shadowkat: (Default)
Published a book - available here:

Will be available within the next two weeks on and Amazon Europe. Coming soon to other retail outlets, and to Kindle.

Doing Time on Planet Earth is a character-driven dark comedy/off-beat mystery that’s filled with snarky satire, dry wit, and absurd situations as three very different individuals find their lives intertwining in the strangest of ways.

Caddy Thompson is the most “normal” of the three, even though she’s severely depressed because she can’t find a job and has no real friends outside her online TV series fan discussion boards.

The opening of the book finds Caddy on a mission to do herself in. But a man on the subway notices her nervousness. It’s his business to notice things, being a private detective, and he follows Caddy after she exits the subway to prevent her from doing herself harm, which he succeeds at—for the most part.

This apparently British man goes by the name Fiske, and he has been pursuing an identity thief named Faith who embezzled millions from his family’s casino and hotel chain in Las Vegas.

So, several days later, when Fiske runs into Caddy at the concert he has tracked his suspect to and Caddy’s companion “Hope,” a fellow fan of the hit TV show Spywitch, suddenly ducks out, well, things start to get very interesting!

(Here's the description on the back cover:

Unable to find work, romantically challenged, and with only her “net buds,” the anonymous members of her TV series fan discussion boards to turn to, Caddy is ready to call it quits. She has the gun her father gave her for protection, but there’s one small problem: she has no idea how to use it.

Fiske, a private investigator who changed his identity from Hispanic to Londoner, complete with a fake British accent, notices Caddy’s nervousness on the subway and confronts her as she’s attempting to end her life.

Hope, an identity thief and embezzler who collects Loony Tunes action figures, is one of Caddy’s net buds, a fellow obsessed fan of the wildly popular TV show Spywitch. She’s also the subject of Fiske’s current investigation.

Dark humor, cynical satire, and quirky characters drive this ultimately uplifting tale reminding us to make the most of our time here on earth.)
shadowkat: (Default)
Well, they didn't turn Neal into a flying monkey. That's something, I suppose.

spoilers...and stupid tv writers, grumble, grumble, grumble )
shadowkat: (Default)
This is on lj, but in case you are only on's the January Talking Meme, and I'm willing to post it on both:

January Talking Meme
Couldn't do this in December, plus this sort of thing goes against my lj writing style - aka spontaneous (writing on demand not exactly my forte). But if you are so inclined, pick a date below and give me a topic. It can be anything from fandom, life (well really just on the Whedon fandom, with some forays into comic, Doctor Who, OUAT, and BSG fandoms), the universe, or everything. Obviously if you pick something I know about, I'm likely to talk longer. (Although I tend to be naturally verbose anyhow...)

Topics: you can get an idea from my tags. It can be anything - music, fandom, tv shows, movies, etc. More specific the better, obviously. And picking a topic can be almost as challenging as writing about it. Pick a date and topic no one else has chosen. I'll update both lists on both sites.

Read more... )
shadowkat: (Default)
[LJ ate my original post, dang it, so posting here.]

Just finished watching the premiere of the new CW series Reign, which was much better than expected and far more compelling than some other series that received far better ratings.

There was a lot of hoopla over the historical inaccuracies. But seriously people, what television series is accurate historically or otherwise? I can't think of one. Back in the day, fans used to crack wise at Joss Whedon's historical blunders in Buffy and Angel. Don't get me started on The Tudors, The Borgias, The White Queen, Merlin, and oh so many others. To date the only two I can think of that were somewhat accurate were Mad Men and The Hour. And even those tinker in places.

Robert Bianco's comment in USA Today is sort of unintentionally funny:

It may be too much to hope that CW would help educate our children, but we could at least ask the network to avoid making them stupid.

Oh dear, you are discussing the CW right? The network that is famous for Gossip Girl, Supernatural, Smallville, and Vampire Diaries? It's not exactly PBS or HBO or Showtime for that matter. I mean, I can understand expecting historical accuracy from The Tudors (there wasn't any), or The Borgias (not much there either) or even ahem Dowton Abbey (nope, okay maybe a little), but from a tv series that is set up as a historical gothic romantic thriller ? Pleeease. And no kid is going to take anything in this series as historical fact. I forgot halfway in that it was about the Mary Queen of Scots - and sort of watched it as a fantasy series similar to Sleepy Hollow. For the same reasons historical inaccuracies did not bother me in Angel, Buffy, Merlin or Sleepy Hollow - they don't here. These historical liberties did however bother me in "The Tudors" - to such a degree that I had to give up on it entirely, because the Tudors is set up as "historically accurate", it's not fantastical in any way. Is it just me, or is it becoming increasingly difficult to take professional television and film reviewers seriously? I think it is a side-effect of everyone, including myself, being able to review films and television online ourselves.

In case you haven't figured out from the above? Reign is gothic teen drama loosely, and I do mean loosely, based on the period of European History wherein Mary Queen of Scots traveled to wed the future King of France. There are a few things that are accurate in the story, Catherine Medeci was real, the prince of France and Mary were around the same age, they were betrothed, everyone in the French court was a bit, shall we say on the "frisky side?" (the English, who are admittedly somewhat prudish, also thought the French were a wee bit friskier than necessary), and she came with four friends to his court. Weirdly all the accents are either American or English, not a Scottish Twang or a French accent in sight. (Which I suppose is a good thing, because there is nothing worse than a fake Scottish accent (see Agents of Shield) or a fake French accent. I think that's about it. Not that it matters. History really isn't important here. It's just used as the backdrop or setting. Sort of like The Good Wife is supposed to be set in Chicago, but wait isn't that the Freedom Tower and The Manhattan skyline behind Will as he's jogging down the beach? Or for that matter Once Upon a Time is meant to be set in Maine, but wait that's Vancouver. In TV - it's all smoke and mirrors, you learn to suspend disbelief. If you want to learn history and want it to be accurate? Go read a really good book, preferably of the non-fictional variety, with lots of footnotes and primary sources and recommended by leading scholars in the field.

Without going into spoilers, well just yet, the story is about a young girl who journeys to France to wed a prince, much chaos ensues and obstacles. There are gothic touches - such as people want to kill the girl, some people have visions, and there may be a few ghosts lurking about the castle. The prince's half-brother, a bit of a cheeky rogue, catches Mary's eye, while the Prince clearly takes after his father and has slept with half the castle. The historical period permits the writers to tackle gender inequalities in a way that is far harder to do in a more modern setting. For instance, Francis can sleep around, but Mary must be a virgin upon her wedding day. They are clearly playing loose with history here, but hey who isn't these days?

The cast is more compelling than expected - particularly the actress who plays Mary, who is not too pretty (like most CW heroines) nor too stupid. She comes across as vulnerable and rather intelligent, also headstrong and protective of those she loves. Plus, lonely and an outsider. It's also beautifully filmed, sumptuous in both costume, set design, and cinematography - almost cinematic. Was rather impressed with the production.

Without Spoilers? Think a shiner, not to mention bloodier, yet better cast Gossip Girl, set in the 16th Century, with gothic touches and a taste of mysterious intrigue.

plot summary - spoilery review )
shadowkat: (Default)
Rather enjoying the twist on Peter Pan. In fact in this episode, Emma and Hook have rather fun little exchange regarding the representation of Pan in Disney and the stories we know and the actuality. I don't remember JM Barrie's take on that well - but his was slightly darker than either the adaptations of his work. The Disney animated version is based on the Broadway musical adaptation of JM Barrie's original work.

[Sorry for the double-posting on LJ earlier, but the dang thing is acting up.]

Lost Girl spoilers )
shadowkat: (rainbow strength)
Because LJ is annoying the hell out of me at the moment - I'm cross-posting from here and deleting my post on LJ.

ETA: ARRGH! I can't delete the LJ entry - it won't let me. Why I don't just stay on Dreamwidth and cross-post, I don't know. At any rate sorry for the duplicate, ignore the previous one if you are on LJ and read this one instead. Or neither as the case may be.

1. The bagger at the grocery story check out line was hilarious.
Read more... )

2. I'm rather impressed with Scandal but with one caveat, the last two episodes of S1 onwards. Scandal is sort of like Farscape, the first season is not very good, but after that it takes off like a bandit. Read more... ) Pope in some respects is Walt White's counterpart and a far sexier and savvier, not to mention more likeable Glenn Close from Damages. No, it's not as smartly written as Breaking Bad, but in some respects it is a lot more fun and far more entertaining - particularly in how it satirizes, parodies and subverts various television and genre tropes in a sly and increasingly subtle ways.

3. Flashback to 1977

In the fall of 1977...more than twenty years ago today, I was about 10, 11 or 12 (don't really remember which nor do I feel like doing the math to figure it out). And awkward. how I got to be a Dwarf, granted a 5'10 female dwarf, in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves )

That same year, we saw Star Wars. Not only did we see it. We were the first people in our neighborhood and amongst our acquaintance who saw it - opening weekend no less. Now, you've got to understand this was a huge deal in 1977. Movies back then aren't like they are today. You don't get to see them on TV six months later. Or rent them. Or buy them. There were no DVDs or VHS, or DVR's or Cable. That didn't start to come about until five years later with HBO and the VCR - which I think was around 1982, can't remember. You also wanted to be the first to see the movie - or people would spoil you on the whole plot. And back then, in 1977, THIS was the movie to see according to my Dad (and shortly thereafter, EVERYONE who mattered). We drove all the way out on opening day to East Whiteland to see it - only to find out it was completely sold out (this was a three hour drive, I think we ended up going to a fancy restaurant to deal with the disappointment). So the next day, we drove all the way out to another movie theater in Exton, (albeit a much much closer one - say a one hour drive)...and saw it there.

My father was clearly desperate, which was odd, considering he was never that much into movies. And not particularly into sci-fi. Unlike my paternal grandfather, my father was not a horror fan. Possibly that's the reason? My grandfather adored science fiction films and horror - he read them and watched them voraciously.

Frankly, I remember being skeptical about the movie at the time, and somewhat resistant.Read more... )
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. Five wonderful things about shipping Emma Swan/Baelfire on Once Upon a Time

* Swanfire is a cool name
* The writers are pro ship and the ship is laced with loads of irony
* It's not abusive
* they already have a kid and he's 11
* the traditional gender roles have been switched up a bit

If you ever decide to ship a star-crossed romance on a tv series it's a good idea to pick one that is a) not abusive, and b) the writers support. Also helps if it's two grownups who have a history, and aren't under the age of 20 and have an equal footing. If they aren't equals, your ship is doomed. Plus, a kid already out there and part of their family - assures at least some longevity.

2. Once Upon a Time for the uninitiated?

Imagine the characters of all your favorite children's tales mashed up in a grown up adventure story?

Imagine what would happen if the Evil Queen from the Snow White fairy tale survived and decided with a curse created by Rumplestilskin to curse all of the fairy tale and storybook characters - so they are ripped away from their magical realms and thrust into our own? Now take that a step further...spoilers for S1-S2 )

S3? vague teaser spoilers from ABC on S3, although you can most likely figure them out from the final episode of S2 on your own )

Oh so much fun. It's like watching a cracky fanfic mashup by the writers worked on Lost, BSG and Buffy.

Also comforting. Because the moral code tends to be "revenge is bad and has consequences", "everyone screws up", and "things work out in the end".

3. Once Upon a Time due to its funky narrative structure, works better when you watch it on DVD without commercials and one episode after another. Scandal is another series that works best in this fashion. It's pure serial. The B story thread is flashbacks, like LOST. It has the same narrative character centric structure that LOST did.

The dialogue is actually really good in some episodes. The best episodes to date, is basically any that focus on Rumplestilskin - in part due to Robert Carylye who like Alan Cummings has the ability to make anything work for him. It also helps that the writers are enamored of the character and wrote it for Carylyle.

Favorite episodes to date?
Read more... )

Favorite characters:
Read more... )

: = platonic or familial
/ = romantic
* = main ones
Read more... )
shadowkat: (Default)
When tv shows collide...

spoilers )

As an aside, I realized something reading The Captive Prince, I actually identify better with straight-forward no-nonsense heroes...the manipulative heroes, I find a lot more interesting in fiction but I don't really understand them. I don't think that way. Manipulation, brownosing, and politicking tend to be lost on me. I'm oblivious. In short I identified a great deal with the pov of that book.

Am thinking of either reading Cyteen by CJ Cherryh or Privelege of the Sword next. Or I will keep trudging my way through Dance of Dragons - I'm told the second half is better than the first half, just takes a while to get there.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
This season is so good, and tonight's episode was amongst the best. First off, I continue to adore you, Emma, you do everything I'd have done. And well, Regina or rather Whingina...karma, babe, it's a bitch and it's coming straight for you. Although this episode did a rather good job of layering the character.

spoilers of course )
shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. For OUAT fans - [personal profile] selenak is posting OUAT fanfic and it's good. I like her take on Rumplestilskin and I agree with her on Cora/Rumple. Actually Cora/Rumple and Belle remind me oddly of Angel/Darla and Buffy too. Which may explain why I stopped being a Buffy/Angel shipper. Manipulative Man/Innocent Girl rarely works for me. I like it when both are equally manipulative, inequality between the genders in romantic relationships or any for that matter - squicks me. I don't do paternal or maternal romantic relationships - doesn't work for me at all. This may in retrospect explain why I am still single. I suppose you could say Spike/Buffy was a maternal romantic relationship with unequal power balance - but I just couldn't see it that way, power balance seemed equal to me, BUT if you saw it differently, mileage varying and all that, I can see why you hated it.

At any rate here's a link to selenak's fic: Love is Not a Victory March - it's the love's of Rumplestilskin and features Bae and Henry.

2. Book Meme: Day 24 – A book that you wish more people have read

Didn't we do this one already? Seems familiar somehow. Don't ask me to create links for all the other days that I've already down like people on my flist appear to be doing. a) no time, b) no patience, c) will be painful. You can survive without, I'm certain. ;-) Do envy them this ability - it can't be easy. Must be time-consuming.

The only books I can think of, off-hand, aren't exactly literary...

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - a YA book that will most likely annoy a lot of people but it made me think and comforted me. It's a wonderful book about well what gives life meaning...and it shouldn't work, yet it does.

The Sparrow by Maria Daria Russell - a science-fiction novel which will also annoy people but haunts me and says a lot about how we judge other cultures and impose our values on others, with little respect or regard for why they do what they do. It's a cultural anthropologist's nightmare. Beautifully rendered. A must read.

OTher's that haunt me or I wish more people have read:

* John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
* F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - perfect depiction of why you should not recreate yourself to win the love of another or fit into society. Also says things about classicism that I've not seen done quite as well elsewhere.
* John Kennedy O'Toole's Confederacy of Dunces - sort of a modern day Don Quixote...a tragedy
* Alice Walker's The Color Purple
* Sherri Tepper's Grass (which oddly enough reminds me a lot of the Sparrow, it too is a cultural anthropologist's nightmare)

the rest of the days )

3.Day 27 - Best pilot episode

Here's the rule on pilots..often, not always, the tv shows with the best pilots - end up getting cancelled early, because they put their all in the pilot and then, sort of, lost it.

Another rule? TV shows that have bad pilots or so-so pilots or less than stellar pilots, often turn out to be great.

That said?

I'd probably say one of these :

* Twin Peaks - blew me away (it also fit the first rule, great pilot...series sort of lost itself)
* Lost - great pilot, decent series but not quite as good as the pilot
* Joan of Arcadia - brilliant pilot, bad series
* Now and Again - fantastic pilot

Also rather liked OUAT's pilot. The pilot episode is like the first chapter of a book - if you don't snag the audience at the get-go, you won't get them at all. But even if you do, you have to keep up the momentum, or they will wander off.

the rest of the days )

We're getting closer to the end. And why the person who wrote this came up with saddest character death for day 30, I'll never know. Seriously, you couldn't end on a happier note?

4. BTW...was thinking of words or phrases from tv or appear to have originated from tv series that have entered our lexicon or usage in a big way:

* Whatcha talking about Willis? (Different Strokes)
* Seriously (Grey's Anatomy)
* Bored Now (Buffy)
* I'm paralyzed with not caring very much (Buffy)
* Explain-y (Buffy)
* Bitca (Buffy)
* Bazinga (Big Bang Theory)
* Beam me up, Scotty (Star Trek)
* Here's Johnny (Johnny Carson Show)
* Book-em Danno

Of the list? The main winners are: Seriously, Bitca, and Bored Now.

Can you think of any?
shadowkat: (Default)
Good news for anyone who has ever posted an original work and/or fanfiction or meta on the internet?

From: (OR fandomlawyers) and oh, something you can all thank 50 Shades of Grey for.

Defendants do not and cannot provide any legal authority for the proposition that an earlier version of Ms. Mitchell’s work is now in the “public domain.” They can hardly defend their infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrights in the Fifty Shades Trilogy by claiming that it is substantially similar to Ms. Mitchell’s own earlier work.

Yes, Universal & their lawyers have basically stated that there is no legal authority for the proposition that fanfic posted online is in the public domain.

How is this relevant to your interests, fanfic writers, and fanartists?

As we posted last week, as a user of the internet, you still own the copyright in your work, even if it is posted online for other people to access, and even if the Terms of Use for the site you’re posting on say that the site has a license to use your work on specified ways.

This right exists, even if it’s based on something someone else wrote; you still hold a copyright in your original, specific words. Online and available does not equal Public Domain.

2. Answers and Questions about Disclaimers - example of a disclaimer: "I don't own anything here, Rights to the House of Mouse and ABC"

You might want to rethink disclaimers. Here's why:

By using this, the author does not state that any copyrights are being abandoned or stories are being placed in the public domain.

ANYWAY, a disclaimer that says “I own nothing” might actually not do anything as a matter of law, according to the Copyright Office, as per Public Domain Sherpa:

There is no specific provision in the copyright law for disclaiming rights in copyrighted works, and of course, no obligation to do so. However, the Copyright Office will record a statement of your intention to relinquish rights in our official records because the document pertains to a copyright within the meaning of the statute. A statement of abandonment should identify the works involved by title and/or registration number. The office does not provide forms for this purpose.

The legal effect of recording a statement of abandonment is not clear. Moreover, its acceptance for recordation in this office should not be construed as approval of the legal sufficiency of its content or its effect on the status or ownership of any copyright.

Even if you use “I own nothing” language a court might not think that’s unequivocal enough to satisfy the vaguries of the statute, especially if the fic author (or fanartist, or vidder) was a teenager or misinformed about what the sentence meant or otherwise didn’t actually mean to place the work in the public domain. Also, if you place a work in the public domain, someone else can come along and, say, submit it to Lulu or Amazon’s self-publishing arm, etc., and give full credit to you, but make money off of the distribution of the story. We can’t imagine many fanfic writers wanting that to happen to something they’ve written. It would be totally legal, though! Look what all the bookstores and publishers do with novels that are old enough to put in the public domain. They add zombies, vampires, sex scenes, pretty covers, or a vlogging platform (often getting very creative) and then they’re able to make money off of it.
If you don’t want that to happen to your fanfic, then don’t say your fanfic is released into the public domain.

However, what people generally mean when they add disclaimers to fic is “please don’t sue me for creating things based on your characters.” This myth that you will be sued for fic is still pervasive in fandom, over a decade after these disclaimers became a common thing.
For some people, putting disclaimers on their fics is at least partly a reaction to Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling sending out Cease and Desist letters to websites publishing R/NC-17 rated fic. (This is actually remarkably close to how I fell into fandom. I was 16 at the time -HL.)

The thing is, these disclaimers aren’t legally necessary. The nature of fic means that the author is using source material that they did not create, so if the ficcer makes that clear by the summary and/or tags, starting a disclaimer with a “who owns what” statement is redundant.

The second part, the “no infringement is intended” bit, is what everyone thinks is important. The legal analysis gets long, but it boils down to the fact that fic could be infringing on copyright, except that fair use means it isn’t, which means that there is no liability for the infringement (if any).

Yippee Kia Yay!

My views on this have finally been validated, after fighting people on and offline for years. Fanfic is only a violation of copyright - if you are continuing someone else's story for profit without their permission and using their trademarked characters and world. But just because you posted it as fanfic and it's for free - does not mean that anyone can take or use it, it's not in the public domain - it is your story, just as a spec script is the property of the person who wrote the spec script or a spec novel (a la novel based on an original work - sent to the publisher as a potential sequel is the intellectual property of the person who created it.
In short, selenak's fanfic about Once Upon A Time is her's. Disney can't grab it. It's not in the public domain unless she expressly states it is (Do NOT Do THAT!) and you require her permission to use it, if you don't get it - you are infringing on copyright.

And people, friends of mine, we now appear to have an actual court case stating it.

Go here for original links and notice.

2. Worried that I've slipped a disc or have a bulging disc in my spine - because I appear to have a sciatic nerve issue. This means doctor. But my doc is an internist and sucks at referrals regarding insurance. He refers me to people solely in Manhattan, and not carriers of my insurance.
So I don't know what to do. Hence procrastinating and hoping stupid thing will go away on its own without a physical therapist. Parents are suggesting doctor and do what I can.

3. Apparently Veronica Mars Kickstarter Campaign to Become a Movie
is getting as much fan support as Firefly did, possibly more. It's passed the 2.5 million mark.
I didn't know there were that many VM fans? Neither did WB apparently. Gotta love the internet - it makes guerilla marketing so much easier. Actually I think the internet was made for marketing people - they don't have to leave home - or dress up, just sit all day in pajamas and post stuff.

That said? Veronica Mars did sort of leave off on a cliff-hanger for both Logan and Keith Mars characters. It's pure noire - which is why it was so controversial with the fandom, a lot of fans don't know how to deal with noire - noire for one thing doesn't end well, romantic relationships tend to be dark and twisted, and you often aren't supposed to like the hero/heroine - they are anti-heroes. Also noire is by its very nature politically incorrect. Actually most art and expression tends to be... or the better stuff at any rate. Those no such thing as nice art, well there is but it tends to be fairly forgettable and bland.

I wouldn't mind a movie. It's amongst the few tv series that I think they could do one for...since the storyline was not restricted to "coming of age" or "high school setting" and you could realistically have an adult Veronica Mars. Also the series star did age well. Not true of everyone.

4. Dead tired. Week has been a tough one. Training was harder than work in some respects. Imagine being stuck with the female version of Archie Bunker for four days? Very sweet, loves animals, but still Archie Bunker. Beginning to feel sorry for Meathead. (If you don't know what I'm talking about - look up All in the Family by Norman Lear).

Anyhow, taking a break from people for two days. Crashing. Have to do laundry, so there is that.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. Today CW suggested I use to raise money to market and promote and self-publish my book. (Sigh). She sent me the link... Kickstarting Funds for Fantasy Novel. So I followed the link and thought, whoa, that book actually looks sort of interesting. Here's the blurb:

What if Buffy could be sued for wrongful death every time she slayed a vampire? What if Hogwarts had to abide by zoning laws and the Army of Darkness had to follow rules of engagement? That's the world of Hunter Gamble, a young "arcane defense" attorney who takes the clients no one else will: vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards, and zombies.

The whole fundraising bit however...I'm not sure I'm all that interested in. This is my problem with creative writing. I can write books fine. I'm driven to write and tell stories. I'm just not driven to sell and market them to the masses...

2. Book Meme :Day 15 – Favorite male character

This was actually easier with the TV meme. But oh well.

At the moment? Harry Dresden - who I'm in love with. That could change. Hasn't yet.
He's basically the edgier, darker, version of Harry Potter - or what Harry would be like if he lived in Chicago and didn't get to go to Hogwarts.

Don't always love the books, but I do adore Harry. This is one of those instances in which I read the books for more of the character. I do that a lot actually. If I fall in love with your characters and what you are doing with them - I really don't care about the quality of your writing or style or even the plots. Some people fall in love with the writing or plot structures. I fall in love with characters. Which probably explains a lot, doesn't it?

I suppose I should explain why I love Harry, but eh, you either get or you don't. Also in my head the only actor who can play him is Paul Blackthorn.

Other male characters that I've loved? Lymond in Chronicles of Lymond (only read the books because I adored Lymond, the writing style gave me a headache, it's why I didn't read anything else by the writer), Sir John Smythe (Vicky Bliss Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters, again only read the books for the character, found the writing to be really bad in places, I put up with it for more of that character.) And Jamie Lannister/Tyrion Lannister in Song of Dance and Fire (aka Game of Thrones series - specifically Storm of Swords) - also fell in love with the characters (the writing style...not so much.) It's not that I don't appreciate a good writing style - I do. I just think it is a lot harder to create interesting characters than it is to write well. Pretty sentences aren't that hard to write. Writing well just takes practice. Creating a multi-layered and great character...that takes talent. You either have that or you don't.

rest of the days )

3.TV Meme: Day 18 - Favorite title sequence

Hard one. There are so many, less so now - because TV writers have figured out if they shorten the title sequence, they have more time to tell their story.

a) OF the short title sequences or abbreviated one's - my favorite is Once Upon a Time see below:

Note how it keeps changing the sequence depending on the subject matter of the episode - now that's not only creative, it's a wonderful adherence to detail, you don't always see.

b) Cable Series, without showing anything about the series or the actors. The cable series do better ones than the networks - my favorite is True Blood (which actually might be better done the series - this is an example of a title sequence that is almost better than the actual series):

That's just a work of beauty, perfectly capturing the satiric tone of the Southern Gothic, and visualizing the metaphors of the theme song - which is also great. Innovative and different. Reminds me a little of The Wire.

c) My all time favorite? That still sends chills up my spine, because it's so beautifully down and encapsulates the themes and arc of the series perfectly? Farscape S3 although they are all good.

Farscape )

And honorable mention? Game of Thrones. Note how it creates a map that is like the gears in a clock or huge medieval torture device? Simply brilliant.

Read more... )

the rest of the days )

Those title sequences now make me want to watch the shows.

4. Speaking of Game of Thrones. Making my way through Dance of Dragons...and the writer has decided to keep me on my toes. Not only has he added more points of view, he's also put some of the points of view back in time - Jon Snow's first chapter takes place during the events of Feast of Crows. In short, Dance of Dragon's doesn't happen after Feast of Crows, it happens before, during and after Feast of Crows. Damn it, Martin, I shouldn't have to have a chart to figure out your story. Apparently you do not want me to skim this thing, do you?

book spoilers )

5. In other news? Finished watching Arrow, almost caught up, just have last week's episode left. This show is becoming wickedly good. Rather like all the characters, particularly Felicity, the IT gal. She's witty.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Eh. What often happens is I'll hate a book the first time I try it and then will pick it up months later and enjoy it. It's so dependent on my mood. And this has happened with so many books over the years...that I'm sort of drawing a blank.

It surprised me that I liked James Joyce's Ulysess as much as I did. It also surprised me that I enjoyed..Harry Potter, which I'd avoided when it was first released, because of the hype. A co-worker talked me into trying it. Loved it to pieces. Same thing happened with 50 Shades of Gray actually - thought I'd despise it. Tried a sample and it hit my mood - it was like reading an absurd parody of all the bad contemporary romance novels and fanfic that I'd read in the last three years. I was laughing my head off, and oddly moved by the crazy hero of the piece. Granted I was the only I've met who saw it that way, but such is life.

I surprised me a bit that I fell in love with Dorothy Dunnett's Chronicles of Lymond - not my genre. Also surprised me that I loved Song of Ice and Fire, although love is too strong a word.

rest of the days )

2. TV SHOW MEME: Day 12 - An episode you've watched more than 5 times

This category is much easier than the last one under the TV Meme. Less controversial.

Which one to choose? Because here's the thing, I've watched a lot of episodes more than 5 times. Actually I think I've watched both Buffy and Angel more than 5 times. Although granted not the entire series, there are quite a few episodes I've skipped over after the first two viewings (such as pretty much most of Angel S1 and S3). When I say I was an insane Buffy fan, I'm not kidding. Granted...I had good company.

So which one to pick? I think I have Fool for Love and Beneath You memorized. There's a reason for that - both episodes worked for me. Another episode that I have memorized is Restless - which I thought was a crazy puzzle with lots of forshadowing for future episodes. Loved the fact that the writers did reference Restless in various ways, but disappointed that it wasn't as neatly planned as I thought. (Discovered this through interviews...which pretty much goes to show you, you should not read writer interviews. I don't anymore. I really do not want to know what the writers are thinking or what they intended. I agree with the writer of The Kite Runner who stated that once the story is out there it becomes an interactive work of art, readers minds are interacting and perceiving bits and pieces of it differently. Something he may have meant literally or thought nothing of at the time, a reader may come up with a brilliant metaphor for. Often, he stated the readers come up with better stuff than he ever intended. The problem with our current culture - is there is too much interaction with the writers/creators of the art we enjoy. We spend too much time interviewing and talking with them or reading their interviews - to the point that we only see the Doylist version and not the Watsonian. I prefer the Watsonian, it's more often than not, more interesting and compelling, not to mention satisfying - than the Doylist. I lost my Buffy fandom by reading Whedon and various other writer's and actor's interviews and listening to commentary. One of the pitfalls of becoming an obsessed fan is that you feel this need or compulsion to read every interview or bit you can find on your favorite series...until eventually the writers/actors/collaborators views either piss you off or disappoint you. It will eventually happen. It's inevitable. It was a mistake that I'm attempting to avoid repeating. That said - I love Neil Gaiman's blog more than I like his there are exceptions to this rule. LOL!)

Sorry for the aside.

I think I watched the final scenes of Beneath You a hundred times, almost killing the DVD with the rewinding. It's a weird episode. The tonal quality doesn't quite match. We have bright techn-color, then faded blue light...with everything washed out. It is almost as if you are watching two different shows at the same time. This happened quite a bit with Buffy and I always found it compelling and jarring at the same time. Almost as if we had two different production writing staffs. Production quality sometimes varied from episode to episode - some had better quality than others. Which is understandable. But when it happened in the same episode...I was thrown by it. Examples? Seeing Red (which is an episode that is admittedly very hard to watch multiple times but it does have that weird tonal shift in quality), Beneath You, Fool for Love, actually a lot of the Spike centric episodes for some reason, which may explain part of my obsession with the character?

At any rate the ending of Beneath You is pure poetry, a prose poem delivered as monologue. Marsters delivers it a restrained performance. And the words ...can mean many things. You can literally interpret it various ways. Hence the rewatching. I tended to rewatch episodes that could be interpreted more than one way. (Seeing Red and Lies My Parents Told Me - are difficult episodes to re-watch - but also fit in that category. You can interpret both multiple ways.) This may explain why I was obsessed with the series - I like things that you can watch a million times and see something new, interpret differently each and every time you watch it. Particularly things that deal with moral quandry's or emotional arcs of characters. I'm not really a plot person - more character oriented, so the episodes that I got obsessed with were about characters.

I remember re-watching the Angel episode "Destiny" multiple times for much the same reasons. Also re-watched "Home". Once More With Feeling was rewatched multiple times, along with Tabuleh Rasa, HUSH, and Intervention. As great as The Body couldn't be interpreted in multiple ways and it was too bloody painful to watch it more than once, unless of course you like bawling your eyes out.

Buffy had a lot of episodes that you could look at it in more than one way...which is also why I joined the fandom and got involved in writing and discussing it online. The episodes I watched more than five times - had one thing in common - they could be interpreted multiple ways and be discussed to death.

the rest of the days )
shadowkat: (Default)
Didn't do too much today...mainly due to a horrendous migraine headache or sick head-ache. Did manage to get it to abate with decogestant, antihistimine, and Nasaid combo. But did mean I just watched tv and relaxed. Friday was the most productive of my four day weekend - glad I took it off.

1. Finished watched the series finale of Dowton Abbey. Still prefer the downstairs stories to the upstairs. The bulk of the upstairs stuff was building up how great Matthew was and oh dear, what would we ever do without him? And how grateful we all are for him. And I thought...alrighty then.

spoilers )

2. Revenge - was actually less soapy and better than Dowton Abbey, believe it or not.
Plus more happened. It's more action packed and less plodding. Still not as entertaining as Once Upon a Time though.

spoilers )

3. The Good Wife

Good episode, but not emotionally satisfying. Sometimes, often actually, I don't like Alicia very much nor am I guessing am I supposed to. She's a fascinating character. Will do anything to safe-guard her family, her way of life and her comfort...she hates chaos and mess. Although to be fair, I know Carey and Kalinda would have done the same thing.

spoilers )

4. Justified - better last year than this year. A bit all over the place this season.
That said rather liked last week's episode, and adore Sheriff Shelby. Plus Boyd's handling of the revivalists was admittedly entertaining.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Once Upon a Time rocked tonight - surprise, surprise, it basically gave me everything I wanted in one episode. Amazing. And answered several questions, along with filling a few plot-holes that I never thought they'd answer.

This just does not happen on tv shows people. Normally they drag this stuff out for three episodes. Rarely do we get what we got in this one episode. (See LOST, Alias, BSG, Buffy, Angel, and pretty much everything else for examples. Not to mention S1 of Once Upon a Time.)

Am impressed. Love the satisfied all my story kinks big time. Well except for one too many commercials (evil marketing people there's no stopping them) which I could have done without and well the side story with Regina and Belle. Regina and Belle are beginning to grate on my nerves again. But the side story was we can ignore that for now.

spoilers of course )
shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - bawled my eyes out over this book. It's rare that I'll sob during a book. But this one did it to me - for about 50 pages. If you read this book, make sure you have a box of kleenex or tissues next to you.

It's a novel about two teens hunting down their favorite writer, to determine what the ending is of their favorite book. The teens are dying of cancer or are in various stages of terminal cancer. It shouldn't work, but it does. And it's not emotionally manipulative at all. Very odd book.

Possibly the best YA book that I've read.

rest of the days )

2.Day 09 - Best scene ever

Sometimes I think this should be called most memorable scene ever. At any rate, hard to choose, if this was a Buffy meme - I'd probably go with the sex sequence at the end of Smashed, but that was mostly most shocking scene ever - my jaw dropped. If a sci-fantasy meme...I might go with the scene from Bablyon 5 where G'Kar forgives Londo, just not his race. Or the scene in Farscape where John Crichton is tormented after just blowing up a space station. But it's not. This meme is all the tv shows I've watched, and dear lord, there have been so many and in every genre.

So for me, it has to be a scene in the early part of S1 of The Wire, which manages to accurately and succinctly explain the inter-relationships on the series and political maneuvers. It is also a reflection of how power is dealt with in society. This is a scene that unlike the ones that I mentioned above does not require any real knowledge of the series, nor does it require you to watch all of it. It is however the scene that motivated me to finally watch The Wire. Also the scene stays with you throughout the series...becoming more haunting and resonating more as you watch. If you watch that scene after seeing the Wire, chills will go up your spin at how accurate it is and because of what happens to each of the three kids in it.

The scene is from the episode : The Buy's from the Wire

Memorable Quote: "The King Stay the King"

After you watch this scene, you'll never look at kids playing chess at projects or in parks the same way again.

And here's the dialogue - in a perfect reflection of the street slang.

dialogue from that scene )

the rest of the days )
shadowkat: (Default)
Well, I've hit the offensive Gwen arc on Merlin. Flist you were right to be offended. IT's beyond bad. It's repetitive and cliche. Ugh. Tell me it gets better? There isn't that many episodes left, so I have my doubts. Can totally see why this is the last season, the stupid writers have run out of ideas. Morgana is beginning to remind me of Wile E. Coyote with Arthur as the Road Runner.

eh vague spoilers )
shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. Hmmm...noticed something, if I cross-post from DW, I don't get as much insane marketing spam on LJ.

2. Day 05 – A book that makes you happy

Back in the 1990s, when I desperately needed to read something light and fluffy, or rather a "happy book" - I'd just read A Confederacy of Dunces - which is NOT a happy book, along with Don Delillo's Underworld amongst others. So my pal, CW, suggested PD Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster series. She loaned me the first book in the series. Then I was hooked. It was sort of the literary equivalent of Abbott and Costello or a French farce. Bernie Wooster was a somewhat hair-brained playboy, albeit well-intentioned one, while Jeeves his valet, was clever and sardonically patient. Wooster invariably got himself into trouble with one of his hairbrained schemes, which Jeeves found a way to extricate him from. It was witty, absurd comedy - and made me laugh my head off. I could not make it through five pages without chuckling.

So in no time at all, I collected the entire series. And devoured them. So, for my happy book?
I choose a series PD Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster or The Imitable Jeeves by PD Wodehouse.

rest of the days )

3. Day 08 - A show everyone should watch

The Wire by David Simon and various other award-winning writers. This series is possibly the best television series that I've seen to date. It provides a deft and insightful sociological analysis of the challenges facing urban areas in the 21st century and how criminal and drugs increase and affect those challenges. It also depicts institutional racism, sexism, and classicism, and how society breaks down under the weight of all three - what causes people to turn to crime and violence to solve their problems. The failings of our system.

While it can get preachy at times...particularly in the second and fifth seasons...the show has a brilliant sense of humor, black and crunchy, often of the absurd. It depicts the insanity of bureaucratic systems and organizations. The writers, Simon and his cronies, clearly are speaking from experience. One of the writers was an ex-Baltimore Cop (Detective McNulty is based on a real-life character that this writer personally knew, as was OMAR - in fact Omar is based on the writer's former informant) who became for a while a teacher in the Baltimore school district.
Simon, a former journalist in Baltimore, also writes from experience. It proves that writing what you know can have its advantages.

From narrative structure perspective? It is a work of beauty. Flawed in places, but all tv series are. The drug dealing bits go on a bit too long and can drag down the momentum. But its ensemble cast and depiction of a cop who goes to extremes to fight bureaucracy....while at the same time depicting why that bureaucracy is in place and the futility of how he is fighting necessary viewing.

If you didn't watch because you don't like procedurals, or hate cop shows, or drug dealing series annoy you - this show isn't what you'd expect. It's not your typical cop show or show about drug dealers. It's possibly the most realistic series about cops and drug dealing that I've seen, but it delves into more than that - various other systems are examined. And all of it is connected.
All the pieces fit together.

A work of television brilliance that should be required viewing for anyone who wants to write for television or has studied sociology and/or urban planning and political reform.

the rest of the days )
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. Beautiful day today, 50 degrees, sky a pristine blue, not a spot of clouds until evening. So took a rather long walk and ended up buying bed linings at Macy's in Downtown Brooklyn, which is a poor cousin to the Manhattan version.

2. Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series

The book meme from hell continues. I think this is easy only if you don't read that much or that varied.

Yes, I choose Harry Potter as favorite series but don't really have a favorite book in it. Like the series more as a whole.


* Dorothy Dunnett's Chronicles of Lymond: Checkmate - the last book in the series is my favorite, for many reasons, mainly though the political maneuvering and how the heroine, the hero's wife, Phillippa manages to unravel his past history and discover who his father truly was.
She saves him in the book at great cost to herself, and sacrifice, which I found rather fascinating.

*Jim Butcher's Dresden Files - two favorites Dead Beat about Harry's father issues, and the wonderful Changes - where various plot points and revelations are made and resolved, opening up brand new ones.

* A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin - Storm of Swords - that book has so many twists and turns and really fleshes out several of the characters, while getting rid of several characters that I'd gotten weary of, or changing them in a rather interesting way.

* Rachel Morgan/The Hollows series by Kim Harrison - The Outlaw Demon Wails and Pale Demon - for the exploration of the demon/elf war and the intriguing love/hate friendship between Rachel and Trent, that goes back to their childhood.

the rest of the days )

3. Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite TV show

I like this meme much better.

Least favorite Buffy episode...ah there are so many to choose from. But the only one that really has no redeeming value in my opinion and truly screwed up the arc, is ...As You Were. At the time it aired, way back in 2002, I did my best to fanwank the heck out of it. Because it should have been brilliant, it should have been the counter-part to "Into the Woods". In fact to see how As You Were failed, all you have to do is look at Into the Woods and what was done right.
By no means a perfect episode, Into the Woods looks rather brilliant in comparison to As You Were.
And that's saying something.

I don't dislike As You Were because I'm a fan of Spike or a fan of Spuffy. But rather...for the following reasons:

* The demon egg plot came out of nowhere. Unlike Riley and the vamp whores in Into the Woods - which had been built up to over the course of at least four episodes, the demon egg bit dropped in out of the sky with Riley. There was no build up. Suddenly Spike is smuggling demon eggs in and out of his crypt, while he's having sex with Buffy either in his bed or above ground? Alrighty then. It's not that I don't think Spike would smuggle demon eggs, but this comes out of nowhere.
And it's never really addressed again, except as a joke.

* The monster that the demon eggs turn into is amongst the lamest monsters on the planet. Sam and Riley describe it as a scourge that killed an entire crew, yet it looks like the creature from the black lagoon, except less real. And they defeat it fairly easily. Hardly a dastardly weapon. After half a season with the Trio, who are actually more creepy and frightening than the demons or demon eggs or Spike for that matter, it was hard to take Sam and Riley's mission seriously.

* Sam and Riley act literally like Action Figures. Actually Action Figures have more life and are less stiff then these two. I've seen both actors in other things - this wasn't their fault. It was the writing and direction. Here - they came across as Mary and Marty Stu get married and take on monsters. Proof that writers should never write for characters they have crushes on, at least not without supervision.

* This episode will forever be known for the immortal Spike line: "Slayer, if I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake". Proof that no one edited or proofed this climatic episode.

That's not all...we also have the chat between Willow and Sam about Dark Magic which is filled with cliches, and makes no sense - because why on earth would Willow confide in Sam or discuss such things with her?

The only good thing about the episode was the Xander/Anya scenes and they are actually the only characters that work in this episode. But even their scenes at this point are somewhat repetitive, more fighting, more listening to Xander's relatives fight, more worrying over the wedding. If you hadn't figured out by now that the wedding was not going to happen, you weren't paying attention.

Fans tried to make this episode meta, in fanfic, etc, but it just doesn't. And it really needed to - for the rest of the season to work. If it had been written better or even directed could have worked. There were ways they could have fixed it. Dropped hints about Spike smuggling the eggs earlier...maybe in Older and Far Away or Doublemeat Palace or even Dead Things?
It's almost as if the writers hadn't really plotted out the season ahead of time, they just knew the gist of it.

rest of the days )


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May 2015

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