm - Tronlicious Iconage
jenniferkoliver: (Foo Fighters | Learn to Fly)
Rather than bore you with a massive rant about my connection woes, I'll quickly say that after I made my last post my phone line died again and I was without Internet for the past week. The phone guys came out Monday and finally fixed the problem, so hopefully it's all good now. For realz!

Moving swiftly on, I made a batch of Tron icons weeks ago, after seeing Tron: Legacy and liking it. It got me feeling nostalgic enough to dig out the original movie and take some screencaps as I watched. There are also a couple of Legacy images here, made from various promo pics. Oh, and some silly moving gifs!

Icon resources are listed here.
Please don't hotlink or re-post these.
Credit would be lovely!




Oh man, this isn't happening, it only thinks it's happening... )
15th-Jan-2011 10:22 pm - Internet 1, Phone line 0
jenniferkoliver: (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Hello, LJ folk! It seems as though my Internet connection is back, and stable for the time being, although I've now lost my home phone line instead. Eventually, this will all be sorted and I will look back and laugh. Eventually. In the meantime, I'm going to try and get on with blogging as normal. If I vanish again... well, you'll know why. :) I'm going to spend the next couple of days catching up with the more recent posts, but I just wanted to drop in and do a blanket hi, and hope you're all doing excellently!

While I was mostly offline I wrote a new short story. 10,800 words in six days. SOMEHOW. I don't really get it, either. I'm not usually quite that prolific, but I'm guessing it may be related to the whole not-online-and-thus-not-distracted thing. >.>

A while back I saw Black Swan and was blown away. I wasn't really sure what to expect - it's not the sort of film I'd usually jump at - but man, I'm glad I watched it. So dark and intense! I was already a Portman fan, but I think this could be my favourite of her movies so far. The direction and writing was stunning, too. If you haven't seen it, and you like angsty-beautiful films, I'd highly recommend this one. *nods*

I have new icon batches to post soon, maybe early next week (I didn't just spend my time in exile writing. Wicked is the lure of Photoshop...). Until then!
18th-Oct-2010 01:53 pm - There goes my social life & icons
jenniferkoliver: (Predator | Hand)
The weekend before last was awesometastic, and I'm only now catching up with LJ things. My supremely evil friend gave me a freaking PlayStation 3, plus three games (Dead Rising 2, Assassin's Creed, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion). Then I bought a further three games to add to the epic brain melt (Bayonetta, Heavy Rain, and Final Fantasy XIII). There goes my entire life. *eyeballs burn in sockets*

Ok, so the PS3 is brilliant, and this is coming from someone who's never been a big gamer. So far, I've played a few chapters of Heavy Rain, a murder mystery, and I've had a go at Bayonetta, which I think could become a favourite. It's so incredibly camp, but the woman has guns in her shoe heels. If that's not a reason to love her, I don't know what is.

Anyway! I hope everybody had a good weekend x2. I'm also posting to share some icons I made when I set up this journal. This set includes: Deftones, Fightstar, Foo Fighters, Dracula, True Blood, Ice Age 3, Zombies, Inception, Terminator Salvation, Family Guy, The Vintner's Luck, V For Vendetta, Let The Right One In, Peter Pan, Labyrinth, Indiana Jones, Hot Fuzz, and a couple of Good Omens quotes.

Icon resources are listed here.
Please don't hotlink or re-post these.
Credit would be lovely!




A big mish-mash of colour and hot guys (oh, and a weasel...), all gankable )
21st-Jul-2010 10:00 am - Novelling and Inception
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Butterfly Hat)
I'm almost a quarter way through my novel, and the only major hurdle I'm encountering at this stage is with the roughness of the first draft. I can't get used to not editing as I go—it feels totally alien. It's like I'm gradually losing control of the writing, and at the back of my mind the thought of editing a rough 80k manuscript terrifies me. There have been times in the past when I've spent weeks editing a 3k story!

I like control, and this is a big lesson in letting go. But I need to set a balance, just to prevent any headsplodey from happening (this is a real threat). Every quarter of the book, I'm going to pause for a week or so and work on what I've just written. My theory is that I can complete the manuscript in 20k chunks, and hopefully it means I won't keep stalling because I'm so gut-wrenchingly afraid I'll never get the whole thing edited.

In other news, I saw Inception last night. It was a week night which are usually quieter, but by the time my friend and I got there the 7:45pm showing was sold out. We waited for the 8:45pm and managed to get good seats just before the cinema filled up.

Here's my condensed review: Oh. My. Word. Incredible! *flail*

Here's my longer review: When did Joseph Gordon-Levitt get so hot? )
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