shadowkat: (work/reading)
Stayed away from the news for the most part today, and that helped reduce my anxiety levels considerably. Work feels a bit like pushing boulders up a hill with my mind. So been obsessing over my up-coming trip to Costa Rica and all the crap I apparently need. Because suffice it to say, I don't have water/active athletic adventure stuff. I hope the footwear is okay. I think my strap on sandals should be fine.

To distract myself on my commute, I'm reading books on the Kindle. The Kindle Paperwhite has advertisements for movies and books that Amazon thinks I'd be interested in. The current one that keeps popping up is entitled "We Have Lost The President", and every time I see it, my first thought is "if only that were true. But alas, it's not."

What I just finished reading

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden which apparently won a Christy and a RITA at some point. I don't know why. But I don't understand why most things get awards. Awards in the arts are purely subjective and based purely on the subjective tastes of whomever is voting for them.

That's not to say that I disliked it, it was okay. Just two-three star material. I guess I should have realized that if it won a Christy, it was in the Christian fiction genre, or rather a historical Christian romance. I did figure it out by about a hundred pages in. I think this book would appeal to anyone who is a devote Christian and a linguist, and also likes historicals that take place in the 1800s, and are a bit of a thriller, with a mystery or puzzle.

The Christian bit...it didn't bother me so much, as...well, I'm not a fan of religious fiction. Christy is one of the few religious fictional novels that I've read and liked. It's not "Christianity" that bugs me, it's religious that does. It can be a bit on the sanctimonious side.
And I felt that the writer was a bit repetitive. My mother who read the same book, didn't. So mileage varies.

I'm not a historian, but the history played well here, and the author clearly did her research. The main character is a linguist working in a Navy Yard in Boston during the late 1800s, and she's addicted to opium. But doesn't realize she's addicted because she's been taking it over the counter in a headache medicine that she'd been given as a child. In the 1800s, a British company, Mrs. Winslow's, developed a formula called "Mrs Winslow's Soothing Syrup" which calmed teething babies and small children, also helped with other ailments. Many orphanages used it. The heroine is an orphan and spent her childhood in an orphanage which spoon fed her Mrs. Winslow's. Little did people know that the soothing property in Mrs. Winslow's syrup was opium. The hero is working to stop the opium trade and uses the heroine to help him in his quest. He's your wounded hero trope. I normally like the wounded hero trope, but he irritated me. Actually all the men in this novel irritated me, they were portrayed as selfish, manipulative, and somewhat stupid.

There is no sex in the book - for two reasons, one - the writer is adhering to the period, two - it's a Christian romance.

The writing? It was okay. Found the dialogue to be a bit stilted. But you know I'm picky about dialogue, it's all that theater and play-reading background. And the villains seemed to be a tad one-dimensional and underdeveloped, which bugs me more than most people.

All of that said, I did get something out of it -- the main theme seems to be the pitfalls of self-importance and arrogance. spoilers )

What I'm reading now

Red Shirts by John Scalzi -- this is an interesting science fiction novel, that in some respects reminds me a little of Ready Player Now, but I think I like this one better. It's a meta-narrative satire of Star Trek and fictional television serials similar to Star Trek. And in the larger scheme of things, an adept critique of our ego-driven narcissistic society, where the stars matter and no one else does. If you are a star or the lead in the show, you live, and everyone else's life and purpose revolves around you. They validate your existence. Instead of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, the needs of the elite or top few outweigh the needs of the many. Like I said, a deft critique of our culture.

This book in some respects, oddly enough, echoes the themes of the prior one.

Also reading a lot of newspaper articles online. They discovered a solar system with seven planets, including one like earth, orbiting a dwarf star. So, maybe aliens will invade us after all?
OR after the Doofus destroys Earth, we can escape to this distant solar system?

And the New Yorker had a rather interesting article... Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds.

Read more... )
Well it appealed to the frustrated psychology major inside of me, at any rate.
shadowkat: (Default)
Interesting Ted Talk on How to Spot a Liar or Lying:


shadowkat: (Default)
Cool science stuff...




My cousin states it's clearer and more reliable than string theory...although I think string theory is more fun.

So...the true science of parallel universes:




See? More fun. Well, if you are sci-fi geek.

I'm reading John Scalzi's "Redshirts" now, and the Big Book of Science Fiction -- which is basically a collection of over 300 some classic sci-fi short stories and novellas.
shadowkat: (Default)
What I despise about taking trips places is I can never figure out what to pack, what bags to use and to frigging bring with me. I wish I had one of those magical Mary Poppins or Harry Potter carpet bags, where everything including a coat rack fit inside.

Saw the musical Hair last night at a local repertory theater for about $25. It was way way off Broadway, in a small chapel turned theater in the midst of Brooklyn Heights. Sort of tucked away actually -- I had to work to find it. The theater is in the basement of the building, and in a round. The audience sits on three sides, with the performers in the middle on the ground. Overall a good presentation, just had a little trouble hearing some of the songs.

The stage musical is very different from the 1979 film version, for one thing, Claude goes to War, not Berger, and Sheila is a protester, not a rich gal from the upper east side. The makers of the musical disowned the film. The musical is a series of vignettes that revolve around a tribe of hippies in NYC during the late 1960s -- protesting the Vietnam War. The movie focuses on fish out of water, farm boy, Claude, happening upon the hippies in Central Park and his coming of age story.
In both, Claude is the central character. Except in the film version, Treat Williams was apparently a better singer than Jon Savage, so got both Claude and Berger's songs.

I was prepared for it being a series of vignettes, and hadn't seen the film version since the 1990s, so...I didn't get confused.

I enjoyed it. It's still relevant after all this time. Brought flashbacks of my Junior year in college, where I was oddly dating someone who reminded me a bit too much of Berger. So, yeah, I sort of did the Hippie thing in College. Except they were called granolas in the 1980s. Not to be confused with Hipsters -- which is the 21st Century take on Yuppie. Although I think we're shifting back to the Hippie/Granola bit at the moment.


There were moments that sent a chill down my spine -- and other's in which I wanted to jump up and dance. Also...I'm not sure this is necessarily a good or bad thing, that musical has at least five serious "ear-worm" songs in it. I have not been able to get the following songs out of my head since I saw it...they are running on a continuous loop, taking turns:

* Manchester England, England
* Hair
* Good Morning Starshine
* Let the Sunshine in
* Age of Aquarius

In other news...I've decided the word of the decade may be "trumpery" -- yes, it is an actual word. No, I didn't make it up. No, it wasn't coined recently. It dates back to Middle English and French.

1425-75; late Middle English trompery deceit < Middle French tromperie, equivalent to tromp (er) to deceive + -erie -ery.

So the next time the 45th says anything, just call it "trumpery".
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1. Well, deleted the eight and counting episodes of Lethal Weapon from the DVR tonight...I think if there were less tv shows on that I enjoyed watching, or I hadn't seen the movies, or I had more time, I'd have stuck with it. But alas, none of the above is the case. Plus, for some reason or other I prefer soapy serials, science-fiction, family dramas, musicals, and fantasy shows to cop dramas and procedurals. I've no clue why, but there it is.

2. In other television news...

All the shows I like or watch semi-regularly seem to have survived the cancellation fairy. Or should that be the ax?

* Crazy Ex-Girl Friend survived -- somewhat shocked by this, I was sure it was going to get cancelled. It had horrific ratings this year. But I think it does a very good job of shining a bright light on our societal ills. So, I think we need it right now, like La La Land -- it's relevant.

* The Good Place -- also surprised me by surviving, and like Crazy Ex, I think it shines a light on what is problematic in our society. And is rather clever about it's satire.

Both are existential satires by the way, which satirize romantic relationships, friendships, and success in rather fascinating ways.

* Lucifier - also surprising. Okay maybe not that much.


They don't know about The 100, The Catch, Riverdale, Timeless, Star.

This is Us is safe. Once Upon a Time looking good. And well, if it's in the top of the Neilsens or nominated for an award, it isn't going anywhere (see Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, NCIS)

I think No Tomorrow and Frequency are goners, not surprised at all. I gave up on them. Vampire Diaries is ending, as is Bones, and Reign (I thought Reign had ended some time ago...).

3. I am enjoying bits and pieces of Timeless but won't be shocked if it gets the ax. It has issues. Although, I think, of the three time travel dramss on television in 2016-2017, it's probably the most innovative and least annoying. (Time After Time based on the film of the same name, about HG Wells tracking Jack the Ripper in the future...doesn't enthrall me. I didn't like the original movie all that much, only watched it for Malcolm McDowell. Also, I'm bloody sick and tired of the serial killer trope and the Jack the Ripper trope -- it's been overdone. And it is soo..90s.)

Timeless also felt the need to play with the serial killer trope, but short-lived. Or rather two episodes. And in both scenarios, it wasn't the main story, so much as a commentary on the heroes handling of the problem in relation to the antagonist similar handling of a problem. I like the introduction of the new female character on the antagonist's end of things. I call Flynn the antagonist, because he's a bit ambiguous. That's another thing I like about the series -- the antagonist's are rather ambiguous. They aren't out and out villains.

That said, it...isn't witty enough. There's something...lacking. Not sure what, but I find it...dull at times. And my attention wavers. Also, the plots often feel rather contrived. And the actors/characters don't quite captivate. Flynn is probably the most charismatic, and he's the villain. With Rufus a close second. I should care more about Lucy than I do. The series lacks a certain edge. I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly. Feel the same way about a lot of television series, to be honest. So it may just be me?

Did like Ernest Hemingway in the last episode, but that's only because I like the actor, a little known soap opera actor. Who I think has more screen presence than Wyatt or Lucy.

4. I think Shaun Cassidy may be involved with Emerald City, which is interesting. [ETA - to clarify, I think this is interesting because Cassidy wrote American Gothic and tends to do dark twisty fantasy well. Not because he is a former pop star that I had a crush on as a teenager.]

5. On the news front? I've discovered NY Times podcasts -- a quick and painless way to get news updates. Because honestly, the newsfeeds are crazy inducing. I thought last year was bad, it was relatively tame in comparison to this year. We can't go a day without the 45th making an ass out of himself. Seriously, I can't quite decide who is more deluded, the 45th or the fools still supporting the 45th. Apparently the 45th had a news conference, where he insisted all factual evidence to the contrary that he had a 54% approval rating, and the biggest electoral college win in the last 50 years (discounting of course Obama, Regan, both Bushes, and Clinton...not to mention Nixon), and oh, that Obama had left him with a colossal mess. (Yes, apparently the economy is in the toilet, and everything sucks...worse than it ever ever did.)

If you can't figure out who I'm talking about.or what..count yourself lucky. I would like to join you under your rock.

Read in the news that Sweden had found a way to do away with rubbish, it recycles all of it. I thought, okay, that's it, I'm moving to Sweden. It may be just far enough away...only problem is I doubt they'd accept me, I'd need to find some nice Swedish man or woman (not overly picky) to either adopt me or marry me. Prefer a man, being heterosexual.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. In the news...the 45th, who my mother has dubbed Big Bird, because he's big, he has yellow hair (used to be orange, now yellow) and he tweets. (Also he does, bear an intellectual resemblance to Sesame Street's Big Bird.) I found it funny, so stuck with it. Anyhow, he is not having a good week. Read more... )

2. Reading Meme

What I just read?

Oh, Lucien's Fall. It was okay. A bit on the melodramatic side. And more sex than was necessary -- I got bored after a certain point. Does get points for a half-way innovative title, and for an intriguing set-up. A Botantist falls for a Tortured Musician. The Tortured musician is a rakish Earl, who is estranged from his abusive father. The Botanist is a young woman who needs to find a husband to fix up her gardens and estate, and is currently wooing a plump Marquess with a passion for archaeology. The writer subverts the trope a bit, by not writing any villains, the Marquess is nice, the Step-mother pushing the match is nice if a bit misguided. The problem I had with the novel was the characters did stupid things. I kept wanting to smack them.


What I'm reading now?

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden -- this won some awards, a Christy (Christian Literature Award) and a RITA (Romance Novel Award). I've no clue why. It's not that well written and I've gotten thrown out of the story twice already. However, it is intriguing in places. But it's also, very religious, hence the Christy Award. There's a heavy Christian emphasis, so if that irritates you for any reason...

The story is about a Greek/Turkish immigrant woman, who is orphaned by her sea-faring family in Boston. She ends up in an orphanage, where she is spoon-fed opium for any ailment. Years later, she joins up with the Navy as a translator and runs across a young man who wants to rid the world of the opium trade. While helping him with various translations, including breaking into a custom's house to find evidence, she ends up, a)falling for him, and b) fired from her job, and down on her luck (more than before). He breaks up with her, that is until he has to get her help to save her former employer's child from an opium dealer. He, the hero, was once an opium dealer but found God and Christianity and is now trying to redeem himself. (He's doing a piss-poor job of it, but whatever.)
I do find the story interesting in how it shows...self-righteously fighting for a cause, no matter what it takes or how ruthless you have to be...isn't necessarily a good idea and often more about one's ego than the actual cause. The TV series Timeless weirdly is stating the same point but in a different way. So I'm guessing the universe or someone is trying to tell me something? Or not..


What I'll be reading next? No clue. Need to find some good books to read on way to Costa Rica...but I'm flummoxed. Been in a horrid reading slump.
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Posted this on FB, but it bears repeating:

Write or post whatever you please on social media, just keep in mind the following:

1). It's akin to standing on a soap box in the middle of Times Square or posting on a bulletin board there, don't be surprised if everyone including your Mom sees it. (probably helps if you don't friend your Mom on FB or set up an account under an alias.)

2) People may hate or love you for it, most likely both, and even if it's just a dumb cat video or personality quiz/meme.

3) People may defriend you, or you'll find people you never heard of friending you, one or the other.

4) If you post whatever you please, even if its just personal videos of you cat or dog or baby, be tolerant of other people doing it too...if you don't want to see their posts, there's this nifty arrow button at the top of each post that allows you to hide them. Filter works on DW and LJ or just scroll on by. Much less painful then kicking them for it. [Been there, done that. Never productive. And usually backfires.]

5) It's highly likely that no matter what you post you are going offend someone and/or make someone else very happy -- probably at the same time. (I saw a post last night for example that made other people happy but me, miserable - and no it wasn't about politics or the idiotic 45th. It was actually a platitude about if you are friends for seven years it will last forever...sigh, if only that were true for everyone. It's really not. On the plus side? A day later, I read a post by mamacunluna that talked about how it was best not to attach to things or people that brought you joy, but to the joy itself, and the feeling and the moment, understanding the moment will not last and that's okay. And all things and our relationships to them and people and events are temporary, but the joy ...itself...is something to be relived.)

6) Expect controversy, arguments, and potential kerfuffles...people like to argue, it makes them happy. {This is the nature of social media....and why sometimes I miss letters or snail mail correspondence. We tended to be more careful when it took forever to get the mail and respond. )
Oh, and also expect fact-checking, because people love to correct one another. This is actually a good thing, with all the horrible fake news and misinformation flying about.
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A) Seven good things...

1. New haircut -- I actually enjoyed the experience, which is new..felt energized
2. pants that I bought online fit -- feeling better about being prepared for trip
3. rain washed snow away
4. got some writing done...it moves in fits and snatches
5. laughed and laughed and laughed at a tv show...or two
6. had a brief chat with an old neighbor who'd I watched grow up...
7. Good hot cup of tumeric ooco...(tumeric, black pepper, cinnamon, coco, coconut milk, almond milk and honey)

Hunting moments of joy in a cold drab February sky....knowing all is temporary, and memories we choose to hold...if nothing else.

B.) Finished watching the pilot of Emerald City -- it's much better than expected, not sure why the critics disliked it. I found it to be compelling and rather innovative in places, a nice twist on the old tales and an interesting commentary on sexism and gender roles.

Also the production value is quite good.
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I managed to trim my recorded television shows, or rather decrease the hours from 47 to 33, mainly by deleting shows that I'm never gone to watch. Such as The Magicians and Mercy Street.
Also canceled Quantico and Designated Survivor.

I'd watched both The Magicians and Mercy Street last year, and fond neither all that compelling or worth a second season. The writing didn't quite work for me for either. And both were a bit offensive in places - or rather sexist.

Nashville has improved exponentially since last season, or rather in leaps and bounds. The change in writers and channels has given it an unexpected boost in quality and entertainment value. At any rate, the new writers managed to lift Nashville from soap status to drama status.

Finished watching Frequency -- which I think has been cancelled? With only 13 episodes ordered? I think the CW cancelled it in November, it may get a renewed life on Netflix. Don't know, don't care. After seeing all of it, I'm cancelling it. It's depressing and I don't like the plot structure. Contrived in places and the time-travel science doesn't quite work for me and falls into cliche in various spots. I think this would have worked better if the writers had let go of the serial killer thread and solved it early on, then expanded on their world, by focusing solely on the serial killer thread with no concrete solution in sight, they began to hemorrhage the audience. For one thing, audiences are a bit burned out on serial killers by now. And, each time they come close to catching the guy there's either a red herring, a mislead, or he gets away -- which is just frustrating to watch. Real Life is frustrating enough at the moment... Add to that, the whole time travel bit is through a ham radio and the only thing that they discuss is capturing a serial killer to save Mom. As if that's the only thing that could happen. Oh and, somehow the only person who remembers anything on the time loop is the protagonist...and she can't tell anyone, and if she does, they forget...or don't believe her. Like I said, very frustrating television series to watch.

It's hard to keep track of television shows now...there's so many, and they come and go without much warning.
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1. Legion

Co-worker: have you seen Legion?
Me: Not yet.
Co-worker: Do you know what it is about or what it is based on?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker: Is it some book? Can you explain it to me?
Me: Uh, it's based on an X-men comic book and it will take more than ten minutes to explain, although I can try to sum it up in two sentences..just have to figure out how.

Legion is a series written and created by the talented Noah Hawley, who did Fargo. It is loosely based on/adapted from the X-men comic book character and series written by Chris Claremount in the early 1980s. And stars Dan Stevens, Bill Irwin, and Jean Smart among others.

In the comic book series, Legion, aka David Haller, was the biological child of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller, an Isralie Mossad agent. She neglected to tell Charles he had a son until years later, when it became apparent that the boy was...well, in trouble. Haller's powers manifested in such way as to drive him insane - he became a paranoid schizophrenic with about 20 different personalities -- hence the name "Legion". Each personality manifested a different aspect of his abilities. He basically can bend reality, and move objects with his mind. Fascinating character in the series, and sort of an ambiguous villain, a la Magneto.

Here, we're in David's perspective. The only family he appears to have is a sister, who visits him at an psychiatric ward in Brooklyn. The time period appears to be the early 1970s or late 60s. It has that trippy 1970s feel to it. And it feels a bit like a combination of The Prisoner meets the British series "Misfits" by way of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the X-men. To say it's a bit surreal is an understatement, and I'm not sure it's easy for everyone to follow, or to what degree a familiarity with the X-men would aid you in it.

I enjoyed it, appealed to me on multiple levels, but not sure it would appeal to anyone else. Appealed to me for some of the same reasons the comics did...it's trippy, with complicated characters, using super-powers as a metaphor for emotional unstability and how that can erupt and destroy what is around you, also the whole feeling of being an outsider - not normal.

And, it has the same off-beat sense of humor as Fargo. Dan Stevens is rather compelling as David Heller. And the romance between him and Sydney is interesting...he's not sure throughout if she is real, and is continuously told at different points that she's not real. Sydney's power is whenever she touches someone, she takes their power or switches places with them, momentarily. Reminds me a lot of the Rogue character in the comics.

Anyhow..it's has a 1960s/70s Prisoner feel to it, but with a 21st Century cynicism. Will definitely stick with it -- most innovative superhero series that I've seen since the Brit series "Misfits".

2.) On Facebook, I posted a bit about Riverdale.

"I took a break from my insane country's news (mainly so I can sleep at night without having nightmares) and watched Riverdale, which fittingly enough is basically Archie Comics meets Twin Peaks. [I was thinking as I was watching it...if I'd known in the 1970s (because I watched Archie cartoons in the 1970s) that this is what would happen in 40 some years, I'd still have the same frigging question - what happened to the flying cars? I mean if we're actually going for the dystopia of Blade Runner, can we at least have some automated flying cars? ]

MR: They have flying cars, the one's they have just aren't cost effective."
Aunt M: But you don't drive.
ME: automated they drive themselves.
MR: whether I drive or not does not affect their cost effectiveness
Me: But they are public transportation in Blade Runner and Total Recall, am I the only sci-fi geek here?
MR: They exist for real.

MR is right actually, they do exist for real. I finally googled it. They just aren't cost effective.
Although Uber did try to put in a line of flying automated cars...it just, well they aren't really flying and the automated bit didn't quite work. The computer doesn't understand the whole stop sign thing, and turns. It stops and waits and waits and waits.

3. My mother called to inform me that Richard Hatch died. If you don't know who that is..he's the original Apollo on BattleStar Galatica, and returned in the second series, he's also part of the reason we had a BSG v.2.

Damn it.

Universe? Stop killing off the lovely artists and start killing off the nasty/evil/soulless billionaire businessmen and Republican politicians, we need a level playing field. If you need a few recommendations...I got a list. It's not long. And they are over the age of 69...soo...

My mother tells me that evil people live longer. My great-grandfather's were both evil bastards and lived to 92. I think the Universe keeps hoping they'll redeem themselves at some point.

Riverdale

Feb. 8th, 2017 10:08 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
Too many tv shows, plus Netflix and Amazon, not enough time...

Anyhow, watched the premiere of Riverdale. What is Riverdale about, well...it's


Twin Peaks




Meets..

Archie Comics and Josie and the Pussycats (which did a bunch of cartoons in the 1960s, that I watched as a kid in the 1970s, and have a vague memory of..., the comics, I never read.)









I kid you now, it literally is Twin Peaks meets Archie Comics. We have all the kids from Archie Comics transposed into Twin Peaks.

So far, sort of entertaining. Held my attention. Few things do these days. Although Archie's makeup is distracting me. The makeup artist is overdoing the furrowed brow and heavy eyebrows. Also, I can tell they died the actors hair bright red. Other than that, I am entertained, particularly by a 50 something Luke Perry and Madchen Amick.







Have to say, Riverdale improves on the 1960 era Archie cartoons. And the mash up sort of works. Not perfect, by a long shot, a bit too quippy in places, and I'm not sure certain things quite work.
But it does for the most part avoid cliche, and the Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle is sort of killed before it starts. Archie's too busy swooning over and banging his music teacher to care.
Although Veronica obviously intrigues him.

The Twin Peaks twist on each character is rather intriguing. Although, I more or less figured out the plot points before they happened, it did have a few nice surprises here and there. Betty's mother, who is obsessed with perfection and somewhat bullying. And Veronica's poor little rich girl, who Dad is facing embezzlement charges. While Jughead narrates the affair, typing away on a computer at Pops. Meanwhile Josie and Pussycats are an African-American Power Trio Band, with a statement, also the daughter of the mayor. Reggie is a bit of an asshole football player, and Moose - in the closet, homosexual, involved with the Sheriff's son, whose Betty's best bud. Meanwhile there's a dead body in the river, this round a boy's -- a nice change of pace that. And ...it appears, his sultry twin sister did it. OR did she? That's the kids, the parents have their own...issues.


There's a bit of Beverly Hills 90210 and the O/C thrown in there for good measure. But mostly it's just Twin Peaks meets Archie Comics.
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Found an interesting article regarding how people view and interpret facts and information.

Why Each Side of the Partisan Divide Thinks the Other is Living in an Alternate Reality




To return to Trump’s supporters: Many identify strongly with him and many see themselves as part of a new political movement. For this reason, they probably want to avoid new findings that suggest their movement isn’t as strong as it appears.

Remember those findings that many Trump supporters believe that he won the popular vote? Among Trump supporters, one poll suggests that 52 percent also believe that millions of votes were cast illegally in the 2016 election, a claim Trump himself made to explain his popular vote loss.

Accepting that their candidate lost the popular vote challenges deeply held beliefs that the nation has come together with a mandate for Trump’s presidency and policies. Information that conflicts with this view – that suggests a majority of Americans don’t support Trump, or that people protesting Trump are somehow either “fake” or paid agitators – poses a threat to these worldviews. As a result, his supporters avoid it.

Information avoidance doesn’t address why different people believe different things, how misinformation spreads and what can be done about it.

But ignoring the effects of information avoidance and discussing only ignorance and stubbornness does us all a disservice by framing the problem in partisan terms. When people on the left believe that only right wingers are at risk of changing the facts to suit their opinions, they become less skeptical of their own beliefs and more vulnerable to their own side’s misconceptions and misinformation.

Research suggests there are three ways to combat information avoidance. First, before asking people to listen to threatening information, affirmation – or making people feel good about themselves – has proven effective. Next, it’s important to make people feel in control over what they get to do with that information. And lastly, people are more open to information if it’s framed in a way that resonates with how they see the world, their values and their identities.

It’s crucial to recognize the all-too-human tendency to put our fingers in our ears when we hear something we don’t like. Only then can we move away from a media and cultural environment in which everyone is entitled to not just their own opinions but also their own facts.


Other examples of information avoidance? The way parishioners ignored the Catholic Church Priest Scandal as did the Church itself, in regards to priests molesting children for years, until the Boston Globe uncovered it, and even then, ignored it. How New England Patriots fans ignore the fact that their team cheats, has multiple penalities, and the coach plays the game in an unethical manner. Penn State fans ignored and contested the information coming out regarding their coaches.

Or even in fandoms, when shippers and fans refuse to acknowledge the direction a narrative is heading? Or refuse to see the flaws in the narrative or critique it?

The movie LA LA LAND sort of comments on it as well as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a tendency to superimpose what we want to believe is true on what actually is. Episodes of Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek the Next Generation, Farscape, BattleStar Galatica, and Lost, to just name a few have also explored this extensively. As have various sci-fi and fantasy writers.

But what to do about it? How do we rip away the veil, question our world, and cope with its reality?
How do we question what we believe?
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. For my emotional, physical and mental health and well-being, I've decided to stop discussing and reading about political issues on social media. (Will most likely read them in the NY Times or via political action emails or tweets that have been pre-set.) Read more... )

2. Finished watching the first three episodes of Victoria -- was quite pleased with it. Granted, probably not a good idea to watch it right after watching the superior The Crown. But if you haven't watched the Crown in a while, it improves. I'd advise watching Victoria first and saving the Crown til later. The Crown is more in the style of say, Wolf Hall? While "Victoria" is more in the style of "Downton Abbey" or "Poldark". It's a tad on the melodramatic side, so, if melodrama bugs you, and you don't like soap opera, this may not be your thing. I'm enjoying it, but I also tend to enjoy melodrama and soap operas. (I just despise sentimentality and preachiness, which this doesn't fall into.) Jenna Coleman grew on me, and I actually rather like her in the role, as does Tom Hughes as Albert, who is rather compelling. My mother has a crush on him, and I'm beginning to join her. Although I've always been a fan of Rufus Sewall, and love Lord Melbourn, I knew going in there was no way Victoria and Melbourne would end up together. And he'll most likely be gone by the end of the second season if not before. (Apparently there are people shipping Melbourn and Victoria? Weird. Shipping against the narrative on dramatizations of actual historical people and events...is just plain masochistic. (Of course I always thought shipping against a fictional narrative was masochistic.) But that's even more so. You are torturing yourself for no reason. I think some people just like to torture themselves -- ie. masochistic.)

Anyhow, I'm enjoying it. In some ways it's a lot more fun than The Crown and less depressing.

3. Also finished watching the Winter Finale of Lucifer. Okay, how many finales does this show need? It had a fall finale, then a winter finale, and soon it will come back in the spring with a spring finale. Oh well, at least it's trying for closure, before going on hiatus for six - eight weeks. Makes it easier to sell DVDs or stream, I suspect.

Anyhow, I enjoyed the episode quite a bit and like where they are going with the series. They managed to surprise me in a good way. I was a bit worried about where they were going earlier in the season, but they jumped in another direction.

spoilers )

4. And I watched the season finale of Crazy Ex-Girl Friend -- which is one disturbing little satire. It really does lampoon our culture's concept of Romantic love. I'm starting to feel sorry for Rebecca Bunch's therapist. The woman has serious issues and her friends are enabling them.
What's disturbing about the series is...in an odd way, it pokes fun at mental illness. And, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. I've met people like Rebecca Bunch, hence the reason I'm on the fence about the show at the moment. She reminds me a bit too much of a friend that I broke up with in 2009, after 25 years of friendship. Because...she was exhibiting similar behavior patterns and it was starting to drive me crazy. There is a term for it -- Borderline Personality Disorder -- where the individual's self-esteem is so low that they require someone else to build it up. They are very charming,


I looked up Borderline Personality Disorder, and under the Free Diagnosis section, found this:

"Limitations of Self-Diagnosis
Self-diagnosis of this disorder is often inaccurate. Accurate diagnosis of this disorder requires assessment by a qualified practitioner trained in psychiatric diagnosis and evidence-based treatment.

However, if no such professional is available, our free computerized diagnosis is usually accurate when completed by an informant who knows the patient well. Computerized diagnosis is less accurate when done by patients (because they often lack insight)."

This made me laugh out loud, because a close friend ages ago, told me never to try and diagnose myself -- it would be inaccurate. Because we tend to generalize about ourselves and lack insight.
Sort of like looking up a diagnosis on a pain you feel in your side, and thinking, wait -- it must be appendicitis or gall bladder, when in actuality it's just gas? I had that happen once, I took a fibercon, and felt weird afterwards, all tingly, couldn't breath, and the nurse online thought I was having a heart-attack. It turned out to be an angina attack or gatrointestinal attack. It's so easy to misdiagnosis ourselves.

Anyhow, Rebecca Bunch exhibits all the signs of Borderline Personality Disorder, as did that friend I had. Which is why I find the series deeply disturbing. At the same time, I think it is a rather accurate social satire/critique of our culture.

But I keep watching it...not for the characters, or the jokes, but the song and dance numbers. Pretty much the same reason I stuck with Glee. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a musical.

That said...it did a surprising and rather twisty ending. All I can say is poor Joss Chen, not sure what he did to deserve Rebecca Bunch. major spoiler )

[Ow, ow, ow...note to self, do not stretch legs out in front of you with no bend in knee for lengthy periods of time while typing on lap-top, they will lock, cramp and hurt. Which is what my right leg is doing at the moment. Laptops can be bad for one's health, who knew?]

4. Grey's Anatomy -- still going strong, and heck a lot better written than some freshman serials. Actually it has improved in some respects since it started. The writing is sharper in places, there's more focus on minority characters and/or supporting. It's more of an ensemble and less of a soapy romance. They also are focusing on more complex issues. The opening episode of the Winter season was about three of the surgeons entering a female prison to operate on a 16 year old inmate having a baby. The girl was in the prison for 20 years to life, and in solitary to protect others. We didn't know why she was there, but her mother refused to see her, and it was clear she'd done something horrid. The episode did a good job of telling the story without preaching, or making judgements, and showing all sides. It was also one of the more realistic depictions of prisons that I've seen on television. (I used to visit one while working with the Kansas Defender Project in the 1990s). I was rather impressed.

The second episode did a good job of getting across hospital/work place politics and how it can interfere with the job.

5. Nashville -- now on CMT, and much improved from previous years. No longer a soap opera about the country music industry, it's more of an ensemble drama about the music industry, and is handling far more complex themes, without falling into cliche. I've been surprised by it. The new writing team is from Thirty-Something, and you can sort of tell the difference. It's less emotionally manipulative and plot-twisty. Better episode structure and more character driven.
Also, the music is more diversified. Less pop country, and more folk, and some gospel. One episode had five different sub-genres...which was impressive.

So if you gave up on this, it's greatly improved. Rayna is actually likable.
shadowkat: (Flowers and writing)
It's late, and I meant to go to bed at nine, but this would not let go of me. So here it is - a link to a post that I made on my writer blog, OutriderChronicles.

Dear Mr. Ryan.
shadowkat: (Default)
Finished watching the Irish film, Sing Street -- recommend highly. Sort of like a John Hughes film, by way of 1980s music videos, meets the Irish take on the Outsiders. The kids are rather talented. Unfortunately, it's male centric - no women roles really, outside of Rafina, who the lead has a big crush on.

So...more a guy flick than a gal flick. But entertaining and took me out of the world for a bit.
shadowkat: (rainbow strength)
A few quotes from Buffy rang in my head this week, they felt fitting. It feels at times that watching and discussing Buffy back in 2002-2008 was both healing and preparation for what lies ahead.
That probably doesn't make sense to anyone but me, but there it is.

Here's the quotes...that rang in my head ...like an echo from a song, that swings around and around popping here and there when you least expect it.

Buffy Inspirational Quotes..well for the most part anyhow )

By the way, DW does not make that easy. It's almost as if they don't want me to do it.
shadowkat: (rainbow strength)
Here's a post that I wrote on my personal blog, you can find it HERE if you are so inclined. It is entitled, a Message in a Bottle.
shadowkat: (Default)
Eh...the news today, Oh My God. I'm getting tired of feeling that. I think I may take a vacation from the news for the next three days. Or from the Dumpster and his cronies. Today, the universe sent me a message -- "be careful not to feed your anger, if you let your anger consume you, it will destroy your life and everything you care about." True. It will. I'm not the only one becoming unhinged.

Me: What infuriated me today, sent me into a rant, was the news that Trump was going to pull billions of dollars in federal funds from Immigrant Sanctuary Sites around the country, this could cost NYC 130 Billion in Federal Funds. (Consider we are paying 35 Million a week to secure Trump Tower...)

Mother: Also infuriated 100 Mayors.

Me:Wait what?

Mother: It pissed off 100 Mayors from each of the cities.

Me: OMG. Along with the governors, I'd imagine.

Aunt: He can't do it, people are protected under federal law.

Dear Trump -- stop trying to run our country like one of your hotels, it isn't going to work. See?
This is why we don't elect business people. He tried to put a gag order in place. You can't gag people in a government agency, not with the internet.

Also, the Senior Management of the State Department resigned. All the Senior Management. My mother didn't believe me. I said it was reported in the Washington Post, The Independent and CNN, who agreed they resigned, except CNN decided they'd been fired.

Sigh.

Welcome to the on-going political satire from hell that is American politics. And you thought our election was bad...I actually sort of miss our election.

Five positive things?

1. The sun came out
2. People hugged me at work yesterday
3. There's a nifty view from the glass elevators up to and down from the air train, where I get hot coco at work each day -- Tim Horton's Hot Coco...which isn't as good as the coco I got in the city, but a heck of a lot cheaper.
4. Got my laundry done
5. Texas Democratic Rep told Trump to go to hell and shove his wall plan up his ass (tee hee)
(okay maybe that doesn't count).
shadowkat: (Default)
Today was better work-wise. The trip to conduct interviews for project control schedulers, which I'd been dreading turned out rather well. I ran into some old co-workers, who greeted me with warm smiles and hugs. Pleased to see me. I needed this after the past two days...which have been abysmal.
Did a guided meditation last night -- from a tape that I'd purchased at the Kriplau Center. It helped a great deal, centered me and left me calm.

News wise..see last post. I don't know if I'm going to make four years of this. Not sure my country will, let alone four months.

Reading?

1. Saw THIS article on Whedon on my phone. My phone gives me various news feed updates. Personally, wish it wouldn't give me FOX news, because I don't consider Fox reliable. Although at the moment, like all the news agencies, it appears to be at war with You Know Who on the topic of alternative facts. So too is Merriam Webster Dictionary. Yes, so far our resistance is being lead by Badlands National Park Service, Merriam Webster Dictionary and Teen Vogue as someone posted on twitter. Anywho, the bit on Whedon made me giggle. I know, bad me, but there it is.

2. Romance novel...by someone or other, about a musician who decides to ravish or is that seduce a gardner. Okay, should be more descriptive, hate to mislead you. It takes place sometime in the 1800s, no clue when. Madeline is being primed to marry a Marquess so that he can save her family estate and the gardens, which she loves. But along comes a hunky musician, who makes me think of a wealthy version of Heathcliff, who burns his compositions, and is driven half mad with music. He takes it into his head to seduce her -- he's not interested in marriage. He is rich, he is titled, or will inherit a title and his father would like him to marry, he just wants to make everyone miserable because his father abused him. Yeah, the wounded hero trope. You either like it or you don't. I like it. Some people hate it.

Meanwhile, her stepmother, who I think may actually be her mother, is attempting to get her to marry the Marquess, who is a nice guy, into archaeology, kind, albeit older, plump, and not attractive.
Madeline, of course, is ravishing.

The characterizations are interesting and the writer subverts the trope a bit here and there. The stepmother is in love with a much younger man. She's not wicked and cares for her daughter. The Marquess or rival suitor is a nice guy and actually a far better match than the wild young heir to the Earldom and musician. Madeline herself is not stupid or winsome. No Clarissa. The author obviously either read Clarissa or knows about it -- because the Earl mentions it and in a less than positive manner. I found it interesting because I read it, although it did make me frown at the hero. He asks the heroine if she'd like to be ravished like some Clarissa...if that's what she prefers...(he is drunk at the time, but I wanted to smack him, because Clarissa wasn't ravished, she was raped, repeatedly, I know, I read the book. And saw the frigging mini-series.)
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Work has been disheartening. Reflecting the weather, a constant rain, pours, drizzles, the sky either looks like gray smoke or a thin layer of dirty of dishwater. It has a smell, clean, but tainted somehow. And as I walk through it to and from work each day, I feel it's weight on my shoulders pushing me down, down...into the ground, although I stand upright, just bowed, umbrella with pretty blue flowers and books imprinted upon it, pressed across my head. Ugh. January. You are a depressing month.

2. Binge-watched The Good Place -- after I found the spoiler. I got curious. The last five episodes are actually rather clever. I particularly enjoyed episode 8, where Michael's assistant, a sort of pseudo robot named Janet, had to be rebooted after being accidentally murdered. (Yeah, I know she's a robot or artificial life form, but go with it.) Every time anyone asked her for anything, she'd produce a cactus.

Michael : I need the file on Eleanor.
Janet: here you go.
Michael: that's a cactus.

Later.

Janet: Good news I found the file on Eleanor.
Michael: is it a cactus?
Janet: no it's the file.
Michael : Okay, hand it over.
Janet hands Michael a cactus.

Eleanor: May I have a glass of water?
Janet hands her a cactus.

They did however, like most American situation comedies, take the joke one step too far...but still it was funny. That's actually my issue with it --- and most situation comedies, they don't know when to stop. To be fair, this is my own issue telling jokes or with comedy. When someone laughs, I feel the unnecessary need to repeat it. So maybe this is just human nature?

Another great bit? Michael gives Eleanor and Jsaon tests to see if they belong in the Bad Place. The questions are hilarious.

Michael: have you ever taken your shoes and socks off in a plane?
Eleanor: No, and ewww.
Michael: Have you ever watched the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, (lists all the Bachelor shows and spin-offs)?
Eleanor: No.
Michael: Posted on social media about any of the couplings that you were following?

I wanted to add a question. "Have you voted for a Republican for President in the last 50 years?"
But I can see why the writers might want to refrain.

spoilers on the twist )

3. Crazy Ex-Girl Friend -- I've decided Beer_good_foamy's description fits -- "OMWF the series" except more of a satire on romantic love and relationships.

Is it bad that I desperately want Rebecca to sleep with Nathan, her nasty boss? I'm actually shipping them. I think it is because I find Josh Chen and Rebecca annoying. I like Josh better when he isn't with her, also I think he deserves someone less crazy. Rebecca and Nathan have the same issues and are equally crazy -- they are perfect for each other. Both are narcissists and both seem to think external validation will make them happy.

I have to admit, while I find Rebecca interesting, I don't like her. She reminds me a wee bit too much of an old friend that I broke up with and not in a good way.

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