shadowkat: (work/reading)
2017-06-21 07:39 pm
Entry tags:

Wed Reading Meme

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)
2017-06-20 09:38 pm

Still Star Crossed

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)
2017-06-19 09:32 pm

(no subject)

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)
2017-06-18 06:16 pm
Entry tags:

Sense8 - Season 1

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.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
2017-06-17 10:36 pm

Sense8

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)
2017-06-16 10:00 pm

(no subject)

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)
2017-06-14 09:38 pm
Entry tags:

Wed Reading Meme

[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)
2017-06-14 08:53 pm
Entry tags:

Doctor Who - Empress of Mars

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.)
shadowkat: (Calm)
2017-06-13 08:49 pm
Entry tags:

Movie Meme

I swiped this Movie Meme from selenak. Actually saw it last night and got stumped by the first question and thought about it off and on today, and yep, still stumped. Frigging movie meme is harder than it looks.

movie meme, which is harder than it looks )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-12 09:26 pm

So...the Tony's

Anyone watch the Tony's this year?

I taped it. So am watching now. Spacey's song and dance opening number was rather weak, but his impersonations of Johnny Carson and Bill Clinton were good.

Highlights, commentary...

* While I'm not interested in seeing the musical Dear Evan Hansen, I adore this song and performance. Found it...very relatable, which also reminded of a poem a college friend wrote and gave to me ages ago.



A theme song for those of us who aren't mainstream, and far from so-called "normal",
who as my niece states...are weird but in a good way.

* I am however interested in Natasha, Pierre, and the Big Comet of 1865, which is adapted from 70 page snippet of War and Peace. It's a combination of musical styles that puts Hamiliton to shame -- rock, pop, folk, ballad, traditional Broadway.

And possibly...Bandstand for the dancing.

* But actually more intrigued by the plays, particularly Oslo - which is part thriller, about what it would be like to sit across the table from your enemy and see them as human being. It won best play.

* Bette Midler has had too much plastic surgery or botox. She can barely move her face and it looks like a weird mask. I really wish people would just let themselves age.
She could barely see, her lids were covering her eyes. They all have impossibly high cheekbones, clearly been face-lifted.

Hello Dolly didn't do much of a performance, because the Producer wanted to to it at the Shubert, film it, and show it on the screen at the Tony's. But the Tony's forbid it, so instead they had David Hyde Pierce sing a song that had been cut from he original (except I'm pretty certain it was in the movie). Was disappointing. If you have Bette Midler, why not show her?

That said? I wouldn't go to see Hello Dolly again just to see Bette Midler. I'm somewhat ambivalent about the musical and Midler. I've seen the musical twice, and recently, and read the original play, and seen the film version of it -- The Matchmaker.
It's not that interesting of a musical.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-11 10:26 pm

Supergirl

Decided to tape the Tony's, because the opening number was cringe-worthy and I want to fast-forward. And binge watch S2 of Supergirl on Netflix instead.

It's gotten a bit better, after the opening two episodes with Superman. They've built up the world a bit, and are delving deeper on the anti-alien theme. Also, some interesting new characters, with Monelle, the dive bar, the cop, Lana Luthor - Lex's sister, the President, and the bartender from Mars.

Although Snapper feels a bit too much like the editor from Spiderman.

I've seen the guy playing the Martian Manhunter from somewhere, but can't figure out where. Monelle, the actor portraying him was Kyle on Vamp Diaries, I like the actor.

And they smartly broke up Jimmy Olsen and Kara...because they no chemistry at all.

As a side note, I'm thinking I need to stay away from political discussions, international and national, they seem to make me twitchy. If it were up to me, we'd be living the world of John Lennon's "Imagine" song, but it's not up to me, is it?
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-11 05:57 pm
Entry tags:

Movie Reviews: Beauty & the Beast and Captain Fantastic

Saw two movies this weekend, on via On Demand, and one via Amazon Prime.

1. Beauty and the Beast - Live Action adaptation of the Broadway Musical version of the animated film

This starred Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (Beast), Luke Evans (Gaston), Ewan McGregor (Lumineer), Emma Tompson (Mrs. Potts), Audra McDonald (Mmd de Carderzona - the wardrobe), Stanley Tucci (the player piano or Maestro) and Ian McKellan as Codsworth (the clock) and Kevin Kline (as Maurice, Belle's father).

It was good. But it was also almost exactly like the animated version. Decent CGI, and everyone sang their parts quite well, I thought. There's three new songs -- two the Beast sings, and one Belle sings.

So, if you liked the animated version, you'll like this one. I've seen four versions now, my favorite is the French 1930s version...by a director I can't remember the name of. Because it had some nice twists. It's also the version that Disney one is clearly based upon, with the enchanted or haunted castle and all the servants various forms of furniture, etc. In the French version, Gaston turns into the Beast upon his death, and the Prince becomes human again. The fourth one is not worth mentioning.

2. Captain Fantastic

This starred Viggo Mortgensen (who was nominated for an Oscar and various awards for the film), along with Frank Langella, and the kids are amazing in it.

It's a quirky film and in places a scathing indictment of American society. (When you post on an international journal, you need to quantify these sorts of things.) Also of Capitalism. Although he does make the point to his son, who has become a Maoist, after being a Troskist, that Communism can result in genocide as well. (It didn't bother me, because I don't worship at the feet at any economic system and think all of them are crap. Frankly economics gives me a headache. And I'd prefer not to think about it too much. But alas, I'm surrounded by economics majors, how did this happen? I got a degree in Law, cultural anthropology, and English Lit. Sigh, life, always the comedian.)

Captain Fantastic aka Ben has been raising his seven kids off the grid. When the movie opens, we don't know why he's doing it or what happened to the mother, just that she's not there. During the movie, we are slowly told why, and what happened, etc.

It's funny in places, and disturbing in others.

mild spoilers ) I found it hilarious in places and cringeworthy in others. But overall, an excellent and uplifting film, and worth watching. The people do change in the end, Ben changes...he realizes that he's putting his children at a disadvantage and with their help, finds a middle way -- to raise them without sacrificing his beliefs entirely.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-10 11:48 pm

(no subject)

In an attempt to understand what is happening in Great Britain, I went back to read the political posts on ATPO_TCH journal and they are insightful and detailed. He's a little more...logical, and clear than some others.

He also breaks down where the votes fell, what's happening, and how it will affect Brexit.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-10 10:30 pm
Entry tags:

The Crown - Review

Finally finished watching The Crown Season 1, which is about Queen Elizabeth II's reign from her marriage, her coronation, through her sister, Princess' Margaret's brief and somewhat tragic broken engagement to Captain Townsend.

The mini-series by Stephen Daldry is extremely good. I have no idea how accurate it is to the actual events.

It is however an interesting artistic portrait of Britain and The Crown during this time period -- there's an episode that sort of describes the intent of the series, through an analogy of sorts. Which I didn't pick up on until I began to write this review.
Spoilers, but it's a historical, so you already know them )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-09 09:25 pm
Entry tags:

This that and the other thing...

1. There's an horror/sci-fi novel out there entitled Amish Vampires in Space and according to smartbitches its not that bad and not a parody.

The plot seems to be about a transport crew that picks up a cryogenically frozen scientist and her wrecked lab along with a bunch of Amish colonists, out in the reaches of space. One of the crew members fiddles about in the scientist's lab and gets bitten by something -- which turns him into a vampire. He feeds on the livestock and most of the passengers and crew, until before you know it -- you have Amish Vampires in Space.

LOL!

2. I couldn't think any more or focus on anything or listen to anyone by the end of the work day. Felt a bit like I'd been hit by a Mac Truck. So nixed going to the Psychology Lecture - entitled Mad World. (I honestly didn't care, I wanted to go home and be a vegetable.)

Tried to write some during downtime, but brain fog made it difficult. Haven't been sleeping well, which may be part of it. Don't know.

3. Current state of politics is confusing and headache inducing, so I've been ignoring it for the most part.

eh UK and US politics )

3. Riverdale

Well, the season finale surprised me. The resolution of the Jason Blossom mystery didn't, I sort of figured out who killed him some time ago. Although they did plant a few clever red-herrings.

The show is sort of a hybrid of various genres, noir, mystery, teen soap, and a bit of the Surreal Twin Peaks/Graphic novel. The parents or adults are the villains in the piece.
With their kids navigating the stormy waters of their secrets.

I'm sticking with it. Rather enjoyed it. Doesn't require that much attention, I like the characters, and find their subversion of the bad trope interesting. Jughead is the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but he's wickedly bright, not strong or tough at all, and a bit of a nerd, who loves to sit in a corner and write. A sensitive soul. And slight of build. Betty Cooper is the quintessential good girl next door, except she has a dark side, and her own secrets.

None of the kids look like kids of course. They all look like they are in their 20s. I think Stranger Things might be the only television series I've seen that employs actual teens.

4.) I have written 279 pages and 147,700 words on my novel to date. Which could prove problematic when I decide to publish it. If I publish it. At this rate, it may well clock in at a little over 350 or 400 pages and 199,000 words or thereabouts. I tend to write books about that length.

I am not a short story writer. And, while I dabbled with fanfic, I find it difficult to write.

somewhat lengthy discussion of writing fanfic, writing in general )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-09 09:01 pm
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Sesame Street Parody of Game of Thrones..



It's admittedly odd that a kid's show did a parody of a NC-17 rated adult series. But...the parody is hilarious.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
2017-06-07 08:42 pm

Wed Reading meme take 2

I sort of already did the Wed Reading meme yesterday, because I got a day ahead of myself.

Almost done the book White Hot by Illona Andrews -- which is weirdly disturbing. It's about a society that is run by "PRIMES" who have "super-powers" which they mainly utilize to acquire power and wealth or to manipulate others. In order to maintain their standing and obtain more power, they run DNA tests to determine which person has similar and compatible talents to their own. (It actually in some respects reminds me of a sci-novel that I'm writing, except mine's a bit more complicated and the powers are obtain via genetic engineering -- they aren't magic, but literally DNA and biologically specific. More X-men or maybe Sense8 than Harry Potter. Also I play games with gender, AI, and everything is run by pharmeceutical corporations and bio-tech companies who conquered the space race, once Trump privatized things.) Andrews novel is much simpler. Her world is an AU urban fantasy, where Primes existed always, and Imperial Russia started WWII and did the Holocaust not Germany. (Should be noted that Illona is Russian.) It takes place in Houston, Texas. (Illona lives in Seattle, but appears to like to place her books in the cities of the deep South. I'm not sure quite gets Texas, but it's an AU urban fantasy, so probably doesn't matter. Oh, as an aside I was explaining to a co-worker a few days back how far things were in Texas...and that Texas was basically larger than most of the states of the north east corridor combined. In landmass? Texas is about the size of the British Isles, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Belguim. It's huge. And very different terrain throughout. Some parts are hilly and have trees, others are flat and don't. Lot of empty space.

The US would most likely blow some people's minds driving across it. There are places in it in which you don't see a house or a car or much of anything for miles, not even a tree...just miles and miles of grassland, sometimes a cow, or fences, maybe electric light poles. My mother's family was from rural midwest/west. Farmers and cattle ranchers mainly. )

Anyhow...the book is rather disturbing in places...the heroine's magical ability is "truth-seeking" -- wherein she has the ability to go into someone's head and tear it apart to uncover the truth, whether they want her to or not. She can turn them into a vegetable if she wants to. The hero has the ability to demolish buildings and telekinetically move anything of any mass. She's just figured out that she has this ability and is somewhat discombobulated over it. At one point she finds out why, her father's mother or paternal grandmother is high powered truthseeker. This is a rare ability. And the woman is evil. Her father run away from her, having no powers of his own -- she tore apart his mind, tortured him and hated him. If she found out about the heroine or where the heroine's family was -- she'd kill the mother and maternal grandmother, and enslave the three daughters including the heroine. There's two people who know -- and she's coming to visit one of them, the heroine's pseudo-boss, who owns the mortgage on her business. Her mother tells her to kill him. Her boyfriend, the telekinetic/hero, will kill him. But she can't live with that, so she tells him she has to invade his mind with his help to set up a hex that will lock her grandmother out.

There's a lot of interesting metaphors in there, just not sure I want to break them down.

In other news, cubical mate, the sweetheart across the aisle from me, who is a writer. Has asked if I'd do her the honor of reading her fictionalized account of her mother's life story when she's finished with it. It's a memoir of sorts, told in first person. She told that she'd written a gospel play previously that was published and copyrighted. She's interesting and not at all what one would expect.

Workplace continues to surprise me.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-06 09:25 pm
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Still Star Crossed

Seen two episodes of this series now...and, it's definitely interesting. Reminds me a great deal of the tv series Reign except not as melodramatic and less fantastical elements. Actually so far there are no fantastical elements, it's basically a continuation of Shakespeare, with British Shakespearean accents. And dastardly dealings aplenty.

To date?

* a beheading
* fork through a hand
* a sex scene with a whore...although fairly tame, considering ABC not HBO
* a corpse desecrated
* and a man pushed to his death.

Also lots of strategizing and intrigue. I rather like Grant Bowler of Defiance in this. And ASH is doing a lovely job of playing someone who is...deceptively wimpy, when in truth he's rather cold-blooded.

[Interrupted by a very loud cat fight outside my window. Can't see the cats, but can hear them.]

Also the actress playing Rosalind...is very good. I'm also weirdly intrigued by the actor playing Paris, who did a nice job of pretending to be in excruciating pain.

spoilers )

This isn't great, but it's sort of fun. And I like the political maneuvering.

In other news...I've been watching General Hospital (which yes is daytime soap, I like to discuss it with my mom over the phone -- it gives us something else to talk about) for a while now, and...admittedly, it is a soap opera, and kids age weirdly on soap operas...you'd think the writer's would have some sense of continuity. But no.

Jossylyn Jacks was born in 2009
Spencer Cassadine was born in the 2006
Emma Drake was born in 2007
Jake Spencer was born in 2007
Cameron Spencer was born in 2004


Okay, now guess who is the oldest kid on screen right now?

ages of kids now )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-06-06 06:13 pm
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Wed Reading Meme (on Tuesday)

[Because I forgot it wasn't Wed....I'm a day ahead of myself, this is not a good start to the week. ]

1. What I just finished reading?

See last week's post. I finished the Drakon trilogy by Shannon Abe, the last one was Queen of Dragons. And no, I don't recommend it. It was a mess. And I think it was traditionally published, which makes me wonder about the editors. Shame, the first book in the series, "The Smoke Thief" was rather good. It's weird some writers series get better as they go, others really don't.

Also, I've noticed some writers tend to write the same story, with the same style, regardless of what the plot or setting is. Other's you can't tell it's the same writer at all.
Jim Butcher was somewhat interesting in that his style did change from series to series. I couldn't get into his other series...outside of The Dresden Files, but I did try samples and his style is very different in each. While Illona Andrews style is the same, as is Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler, and various literary writers.

2. What I'm reading now?

White Hot by Illona Andrews. It should be noted that Illona Andrews is actually a husband and wife writing team. She's a Russian immigrant, and he's ex-American military. They met in a creative writing course.

Read more... )

3. What I'm reading next?

No clue. Flirting with books. Bought The Immortals might try that, which is urban fantasy/mystery -- although there is a serial killer and I hate the serial killer trope with a blinding passion. So we'll see. The serial killer trope is why I stopped reading mystery/thrillers and watching them.

Also still flirting with two political ones..."The Hillbilly Elegy" and "The Road to Somewhere" but not sure I can handle either at the moment.

Oh and I have Whedon's Wonder Woman script to read -- got bogged down at page 21. Why? Thought it was silly and campy. (Diana is busy mooning after the man, and her girlfriend is mooning after the man, while they make googily eyes at each other. It brought back bad memories of the Buffy comics. While Trevor makes snarky comments about these Amazon women. And oh, they are keeping him from delivering necessary supplies to refugees, because they want to kill him for discovering their secret island. So stupid and somewhat offensive. Very happy this wasn't made into a film.) And Warren Ellis' Saga -- volume one. Both on the Ipad. They don't work well on the kindle.