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Posts that I found interesting...

1. Missy Proves Doctor Who can handle a Woman as the Doctor Personally, I thought River Song could.

I'm ambivalent. It's a tv show. Although, I'd admittedly be more interested in watching the series if there was a female doctor. But that's only because I think they've run out of new ideas for a male doctor.

Weirdly, the US is ahead of the Brits in how it depicts women on television shows and movies from a power/role model perspective (not in a let's cast pretty model/actor types over frumpy older theater actors - although I have a feeling British Television would do this if they could), but the Brits are ahead in allowing a woman to have an actual role in power - as Queen or Prime Minister. [ ie. the US has no problem casting a female Captain of the USS Enterprize, or a female version of Star Buck or a female Jedi, or a female super-spy or a female version of name the superhero. We do it a lot. I think due to the vast quantity of television shows, movies and theater at the US's disposal, we really don't care that much. While the Brits appear to, which is rather perplexing if you are an American. OTOH, the US elected a male chauvinist pig over a qualified and well-established female politician for President, while the Brit's elected a woman Prime Minister, more than once and has a history of powerful Queens. Probably because of the Queens.)

So, I don't really think it matters all that much from a cultural perspective which gender plays Doctor Who. Also, it may be a big deal to the Brits, but it isn't to most Americans. Again, see Starbuck and Riley.

2. Wonder Woman Highest Grossing DCEU Movie in US

DCEU - means DC Universe.

Hardly surprising considering how horrible the previous three DC movies were. I saw two of them, it was like watching a video game. Actually that's been my problem with a lot of superhero films...I feel like I'm watching a video game. The last two Avengers films felt that way. I much preferred Captain America - Civil War.

3. Now I want to see the new Spiderman movie Sigh. -- also the kid playing Spiderman appears to be a Brit? I do however like Michel Keaton being cast as the Vulture, and how they are rendering the villain as sort of a poor man's Tony Stark, who much like Stark is salvaging weapons to make the world better.

4. Six Girls Denied Travel Visas for an international robotics competition

A team of six girls from Afghanistan has been denied travel visas to the United States, where they were hoping to compete in an international robotics competition with other STEM kids from around the world. The girls traveled twice to the U.S. embassy in Kabul, which is more than 500 miles from their hometown of Herat, to interview for their 7-day visas, and they were denied both times without explanation.

The evil things we do in the name of fear and security.

5. PG Films From Yesteryear , Wow a Lot of PG Films Were Really Screwed up

I'm guessing whomever made this video hasn't been watching television in the past few years? Because seriously, the stuff on tv right now is worse than what is shown in those films.

6. The Book Will Change Your Life - Victor Hugos Les Miserables

Now, I feel this overwhelming desire to read Les Miserables. It was short lived. I'm going to read the third volume in the Captive Prince trilogy entitled "King's Rising" instead. (This is a m/m fantasy series...in which the first few chapters had once been posted online in livejournal, prior to being published.)

7. The daily dot...headline... that made me chuckle aloud... All evidence to the guantry, "There is no way this guy was masturbating when a volcano killed him." Hehehhehe.

8.
House Bill Puts Together a Commission to Determine if Trump is Fit for Office


Well about bloody time. Although the fact that they require a commission to determine it is rather perplexing. All they need to do is read his twitter account and interactions with, well, just about everyone.

9. I give up. I was scrolling through The Mary Sue and Daily Dot looking for a great quote that I found on why virginity doesn't exist and can't be proven. But alas cannot find it. It was in association with the whole virginity auction bit that apparently was a big plot point in Big Little Lies. The gist? Most women break their hymen riding bikes, playing soccer, or riding horses. Also it rules out other types of sex that have nothing to do with vaginal penetration. So, you really can't prove someone is a virgin. It's impossible and also meaningless.

But something that is deeply ingrained in our culture, and with little to no positive value. It's been used to demean and shame women (and to a degree men) by both genders, and across the divide. You'd think we would evolve to a point in which we did not use this to demean one another, but alas no.

I find this interesting because as you know I've been reading historical and contemporary romance novels, and in all of them, virginity comes up as a plot point or a subject for discussion. I've also seen off and on -- online --- it being used to shame people in fandoms. "What are you, a Virgin?" as if that's a crime or something. Or "you slut!" Which seems silly in this day and age.

I honestly don't care what people do in the privacy of their homes, as long as no one is being hurt and it is all consensual.

10. PS: The Defender's Trailer looks fantastic. Danny and Powerman buddy team, and Jessica Jones and Daredevil buddy team. I adore Jessica Jones. She's my favorite. We need a S2 JJ and a S3 Daredevil.

I also want a spin-off with Collen Wing, Clair, Electra, and Misty.
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Eh, procrastinating. Decided to get a MacBook Air, but...I don't want to take a 45 minute ride into the city with my current laptop, in 90 degree heat, and wander about a store hunting someone to help me. I hate shopping for things. And I have three days of vacation. Thinking of going in around 10 AM tomorrow morning and doing it. Be less crowded.

Binge watched The Iron Fist on Sunday, and as a result have done a complete 180-turn around since my last review. The short non-spoilery review? I enjoyed it. A lot. It held my attention throughout, all the characters were compelling, it was more noir/action/mystery, than comic-bookish fantasy. The casting didn't bother me that much. And over time, the lead, portrayed by Finn, actually grew on me. He emotes well with his eyes. I did not see it as a board room drama, and I disagree with the critical assessment of the series. Not for the first time, I'm thinking the problem with television critics is they watch too many television shows.

The series felt more like the graphic novels that Frank Miller and Alan Moore wrote in the 1980s, then the bright colored comic books of earlier decades. Or another way of looking at it? Shared more in common with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series, than Arrow. Although that's an oversimplification. I found it to be layered, with layered and complex villains and heroes, not to mention themes and plot (far more complex than the DC tv shows and Marvel film verse). It said some interesting things about violence, corporations, and machiavellian politics. I actually prefer the Marvel TV shows on netflix to the movies, and the Marvel/DC series on broadcast television. I like the darker take on the verse, and the examination of how there's a fine line between being a superhero and a vigilante.

What I especially liked about Iron Fist is that it comments on how something, in this case "the iron fist legend" can be interpreted in various ways. And is often interpreted in the manner most likely to benefit the interpreter. It also looks at violence, and machiavellian politics from various angles.


Iron Fist spoilery review )
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Hmmm, if you were ever on livejournal, you might want to listen to this podcast of reply all. However, warning, it is by two fairly grating twenty-somethings. Who I keep wanting to smack, however, when they stick to the topic -- which is Russia's war and take-down of livejournal, they are pretty good.

1. Interesting, there's an assumption by folks that just because they only wrote on a social media site as a teen, using it as a diary that they are ashamed of, everyone on it was also a teenager doing it too. Or just because the only people they interacted with and read were teens in their little corner of lj....then of course it's just a platform for teen diaries. Nothing else exists. (LOL! No you poor deluded fools. This is the problem with sitting inside a bubble.) Fans on boards made similar mistakes.

2. The bit on what happened with Livejournal...is fascinating. Apparently, while it was (according to these guys, just a teen blog), it became a political platform for Russians and they used it for something else.

The gist? Then Russia changed its regime, and wanted to take down LJ. But they can't because it is a US owned social media platform. What happens next...is pretty horrible.
But that's not how they take it down, they do it by offering an obscene amount of money to take it over, and arrest anyone who doesn't fit what they want. And then transfer the content over to Russia. And Russia now has the rights to everyone's content.

Unless of course you deleted it. Like I did.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. What I ate tonight for dinner, did not agree with me...so taking a while to digest. Sigh. It was good though. I think I've become addicted to strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, with truwhip (a non-diary all natural equivalent of cool whip).

In other news? Going off dairy, cheese (for the most part), all caffeine, all added sugars, all grains (for the most part), all sugar (except fruit, or anything with less than 5 grams...)...had stablized my mood. And worked a heck a lot better than taking drugs.
Haven't felt depressed or anxious in days, also IBS has cleared up, for the most part. Along with my headaches, sinuses, etc. So apparently I am intolerant and have some serious food sensitivities?

2. TV MEME

What TV have you been watching? The Crown, Victoria, Iron Fist, SuperGirl, Sense8, Nashville, General Hospital (which is abysmal at the moment. Seriously the writing is at an all time low. I have no idea what crack the writers are smoking. Mother and I keep threatening to quit, but curiousity keeps us tuned in. We've been watching it off and on since 1990s. My mother got me hooked on soap operas as a child. I'd come home from school and she'd tell me what happened, and her descriptions were wildly entertaining. I particularly remember her rendition of two old soap operas long since dead. Texas and Edge of Night. Texas - "Patsy and her lover found her crazy ex-husband, but he'd accidentally been mummified by the treasure, so they tried to move the body without anyone finding them...." This was before, DVD's, VCR's or taping. If you missed the soap, you missed it. They didn't have reruns. Her recaps were so entertaining that I got addicted. I think I watched them just to talk to her about it. That's the soul reason.) , Broadchurch S3, Doctor Who (which is also been in a bit of writing slump of late, albeit not quite as bad as GH. But it would be cancelled if it got as bad as GH. Personally, I don't think GH has much longer. Mother and I are taking bets on when it will end -- a year? two years? It's been on for 54 years. Tony Geary who played Luke finally retired and rode off into the sunset with Tracy Quartermain. His first love, Laura is involved with Kevin, a psychologist.).

What TV character is your favorite? Why?

Male? Spike (and possibly Apollo from BSG and John Crichton from Farscape) - Apparently, I don't have a type. Spike is weird. Normally, I go for the brooding type such as Apollo, or classical hero type, John Crichton. It really makes no sense why I didn't go for Angel -- no wait, I did, for three seasons, then I discovered David Boreanze was insanely limited (he was only interesting when he was Angelus) and he got puffy, so I lost interest. Giles - on the other hand, as portrayed by a 40 something ASH, was hot, particularly as Ripper.

Female? Starbuck (BSG), and possibly, Doctor River Song from Doctor Who and Aeryn Sun from Farscape.

Hmm...I apparently like tough as nails, smart aleck, women.

From Sense8?

Male? Hmmm... Will, Caiphus (Van Damn - although I preferred the actor in S1) (I did like Leto and Wolfgang, particularly when they were paired together.) So basically liked all the men, more or less equally.

Female: I adore Naomi, Alameta and Sun. Those are my three favorite characters of the series. Although I think Sun may be my favorite. (Yep definitely a type. I watched the L Word for Shane. Solely for Shane.)

Kala and Riley, who are both insanely indecisive and passive characters, get on my nerves a bit. But I liked both characters and cared about them

My sis-in-law once confronted me with the statement: "You don't like girly girls do you?" (Actually, my difficulty with Kala and Riley had zip to do with that, and more to do with their indecisiveness and passivity for a good portion of the series. Like Sun, I felt a need to smack them every once and a while. Along with Leto, who is also a passive and indecisive character, albeit less so than the other two.)

Well, see,, here's the deal. I don't necessarily dislike "girly girls" or whatever word or term you wish to use that is less offensive than that one. Because I'm sorry, that term is offensive. Read more... )

What hobbies besides TV have kept you entertained lately?

Writing. Reading. Read a little Sense8 fanfic -- there's one on Archive Of Our Own that deals with rescuing Wolfgang that I'm reading. Mainly because that's the only storyline that didn't get wrapped up to my satisfaction.

Walking.

I need to start drawing and painting again. But I also need a desk of some sort to do it on.

Cooking. I like to cook for the most part. Which is a good thing, considering my insane dietary restrictions.

Watching movies here and there.

3. Less said about crazy politically charged work-place the better. Suffice it to say...there are days in which I wish I could just be a full time novelist or English Lit Professor in some quite town in Maine. And I really despise my governor. We call him the governator at work.
(You know you have a problem when you despise all of your current political leadership. Actually, I don't think our world has any good leadership, we have a bunch of inflated egos strutting about like peacocks professing their own self-importance. In short? in the words of Rupert Giles, the earth is doomed.)
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YAY! Via cjlasky. < a HREF="http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/sense8-2-hour-finale-special-netflix-1202483044/"> NETFLIX to wrap up Sense8 in two hour finale special.

Personally, with the Wachowski's and JMS, I think they need four hours. But I can live with two. Reminds me of Farscape, actually.

Two favorite sci-fi shows that I crazily binge-watched after they aired.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR WHO STORY RANKED FROM BEST TO WORST for the DW fans on my reading list.

Reading through it, I was reminded of why I found the series far too scary to watch when I was eight in the 1970s. It also reminds me a great deal of two sci-fi anthology US programs in the 1960s and 70s, which were reprised briefly, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone. I liked Twilight Zone better -- it was psychological horror, while Outer Limits was basically monsters came to eat you from outer space.

The 1950s in the US seemed to spawn a lot of scary sci-fi movies. I think most if not all of them were allegories of the fear people had of the Other, or Communism. We'd just come off of a brutal war, where no one was necessarily a good guy. (If you disagree, go google the Battle of Dresden and read Slaughter-House Five. Also google the US internment camps for Japanese Americans, and what happened with the two atomic bombs.) Anyhow, WWII spawned US and Japanese sci-fi horror films. Our fear of nuclear warfare, communism, nazism, fascism...all show up in those, along with Doctor Who.

Anyhow, it's hard for me to quibble with the rankings, I only saw a smattering of the episodes. Agree with Blink, Midnight, Listen, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Day of the Doctor, The Doctor's Wife...have never really understood the appeal of the Vincent Van Gough episode and the Girl in the Fire Place, but that's just me. Personally I preferred The Impossible Astronaut and A Good Man Goes to War, along with Family of Blood and The Human Condition.

2. Television Shows to Binge Watch.

Please name a television show that you recommend binge watching this summer, list the channel and where to find it. I'm looking for recommendations.

Right now considering Orange is the New Black, Fortitude, Bosch, Big Little Lies,
American Gods.

3. What are the Best Television Adaptations of Books?

Hmmm...the best one that I've seen, and actually read the book, was A&E's adaptation of Pride & Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. It seemed to be the closest to the book, with a few interesting tweaks here and there. Such as Darcy taking a dip in his estate's lake only to find himself running into Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle.

I didn't like Poldark take 2 that much. But that may be a mood thing. And I didn't read the book.

The Expanse did a rather decent job with Leviathan Wakes, the first in that series. I haven't read the others yet.

I think it is hard to do a decent book adaptation. I liked The Night Manager, but again have not read the book. Le Carr gives me a headache, I can only watch the adaptations of his work. His books...feel a bit like trudging through quicksand.
(I admit I was more of a Ludlum and Fleming fan, and Helen McInnes, who were less realistic but more fun.)

The Thorn Birds was a good adaptation of that book, I must admit. Collen McCullough's Australian epic actually was my favorite of that specific genre.

Oh, and the best horror novel adaptation was Harvest Home (by Tom Tyron) which was adapted in the 1970s.

4. Brings me to my next question which books would you like to see adapted into a television series?

I can tell you this much, none that are currently being adapted. The one's I want adapted aren't popular enough, apparently, to be adapted.

Would love to see all the Shakespearean plays adapted. That would be cool. Do modern adaptations!

Also love to see His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman adapted into a television series. I think it would work better for television than film.

And The Chronicles of Lymond by Dorothy Dunnett starring Tom Hiddleston in the lead role.

Would not mind it if they adapted the Vicky Bliss mysteries.

Other books? The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Sparrow/Children of God by Maria Doria Russell. The Kim Harrison - Rachel Morgan series, about a bounty hunter who discovers she's a demon. Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.

Sci-Fi series? Hmmm....they don't tend to do a good job with sci-fi book adaptations.
Although I haven't seen Man in the High Castle. I did not like what they did with Dune or the Wizard of Earthsea.

See? Too off the beaten path. They'd never do them.

5. Any reboots?

Can't think of any. They always reboot shows that really don't need to be rebooted.

What they should do is continue series that left us with a cliff-hanger. Sort of a wrap-up of that series. Or something.
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1. What I Just Finished Reading?

Fortune Favors the Wicked (A Royal Rewards Duo #1) - by Theresa Romain

Romain writes unconventional historical romances that sort of defy established tropes.
In this one, the heroine is a courtesan and the hero is a blind naval officer. They are in the small town of Strawbridge, England, which isn't far from Scotland, hunting treasure. Apparently a bunch of people stole from the Royal Mint. This appears to be a Regency -- since the king is considered mad, and it is post 1700s. But I have no clue.
I tend to hand-wave the history in these things. Honestly, I don't read them for the history.

The naval officer is actually based on a historical character who was blind, and wrote books in the 1800s, and apparently some of the quotations from the actual character's books are inserted in the novel. Here the naval officer had attempted to get his memoirs published as non-fiction, but the publishers laughed in his face and said there was no way anyone was going to believe a blind man could do all that. They would however publish it as fiction, if he was so inclined. So, he's hunting the treasure in order to have money to publish it himself and to provide his sister with a "season". As a naval officer he only makes enough to live on. Small pension, and a room at Windsor Castle, as a Naval Knight of the Realm, and only as long as he remains single (not necessarily celibate). He'd prefer to be on a boat at see, but becoming blind sort of got in the way of all of that.

The courtesan was the vicar's daughter, that is until the local squire seduced her and got her to pose nude for him. She ended up having his daughter out of wedlock and passing the daughter off as her sister's. He also painted a lot of portraits of her nude.
Made a bit of name for himself on a few of them. As a result, she had little choice but to become a courtesan. She's running away from a wicked Marquess who thinks he owns her. And wants the treasure so she can raise her daughter in the country free of all of this.

I don't think I need to spell out what is unconventional here. There's no wealthy princes or landowners that can save either, the story is rather realistically rendered, and they sort of save themselves.

It's okay. I didn't love it. It lack oomph somehow. I'm not sure how else to explain it?
There just was something missing from the writing. Also there were a few characters or subplots introduced that were dropped. And the mystery, which was intriguing took back seat to the less than enthralling sex scenes. This writer's sex scenes felt rather awkward. I wish people wouldn't write them it they feel awkward. If you aren't comfortable writing full-fledged sex scenes, less is more.

2. What I'm Reading Now?

A Gentleman in the Street (The Campbell Siblings #1) - by Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai is an erotica contemporary romance writer. And somewhat unconventional in her writing. In this novel, she's flipped the gender trope. In addition the heroine is Japanese.

The heroine, Akira, is a wealthy, bitchy, owner of a string of nightclubs and restaurants. She's powerful, self-absorbed, a real player, and takes no prisoners. The hero, Jacob Campbell is a writer of spy novels, and the sole provider for his siblings. He's taken care of them his entire life and feels responsible for their welfare. They met when their parents married for all of ten minutes, or rather a year. And had the hots for each other, but instead of acting on it, treated each other like shit. He ignored her, or avoided her, while she was bitchy and mean to him.

Now, years later, after her mother has died, she's hunting a family heirloom, a chinese puzzle box. She comes to Jacob for it. He finds it for her, and they enter into a relationship of sorts...lots of kinky sex ensues.

The big difference between sex scenes in historical and contemporary novels is well they are kinky in contemporaries, and often cruel. There's spanking, three-somes, orgies, etc. Mainly because sex gets boring to write after a bit and there's a lot of it in contemporary erotica fiction and the writer has to come up with some way to entertain themselves and the audience. Also a way to push the characterization, plot and action -- the more crazy the sex is, the more you push the characterization and action in erotica. Historical romance doesn't need this extra push, because often just having sex out of wedlock in a historical is crazy enough. And back then, having oral sex or sodomy was...well, a big deal. Now? Not so much. So hence the kink.

I'm not sure about some of the positioning of the characters. Nor do I quite buy that Jacob does some of the things she has him do, it seems out of character and jarring. Also, the sex scenes happen a bit abruptly. There's not enough build up to them -- a problem in a lot of erotica. However, there is more character development, supporting and otherwise in this novel than the others I've read. And the writing is a bit cleaner, and less paint-by-numbers formula. In other words this feels like an actual story and not just erotica.

I'm finding it interesting, however, in that it does a good job of demonstrating how limited one's perspective truly is. To say Akira is self-absorbed is a gross understatement. All Akira thinks about twenty-four seven is Akira. To the degree that she's convinced everything Jacob or anyone else does is a reflection on her. When in actuality, it has absolutely nothing to do with her. Jacob isn't avoiding her because he hates her, but because of his own parental baggage and responsibilities and hangups. But she's too self-absorbed to see it -- until he literally confesses it.

He's actually the opposite -- not self-absorbed at all, in fact all he thinks about is everyone else.

I'm wondering right now, why he'd be interested in her? I mean looks only take you so far. She's user, and has little to no respect for others. In short, the writer flipped the tortured rich asshole hero into the tortured rich asshole heroine. Which in of itself is interesting. Just not sure it works.

While I'm reading the book, I kept imagining it as a horror story. I think it is the chinese puzzle box. And I can't help but think it would make a really cool erotic horror romance. But that may be a wee bit too unconventional.

Tried Sous Chef -- got bogged down with the irritating second person close point of view. Kitchen Confidential it's not. Unfortunately.
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EW has a list of Television Shows currently being adapted or have been adapted from best-selling literary works (or pseudo-literary works) to air sometime in the near future.

1. The Nix -- developed by JJ Abrhams and Meryl Streep (which is an odd pairing)
about a videogame obsessed professor and his mother.

2. My Brilliant Friend -- Elena Ferrante - adapted by Severio Costanzo with Jennifer Schuur. Casting has started with Naples locals. (Tried to get into the book, couldn't. Don't like the writing style. But it may be a good series. About two friends who go different ways, and the fractures in their friendship.) To air on HBO.

3. Alias Grace -- Margaret Atwood -- about a 19th Century servant accused of murdering her employers. (I don't know, I don't like Atwood. She tends to make want to throw her books against the wall. I always get angry at her male characters, and often female ones. I think there's something in her writing that triggers rage in me? It's why I've been leery of watching the television adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. I could barely make through the movie, and did not make it through the book.) -- Netflix -- Fall 2017, being adapted by Sarah Polley with Mary Harron (American Psycho) directing.

4. Dietland by Sarai Walker -- adapted by Marti Noxon for AMC. It's about a 300 pound woman named Plum who gets involved with a guerilla feminist group.

5. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, adapted by Kate Sinclair and John Brownlow. BBC and PBS co-produced. 17th Century Holland, historical drama. I've heard about it, actually I think my mother read it and told me the story, but I don't remember what it is about.

6. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which is being adapted by Marti Noxon and Gillian Flynn into a limited series for HBO in 2018. Jean-Marc Vallee directs. Stars Amy Adams, Chris Messina, and Patricia Clarkson. (I don't like Gillian Flynn's writing or this genre, which I find misanthropic and also triggers me. So I don't know about this. I did not like the film, Gone Girl. Found it predictable and cliche.)

7. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) -- adapted by BBC One to air on HBO in the US. Apparently they are adapting the entire series of Coromoran Strike novels, with each one getting its own miniseries. Rowling is Executive Producer.
(I haven't read her mystery novels or anything but the Harry Potter. But it is interesting that everything she writes is adapted into a series and is a best-seller, isn't it?)

8. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawely by Hannah Tinti -- adapted by Jerz Butterworth, Matt Reeves and Michael Costigan (about how a man was shot and survived).

9. Swing Time - Zadie Smith -- adapted by Zadie Smith and her husband Nick Laird.

10. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead -- adapted/directed by Moonlight's Barry Jenkins, for Amazon. (This is about two people who escape through the underground railroad...and it doesn't end happily, apparently.)

11. You by Caroline Kepnes...adapted by Greg Berlanti (it's about a bookstore clerk turned stalker -- seriously? I think I'll skip.)

12. Today will be Different by Maria Semple -- adapted by Semple. Her first book, Where'd You Go Bernadette is being adapted into a film by Richard Linklater. To air on HBO. Starring Julia Roberts, who is also producing.

Hmm. I may need to get HBO Now on Streaming. Too many frigging things on HBO. (Although, I'm not sure about Marti Noxon, I've come to realize that I don't like her writing for some reason. Most of her episodes of Buffy and other series that I know she's written for, including UnReal did not work for me. She's obsessed with negative female relationships. And there's an underlying cruelty in her writing, or nastiness that turns me off. I don't know that may just be a reaction to the satire UnReal, which I tried and had to give up on. I am however curious about Semple's series, she was one of the writers for Arrested Development. And a few of the other one's listed such as The Minaturist.)

While I'd love to have my novel adapted, part of me is rather glad it's below the radar and never will be.
shadowkat: (Default)
This weekend, I walked through a EID celebration, and heard the Shabbat siren which sounds a bit like the tornado warnings that I used to hear as a child in Prairie Village, Kansas, a suburb on the outskirts of Kansas City. Also heard them as an adult in a rural university town in Lawrence, Kansas.

The siren would ring, and we'd all rush to the basement and wait it out. Listening to the radio broadcast the latest sighting, and tell us the all clear. In Lawrence, we sat in the hallways of our apartment building. And in Liberty, Missouri, my grandmother who couldn't get to the basement, would go into the shower or tub.
Read more... )

Eh. I think I'll watch the Great British Baking Show.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
While I loved the series Sense8 as a whole, I think I preferred Season 1 to Season 2, it was better structured and the season finale was less busy and less rushed. I felt the first season to be tighter than the second, and that it wandered less. The stories seemed to interconnect more, and by the end of it, each character's arc was completed with a sort of open feeling of more to come. But it could have ended there, without feeling too jarring.

Season2....oh dear. It has moments of brilliance, but it is a bit of jangled mess at the end. I agree a great deal with the AV Club review of the finale episode, found HERE. The final two episodes felt more like a mid-season episodes than a season finale, and left the audience with more questions than answers, and sense of being left with a major cliff-hanger. I almost wish I'd stopped with S1, although there are bits in S2 that I'm rather glad I saw, and at least four of the eight characters story-arcs are to some degree completed.

Spoilers for Sense8 )
shadowkat: (Default)
So, been binge-watching S2 of Sense8, almost done. Two episodes left, dang it.
Painful this has been cancelled over far more violent and far less deserving fare. But I also, once again, came late to the party. I did the same thing with Farscape.

This is what it is about in the words of one of its' creators, the same guy who created and wrote Babylon5.

"We started out at one point talking about how evolution involves creating ever greater circles of empathy: You belong to your family, then you belong to your tribe, then two tribes link up and now you have empathy for your people on this side of the river, and you're against the people on the other side of the river... on and on through villages, cities, states and nations... So what if a more literal form of empathy could be triggered in eight individuals around the planet... who suddenly became mentally aware of each other, able to communicate as directly as if they were in the same room. How would they react? What would they do? ... What does it mean? And what would the world think about people with this ability? Would they embrace it, or hunt them down...? It would give us a perfect platform to do a show that was loaded with action, big ideas, some amazing stunts that no one's done before, and play to a planetary audience."

This is the best show I've watched this year. I'm half tempted to buy the DVD and rewatch. But I can always just re-stream at some point.

Anyone know of any Sense8 fanfic? I think I may need to find some Sense8 fanfic after tomorrow...
shadowkat: (Default)
Finally saw the latest Doctor Who which once again cut off the last two minutes. Dang it. That was the best part of the entire episode.

However, Doctor Who, Episode 10, Eater of the Light by Scottish playwrite and tele-writer Rona Munro, who also wrote the Doctor Who episode Survival in 1989, and is among the few female writers of the series, was actually among the better episodes to date.

I am, however, wondering why all the soliders in these episodes are dressed in red, and all the monsters seem to lizards or fish. (Yes, I know Roman soliders tended to wear red...but, not always, and why these soliders?) Maybe that's just me? Maybe it is coincidence? There were a few that weren't, not many, but a few. Maybe...there's some sort of metaphor relating to ancient Rome and the Scots that I'm missing because I don't remember the history that well? (I vaguely remember visiting Hadrian's Wall in the 1980s, and hearing the tale about how the Scots built it and kept the Romans back. Rome was able to conquer everyone but Scotland, in part due to the wall, in part due to the cold.)

There also seems to be an on-going theme about shutting out the light. Along with the agency/choice theme.

Not overly sure the episodic nature of this season works. With just snippets of an overall arc.

This was a metaphor heavy episode, as opposed to plot heavy, which I think worked better. Had a sort of fairy tale structure to it. Also worked better from a structural perspective. I actually prefer Doctor Who when it follows a more dark fairy tale style than sci-fi style. Mainly because I'm not sure these writers are very adept at sci-fi.
Am wondering if it is possible to do an episode without a monster of the week?

Eh, spoilers )
shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. What I just finished reading?

[As an aside, someone on Good Reads tried to quiz me on a romance novel that I reviewed in 2013. Seriously you think I'm going to remember the details of a romance novel I read back in 2013? I'm lucky if I can remember reading it. That's why I write reviews of these books, so I can keep track of the fact that I read them and don't accidentally by them again or re-read. My mother and I joke about this, neither of us can remember the book six months after we read it. It's actually part of the appeal. Romance novels are really hard to remember...they are so interchangeable and the writing style tends for the most part to be rather non-distinct. I actually like reading them for that reason at times...it's a nice light story, resolved by love, and caring, little to no violence, lots of sex (well sometimes depends), and I can delete from the memory banks. Got too much to remember as it is.)

Marry in Haste (Marriage for Convenience #1) by Anne Gracie

What works here, is the writer managed to subvert an incredibly annoying romance novel trope, aka the catastrophic misunderstanding, usually caused by the protagonists' stupidity.

The set-up? The heroine was disowned by her father because he believed some vicious rumors about her. Apparently she'd had an affair with a twenty-six year old stable hand when she was just seventeen. So when a neighbor who was after her inheritance found out, he decided to pass a nasty rumor about how she'd slept around with various stable hands and groomsmen, to everyone in town to convince her father to marry her off to him, to save her reputation. The father believed him. She took off to be a school-mistress. And eventually ends up married to our hero as a business arrangement to chaperon his sisters and niece through a season. He's adorable. They fall in love. But never say the words. And both doubt the other's feelings because they are too dense to realize actions matter not silly words. Even though everyone else can obviously tell.

So, of course throughout the entire book, I'm waiting for the hero to find out about the rumors and do the same thing her father did. Believe the vicious rumors and treat her horribly. They'll have a big melodramatic argument. She'll run off. Maybe gets hurt. He realizes he loves her, etc. Thinking, he'll probably find out from a friend or overhear it. (Because that's what always happens in these books or at least most of them.)

But that's not what happened. Instead, surprise surprise ...she tells him. He trusts her, doesn't believe a word of the rumor. Her friends and his family team up to kick the nasty gossip to the curb. And it all plays out the way it should. Zero misunderstandings.

Subverts the trope completely. Yay.

My only quibble about the story is...the author clearly doesn't like confrontations or conflict, because most of that happens off page, as does a lot of family scenes. There's a lot of paraphrasing and summarizing in the book. So I felt it was...rather passive at times.

That said, there is good, light banter. The hero is in a word, adorable. And incredibly kind. Not a jerk. And the heroine is equally adorable and kind. Actually with the exception of maybe two characters, which we barely even see...everyone is rather kind and likable.

Overall, an enjoyable read. It takes place just after the War with Napolean. So pre-Victorian period.

As an aside about historical romance -- weirdly the historical accuracy doesn't bother me the way it does in straight historical novels like Hillary Mantel's Wolf Hall. (Which I haven't been able to get into for various reasons but one of the sticking points is I know she made stuff up for dramatic effect. And people bought it as real. My problem with the more literary or straight historicals is often people read those for history, when they aren't accurate. I just read post on FB by a social friend a while back which stated this problem - Students take Hilary Mantels Tudor Novels As Fact


Guy recalled being out for the day after Mantel won the Booker prize for Wolf Hall in 2009 and returning home to find a stack of requests to write 1,000 words on how historically accurate the book was. He was also invited on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He declined all the offers.

“It is a novel. It is just silly. When you are in a world of the novel, a world of theatre, you tell a lie to tell the truth.

“Let us get this straight, the genius of Mantel is that she is aiming to summon up ghosts and if you look at some of that dialogue, it is absolutely remarkable.”



But what makes for great drama may not make for good history. And, in fact, “Wolf Hall” has stirred considerable controversy among historians and critics, many of whom have wondered what responsibility novelists who write about the past have toward history.


- How Wolf Hall Will Entertain Millions and Threaten to Distort History in the Process

That's the problem I have always had with straight historical novels in a nutshell. It's not just Mantel, it's basically all of them. They lie to you and it's not always clear how, and a lot of people get their history from fictionalized historical novels, where the writer has done a lot research then embellished and reinterpreted it to make a good story or fit their worldview.

So, I actually prefer genre - mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, romance historical hybrids, because it's pretty clear upfront that none of this is real. The history is not accurate.
The writer probably did a little research but not that much. So it's unlikely any reader will read genre for historical information or quote it.

That said, I have read historical novels and do like the genre on occasion, but prefer it when the characters in the historical are "fictional" and not based on real people.

2. What I'm reading now?

Still reading Let's Develop! by Fred Newman who is a somewhat controversial philosopher, political activist, psychotherapist, and teacher, that developed a new type of therapy -- social group therapy. He got into a bit of trouble with the political left, because while Marxist in some respects - more philosophy than economically, he's not anti-capitalism and supported Mayor Bloomberg's bid for Mayor and Ralph Nader.

Anyhow the latest chapter that I read discusses how therapy is not about problem solving or problem, solution, explanation. And states how too much emphasis has been placed on diagnosis. Or explaining dreams or why people act a certain way. And how this gets in the way of developing as a person and creating. I'm paraphrasing, because to be honest I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it.

The exercise at the end of the chapter is...the next time you hit a huge problem that you can't figure out how to solve or is making you crazy. Don't try to solve it. Write a poem about it instead. So I guess that's a poetry challenge.

Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain which is about a blind navel officer and a courtesan who go hunting for treasure. I have no idea which historical period we are in. It feels post Napolean, possibly Victorian. All I know is it is pre-1900s.

Sous Chef - 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney - this is told in second person close, which is not the easiest point of view in the world to read. I find jarring.
He's putting "you" as in the "reader" in the shoes of a Sous Chef. "You have these knives, etc". And it's rather detailed. But the voice and point of view are rough going.
Anthony Bourdain, who had a rather distinctive voice, and made the wise decision of writing in first person, was a lot easier and more entertaining.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Still Star-Crossed

Well, this improves with each episode, and no offense to Shakespeare, but I like it better than the original, Romeo and Juliet. (Although to be fair, R&J is not among my favorite of his plays. I didn't like the leads all that much.)

Oh, and Rebecca Kirsch, the Buffy writer that I keep forgetting the name of, is on the writing staff. She wrote tonight's episode.

I love the actress who plays Rosalind. Actually, I'm fond of several of the characters, Lord Montague, Rosalind, Olivia, Paris, Benevolio and Isabella.

Spoilers )
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Can't decide if watching The Great British Baking Show is torturing myself or comforting myself. (Since I can't eat any of it or make it, on the other hand, it's on tv, so can't do it anyhow. I find cooking shows and demonstrations relaxing.) It's called Great British Baking Show in the US, not Bake-Off, because Pillsbury has trade-marked Bake-Off in the US, and they'd have to pay Pillsbury royalties for its use.
Don't you love Intellectual Property Law?

Oh, speaking of trade-mark law, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of trademarking politically incorrect or offensive trademarks. Such as "The Redskins" - baseball team wanting to copyright their name. (I actually agree with this -- freedom of speech. I think all speech should be permitted. If we prohibit one type, we risk prohibiting others.)

2. I'm putting off watching the second season of Sense8 until the weekend. It's hard to stop watching. That's how compelling it is. Wish it wasn't cancelled, I drug my feet on watching it, because it was and it had allegedly ended on a cliff-hanger.
(So I looked up information on it -- to ensure the Whispers/Will issue was resolved.)

I can see why it was -- very expensive series to produce. $4 Million per episode. And, it took two years for the second season to air after the first. That's a large gap to retain cast and audience. They already had to recast one of the cast members.

It's a shame, because this series is possibly the only sci-fi series on television that has a strong message of love, unity, empathy and kindness behind it. It's also by far the best written and produced. Most sci-fi television series, let's face it, are a bit of a mess. You have to be a bit tolerant of well messy writing, to be a genre television fan.

Hmm...best written and most innovative sci-fi series that I can think of and have watched?

* Farscape
* Star Trek the Next Generation
* Babylon5
* BattleStar Galatica (v.2)
* Lost

And Sense8 is very different from all of them. It really is a unique take on the television serial. Reminds me a little of Game of Thrones in the multiple character point of views and multiple location shots, with a large diverse cast. I'd say it is a lot better than GoT - the writing is more nuanced, it's less violent, the message is more positive, it flips gender and takes more risks.

It is however difficult to rec to people, because of the explicit sexual content and the type of sexual content - group orgies, homosexual sex, and explicit. Didn't bother me, but most of the people I know wouldn't be able to watch it. My parents -- no. My coworkers -- no. Shame. Again I ask the question, why as a culture are we more comfortable with graphic violence, shoot-outs, screaming hate, and fight scenes, then watching two people making love to one another? It boggles my mind that people have no problems watching someone stab someone but can't watch a sex scene, regardless of the genders involved.

Sense8 to be fair has a lot of graphic violence as well. Although it's fairly tame in contrast to the other sci-fi series I've seen. And no where near as violent as well, GoT, Walking Dead, American Gods, Supernatural...so.

I think it took some insane risks. The Wachowskis and the creator of Bab5, wanted to do something no one else had done before. Something that changed the boundaries of television like the Matrix did with film. Which is ambitious. There's 450 scripted television series.

If it weren't for subscription channels like Netflix, Sense8 would never have been made. HBO passed on it, as did Showtime.

3. Character Shipping or rather "Anti-Shipping" in Fandom

There's nothing more off-putting than someone seriously anti-shipping a character you happen to enjoy or find interesting. And people are oddly hypocritical about it. Now, to be fair, I've despised characters on television shows and books that others loved. Although I prefer not to talk about them too much. Also, usually they are supporting or just recurring characters, or I would not be watching the show or reading the book any longer. If the characters don't work for me, I'm gone. Seriously life is too short.

Like on Buffy, I disliked Andrew, which it turned out wasn't a big problem. I could ignore the characters for the most part.

Or on Lost...well there wasn't any characters I disliked. A rarity. Same with BSG, no characters I disliked.

In the X-men? I liked all the characters.

Doctor Who? Can't remember disliking any character intensely.

But the fandom? Oh dear.

Apparently in X-men, the most hated hated character happens to be my favorite. Which is annoying and why I steered clear.

Doctor Who? one of the most despised characters is among my favorites. So steered clear.

Buffy? It was difficult, for the most part I loved all the characters (except for Andrew), and many fans hated at least one of my favorites. And by hated -- they felt the need to rant, and yell about them.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Just finished Season 1 of Sense8 and was blown away by how well written, acted, and produced this show truly is. It may well be the best sci-fi and/or superhero series that I've seen on television. By far the most innovative, not to mention positive.

Why didn't you tell me about this? No, wait you did. I ignored you. Hardly your fault.

Yes, it's far from perfect, the villain (Mr. Whispers) is a bit of a cliche and I keep wishing someone would just kill him off so we can go about our business. The conspiracy plot with the evil government funded corporation, I could do without. Because that's in every show to date, and hello, overdone. I actually think the show would have worked better without that.

Backing up a bit...Sense8 is a story by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski. The Wachowski's are transgender and were the same team that did The Matrix series. J. Michael Stracznski did Babylon5, possibly the tightest sci-fi series, because he plotted it out ahead of time. Which is why this ambitious piece of art works - because Stracznski knows how to build character and multiple plot threads that connect with each other. He's a planner.

Anyhow, the story is about eight people who have the gift/curse of being able to share thoughts, abilities and bodies with each other. They can visit each other, share emotions and feelings and senses, and even occupy each other's bodies utilizing each other's skills or aiding each other, when someone needs help. There are eight of them, and they are intricately connected by spirit, heart and mind.

1, Sun - Asian Female, South Korea, Martial Artist, Business specialist, lost her mother to cancer.
2. Leto - Hispanic Male (incredibly hot), Mexico City, Top-rated action movie star/romantic hero, gay, and in the closet. Lies for a living. In love with Herandez.
3. Will - White Male - Chicago, Cop.
4. Riley - White Female - Iceland/London, DJ
5. Naomi - White Female (transgendered from male), lesbian romance with Almamita (whose black), hacker extraordinaire.
6. Kalia, Indian, Female, Mombai, India, chemist, struggling with her upcoming marriage to Raj.
7. Wolfgang, German, White Male, Gangster, fighter/killer,
8. Van Dam - Nairobi - Kenya, Black Male, driver, struggling with gansters to get medicine for sick mother.

I loved all eight characters, which is rare, and the people they loved and cared for in their lives. (The only characters I didn't like, I'm not supposed to.) Usually there's at least one main character I don't like, and that's not the case here.

Sensie are grouped in clusters, and there eight in a cluster, who can share emotions, sense each other. They are an advanced form of human. There are the humans who can no longer feel empathy or feel for others, and as a result can kill without remorse and cause pain, and those who can feel connection with others, and cannot.

This has a large caste. And jumps from various places around the globe.

There's some beautifully moving moments within it...one in which Riley is listening to her father's concert in Iceland, and it triggers a flashback of when she was born, which triggers everyone else in her cluster to remember their births. Another moment in which the German has to get up to sing karakoke in front of people and is terrified, so they all sing the song with him, giving him the support to do it. And get past the negative flashback.

In one scene...Sun must make the difficult decision on whether to take the blame for something her brother has done, which would put her in prison. She discusses this with two of her cluster, Riley and Van Damn...and both share their own versions of similarly difficult decisions.

Each problem is resolved collaboratively, people aren't alone, and the underlying message is love and kindness can still and often does triumph in a painful, nasty world run by people who are dead inside. In a way, much like the Matrix before it. Also like the Matrix, it is a scathing critique of our society.

It's hard to describe, because it really should not work, but somehow it does. Each story building and flowing into the next. Each character building and supporting the next character and informing them. Also watching it is a bit like watching five different genre television series at the same time. One a gangster movie, one a Bollywood film, one a London grunge film, one an American cop film, etc. It's amazing that it works at all. (Clearly it didn't for everyone or it would have done better.)

Also there's some great throw-away lines that resonate long after the screen grows dark...with a soundtrack that sticks with me.

And amongst the many themes...these stick out...

* Be careful with choices, if we do not make the choice, the choice will often make us.
* Worse than losing your career or all you worked for, is continuing to not let yourself be who you are, to live that lie.

Season 1? Overall rating? A solid A.

Best television series I've seen in ages. I'm told S2 is better, hard to imagine.

Sense8

Jun. 17th, 2017 10:36 pm
shadowkat: (tv slut)
So...I decided to try one episode of Sense8....and then it became just one more episode, then just one more episode....six episodes later, I can't seem to stop watching.

Review to follow...this show is amazing. Never seen anything like it. I'm hooked.
shadowkat: (Default)
1. I found myself agreeing in part with this assessment of The Josh Whedon Wonder Woman Script by the Mary Sue.

Except, I'm starting to think during various discussions with people about various topics...that we don't necessarily define words or concepts in the same way, and people have different perspectives based on background, etc.

For example? Years ago I had a lengthy discourse on the nature of the human soul on my journal, or rather it was a lengthy discourse on what the term soul actually meant. Because no one agreed or defined the story the same way.

Here, I think...it's possible not to see Whedon's script as either sexist or misogynistic and see that he may well be commenting on it and our societal view of it. Which he's been doing in various ways in his work for quite some time -- commenting on it. Whedon's work tends to have a meta-narrative element, which many people don't realize, and often a satirical element, that many take literally. He is familiar with the comics and history, also how our world handles powerful women -- so he wrote his script through the point of view of a modern everyday male encountering a woman who is more powerful in many ways...and how does he deal with that? A question Whedon asks himself.
While the writers of the movie, made it more about the woman and less how she's viewed by society.

2. There's a fascinating podcast on SmartBitches about branding and why we read what we read, what attracts us to a novel. It's promoting a story anthology that doesn't reveal who wrote which story until September. And each author writes something in a genre or on a topic they've never written before or are uncomfortable with in some way.

What's interesting is it is a challenge to their readers. Because with genre readers, people tend to read one author whose style they like, or one genre. They don't tend to jump or take risks. So by requesting the author's take risks, their reader's do as well -- both jump outside the comfort zone.
Also the writers mention how unrecognizable some of their fellow writers works are -- style wise, they've changed their style.

Some writers can do this, some can't. Like some actor's can do it, some can't. For example? Cary Grant was always playing well Cary Grant. But Dustin Hoffman is often unrecognizable. You always tend to know it is Elizabeth Taylor, but Meryl Streep disappears in her roles.

They mention a "No Name" series that Louisa May Alcott wrote for, and in 1911, there was a concert series that works were presented anonymously.

I think it is harder to be anonymous on the internet. Though in a way by adopting an pseudonym, we are doing that here, aren't we? I feel freer here under my internet name, than under my real one on Twitter or Facebook or Good Reads. Here...I can say and write things with less...worry, somehow.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
[Eh, I don't really have much to report. I finished White Hot, tried The Immortals, got horribly bored - the character's navel gazing and myth research kept putting me to sleep, and am now reading Marry in Haste. So instead, I'm doing a book meme sort of like the movie meme. Assuming of course I can answer my own questions. Which can be distressing. I have a tendency to blank on the book.

Oh...conversation with mother, worth noting.
Why I don't have plants in my apartment )

Book Meme

1. What was the most disturbing book that you read?

there's fifteen questions )
shadowkat: (Default)
Finally saw this episode. And....well, Mark Gatiss really should stick to acting, he's not very good at this writing thing. Just saying.

The episode reminded me of some of the very cheesy sci-fi television shows and movies that I watched as a kid in the 1970s, but were created in 1960s. Unlike the UK, apparently, the US had lots of cheesy sci-fi shows and movies to choose from. None of them lasted very long, because, hello, cheesy. I think the worst was Land of the Lost. Even the gadgets in the episodes were very seventies.

Had a very Jules Vern/HG Wells vibe going.

I'm not really sure what the writer was trying to say in the episode. But then it was written by Mark Gatiss, who I tend to find to be unintelligible on a good day.

spoilers )

Overall? Not a good episode, and quite skippable. Unless of course something major happened in the last five-ten minutes,which I missed because it didn't record.

Been having recording issues this week. Still Star Crossed didn't record. Yesterday I got Jeff Sessions instead of my soap, and today no soap, had to watch online. (It's sad, I know, but I found the soap to be more entertaining than the Jeff Sessions hearing or this week's episode of Doctor Who.)
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