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To all my friends in Great Britain, I hope you are okay. (I don't think anyone is an Ariana Granda fan?) and please stay safe.

So sorry this happened. I know how you feel though...the security alert in NYC went up as well.
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1. Old college friend has been posting her journey through South Dakota on FB. She's been hiking a South Dakota national park trail for her friend's 50th birthday. I tell this to my mother over the phone.

Mother: South Dakota?
Me: Yep.
Mother: There isn't anything in South Dakota except Mount Rushmore and the Badlands.
Me: I guess they are hiking the trail to Mount Rushmore.
Mother: Your grandfather was born there...why would anyone?
Me: I don't know. Just that it's really cold there and they got snow, so it go adventurous.

Admittedly this is the same college friend who thought we posted something about tourists boycotting Iowa.

2. Finished watching Victoria on Masterpiece finally. It was okay, I liked the acting. But the writing..and pacing had problems. Frankly? It drug. We spent a lot of time watching people walk through hallways, cross-stitching in silence, wandering about the countryside, and staring at each other. I kept falling asleep. Also it made me aware of how frightfully irresponsible the aristocrats were...there was poverty around them, and here they are wandering around bored in this huge castle or palace with hardly anyone in it. Made it hard for me to feel sympathetic to their plight. I think they should have gotten rid of the downstairs bit, which was hard to follow or care much about.

It should have been closer in structure to The Crown and less like Downton Abbey.

3. Big Bang Theory made me laugh hard for the first time in a while. That ending was precious.
And I adore Mayim Balik's Amy. Her facial reactions are perfection.

4. Another college friend on FB posted that she was shocked that Alan Cummings had come out that he was gay. And how disappointed she was, because she'd been crushing on him forever.

Posters: Are you serious? I mean, it's sort of obvious...
Friend: yes, I thought he was just being British.

Me: How could you not know this? (I mean it's not like he hid or anything, and he came out ages ago.)
(Also as an aside, what does being British have to do with it? LOL!)


See? FB can be rather entertaining if you avoid the politics. Right now everyone appears to be. It's either a slow week, or they got burned out. Probably the latter.

5. Riverdale -- on the fence. I like Jughead, and find Betty weirdly interesting...so hanging around. Actually I love the cinematography. This thing is well shot. I mean it's just beautiful in places. The writing and acting unfortunately don't quite do it justice...but it could have just been a bad episode. (I've about 6 or 7 episodes behind.)

Lucifer

May. 20th, 2017 10:31 pm
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1. I'm not sure if anyone is watching Lucifer outside of shapinglight?

Anyhow...I'm finding I'm enjoying it for the most part, except for the procedural bits or mystery of the week, which the writers don't appear to care that much about anyhow.

This past week's Lucifer was really good. Even brought back that 1990s song, What if God was One of Us by Joan Osborn.

eh spoilers )

2. Once Upon a Time Season Final -- this could have very easily been the series finale. And in some respects it was. And it ends happily. They make a big point of talking about new beginnings.

Over and over and over again. As if the writers want to slam home to the viewer that guess what, we are rebooting the show. Next year we'll have a whole new show, it's the same one, but a new beginning, new hero, new villains, etc.

I wish had faith in the writers to be innovative in this regard. But I read the break down and it's just a gender flip on the Henry/Emma bit. Now it's a little girl who finds her father, who has no memory of her, and asks him to help her, because his family needs him. The father is Henry Mills. So, instead of Emma being found by Henry, asking her to have belief. It's a little girl bringing the Once Upon a Time book to Henry and asking him to have faith...and the story she holds, is the story of his life in Storybrook.

My mother said the ending reminded her of Back to the Future 2 -- where they come back and say..."your family needs you". (This synced into a conversation about how the middle Back to the Future sucked, but parts 1 and 3 were pretty good. The only two things interesting about 2, was they predicted that the Cubs would win the World Series, and that someone like Trump would become President.)

The episode itself felt repetitive. I'd seen it before. Started fast-forwarding. The show, I think, has been stretched too thin. Not sure what they are going to do with Hook, Rumplestilskin and Regina...felt those characters had been sort of stretched thin as well, also redeemed as much as possible. What else is there to say? I mean how many times...can we revisit the same issues?

The problem sometimes with television series is they don't seem to when to call it quits.

3. In other news, finished The Smoke Thief -- and liked it a lot. Surprised me.
Granted the ending was...a bit on the syrupy side, but they all are. Anyhow, decided to read the next one in the series..."The Dream Thief".
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Hmm...so I finally saw this episode and liked more than I thought I would.

There's some good character development. A rather interesting take on racism...and how two people, who normally struggle with racism or being treated as different, both make verbal faux pas when addressing a blue space alien. I rather liked that and thought it funny and thought-provoking.

And some interesting themes. See below. Cut for spoilers.

1. The Evil Corporation Sci-Fi Trope, cut for plot spoilers )

At least this theme didn't overwhelm the episode. But it did seem to be a repeat of The Smile episode, making me wonder if they are trying to make a point about agency...ie. the control people have over others, and themselves? Actually that was the interesting theme that I saw.

Which brings me to what I think is actually one of the overarching themes of this season. And a far more interesting one than the above. Because frankly, I'm bored of the evil corporation theme. It's been a tad overdone.

Agency or Control )
shadowkat: (Default)
1.How did you name your pets?

Eh, I am not good at naming things. My brother did it for the later pets. And we had no real plan. It was just -- oh whatever came to mind. Sort of similar to coming up with passwords.

Don't own any pets at the moment...

2.Poirot or Miss Marpel?

Depends. Poirot was a little more darker, and exotic. Marple more homespun and somewhat down-to-earth. I think I liked Poirot better -- more variety. Marple's cases got a bit like Murder She Wrote after a bit. (Repetitive and rather dull, although I did like Sleeping Murder). And Poirot...was a bit more clever in how she wrote him and killed him off. (It is telling that Christie killed off Poirot and never did kill off Marple.)

I don't read many mysteries now...because unless they are hybrid genres (ie sci-fi, romance, fantasy, etc...they can be rather repetitious and dull. Let's face it there are only so many ways you can kill someone and then investigate it, hence a tendency towards serial killer plot-lines -- more drama, more urgency, and more danger.)

3.Do you have a FB account too?

Yes. It's how I stay in contact with old college chums, my extended family, and to some degree people on past fan boards that I met in person. Interestingly enough, there's people on FB who used to be on LJ and DW and have given up on DW and LJ ages ago and stick only FB, or Twitter. While there are people on DW and LJ who gave up on FB and Twitter.

4.Books - hardcover or paperback

Ebooks, largely. You can increase the size of the print, it lights up in the dark, doesn't take up any space, no moldy or dusty smell, tends to last longer, easy to cart around, and easier to hold and read while in transit.

Paperbacks -- take up less space, easier to lug around, cheaper.

Although should be mentioned I saw a book on Amazon, where the e-book was more than the hardback, and that's just odd.

5.Mobile(cell phone): Windows/Android or Apple?

Apple, currently. Android for my last three phones. I don't recommend Android. The Apple has lasted longer...is easier to use in some respects, although there are ticks with both. Apps work better with Apple - I've discovered. As do calls. But Apple did away with their "ignore/take" bit and copied Android's slide to take phone call bit, which just ...no.

Also the photo capability is much better.

Android is for techies, Apple is for the rest of us.
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Oh dear, Grey's Anatomy....why anyone in their right mind would to Grey/Sloan to get treated is beyond me. That hospital is cursed. To date they've had shooters, a bomb, fire, disease outbreak, and an explosion. I may have missed a few.

They also wrote out my favorite resident character, Edwards, and one of the few who can act.

This hasn't been the best year for the series. Not as good as the previous two years. Although, Rhimes has managed to shift the focus of the series to the POC characters over the white heterosexual ones. It's also more ensemble than it used to be. Meredith is no longer the central focus. It's more Bailey in some respects.
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1. What you just finished reading?

The Duke by Kerrigen Byrne which was good for what it was. It's a Victorian era historical romance. The lead characters are rather wounded in the novel, but the heroine, is no damsel and in many ways saves the hero from himself. There is an explicit sex scene that is...a bit rough, it's not rape, more seduction...or angry sex than anything else. But it may trigger some folks. Don't know.
The hero, or Duke, is a spy who got caught in the Ottoman empire during the April Uprising. He ends up losing his left hand and is imprisoned. After he's rescued, the heroine is assigned as his nurse and takes care of him. She figures out that he has septis instead of typhus. She's assigned to his care, because she's the only person in the ward that already had typhus and survived. They'd met previously, but he doesn't remember what she looked like. The woman he remembers was pale, with raven locks, and delicate bones -- he was rather drunk at the time, and she was wearing makeup and a wig.
This woman - he'd fallen for. Oh, and that night, he'd taken her virginity, but was kind and sweet about it -- considering he bought it for 20 pounds. After she saves his life, she's kicked out of the hospital because the head doc is upset that she overstepped his authority. And then she's almost raped by a customer at the bar she's been forced to work at to pay off her father's dept. (Instead she stabs the guy in the throat and thinking she killed him (she didn't) off she goes to rob the kindly Earl she'd been nursing. The Earl catches her and marries her. He's dying of cancer and is much much older. And he just happens to live next door to the Duke. The Earl dies and the heroine is now the Duke's next door neighbor...much chaos ensues. Oh and there's a serial killer wandering about that is targeting her.

This writer likes serial killers. The last two books in her series had them too. Personally, I find the whole serial killer trope a bit overdone and cliche. Which is my main quibble with the novel. Well that and I felt it sort of drooped or fell short at the end. Started out great, loved the first two thirds of it, but the last fifty pages...meh.

2. What you are reading now?

The Smoke Thief which is rather interesting in that it is a paranormal historical romance novel about people who can shift into dragons. Both the hero and heroine are rather strong and the banter is great between them. This writer is rather good at dialogue and banter. (Not all are, and I'm nit-picky about dialogue, more so than anything else. Possibly a result of reading a million plays when I was a youngster. Don't know.)

The story starts when the hero and heroine are kids, well after prologue explaining the verse is out of the way. There's some expository material in the beginning of the book which explains who these people are, why they can become dragons, and the central conflict of their kind. She does it rather quickly -- so it's not complex. If you are looking for Lord of the Rings look elsewhere. The main point of the story is the romance.

Anyhow, the heroine has a crush on the hero, until she accidentally finds him romancing her nemesis and the local mean girl -- who has chased and beaten her up on various occasions. Apparently he'd slept with the mean girl, Melanie, and the heroine, Rue, woke up and well happened upon them. They discover her...it's humiliating, he let's her go. She's twelve, he's sixteen, and Melanie is sixteen at the time.

Years pass, Rue, manages to Turn into a dragon on her 17th birthday. No other woman has ever managed this in centuries. She runs, because she's terrified they will force her to wed the marquess, and he obviously doesn't care for her or notice her. He calls her "Mouse" at this stage, so yes, he noticed her. And from his perspective, is rather intrigued by her even at that point. But she's unaware of it.

The story has more than one point of view. We have the Marquess aka Kit Langford, the hero, Rue Hawthorn Hillard, the heroine, and for some odd reason Nick Beaton, a scribe...so far. So we may get more.

Rue takes off...and becomes a jewel thief or the Smoke Thief of the title. The papers report her crimes, Langford and the rest of his group/tribe become suspicious and go searching for the thief, who they believe is "male" not "female". They plant a priceless diamond for the thief to steal as bait. When they discover the thief is a female drakon - ie someone who can change to dragon, they get excited and their purpose shifts completely. And while pursuing her, the diamond is stolen out from under their noses.

3. What I'm reading next?

No idea. I certainly have plenty of things to choose from. Including a nonfiction historical about women spies during the Civil War that I picked up on a whim.
shadowkat: (Default)
After doing my abbreviated version of the epic meme, I was thinking of doing another sort of meme about favorites.. and now decided what the hell, instead of boring you by ranting incoherently about my bad day, I'd do the meme...so below here it is...

list of favorites or Favorite Meme...to cheer me up, it's been a bad day. )
shadowkat: (Default)
An insanely long meme from mamcunluna, which I'm editing because..insanely long meme. So if I don't like a question? It's gone.

Before I start -- two funny news items via the daily dot, and no I didn't link them, you will have to go hunt down the links on your own.

sort of political )

Now, the meme from hell...which may not be once I get done with it.

Meme...that is insanely long and rather personal, but aren't they all? )

Well, I cut most of the personal stuff that I didn't feel like sharing.
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Just re-watched Dirty Dancing circa 1986, I think, which I haven't seen in years. (I saw it twice in the movie theaters when it first came out, but back then movies were dirt cheap. Now not so much.)

The movie, by the way, has a very anti-capitalism/anti-classicism theme. It really attacks social and class prejudices and privilege. It's about a well-to-do family from New York that vacations in the Catskills at a resort. They have nice cabins, dance lessons, various activities, and beautiful grounds in the Catskill mountains. It's a Jewish resort for the well-to-do. The wait staff comes from Harvard or Yale or is well on the way, while the entertainment or the "dancers" are the blue collar artists who need the gig to make ends meet. They are the staff -- giving the dance lessons, entertaining the guests, in some cases sleeping with or romancing the elder ladies who are lonely or the older gents. Takes place in 1963.

At the beginning -- it's established that the wait staff is there to romance the daughters of the guests, because they are on their way to Harvard and Yale, and make good marital material. While the dancers are not to converse with the guests, and just teach them how to dance. The "boy from the wrong side of the tracks" is the dancer, Johnny Castle, played by Patrick Swayze, while the 18 year old, wet behind the ears, good girl, Baby, is played by Jennifer Grey, who previously always got the snotty sister roles.
Jerry Orbach plays her mother, while Mrs. Gilmore plays the mother...which I thought was interesting.

During the movie, poor Johnny, is continuously getting the short end of the stick. He's accused of knocking up his dance partner, Penny, when in reality it was the snot-nosed Yale waiter, Robbie, who is romancing Baby's sister on the side. And, who thrusts The Fountainhead under Baby's nose when she asks him to help Penny. (If you've read the Fountainhead or know the story, you'll get the reference -- and it's an interesting choice. It's clear from the set-up that Baby believes in helping others, does it instinctively. She's the exact opposite of the views espoused by Rand in her novels. Robbie, on the other hand, is a walking poster board for the Randian philosophy. As is Neil, the proprieter's geeky/nerdy son who keeps coming on to Baby and boasts about the amount of money and hotels he owns. Because of course Daddy gave them to him. Underlying all this..is the sad state of disrepair of the hotel, the dwindling guests, the fact the father had invited Baby's family up, after her father saved his life, and is struggling to stay aloft. He even states at the end that the writing is on the wall, no one wants to come here any more, they want to go off to Europe. And Johnny and Penny even state that it's a dinosaur. So ironically...there's rot beneath the wealth. Also the copy of the Fountainhead he thrusts at Baby is shop-worn and falling apart.)

There's a clear message in the movie that helping others, putting other's first, and caring about someone outside of your own social class or family is more successful and helpful in the long run. Baby who does all of this...ends up having the Time of her life, she falls in love, learns to dance, and in the process changes those around her, lives for the better in some respects -- Johnny jumps out of his comfort zone and leaves this gig, which belittled his talent and used him, as does Penny, Robbie gets smacked, and Lisa learns to appreciate her sister a bit more.

Also the movie has great dance scenes. Patrick Swayze could move. And he's excellent in this film, gets across a blend of innocence, vulnerability and strength...that is rather compelling. Also he has a sensitivity as a dancer that pulls you in. He taught Grey how to dance during the filming. And it was clearly blended into it.

Rather impressed at how well it holds up. The themes do resonate today, years later.
We are still having issues with an ever increasing socio-economic divide, there are still one too many Robbie's and Neil's wandering about, but in the midst of all that...there are people like Baby who stand up for others.

Her name Baby is ironic as well, it convey innocence and how others treat her -- yet, she seems to have a strength and insight they lack.

Hmmm...better movie than I'd remembered. I had remembered a good dance film. But there are some nice metaphors and layers in there.
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1. Hmmm....Once Upon A Time appear to be renewed for another season?
Why? I just finished watching the musical episode...and, oh dear. The cast can certainly sing and they sing their hearts out. But the plot, the writing, and the lyrics...don't quite work and are rather lackluster and unmemorable. It's also repetitious at this point. We've had Peter Pan, the Evil Queen, Wicked, and now the Dark Fairy, all curse the town with the help of Rumplestilskin, who appears to be related to practically all of them in some way or responsible for their power. And each time, Emma has to do something to save everyone. I don't blame Jennifer Morrison for saying this is her last season. Good for her. Wish Robert Carlyle would do the same.

At any rate, I'm finally done with it. Deleted the nine episodes the proceeded it, without watching them. There was no point. After seeing the musical episode, I didn't care what happened previously or how they all got there.

The problem with this series has always been the writing. The acting is actually fairly good, the casting for the most part is up to snuff, and the special effects and production value is all there -- but the writing...I keep wondering how these people got their jobs? The plots don't quite hold together, the story has been stretched almost too thin, and the characters that could have been developed and explored never quite are without falling back into cliche. And the dialogue which had potential never quite zings.

On FB someone compared it with Once More With Feeling. And they were right, it pales in comparison. Whedon actually is a good writer. He can write a singable and memorable lyric and song. The man understands poetry and composition. He also knows how to further character and story with song. The writers of OUAT have no clue.
It felt like ratings bait. Which I admittedly fell for. Very similar to The Flash, except it was oddly better.

Anyhow...what's bewildering about Once Upon a Time is it appears to have been renewed for another season? What else can it possibly say? I think it should have ended with the musical episode. But oh well. It ended for me with the musical episode. I don't know if I'll watch the season finale or not. On the fence. I have a feeling they are planning on killing off Emma. I'm hoping they just write her and Hook and her family off into the sunset...into their happy ending.

I almost wish the series ended with the ending of the third season or fourth, with Regina sending Emma and Henry back to our world without their memories, and everyone else back to the Enchanted Forest. Storybrook itself dissolving into the ether. Those seasons worked and that ending was brilliant.

I think continuing after that ending...stretched the show too thin and in some ways killed its magic.

I've decided that some television series last too long. It's better to find an ending. The curse of television. It often doesn't know when to end things.

2.) The Catch -- wish this show would get another season. Although, not surprised it hasn't. While I liked it for the most part, it had a lot of problems. The casting was all wrong for the most part. And the writing/direction felt off. Casting is often 90% of it, as Ridley Scott recently stated -- that 98% of his success is that he has a good eye for casting. He does. Shondra Rhimes and her crew...don't, they are off a lot of the time. Grey's and Scandal, aren't bad, but also uneven. How to Get Away with Murder -- was horribly uneven, only two or three people in its cast work - but it's writing also had issues. I tried to like it. The Catch -- with the exception of Rhys, Daniel, Margot, and Tommy Vaugh, not good casting. Alice, Benjy, Ethan, Justine, Val, and Sofie never quite grab you and they really needed too. Particularly Alice and Benjy, who were supposed to be the leads.

And the plotting/story was very jagged and jarring. Too busy, and too much happening, almost as if the writers couldn't focus or got bored and felt stuff needed to be added.

So, while I wanted more of it, at the same time I desperately wanted to fix it. Just wish ABC would renew it and cancel OUAT and Marvels Agents of Shield, both of which I gave up on this year. Well, no, I gave up on Marvel Agents of Shield last year. Once I gave up on in January.

3. Decided to switch to Google Chrome finally. It's working better than Firefox. Faster interface and less bugs. Also, charger is working better. Was concerned. I may be able to put off buying a new computer for a bit longer.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. What I just finished reading...

The Witches of Karres by John Schmitz - it was entertaining, better than expected. Didn't rock my world, but I didn't expect it to. Basically what everyone said it was.

Full Review can be found HERE.

There's two sequels available for the remotely curious. They are written by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and someone named David something or other. Who are apparently well known in the field. I only recognized Mercedes Lackey, who I rather like. She's a sci-fantasy writer. That's a good fit, considering Witches is most definitely sci-fantasy. The sequels are "The Wizard of Karres" and "The Soceress of Karres". I've been flirting with Wizard...it picks up where the last one left off...with the Captain working as a special operative for the Emperess, and escorting an alien and her dog to their home planet, which is being attacked by a naninite plague, which threatens the rest of the universe. He's also being chased as an outlaw to the Empire. (Which I found confusing, but okay). When the ship breaks down and requires repairs, he joins a traveling circus act...(I don't know it sounds rather busy, but then these sorts of books are.)

2. What I'm reading now...

The Duke by Kerrigen Byrme who is an interesting writer. Her focus is on classicism, and how women were treated back in Victorian times. Her novels take place during the mid-to-late 1800s, when Disraeli was Prime Minister of England. This one takes place in and around the April Uprising and the Ottoman Empire.

I've realized something reading romance novels, the historicals seem to like to tackle feminism, classicism and other social issues and often as well if not better than some of the literary writers such as Atwood. (Which is weird. Don't get me wrong, they aren't the wordsmiths that Atwood is..English is a brutal language and not everyone can write precise and at times dense poetic prose. Nor does everyone necessarily want to read languid poetic prose...I like it fine, but it tends to put me to sleep on subways, airplanes and trains or give me a headache. But they are better at character development, plotting, and sometimes getting their point across without hammering you over the head with it. I mean you really only need one attempted rape, after all.) Anyhow, another thing I realized is while the historical romance novels tackle social themes the contemporary romances seem to...how to put this? Reinstate? Reinforce the traditionalist and somewhat elitist class and chauvinistic views? Making me wonder about some of these contemporary romance novelists. In fact my mother stated that in a contemporary romance, if the heroine were to find herself in the heroes room or in a brothel -- he'd rape her. While in the historicals, he doesn't always, or he seduces her. And in today's world that happens too often. (Actually, it's why I stopped doing online dating..).

Sexual violence is a heavy theme in romance novels. Although lately, I haven't seen much of it. Usually, if it's attempted she successfully fights him off. And if it does happen, it's off page.
I've only seen it in contemporary - aka the dreaded New Adult novels in stories written post 2008.
(Note, have not seen it that often in contemporary small town romance novels that Nora Roberts and Lisa Kelypas specialize in.)

plot spoilers or what the book is about up to a certain point... )

It's your basic wounded hero meets tough as nails caring woman trope aka Beauty and the Beast.
While playing around with various socio-political themes in the process. (I'm more interested in social political themes and psychological ones than philosophical for some reason.)

The Amazon reviewers who didn't like the book -- had issues with the romance. Honestly, people are weird about the Beauty and the Beast trope. The don't want the Beast to be well, beastly. What's the point, if he's not beastly? There's no arc.

Also, I find the reviewers a bit scary on both Good Reads and Amazon...or I wonder about them,
for one thing they are insistent on capitalizing the word "Hero" and putting the word "heroine" in lowercase, yet seem oblivious to how incredibly sexist this is. Yes, English tends to be a sexist, masculain language, unlike Latin, but...people, it's not grammatically correct and it's sexist to capitalize one and not the other. I want to kick them. They do it, so they can say "H" and "h" without spelling it out. I got an idea, why not flip it? Heroine and hero. In this book that would be far more accurate. Although hero isn't really gender specific. You can use it for both sexes if you so desire. Sort of similar to fiance or spouse or partner or protagonist. Here, the protagonist is actually the woman, he's sort of secondary. Granted we get both perspectives, but she's given the slant. I finally got fed up and felt the need to tell one of the reviewers this. I doubt it made any difference. I also told my FB page and Twitter. Doubt that did anything either. Crazy society insists on being sexist, not a lot I can do about it. Unfortunately.

The other thing they do that makes me crazy is they...seem to want everything watered down or flattened out. No shades of gray. Black and white, clear cut, simplified. No real plot. Just the guy meets girl and the sex. One reviewer whinged about the mystery aspect. (Granted I could do without a serial killer...there appears to be one in each of the books, so maybe not so much whinging on that score.) It's disconcerting - the whinging about flat characters and desire for a straight up romance, not the serial killer bit.

3. What I'm reading next...

I don't know. Possibly another romance. Could be anything really.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
This just has to be shared...

Seven New Earth Sized Planets with Water Have Been Discovered in the Trappist-1 System and May House Alien Lifeforms.

Trappist by the way stands for The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile, which initially detected three of the planets in May 2016.

Now this is the part made me laugh...and got me pondering...and feel the need to share with everyone.



If advanced intelligent life has evolved in the TRAPPIST-1 system, they could already have detected our radio and television transmissions. Our broadcasts of Happy Days, Three’s Company, and Charlie’s Angels are arriving there now. Our own SETI (the Search for Extra- terrestrial Intelligence) has monitored the TRAPPIST-1 system for any artificial radio signals but so far has not detected any alien transmissions. Further surveys however, will be conducted in the future.

While a great many Earth-sized extra-solar planets (exoplanets, for short) have already been catalogued, this discovery brings us another step closer to answering one of the big questions in the universe. Are we alone?


Okay, admittedly they probably did this back in the 1970s, but they couldn't have found anything better to broadcast than Happy Days, Three's Company and Charlie's Angels? I mean come on...there had to have been something...what about Star Trek? Granted I'm not sure Twilight Zone, Doctor Who, or Six Million Dollar Man would have been a good idea.

Anyhow this got me to pondering..."What three television series would I broadcast out into space? Keeping in mind that this may be the only information that an alien race in the universe receives about my species?"

It also inspired me to add a conversation about Charlies Angels to my sci-fi novel. While working on solving a technical issue, an alien and a human engineer discuss Charlie's Angels.

"Who is this Charlie?" asks the alien.

"He's a billionaire who hires three woman to work as his investigative team."

"Yes, I gathered that. But why would beautiful women work for a guy who just calls them on the phone and never appears face to face?"

"He pays them lots of money, you'd be surprised what people used to do for money."

"Actually, no. We sort of counted on that. How do you think we managed to invade and conguer your planet successfully. And while puzzling, the billionaire worship does explain your choice of Donald Trump as President. We had wondered about that. Not that it would have mattered. We would have invaded regardless. But back to Charlies Angels - why are they called Angels?"


I still need to work on that. But it does inspire all sorts of delightful sci-fi fiction dialogue doesn't it? I mean can you imagine what an alien race would make of Happy Days, Charlies Angels and Three's Company? They must think we're terribly sexist.

Also, if you had to choose three television serials to broadcast into space to alien worlds, which would you pick? I mean this is your job and you have to do it. Choose three, and think about the consequences. (Ie, I don't think the Walking Dead, A Handmaid's Tale, American Gods or Game of Thrones would be a good idea. Then again, they might scare off the aliens...so who knows.)
shadowkat: (work/reading)
Finally finished this book. It's probably good to know where and how I read -- I read on my commute. Each day I travel by foot, subway, foot, and train to my workplace. It's about an hour and fifteen-twenty minutes give or take each way. I also read whenever I'm traveling by train elsewhere. Mainly? I read primarily in transit. Travel reading is a very different thing than stationary reading. For one thing it's far harder to read dense fiction or philosophical meanderings while in transit. It tends to give me a headache. Why? Well, distractions.

Example?
Read more... )

I also read before bed at night. I tend to read more ...dense stuff at night. I read Blind Assassin before bed at night for three years -- that's why it took so long to read that book. I'd read it in snatches for twenty to thirty minutes before bed. Couldn't read it on the train -- mind refused to focus on it. It's very hard to read literary or dense material when people are chatting on the phone, listening to loud music or coughing around you, not to mention the train announcements and noises. Also I tend to read standing up and I cart the book around with me -- so it's better if it is a Kindle and not a hefty hard back or paperback, preferably with a light in case all the lights go out on the train, which happens.

Anyhow, enuf on that..

Review of Witches of Karres

A co-worker thrust this one on me. One day at work, he came up to me and handed me a ratty old paperback from the 1980s (actually it was from the 60s, but this copy was 1983), and said, you have to read this ! I just read it and I really think you'll love it.

So, with much trepidation I did. Book rec's don't always work out. And co-worker and my tastes don't always coincide. What's that phrase? You say tomato, I say tomatoe....? Anyhow, I read it and liked it a lot better than I thought I would.

mild spoilers for Witches of Karres )
shadowkat: (Default)
[Prior to my review, was thinking about something the other day -- while jumping about the net looking for info on a favorite Marvel character that no one appears to like but me, and realized why being involved in a fandom isn't always...workable. I can't think of the right word. I mean what happens if you are "fannish" about something, and everyone you come across really isn't? I suppose you could find someone who loves it...but it can take a bit of doing. Buffy was easy -- when I joined the fandom, 75% of the people I ran across seemed to agree with me. We were simpatico for the most part. Oh there were a few here and there that didn't but generally speaking...it worked out okay. Hmm...this may be why Buffy is the only fandom I've managed to join or stick with for a length of time. It's not that I don't get fannish about things, it's just that I find it hard to find people who are like-minded about it. And don't get me wrong, I do like disagreement here and there, but it does get exhausting and it would be nice if you didn't have to do it all the time.

I think this is why I struggled with getting too involved with the Doctor Who fandom. What turned me on doesn't appear to turn on other people. rather long musing on this that you may want to skip, don't say you weren't warned )

Okay that was rather long. I sort of went off-tangent. So went back to put it behind a cut.

1. Thin Ice

Was rather disappointed in this episode, after all the shining reviews of it online. They were touting it as the best episode so far. (Hmmm, see above. But this is should be a warning to me, whenever the fandom or the critics LOVE a Doctor Who episode, I appear to find it rather boring and derivative...wondering WTF are they smoking? Yes, folks, I'm at odds with the Doctor Who fandom apparently. This happened with The Vincent Van Gough episode (which I can't remember and did not understand the appeal of), Girl in the Fire Place (ditto), the whole Rose Tyler arc, most of Donna's arc with the exception of Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead -- which I thought were the best episodes ever, and everyone else didn't. Yes, I'm definitely at odds with the fandom. Oh well.)

Anyhow...what I liked about the episode, there's a reiteration of this season's apparent theme, which is "things aren't evil, they are just hungry or wanting to survive". Also a reiteration of the theme in Moana -- although I liked how Moana expressed it much better. (Which is ...man's greedy impulses destroy what is freely given. Harnessing a creature of nature for his own needs, makes man the monster not the creature.) Actually I think the only monsters we need to fear are ourselves. Which seems to be a theme that Doctor Who is reiterating this season.

spoilers )

Overall not a bad episode. I was a bit bored during it and thought it could have been better paces. Also it got a bit didatic and preachy in places. (Characters stopped everything and gave long speechs that didn't really propel the action and weren't really required. They were nice speeches. But, I'd heard it before. In fact when Bill asks the Doctor if you have to live a thousand years to give a speech like that. I thought, uh no, he gave one more or less just like it when he was just 600 years old.)

2. Knock Knock

Found this episode far more entertaining. Don't know who wrote it. Noticed a woman wrote the last episode, which was nice. We have women writers now. Maybe we always did on Doctor Who and I just didn't notice? I felt guilty for not liking her episode better than this one. Solidarity and all that. But I wouldn't worry about it too much, apparently everyone else including the critics felt the opposite.

I thought this one was rather clever. (Although the bug bit felt repetitive. Haven't we done that before? I feel like I've seen it somewhere...just can't remember where? Oh well, there's no new plots, I've pretty much seen everything done somewhere before...so doesn't really matter. But I kept trying to figure out what television show or episode did something similar.)

And the dialogue/banter between various characters was hilarious in places. I did have to put it on close caption, because between the songs, sound-effects, and the thick British accents, I was having troubles making out what the characters were saying -- particularly in The Thin Ice episode.

spoilers )

Rather enjoyed this one. Overall? A good episode. Not as good as "The Pilot" but I think a notch better than the last two.
shadowkat: (Default)
The animated Disney film Moana is a well-executed and inspiring tale about our relationship with the earth and sea, and how we...or rather men, can damage it by hunting for praise from others.

plot spoilers )

I think I enjoyed this more than FROZEN, in part, because it subverts so many of the tropes... and unlike FROZEN it wasn't based on a fairy tale that I adored, as it had previously been told. I think this story goes further in throwing those old tropes out the window, while honoring new ones. And,
it is a tale told through characters, the characters and story are at the center. We don't spend a lot of time being "told", so much as being "shown". In other words, it's not preachy.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. I'm enjoying "Witches of Karres" -- it's not the book's fault that I keep going to sleep on the train. Has zip to do with it. I'm just tired. Or my mind keeps wandering and telling itself a somewhat erotic sci-fi story. The commute is not always the most conducive for reading -- for one thing there are lots of noisy distractions.
about what I'm reading next or rather not reading next and why )

2. Best Books Every Written Meme Anyhow, Good Reads came up with another book list, some of their selections once again make me wonder about the folks on Good Reads and people in general. But I've been wondering about people a lot lately. I think people have gone crazy, too much media. Everyone needs to take a month long vacation to some destination that does not have any access to internet, social media, news, phones, television or any of that stuff. Also maybe away from other people.

Best Books Ever According to Good Reads

At any rate, forget about that list, all it did was motivate me to write up my own list of best books ever written...many of which I have not exactly read. (So you are probably asking yourself this question right about now, how in the hell do I know it was the best ever written if I haven't bothered to read it? Well it appears to have lasting value, and I trust the folks who think it has...and I want to read it, and it's my meme. Go create your own.)

Rules of Meme, should you choose to play.

*. Come up with a list of books that you want to rec to people that you believe/think are the best books ever written (Granted this list may tell people more than you want them to know about you as a person...)

* It can be any book that has been written and published (this includes independently published books and self-published, it doesn't just have to be traditionally published works. But don't include fanfic published only on the internet. It needs to have been actually published as a book that is printed on paper.)

* You don't have to have read the book, but it does help if you know what it is about and whether you want to read it. You should be able to defend the choice on some level -- say you saw the movie? That helps. It's not the Best Books You've EVER Read, it's the Best Books Ever Written, after all.

* You can only include "one" book by an author. In other words, you can't take up ten entries with Harry Potter, or ten entries with Shakespeare Plays, or four entries with Tolkien books. You have to choose "one" work by that writer. Just one. (It's a lot harder than it sounds.) Although you can cheat and put "The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien" or "the Complete Works of William Shakespeare" if you so desire. Just don't have them take up more than one spot.

Okay, here's my list of best books written and everyone should try these, in no particular order because I hate ranking things

100 Best Books Ever Written )

So, what are yours?

Going to bed, fighting a sinus headache from hell.
shadowkat: (rainbow strength)
1.So this is hanging on my living wall right now...so I can see it every day. Was taken around the hour of my birth, on the day of my birth, fifty some years later. Came out really well, changes color depending on the lighting, more orange at night, more yellow during the day -- sort of magical.

 photo IMG_1186_zpsuof72a90.jpg

I've decided to start decorating my apartment and changing stuff in it. Except I suck at decorating, design, or assembly. So we'll see how this pans out.

And still having problems with the posting of pics, since I posted this last night and it did not work. Will see if it does now. Splitting the post up, I had something else on it about books that I'm doing now in a separate post.

2. Listening to a song from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" on Spotify. (I'd decided to listen to Broadway musicale on Spotify in the hopes that it would either encourage or discourage me from trying one. So far discouraging. Also, seriously, did Disney decide to do a musical of every animated show in its collection? And why was there a Shrek musical? Granted that's not Disney...)


shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. Still reading The Witches of Karres by John Schmitz which is more of a sci-fantasy and sort of comical, although I've never laughed, just smiled. My sense of humor is very dry and more towards witty, puns and absurdist humor for absurdity sake (see Hitchhiker's Guide) doesn't really work for me. It's hit or miss. If I feel like the book is just one joke after another, I get rather bored. In regards to Terry Pratchett, I don't really know if I like Pratchett or not. I loved "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents" which I fought was a rather clever take on the Pied Piper of Hamlin, except with a clever cat working with clever mice. But "Good Omens" written by Gaiman and Pratchett started to drag, it was funny to start, but the joke was drug out too long and began to wear thin (sort of similar to my issues with Hitchhiker and The Palace Job.) The other one I tried and could not get through was "Monstrous Regiment" - which I had to look up and bored me silly. It was a clearly a satire about war, but I don't do well with satire for satire's sake -- that's my problem with Jonathan Swift and 98% of American Satirical comedies ("The Good Place", "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt", "The Office", "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and "The Simpsons"). Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they are poorly written or anything, just that I get impatient and bored during them, because the "satire" and "themes" are more important than the characters or the characters arcs. Yes, the characters are interesting and even complex, but..I feel distanced from them somehow, as if they are satirical tropes. And they are. Nothing wrong with that, but, I'm a "character" gal as an old college buddy likes to say. Character sort of comes above all else with me. Not everyone is like that. Most folks aren't. And that's okay, although I wish it was the opposite, but what can you do, and differences and diversity make life interesting.

Anyhow..as a result I don't know if I like Prachett. I've only tried three books that he wrote. One - I loved, and remember fairly well, one disappointed me, and one just could not finish (which was a shame because it was a gift from a dear friend at the time, who thought I'd love it. I had to side-step that with her.) Sort of like Opera, I don't know if I like Opera -- only really seen Carmen, listened to some on CD (high soprano, doesn't do a lot for me -- my parents love it and played it constantly when I visited for a while there), parts of a comic opera, and listened to Mozart (I love listening to Mozart, how can you not?). Should try the city Opera at some point, be warned not to try the Met, it's pricey and not comfortable.

I do however love Gilbret & Sullivan Operettas...I've seen every single one in the space of a month on VHS, plus two performed by a G&S troop. We did the Mikado in high school (I was on the makeup crew, which was fun. As a result, I saw the Mikado a million times and almost have it memorized. I adored it.) See, that's interesting -- because G&S is pure satire and parody, yet I find it hilarious and loved it. (Hmmm, haven't seen it in a while though...so it is possible my tastes changed).

I don't know if I like Roger Zelzany either, just that I could not finish "Lord of Light" but that means nothing. It's possible I'd like another one of his books?

Too many books, too little time. Which makes me wonder why I am writing three at the moment. Oh that's right, because no one else has written them and I want to read those stories.

2.) Romance Genre has a frigging lot of sub-genres, some favorable, some....that ahem give it a bad name and make me wonder about people. This is unfortunately about the latter...and yes, I've read a lot of it, so I feel qualified to rant about it for a bit. (I only feel qualified to rant and rip apart things that I've experienced and read. Not that that always stops me...unfortunately, and much to be my own chagrin, but still.)

Was wandering about on Amazon during work, and Amazon being Amazon decided to rec Paper Princess by someone named Erin Watt..who is an erotica writer, writing a YA romance novel or at least this is marketed as a YA. I think Amazon rec'd it because I'd read Royally Matched and Royally Screwed and this story appeared to be in the same vein? Who knows? Amazon can't figure me out any longer -- it's just throwing everything at me including the kitchen sink.

Anyhow the title perked my interest. So I checked it out. And...I think YA may be the wrong subgenre for it? The marketing blurb is rather amusing.


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BOOK

Q: Is this really a YA?

We recommend this for young adult readers, age 17 and up. We think it’s a book that will appeal to older teens and those adults who are in touch with their inner teen, like us.


Uhm, hate to break this to you, but that isn't "Young Adult", young adult is teens, between 14-18 usually. (ie. Twilight, The Hunger Games, Maze). 17 and up is New Adult - basically college kids. Post-high school age readers. (ie. 50 Shades of Grey, CrossFire, Colleen Hoover's books, Beautiful Disaster, etc.)

New Adult often syncs into the Billionaire Boys Club romances -- which is basically 50 Shades of Grey erotica Cinderella fantasies. Think Cinderella, except her Prince is into BDSM or rough sex. But not always does it sync into this ...sometimes it's more along the lines of Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire novels which is melodramatic teen sex romances. They are either in college, high school, or somewhere in between...having lots of forbidden elicit sex. The reason the writer goes younger -- is the want the virgin and the badboy trope or in some scenarios the naughty girl/bad boy trope. But unless the girl is 17-22, you can't really make it a big deal that she's having sex in contemporary romance novels.

rant about our societal insecurities and crazy ass assumptions regarding sex and other's sexual lives which I've lost all tolerance for )

Enuf of the rant.



Q: Is there a cliffhanger? I’ve heard there’s an awful cliffhanger! Why’d you write a cliffhanger?

We promise that we didn’t set out to write a cliffhanger, but Paper Princess does end in one. The good news is that the next book is up for pre-sale and it will be released July 25, 2016.


Sigh. According to the reviews there is an awful cliffhanger, which appears to be the routine in New Adult romance novels. You only get the crazy cliffhangers in the New Adult and sometimes the Young Adult contemporary. You don't get them in the historical romances, the adult contemporary romances, just the frigging YA and New Adult for some reason. And they don't help the story. If anything they stretch it too thin.

So, yes, you silly marketing people, you did intend to write an awful cliffhanger. Who do you think you are fooling? You did it so you could sell two books not just one, possibly even a series of books -- because hello, we have six boys, which lends itself to a series...it just writes itself.

I despise the New Adult genre.

why I despise it and brief description of Paper Princess )
shadowkat: (Default)
Really enjoying the new Doctor Who episodes, which is surprising. Although I may have to start recording "Class" that airs after it, because BBC America keeps cutting off the last two minutes of every episode. In "Smile" they get back to Earth, exit the Tardis, wondering if anything happened when they left. Exit it - in shock. Or a "WHOOPS WTF???" expression. Then the recording stops. Dang it.

So, I'm going to have to start recording "CLASS" just so I can catch the last two minutes of "Doctor Who".

The episode that I just watched was SMILE -- it was very apropos, since I've been feeling down and out of late. And I liked the metaphor -- of how people expect you to be happy all the time. In the episode, if you aren't "happy" and "smiling" all the time, the helpful robots kill you.
Sort of extreme, but there it is.

What I like about this version of "Doctor Who" or what is different from the previous versions or stands out, is a sense of fun, also it's witty, in that way that only the Brits can truly be "witty".
I like the witty. Bill is a breath of fresh air, she makes fun of things, including the Doctor, and his by-play with her is rather fun.

Only problem I had with the episode, was the sense that I'd seen it before -- I had a weird sense of Deja Vue. It just seemed really familiar. And I couldn't place where I'd seen it. It was a little reminiscent of "Silence in the Library" and "Forests of the Dead" but not quite. No I think it was something else..Probably doesn't matter. There really aren't any new stories, just new ways of telling them. OR so I'm told.

spoilers )

Anyhow...I really enjoying this iteration of Doctor Who. Shame it's Capadali's last season. Someone online, I think it was maia, might have been elsi, stated that the lovely thing here...was there was no more lonely god or most important girl in all the world. Just a guy exploring the universe with a traveling partner, who are from two different generations and two different species. In other words, the series got rid of it's own self-importance and that of it's characters. Doctor Who in previous seasons almost took itself too seriously, and it's characters at times came across as a bit egotistical and arrogant. I found it hard to relate to them or like at various points. I think that's why I liked Doctor Song and prior to her, Donna, they brought a bit of levity to the enterprise.

Now, neither is needed.

2. Hmmm, I had more to say, but I've forgotten what it was. Couldn't have been terribly important.

Oh, Witches of Karres is reminding me of Farscape for some reason. I think it's the fact that everyone wants the hyper drive or Sheevas Drive, reminds me of everyone wanting John Cricton's knowledge of wormholes (which like the lead character in Witches doesn't really know anything about.)

And I'm trying to figure out where a song lyric came from..."we are living in difficult times" -- I think Jesus Christ Superstar, but no clue. Could have been Chess. Or one of the 74 new songs I downloaded over the weekend. I downloaded the S5 album of Nashville (because the best thing about Nashville is the music), Freddy Mercury's singles (rather adore that man's voice and Queen), George Michael's "Faith Remastered", and Leonard Cohen's last album. Shows you how weirdly diverse my music taste is, doesn't it?

Wasn't a great day today. But on the plus side, I didn't lose my driver's license (like I thought) just misplaced it, got various things done, and snoozed on the train. Life could be better, but it could also be worse.

Oh and Lucifer appears to be back. Yay. Haven't seen it yet. Have a Doctor Who and Lucifer episode saved. No time to see tonight. Have to get up bright and early.

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