shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-23 09:08 pm

(no subject)

Hmmm...note to self, just because you delete something, doesn't necessarily mean it disappears.

Although I do it a lot. Mainly because I'll re-read the comment or think about what I posted and go, frak. I did not mean to say THAT. I meant to say THIS. But someone will totally think THAT. What to do? DELETE! DELETE!

OR, damn, that didn't come out as well as I thought it did. Note to self, sugar warps the brain.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-23 08:31 pm

(no subject)

1. The Great British Baking Show...this episode was pastry. And I felt sorry for the bakers.
Also, who makes Bakewell Tarts? I've rarely seen them and never had one. I've had marzipan tarts. But not with that horrid icing on top. Seriously. Everyone knows how to bake or should know how to bake a Bakewell tart? Maybe if you are British and in your 70s.

But I adore this show. And it made me cry this week...Val is such a lovely lady. She said she just bakes with love. And does it to share her love with others. And she's always so upbeat regardless of how well she does. Not that competitive and brings others up.

2. fannish about television -- alas, I'm not really. Nothing is really grabbing me. And the one show that cancelled and didn't have enough episodes. Also...I think when you binge the entirety of a series at once, as opposed to watching it as it airs...the whole fannish bit melts away faster?

I've tried with Doctor Who. But it has so many problems. That said, it may turn around for me...I rather liked a good portion of this season. Much better than the previous season. And I did like the River Song arc. So, the change in Doctors or new Doctor may change my take on it and make it more interesting for me, while simultaneously getting rid of the things that irritated me about the series and kept me from investing in it on an emotional level. Don't know. This season was certainly better than last.

The trailer to the Christmas episode is quite brilliant.

3. Will -- uneven so far, but the play writing bits still fascinate. How Alice convinces him to adapt plays from books or borrow ideas from others, as opposed to coming up with his own. In a way his talent lay more in adaptation that in coming up with new and clever ideas. Also, love how it shows the collaborative nature of the work, and how much Alice influenced him and in a way co-wrote The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

4. Broadchurch -- the third season is better than the second, which I couldn't get into and found unwatchable. So far, I've found compelling despite the subject matter. What works is we have a normal, not beautiful, somewhat ordinary, older woman sexually assaulted. Usually in these shows, it's a pretty young girl, who is model pretty. Or a lead character. Here, it's a new character and I think that works better. Also they don't show the assault or fetish it, which helps. Too many shows fetish it.

Jodi Whittaker, who plays Beth Latimer in the series, I've been watching closely, curious to know what she'll do with Doctor Who. She seems a bit earnest. So don't know. But then that is the role of Beth Latimer. I can't remember her in Venus. I'm pretty certain I saw it, but the movie clearly wasn't memorable. I sort of wish Olivia Coleman had gotten the role. I rather like Coleman, she does world-weariness well.

I have to admit I can't understand half of what Tennant says. His accent is thick. And he mumbles. Same problem with a good portion of the actors. Latimer, I can at least understand. She enouciates and doesn't mumble. That was actually my difficulty with Tennant as Who, I couldn't understand half of what he said. He speaks fast and mumbles.

I keep putting on the close-captioning. In Broachurch, I rewind and sort of guess. Do however love what Tennant does with his face. Now if he'd just not mumble, it would be great.

5. It was either edit this post or write a new one...The Mary Sue keeps posting rather cool things to look forward to in the pop culture world. Such as

* Thor Rorganork, which has a great villain in Cate Blanchett's the Goddess of Death. Except I thought Doctor Strange was supposed to be in it. Don't see him in the trailer.
But the film looks like a lot of fun, with a buddy team up of Thor and Hulk.

*The Star Wars episode 8 trailer looks phenomenal.

* So too does the trailer for "The Gifted" which wonders what would it be like to be born a mutant in a world where the X-men and the Brotherhood may not even exist any longer? Focuses on lesser seen and known mutants such as Lorna Dane (Polaris), Thunderbird (John Proudstar, the Native American mutant), Eclispe, and Blink. Also stars Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer as humans.

* And..the Black Widow trailer. I didn't know they were doing a Black Widow film. It looks official not fan made.

* Apparently Marty McFly is coming back to save us from the Doofus in 2016-17. Will he succeed? Yes, there's a Back to the Future IV coming out. The mind boggles.

* They have actually adapted a film from one of my all time favorite children's books, A Wrinkle in Time -- which appears to have a good cast. And the trailer looks brilliant, unlike A Bridge Over Terribetha, which was a weak film.

* There's some concern over "The Defender's" which may focus a bit too much on Iron Fist, because of The Hand being the principle villain. I don't know about that...the Hand is actually also the main villain in Daredevil. I think Daredevil will be the center of it. Which is as it should be.

* They are apparently doing a film version of Cloak and Dagger, which I think are from the DC verse. Not sure about it.

* The Inhumans could be's focusing on Medusa and Black Bolt, from the 1980s comics. Looks a little cheesy though.

Interesting, a lot of the comic adaptations and book adaptations, with a few exceptions, seem to be from the 1980s...which I rather love. Apparently my generation has some nostalgia for the 80s?

* Apparently Ben Affleck had a falling out with the new Batman director, so they are kicked Affleck to the curb...after that movie is done. does that work with Justice League and other films in the franchise, exactly? Won't people notice a recast? Speculation is that Nightwing aka Dick Grayson will take over. Considering I liked Grayson in the comics and the 60s television series, I'm okay with that. Also he had a more interesting back story -- child of two acrobats, who were killed in a circus accident. So, a trained acrobat. Also, with Nightwing, you could potentially do a romance between him and Batgirl. (I've grown weary of Batman, finally. He's been over done. Superman has too, but not as badly as Batman.)

* And oh dear, I really need to catch up on The Expanse, don't I? They already have the third season trailer out.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-21 11:38 pm

(no subject)

1. And the FB debate on Carol's page continues...the poster who is cisgender, heterosexual, is offended because he sees it as a forced gender reassignment done by the writer. And refuses to ever watch the television show again because the Doctor is now being played by a woman.

the debate continues )
This is fascinating to me, because I honestly do not understand the backlash. Although I have seen it before in fandom. It's why, I've swung clear of fandom over the years. There' put it kindly, a kind of craziness that occurs in people when they get obsessed with something. And if they are shipping a character not the story, a specific character as they perceive and identify with that character in their can get heated.

That's the danger in shipping characters or relationships hard. Or being a devoted fan of a character, not a story or the world or all the characters within the narrative or the narrative itself, but a specific iconic character and/or relationship often at the expense of the canon or all logic.

I saw it in the Buffy fandom. A lot. A telling sign? I just want my television boyfriend to be happy.
(Ahem, the story ends when he is happy. There is no story. It's boring. We need conflict. This is not real life. This is a fictional story.)

2. On a funnier note... DALEKS ATTACK BRITISH TABLOIDS AFTER THEY POST NUDE PHOTOS OF NEW DOCTOR WHO...although I couldn't quite tell if the nude photo bit was fictional, if not, for shame you nasty people you.

3. our crazy ass government )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-20 09:56 pm

(no subject)

1. Note to self when you feel irritated and frustrated with life or anything, stay off the internet.

2. I've been thinking about something that I read in The Mary Sue, which also skips back to a discussion in a friends FB. It's about identifying as a gender. Or a better way of saying it -- identifying a character as "male" or "female", and that being an identifying characteristic that cannot be changed. I'm struggling to wrap my head around it. Because I wonder sometimes what traits we consider to be typically male or female.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine actually handled gender identity in an interesting manner. One of their aliens Jadzia Dax was symbiot. The symbiot jumped from body to body, merging with a new one and becoming reborn. The Captain of the Space Station, Benjamin Sisko had issues with Jadzia at first, because he'd known Dax as male in Dax's prior incarnation.

Jadzia Dax is a joined Trill. Though she appears to be a young woman, Jadzia lives in symbiosis with a wise and long-lived creature, known as a symbiont, named Dax. The two share a single, conscious mind, and her personality is a blending of the characteristics of both the host and the symbiont. As such, Jadzia has access to all the skills and memories of the symbiont's seven previous hosts. Jadzia holds academic degrees in exobiology, zoology, astrophysics and exoarchaeology, all of which she earned before being joined with the symbiont Dax. (DS9 Season 1 Episode Dax)

Jadzia Dax is the station's chief science officer, and is close friends with commander Benjamin Sisko and Bajoran first officer Kira Nerys. Later in the series, she becomes involved with the Klingon character Worf, and they marry during the sixth season of the show. Her character is killed by Gul Dukat during the sixth-season finale (due to Terry Farrell's desire to pursue a role on the then upcoming TV show Becker with Ted Danson). The character of Dax re-emerges in the seventh-season premiere in the form of Ezri Dax.

It's difficult to handle. Particularly when we are socialized to put a great deal of importance on gender roles. Everything in our culture impresses this upon us. It's ingrained in us as babies. Even down to clothing. My niece stated once that she was happy she was born a girl because she could wear skirts and dresses. Which struck me as interesting because I've met men who wore dresses in NYC. Even went contra-dancing with one of them. I wore pants, he was wearing a skirt. Her statement even more amusing when I consider that my brother refused to tell anyone the gender of his child prior to her birth, so they would not get her gender specific items. He wanted blue, not just pink or vice versa.

At work, I once discussed Mad Men with a male coworker, who felt Elizabeth Moss' character was too masculine. That she clearly wanted to wear the pants. And wasn't willing to be female. And wanted to be a man. (I had to take three steps back, swallow hard, and remember he's not aware he's being sexist here. And he's not sexist in other ways.)

Remember being on a fanboard when it was announced that Starbuck in BattleStar Galatica reboot was being recast as a woman. Fans of the previous series went nuts. Dirk Benedict who'd portrayed the role was deeply offended. (Sort of makes me rather proud of Colin Baker who portrayed Doctor Who and adores the idea of a female Who, of course Who is a bit some respects, but still.).
One woman on the board went ballistic. She felt it was an insult. How dare they! The more people complained about it, and they did through the entire course of the series, the more excited the writers became. Starbuck was interesting to me, because in some respects Katee Sackoff played the character more masculine than Benedict, more tough. She was high adrenaline. A Boxer. Took Apollo down in the ring. An ace pilot. Smoked those cigars with glee. Took no prisoners. A complete subversion of gender stereotypes. The writers through the recast challenged viewers and their own concept of gender. And identity. It was a brilliant move, but also a risky one.

Years ago, I wrote a Fanged Four fic with various members of a board. And a fight broke out while writing the fic. One of the writers had come up with the idea of having Angel and Spike dress up as women to infilterate a dance hall and fool a villain. But at least two people in the group, it was a collaborative writing effort, got really upset about the idea of "Angel" wearing a dress. They felt it demeaned the character somehow or was OTT. We compromised, most of the Spike fans had no problems with Spike wearing a dress. And I agreed to write the Spike in dress sequences along with the two other people.

And...I will always remember a fascinating discussion I had once with my brother and father regarding male writers. My brother despises Cormac McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway, he hates machismo and he's never really been a fan of James Bond. He said...that he feels it's limiting, that men are being pressured into falling into some sort of ideal -- the idea of a macho man, alpha, strong, and sort of cruel. My father, a fan of these writers and characters, was bewildered and felt too many books were geared towards women not men. He also had the odd view that women were more nuturing, caring, natural gardners, caregivers, and domestic, while men were more protective, less good with kids, and more pragmatic. My brother and I sort of threw that theory out the window. Since we are sort of the opposite or a hodge podge of both. We, my brother and I, both strongly believe that gender is immaterial and a spectrum. That it doesn't matter. When I mentioned once to him that women navel gaze more than men and are more into emotion and analyzing it, he blew my theory out of the water by telling one of his male friends did this sort of thing all the frigging time.

I'm talking about all this... because several things, not just one, have happened that brought it to the surface. The book I'm reading at the moment is driving me nuts, it's a fantasy novel and it is so...boilerplate on gender. Reinforcing stereotypes. Makes me miss Captive Prince. One of the reasons a lot of women like male/male romances is that a lot of gender stereotypes get exploded, also you don't have to deal with the ingrained sexism that is in the female/male romances. Did you know that a lot of reviewers on Amazon and Good Reads actually capitalize the word "Hero" and lowercase the word "heroine", with H/h? It blew my mind when I first noticed it. I started responding, please stop this, then gave up.

And of course the election from hell...resulting in the President from hell. I guess you could say the Europeans are more advanced in that respect. Except the Europeans don't elect candidates necessarily so much as parties. And it is the party that elects the candidate. So just that district elected Margaret Thatcher or Theresa May. I wonder if the entire country had to vote for them, if the result would have been the same? (Not sure about Germany.) And to be fair, Hillary did get the popular vote. But it's disconcerting that a lot of people chose to vote for a man who had not one but several allegations of sexual harrassment and sexual violence against him, various civil suits, and said derogatory things about women over a woman who apparently had no clue how to use email. Yet, they tell me they aren't sexist or misogynistic. And they aren't. Not in their day to day pursuits.
So why? Why chose to believe the horror stories about Hillary over Trump? Was it about gender? Hard to appears to be. They say it wasn't. Yet. Same deal with Bernie vs. Hillary. They say it's not, and maybe not, many of the ads screamed it. Hillary was too masculine, too hard, not friendly enough, didn't wear the right clothing.

And now, the ruckus over Doctor Who. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter. Doctor Who in a perfect world would have been black, blue, a woman, an man, old, young, and something in between. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter that Barack Obama is black, or that Hillary is female. But alas, we don't live in a perfect world. We live a flawed one. From an objective pov, such as my mother's or various others...this seems rather silly. Just as getting upset over making James Bond female or casting a female version of Bond might. (Which they did, by the way.) But not as James Bond. Not that they can. James Bond is after all human and he doesn't regenerate. And the movies don't necessarily follow a serialized format. I don't why they couldn't cast a female Bond, anymore than they couldn't cast a female Starbuck or female Wolverine. Or, Spike or Angel female. I'd actually like to see someone reboot Angel the Series but with a gender flip. Less so, Buffy, because been there done that.
(There was a British show a while back about a boy who was chosen to fight monsters...) And to be fair, the whole point of Buffy was to challenge a gender trope. (To give you a little back story on Buffy? Whedon studied film in school, and almost all horror films killed the Buffy character off, she was staked, slayed, and often in an alley. With the guy being the hero. Also up to Buffy, all vampire stories had the girl killed, and they guy be the vampire slayer. In short, we've had 100 years of Buster the Vampire Slayer. Whedon was flipping the trope. If you recast Buffy with a guy, it wouldn't be interesting. Actually that's why Supernatural isn't very interesting ...because been there, done that. It doesn't challenge any established tropes. It doesn't do anything interesting. At the end of the day, it's mindless tv. Which is okay. I like mindless tv. But it's not great. Buffy was great because it changed television. And it did it by challenging established gender tropes and archetypes.)

I think the problem with challenging these tropes in culture is two-fold. One, people have a tendency to watch things with their genitalia or as masturbation fodder. I know, I know, insane, but there it is. They won't admit it. But if someone is posting pictures of a hot character...

Two...there's this thing about archetypes and that's psychological. Role models. Needing a strong male hero to fantasize about or love or look up to. And...whether we want to admit it or not, a need to reinforce traditional views and comforting categories that we were taught.

I don't this is speculation for the most part. Because I like flipping the gender roles. I get off on it. I'm doing it myself to an extent, in my writing. I like subvert established tropes. And it irritates me when artists don't. Like with the book I'm reading now. For me, art is more interesting when they aren't playing it safe. It's hard for me to understand why you want it to be safe?
Or maybe I do...I do watch and read things for comfort. Although they aren't necessarily conventional.

Again, I don't know. I don't know why the guy on my friend's FB page can't handle a female Doctor Who. He's rational is that Who is from his perspective identified as male. That the proof of that is how he loved, that he loved in a heterosexual male way. As if there is such a thing. Maybe there is?
I don't know there was never any sex on Doctor Who. It was implied but rather coyly. My friend was as bewildered by this as I was. He suggested that she'd be upset if Wonder Woman was cast as a male.
But that already happened, with Wonder Man. The US has less problems with this sort of thing in its cultural experiments than the Brits apparently. We do it all the time. So part of my bewilderment may be that I'm used to it. Example? Starbuck.

And I don't know why Hillary couldn't become President. Or why we insist on reinforcing these things.

I don't understand my own views on it. But I think we need to ask the questions. Ask why. I don't think it is something as simple as misogyny or sexism ...I think it is more about how we link gender and identity in our heads, giving gender perhaps more importance then we should? Another way of looking at it...a lot of people I've met online...I've no idea from their names what gender they are. I guess. But I've been wrong. They've guessed about me and been wrong. Although I always thought shadowkat was rather obvious. I remember one individual being pissed that we felt the need to out their gender. They preferred to be genderless online. To be without a gender. I think it was interesting that I felt the need to identify it.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
2017-07-19 07:33 pm

Wed Reading Meme and other things..

More other things...

1. A friend of mine on her FB page is having multiple heated discussions with various Doctor Who fans about well, a female Doctor Who. She's for it, of course, they aren't. Her discussions are reminiscent of the debates she had regarding Hillary and Trump.

She's a great debater. But people are...stubborn. Her best point was this Original Creator told BBC to cast Woman as Doctor in 1986.

Here's a link to an interesting article in The Mary Sue about negative female reactions to Doctor Who. And how ingrained misogyny is in our culture. I know it is, I've read a lot of romance novels and literary novels by female writers...and oh dear. Also, notably, I know a lot of men who are happy with Doctor Who being a Woman, voted for Hillary, and loved Wonder Woman, and a lot of women who need well a strong male lead and can't handle powerful women. I saw it in the Buffy fandom, Doctor Who fandom in regards to River Song, and Battle Star Galatica fandom in regards to Starbuck.

2. What I just finished reading?

King's Rising - The Captive Prince Part III and The Summer Palace by CS Pascat. Both were okay. Kings Rising was better. Summer Palace sort of works as a fanservice epilogue. Lots of boring sex, not a lot of story. I'd skip Summer Palace and just end with King's Rising.

What I'm reading now?

Lord of the Fading Lands by CL Wilson -- hmmm, apparently I'm on an initial kick.

This is fantasy, told in a fairy-tale style, with a romance at the center of it, at least for the first two books. The later three in the series apparently focus more on the battles and conflict apparently.

Not sure I'll make it that far. The writing style is not exactly captivating me. I'm having issues with how the writer perceives gender. Also she's very conventional, as is her story. It follows the established tropes.

That said, she says some interesting things about our culture, via fantasy, and is an excellent world-builder. From a thematic, world-building, and plot perspective, she's pretty good, somewhere in line with CS Lewis. And her style is in some respects similar to Anne McCaffrey. (I don't like Anne McCaffrey's writing style now, which is odd. I recently tried to re-read her Dragon Rider's of Pern series and gave up mid-way through. I have a feeling that I'd react the same way to CS Lewis. I loved both as a child, but now certain aspects of their writing and how they viewed gender, get on my nerves.)

I'm admittedly a little obsessed with gender issues at the moment. There's a reason for that -- points at current President, and last year's election.

3. Claws

Made it through five episodes of this series on "On Demand". (Adam Ruins the World -- almost ruined the episodes. He kept popping up in the commercial breaks -- which is every fifteen minutes for On Demand. And I kept muting him, because I cannot abide that man's voice. It's the human equivalent of nails on chalk board. Seriously, people, watch Bill Nye Science Guy instead of Adam. His show is on TruTV. The US has more television networks than it requires. I don't know, I think 1000 is a bit much, don't you?) BTW, the later episodes (of CLAWS not Adam) are really good. You sort of have to get past the introductory stuff...or I did. Actually this is true of most television shows. I rarely get hooked with the first episode. And when I do, the show tends to lose me after the third one.

I loved the fifth episode. Although, I feel a little guilty for loving it. It's hilarious in places.
There's this scene where sort of have to see it for yourself. Too hard to explain. Oh and a great dance sequence to Lady Marmalade.

It also has a lovely twist, that had me giggling.

The series reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad -- except with a John Waters flair.

4. Struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I think I may have to go off fruit. Broke out in hives after having a dish of berries, truwhip cream and a little ice cream. Had the same thing last night, no issues. Not sure why I had a reaction tonight.

Super promises he'll paint the living room soon. Just hasn't happened yet. I'm waiting for it to get painted prior to doing anything else with it. I want a table so I can paint. I miss painting. I watercolor, not oil paint or not with acrylics. Although I have painted with acrylics in the past. Taught myself in my twenties. Just have had more watercolor courses and I'm more comfortable with the medium.

Considering taking another class -- but it meets on the upper East Side, and is at 6PM after work, and I just don't know if I can get there in time and if it's doable.

At loose ends. Want to do something, just not sure what. I want to paint, but do I really want to take a class? I need a table. I can't paint on my lap or the floor effectively. And I tend to spill things, so... Also, I have a bad back.

Also struggling with my novel. I don't really know why.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-18 10:18 pm

(no subject)

Whoa...HT to yourlibrarian for this link regarding how actors and filmmakers cope with enacting rape on screen . Made me rethink a couple of films I've seen and how I viewed psuedo rape scenes. For example there's a scene in LAST TANGO IN PARIS, that I didn't realize was rape, but the actress experienced as rape and it tramuatized her. Also, various actors who had to portray the rapist relate how taxing it was on them emotionally and mentally, along with the editors and film crew.

Reminds me of something James Marsters stated that haunted me. How he unraveled after being forced to do the attempted rape scene in Buffy. And how he'd had a nervous part because of it.

Yet, 46.7% of the scripts that the writer of the article has read, contained rape scenes. I have to admit, I stopped watching criminal procedurals and series like Supernatural after a bit, because I got tired of the sexual violence. They all have it. Every singled one. It's ...exhausting.

There's a very interesting section in the article concerning Ned Beatty, who states:

In the spring of 1989, actor Ned Beatty penned an op-ed column for The New York Times, writing, "If [men] felt we could truly be victims of rape, that fear would be a better deterrent [for committing rape] than the death penalty."

Beatty most famously played Bobby, a character who is brutally raped by a hillbilly in John Boorman's tense thriller Deliverance (1972). They rehearsed for days and finally completed the scene in a four-minute shot that would forever change Beatty's life. After the film's release, wherever the actor went, strangers would guffaw and yell, "Squeal like a pig," a line uttered by Bobby's rapist. Beatty was continually struck by these cold displays from fans. They seemed to expect him to smile and chat after they'd gleefully demeaned him in reference to a sexual assault.

"He felt like a rape victim," Boorman said later in commentary for the DVD of the film. It had never crossed Beatty's mind that he would become a public spokesman for sexual-assault awareness, but the experience reshaped his psyche, and he was forced to confront what we now call rape culture.

Some day, I'll have to watch Deliverance, never been able to get myself to see it all the way through. Just seen sections of it.

Fascinating article, recommend reading it all the way through, particularly if you are at all interested in film.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-16 05:49 pm

(no subject)

1. Hmmm..they finally did it... 13th Doctor Who is Jodie Whittaker, first female version of the Doctor.

I admit that I'd sort of given up after Capadali became the Doctor, and quit watching for a while. Because honestly what is interesting about an old guy escorting a young gal about time and space

I came back for Pearl Mackie, who portrayed Bill.

So I find this intriguing. There's so much more they can do now. So many story angles that they haven't tried that opened up. It's basically made the series fresh, and more interesting, and more appealing to newer viewers like myself. Not to mention more relateable.

Now, if someone would just replace the American President with a woman, life would be good.

2. Tried Salvation -- sigh. An arrogant billionaire techie, a MIT Whiz-kid hipster, and a pentagon press secretary save the world. This time from a planet killing meteor, at least they think it is a planet-killing meteor. And a government conspiracy. Because of course the scientists at NASA and the State Department are too stupid to figure out how to save the world on their own, they require the aid of a corporate techie who runs a billion dollar corporation (think younger/hotter version of the guy doing SpaceX) and a whiz-kid. And course the government is killing anyone who finds out to prevent a panic...

Five minutes in and it felt very paint-by-numbers thriller, with a lot of pop science thrown in.
It could be fun, I usually like these things. But the characters are too stock and the casting isn't on target.

It feels like the networks are burning off pilots this summer.

3. Still Star-Crossed -- is hard to find. If I wasn't recording it, I wouldn't be able to follow it at all. ABC clearly has no confidence in it, and is pushing reality shows instead like (gag) The Bachelorette, and Battle of the Network Stars (are there any? I was wondering about this. It's not like the 1970s and 80s, when they used to do Battle of the Network Stars during the summer months...when there were only five or six channels and actual network television stars. Now, with over 450 scripted television series, there are no stars.)

Still Star Crossed was on at 10 PM on Sat. It isn't on Monday, because Battle of the Network Stars took it's time slot, and the Bachelorette has been expanded to a full two hours. Somehow, I don't think Still Star Crossed is long for this world, it feels like they are just burning episodes.

4. Hooten and the Lady -- this is on CW, and I have no idea how it got that far. It's atrocious. About a female archeologist, office worker, who works at the British Museum, and convinces the Museum to send her to the Amazon to hunt down some ancient relics for a big exhibition. (Don't they already have archaeologists doing this sort of thing under grants?) She runs into a mercenary, who goes by the name Hooten. (I'm serious he actually only goes by that name, and apparently by choice.) They run into each other, when they are captured by a bunch of natives, who want to roast her and use him as a sex slave. Unless he can challenge their warrior to a fight, and win. He wins.
The natives chase him and her out of their territory. I stopped shortly after that. I kept going to sleep.

Could not stay awake during it. But I couldn't stay focused on or awake during the first episode of Fargo either...

I think the networks are burning off bad television shows right now. Not Fargo, obviously. Hooten and the Lady.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-15 09:54 pm
Entry tags:

Claws - Television Review

Finally got around to watching Claws on Demand. (The problem with On Demand is you can't fast forward over the commercials, and I binge watched the first four episodes. At some point, I got hooked on it, because I was willing to put up with the extremely annoying "Adam Ruins the World" commercial breaks. I don't know, I think I'd have preferred watching this on Amazon Prime. The commercial breaks are annoying.)

Anyhow, Claws is sort of a female version of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul", except the protagonist is more sympathetic and likable. It's a bit over the top in places, and reminds me a great deal of the Carl Hiaasen novels that I'd read several years ago. Hiaasen sort of is Florida's answer to Elmore Leonard. With quirky characters, a noirish setting, and an absurdist somewhat black sense of humor.

Took me a little while to get into it, but, after awhile, I began to fall for the female characters. (The only weakness in the series is the male characters...who, well, to be fair that's the opposite of the weakness in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, which are the female characters. So I found this sort of a breath of fresh air in that regard. It's nice to female centric series in this genre finally.)

The story is about a nail salon owner in a Southern Florida strip mall, who is laundering money for the Dixie Mafia. Desna dreams of owning a nice big nail salon, and then a franchise. Having a nice place. And getting out from under the mob boss who has her by the purse strings. Along with Desna, big black and beautiful, are her gals, who are a bit of a family within the salon. Polly, portrayed by Carrie Preston, has just gotten out of prison and is con artist. Jenny is big and blond, married to one of the Mob boss's sons, and is trying to keep her husband out of the mob. Quiet Anne is a lesbian, and Hispanic. Virgina, Ginny Lock, is the new gal, who is Asian, and makes the colossal mistake of sleeping with the Mob Boss's older son, who Desna is also sleeping with.

The Mob Boss is portrayed by Dean Norris, who was Hank on Breaking Bad. And Harold Perrineau from "Lost" portrays Dean, Desna's autistic brother, who is a bit of savant, but with a mind of a child.

After a while, I started to fall for Desna and root for her to achieve her dream, no matter how impossible it seems. All of these women feel stuck and are trying desperately to get unstuck. (Although I think if they found a way to get rid of Uncle Daddy, Dean Norris' mob boss, that might help.)

It is over-the-top in places, and crude in others...similar to John Waters style of humor or Jonathan Demme. But the characterizations, plotting and world are rather well done.

The only problem is to get caught up, you have to watch it on demand and put up with that Annoying Adam Ruins the World commercials. However, new episodes are on TNT on Sunday at 9PM. If you liked Breaking Bad, Cybil, Absolutely Fabulous, or series similar to that, or say Weeds, you should try this. Actually think Breaking Bad meets Absolutely Fabulous and Weeds by way of John Waters and Carl Hiaasen.

I've decided to add it to my DVR recording. Because now I'm hooked and want to know if the ladies survive Uncle Daddy and manage to achieve their dreams.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
2017-07-14 11:19 pm
Entry tags:

Hmmm..about television cliffhangers..

Cliff Hangers Are Ruining the Golden Age of Television

Although, actually, I think it's more than just cliff-hangers. But, the writer addresses something that's been bugging me for some time now -- the need for television serials to have "shock value" twist or "big plot twists" often at the expense of character and plot, just to grab ratings. It's a current phenomenon. As in post 2000. I don't remember seeing it as much pre-2000.

As seasons advance, a fantastic series can get indefensibly artificial, running on fumes and cliffhangers, until “Who will die?” is the main reason to watch. Part of artistry is to elicit an emotional response; but to elicit and elicit (and elicit) is commercialism.

Agonizing is not the same as being left in suspense, and a constant state of cliffhanger suspense gets boring. For example, the point of “House of Cards” — created after Netflix collected and analyzed subscriber data, then synthesized our tastes to guarantee our obsession — has become to watch more of “House of Cards,” a point I’ve taken to heart.

So it’s the golden age of television with an asterisk. Now TV can be surveyed and engineered. Now it’s art by algorithm, with artistry going with the whim of data analytics and gimmicks.

I wonder if, in some way, we’ve spoiled our appetite for artistry.

Maybe artistry has gone down and cliffhangers have skyrocketed because art gets us out of the house. Art puts us more in touch with life outside and doesn’t compel us with cosmic force to actively submit, to alternate between trance and withdrawal, between replenishment and exhaustion.

But streaming as a medium and cliffhangers as a tool haven’t turned us into fanatics. Rather, it’s the behavior and attitude toward our lives that media consumption has been orchestrated to encourage. Bingeing, aided by cliffhangers, sells engagement by way of disengaging; together they make a sport of spectatorship.

Most of us can’t stand an open narrative loop, so we persevere and sprint back to our devices, again and again. Cliffhangers deny us resolution and closure so that we may never find peace, may not turn off the machine, may continually dissolve into some violent or exotic disaster involving a volcano.

I think a lot of what the critic states is true, and she's seen more television shows than I have. What I know is that over time, I've become underwhelmed and almost immune to the shocking plot twist. In some cases, such as Scandal and Grey's I find myself waiting for it.

Nashville has started to impress me a little by swinging away from it, well for the most part.
There was that one shocking plot twist...the big character death. Reminiscent of The Good Wife's big character death, except the Good Wife did a better job of keeping theirs a secret.

Also, big character deaths happen a lot in television serials, due to the actors pesky habit of wanting to leave the television serial before it has completed its run. The writers aren't left with a lot of options. Because with few exceptions, actors don't tend to tell them years in advance, so much as weeks in advance. It's sort of like giving two weeks notice for a job your leaving, except your job is a major television show and you play one of the major characters or leads. Whoops.

This is why I don't get that angry at the writers. Usually, I just think, damn, I liked that character. Sometimes it is story dictated, but in the cases of Grey's Anatomy, the Good Wife, and Nashville, really not.

But the cliffhanger ending, particularly at the end of a season arc, or even worse as a series finale, is irritating. Joss Whedon did it with several of his television series. Granted he wasn't given a lot of choices, since the network ended his series before he was ready.

You'd think television writers would pre-plan for the eventuality of cancellation and just write a season ender that can double as a series ender. Sort of like what Once Upon a Time did.

But going back to the above article? This is why a lot of people, such as my parents, prefer episodic television series which can't be easily binged, and are wrapped up in one or two episodes, tops.
Less commitment of time and energy.

I'm admittedly addicted to the cliff-hanger format. I like binge-watching. TV turns off my busy brain effectively. So too does reading a book. Which is why I love both pursuits. Writing also keeps the busy brain active.

But, I have fallen into the trap of...just one more episode, and I'll stop. I did that with Sense 8 and Iron Fist. And Iron Fist wasn't even that good, but...I thought, just one more episode then I'll stop... eight hours later, frigging hell, where'd the weekend go!!!

I think the writer has a point about there being a sort of artistry in the slow build, in forgoing the cliffhanger. Cliffhangers used to be associated with pulpier fare such as those Saturday Maintainees way back when, before I was born, which Spielberg and Lucas paid homage to with Indiana Jones. Or daytime soap operas, which always ended on a cliff-hanger on Friday, leaving the audience sputtering over the weekend. Not so much any more -- due to pre-emptions.

But with the insane amount of cultural media available, audience's are less patient. So the slower build or more artistic series are often left by the wayside. I know I'm guilty of this, I didn't have the patience for Rectified or Left-Overs. Preferring faster paced and pulpier fare. But this too has to a degree always been the case. Many of us worker bees want the thrill ride, the roller-coaster, and then the ability to let it go. The appeal of the commuter fast paced novel to the literary work of art.

Although, then again...whose to say what is art? Or what moves us? Or informs us? I no longer know.
I've read more books than I can count or even remember, and I've gained something from them all, along with television series, of which I've seen just about as many. Some stay with me, some don't.
I can't really say any more which is quality and which isn't for certain. So much as I think it is in the eye of the beholder.

I am critical of things I love. I am trying to be less so. Since I've noticed it doesn't make me happy always. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
2017-07-14 10:16 pm
Entry tags:

Television Review - Will and other things..

1.) Just finished watching the two episode season premiere of the new TNT series Will which airs at 9/10 pm on I think, Monday nights.

It's surprisingly good. If you enjoy Shakespeare, are interested in theater and how it is created, love poetry slams, and ahem, pretty men, not to mention a few pretty and strong women, this is the show for you. (It does, however, feel a bit like I'm watching Shakespeare in Love meets the Protestant Inquisition by way of Slings and Arrows. With a 1980s British Pop Rock soundtrack. The Clash's London Calling was playing in the background. Not that I mind, I happen to like the Clash.)

"Will" takes place in Elizabethan England, and follows the escapades of a young William Shakespeare who has journeyed to London to make his fortune as a playwright, against his family's wishes. He's married to Anne Hathaway, with three children, and is Catholic. With a job as a glove maker. His devout parents want him to take a message to his cousin, a Catholic rebel, Robert Sutcliff, placing his own life in danger in the process. So off he goes, and well the message doesn't get to Sutcliff because a young street kid, slashes his hand and steals it. The kid hopes to sell it to Tomkins, one of her Majesty's agents, to save olderhis sister from a brothel. Tompkins is a nasty piece of work, a Cromwellian Protestant, who tortures people for being Catholics, instead of the true Protestant faith.

Will is torn between two worlds, his duty as a Catholic and to his wife and family, and his art and dreams of being a successful playwright. His wife is less than enthusiastic regarding his artistic dreams, and wishes he'd settle down as a tailor and support the family. But in London he's found a tribe of like-minded spirits, and in Christopher Marlow, a tempting devil.

This sounds more hokey than it actually is. Because all of the above is sort of in the background. Front and center is the Burbidge theater troop's struggle to become successful and avoid bankruptcy.
It also serves as the conflict in Shakespeare, who is guilt-ridden for doing what he feels driven to do. At one he tells Marlow that what he most wants is freedom. Marlow's response is to gleefully kiss him.
Read more... )

2. Update on my bathroom ceiling. After a difficult work day, in which various co-workers half convinced me that no work would get done on my ceiling this weekend and I should be hunting a way out of my lease...I came home to a pleasant surprise, my super had come in and completed his work on my ceiling patching it up and scraping away the peeling paint. He also patched up the living wall a bit and scraped away the bubbled and peeling paint. Readying it for a new paint job.

Silly co-workers.

Note to self - stop venting about things at work. It's hard, there's a limited amount of things I can discuss with various co-workers.

3. Reading this funky fantasy series, that's won all sorts of romantic fantasy awards, but has a rather juvenile writing style -- in that it reminds me a bit too much of stuff that I wrote when I was 17. Except my writing was a little less hyperbolic. However, the world building is excellent, and the detail is consistent and logical. It also builds plot. So...not sure what to make of it.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
2017-07-12 08:57 pm

Wed Reading Meme

1. What I just finished reading?

Kings Rising - Book 3 of The Captive Prince by CS Pascat

Your_Librarian has actually written a thorough and detailed review of this book, HERE. Which I pretty much agree with.

The only difference between us, is I've read a lot of romance novels, f/m and m/m, and I think one f/f, published, fanfiction, picked up right off the bat some of the romance conventions.

Kings Rising, as previously stated, is the third book in a series of novels that were initially written as a web serial on the author's live journal blog. This is important to note, because the series has some of the same failings as a lot of WIP "romantic" or "shipper" focused fan-fic, and romance novels.

By that, I mean, the writer adheres to a couple of romance novel conventions that unfortunately don't necessarily serve her story that well. She also goes out of her way to put the leads in romantic and/or sexual situations, that do little to drive the story or characters forward, and in some places grind the action to a halt. There's a few sequences that make no sense from a plot and character stand-point. I can almost hear the characters standing on the side lines protesting -- "wait! There is no way I'd bring a Sword into Kings Meet, or attack any one there, I'm not an idiot." Or "why in the hell, would I enter a tournament or even agree to hold one, when we are at war, with three unstable armies, and I've been injured? You nit witty writer!"

The reason romance writers and fanfic writers often do this is to cater to their readership, which expects adherence to these conventions, and wants certain things from the book or story. (I can't help but respect writers who tell their readers and fans to go screw themselves. And just write the story. Which is actually what literary writers and the sci-fi, noir, mystery and action genres tend to do. Hence the reason romance and romantic fanfic get such a bad rap. There's something to be said for the axion, give the audience/reader what they need not what they want. In other words tell the story, ignore the readership. Or as Stephen King put it once, if it doesn't serve your story or your characters, ax it.)

It's probably worth noting that this series is actually just a romance novel set in historical fantasy setting similar to ancient Greece and Rome. (It just happens to be between men instead of male/female. I'd say it was an LGBTQ romance, except I'm pretty certain the intended audience is heterosexual women. I don't really envision gay men reading and enjoying this, or gay women for that matter. Although I could be wrong about that.) So some of this probably can be hand-waved, since that's what the story is. It's not a fantasy series or historical series, but a romance, with the central bit -- being the romance and HEA between the two leads. Everything else is window dressing.

Which is the problem with it. It starts out as being a bit more than that...a fantasty history romance novel that focuses on things outside of the romance, and appears to have something to say.
But somewhere along the line that gets lost and as a result so does much of what made this story interesting and unique. At least to me.

It was okay, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone. If you read the series, you might want to stop with book 2. Which I thought had an interesting and thought-provoking ending.

What I'm reading now?

The Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson -- interesting book, so far. It's a romantic fantasy. Emphasis on well both. The author unlike Pascat, above, is spending a lot of time building her world, and on developing various characters. It also has more than one point of view, or mulitple point of views -- third person close.

The heroine is not physically strong, rather confused, and has a disability of sorts. As a baby she was found and adopted by a handicapped wood-carver and his wife. Who were poor. But after adopting her, he became healed somehow. Also the child, Ellie, started having horrible night tremors and seizures. Being somewhat superstitious, her adoptive parents took her to the church, where they attempted to exorcise her of demons. Luckily they didn't decide to leave her there, and took her home and prayed. Eventually she learned to control her rages and emotions, along with the seizures, so they weren't as noticeable, and they appeared to go away. Her adoptive mother believed this was due to her accepting the Lord of Light as her savior, and being confirmed in the Church of Light.

Now, at 24, her parents fear she is to be forever unwed. This takes place in a medieval setting, where the system is somewhat feudal in nature, and most of the people are uneducated, and superstitious. Women get married around 18 or 16 is the norm. She has two sisters, who aren't adopted, and rather young, and the local Butcher's son, whom she despises and for good reason, is attempting to woo her. The one time they are left in a room together, he bites and sucks her neck, mauls her breasts, and shoves his tongue down her throat. Repulsed and frightened, she cries out in pain.

And is heard by Rain, The Tairyn Soul. King of the Light Fey. He's an ancient Fey Lord, who lost his truemate (soul mate) thousands of years ago. The Fey are for the most part immortal. And he's very powerful. He turns into a giant black cat with lavender eyes and black taloned wings (like a bats).
He's trying to save his kind. So seeks guidance from the Eye of the Oracle, which shows him a woman's face and the town he despises. (The town is where Ellie resides.) Thousands of years ago when his first truemate died, murdered by Dark Mages, he almost destroyed the world in a wild rampage of grief. The Light Fey are dying off. Fading.

Rain hears Ellie cry out in his soul and searches for her, no idea who she is. But knowing that now, a thousand years later, he's found, against all odds, another truemate.

Well, maybe. He has to woo her and win her first. It's complicated. And he's rather scary. Granted so is the Butcher Boy. In Ellie prays to the Gods to send her anyone but the Butcher boy, but I think she was thinking more in lines of a nice kind man who sells cloth or cuts wood.

There's a fairy-tale aspect to the story, which I rather like. It does have Cinderella vibe, although I don't see any wicked stepmothers -- unless her adoptive mother is wicked in attempting to marry her off to the first promising suitor available.

The writing is rather hyperbolic in places. I keep envisioning exclamation marks. Look, I'm EPIC! But I don't mind it, it's sort of fun and doesn't require much focus.

3. I've gone on another book buying spree at Amazon. They keep having sales, I keep buying books.

The latest? A vampire novel by Octavia Butler, entitled "Fledging" for $3.99.

I also have Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human, which was on sale for $1.99.

I keep collecting genre books. I'm flirting with Americanh, which is not a genre book, and Church may be doing it as a book club selection.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-11 09:36 pm

(no subject)

1. Too funny, not to share, thank you, beer_good.

Friend is reading Harry Potter for the first time. He suddenly realizes he's read a fanfiction Order of the Phoenix instead of the real one.

Clue as to whether it is fanfic, there's explicit sex with teens in a kid's book.

As an aside why is it that adult fanfic writers feel the need to write explicit sex scenes between kids and adolescents from books and television series that have no sex in them? I noticed this with Harry Potter, Sailor Moon (which okay made more sense), My Little Pony, The Hunger Games, Teletubbies (creepy that one), and Twilight (also made a bit more sense, since technically there is sex in them at a certain point, albeit not BDSM.).

2. Finished Captive Prince - King's Rising, will write about it tomorrow. The skinny? First half was great. Second half went a bit off the rails, and fell into a lot of romance novel plotting traps and cliches. (A lot of romance novelists suck at plotting for some reason. I don't know why this is. And it really doesn't seem to matter the type of romance they are writing.)

Meant to watch Will tonight, since two people I know of are enjoying it. "anne1962" and "Co-worker who loves Doctor Who and keeps lending me pulpy sci-fi/fantasy novels". Actually, co-worker loved it. But got distracted by Amazon Prime Day sales. Didn't find much, most of the good stuff was taken, and seriously I need to not buy anything for a bit.

Currently reading a pulpy fantasy novel entitled Lord of the Fading Lands -(Tairen Soul #1) by CL Wilson. I love Good Reads and Smart Bitches and Dreamwidth...they lead me to unknown pulpy cult reads, that few have heard of. My geeky self is all a-twitter.

3. Update on my apt situation.

Good news: they fixed the outlet in the kitchen. And determined what was causing the leak -- apparently a corroded hot water pipe in the upstairs apartment, which was in the floor and wall of the apartment above mine. So they kocked into the apt above mine's wall and the floor of their bathroom, yanked out the pipe, and dug a huge hole in the ceiling of my bathroom. They did clean up the floor though. So the leak is fixed in both living room and bathroom. (at least I hope it is)

Bad news: I have a huge freaking hole in my bathroom ceiling.

Good news: I'll get it fixed and a new paint job, which it needs.

Russian co-worker keeps trying to get me to find a new apt. I keep telling him that I'm fine. It could happen anywhere.

Lando and I were having fun with Russian co-worker. We told him that since Russia has basically invaded our country and co-opted our government. He will soon be appointed head of our agency, and to think kindly of us peons when this happens.

4. Agency aka work place has declared this the "summer of hell" -- our transportation system has issues. Major issues.

I don't know about you? But I am not a fan of watershed years. Where everything goes topsy turvy.

My parents are planning on moving (into a smaller house and into an assisted care retirement community), my brother is moving (into a bigger house farther north with a barn and 11 acres), my buds are moving (MD to Martha's Vineyard) and (AD to Beacon), my reflexiologist is moving about one train station away.

My government has gone insane. I decided to stop following the news, although it has gotten so absurd, it's sort of funny. I mean if this was a tv show, I wouldn't believe these plot twists were possible. And I'd be yelling at the screen -- there's no way that guy is still President. Sort of wish it was a television series. Can I live in the AU where this is a television series? And the Doofus is a fictional character like the President on House of Cards?

Oh well, at least I'll get a raise in a month.

There was an exchange on FB today regarding a posting of a car accident in my neighborhood. One of the posters took issue with the fact that someone posted the car accident.

Poster #1: Just because you have the ability to take a picture of something with your smartphone and post it to FB, doesn't mean you should.

Poster #2: Just because you have the ability to read a post and comment on it on FB, doesn't mean you should.

Me: LAMO!!! Freedom of speech at its best.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-10 08:01 pm

(no subject)

1. Well, the Super managed to fix the outlet in the kitchen, so no more hazardous extension cords. Progress. The bathroom leak, however, has somehow begun to leak into the wall and ceiling of the living room with a few water stains. Hasn't begun to drip in the living room, yet, but I moved the television set just in case. (It was directly below it). Still leaking in the bathroom. They aren't sure what is causing this, since they removed and replaced a huge pipe with a hole in it on Friday.
The plumber is coming to look at it tomorrow.

2. While I'm still enjoying, Captive Prince - Kings Rising, I'm not sure the plot works. Actually it just jarred me out of the story. Having some of the same issues with it that I had with Scandal S4's plot, which also jarred me out of the story. (I think we're on S4). Neither quite tracks. I'm super-sensitive to plot issues, as you probably already know by now because I keep whinging about them when they pop up in television series and books. So it may just be me. (shrugs)

In Captive Prince - Kings Rising, Spoilers )

In regards to Scandal...spoilers for Scandal )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-09 09:31 pm

(no subject)

Well, I'm done with Scandal now. Watched the season finale finally, and realized half-way through that I really do not care about anyone in the series any longer. The show went too far in regards to their characters, and a bit off the the point, that it almost seemed predictable and repetitive.

Also I got tired of people ranting at each other. They'd have these long ranting monologues that seldom went anywhere, which is unfortunately one of Sondra Rhimes quirks, but more visible in Scandal than elsewhere.

Cut a lot of television series off the DVR. Decided if I can't get into it, its gone.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-09 05:29 pm
Entry tags:

Sci-Fi Television Shows, other TV shows, and other things...

Well, somewhat concerned about the growing water stains on my ceiling above the tv and down the wall, I decided to move the tv down a bit. So now, my armchair is against my far wall, across from the windows, the tv just slightly to the right of the windows, and the space beneath the leakage empty.
If it does drip, it will only damage the floor and nothing else.

As an aside, I bought renters insurance on Friday.

Seriously, I resign my lease for two years...about four weeks ago. And all these irritating problems pop up. I have extension cords across my kitchen floor, because the outlets closest to the stove and fridge fritzed out. No idea why. They are new outlets.

In other news, picked up a TV Guild for the Sci-Fi Preview, and...ghod, there are a lot of television series. Seriously there is literally something for everyone. It's gotten so that if the television series doesn't hold my attention within the first fifteen minutes, I'm gone. Also, if it premiered already elsewhere, and was canceled before it could wrap up its storyline, I don't watch any longer.
(Learned my lesson with Sense8. It's too bloody painful. Also Sense8 is getting a two hour wrap-up movie due to the outcry.)

BTW -- Better Call Saul got renewed. But Downward Dog and Girlboss were cancelled out of the box. Read more... )

For Supernatural Fans? Apparently the YA author SE Hinton, who wrote all those young boy ganster wannabe books, starting with the Outsiders and ending with Rumble a huge fan of the series. Read more... )

TV Shows premiering in July and August, in case you find yourself bored, and with nothing better to do with your time but binge on television shows:

Read more... )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-08 09:43 pm
Entry tags:

Doctor Who Season Finale - The World is Not Enough and The Doctor Falls

Just finished watching the Doctor Who Season Finale for whatever season this is. Honestly after a television series hits seven, I lose track.

Rather enjoyed it, much more than anticipated. Huge improvement over the last few episodes. Although I did like Eaters of the Light.

Actually, I've figured out a pattern in regards to my Doctor Who watching...I appear to like the seasons that do not over-emphasize the importance or value of the leads. I think that was my difficulty with the Clara story arc, I liked the character well enough, just couldn't stand the whole "chosen" or "impossible" or "most important girl in all the world" bit. Same with the tenth Doctor, I liked Tennant, and the series as long as it wasn't doing the whole lonely god bit.

Also for the first time since Derek Jacobi portrayed him in the Clockmaker at the End of the Universe, I actually found "the Master/Missy" interesting as a character. Missy was interesting this season, while I'd merely found her irritating in previous seasons.

Rather enjoyed the emphasis on agency, and in regards to gender and form. That the particular body or form we are in is not all that important. And it's not about winning or what we can get out of it, or playing god, or being important, or victorious or a hero... but about kindness. Being kind.

Spoilers, because it is sort of hard to go into any detail without them and there are quite a few delightful surprises in this episode for new and long-term Doctor Who watchers )

Writing all this down, I realize how much I loved these two episodes, how deeply they resonated with me, I find myself repeating bits in my head.

Best two episodes of the season, and best that I've seen in the last two or three years. Also an very good ending to Moffat's arc on the series. I will miss Moffat, since I've more or less enjoyed his writing in everything he's done. I think his next project is Dracula of all things.

Overall rating? A

[As an aside, the US got tired of waiting on the British and created their own personal female 007, with Atomic Blond. Charlize Theron plays the titular agent role, and James McAvoy the love interest/male squeeze we may not be able to trust. I may have to see that.]
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-08 06:37 pm

(no subject)

Reading through my correspondence list, and...regarding Doctor Who? I didn't like RT Davies reboot of Who that much. I hadn't really seen the original, so that wasn't an issue. I just didn't like the whole "lonely god" storyline. It reminded me a little bit of Angel the Series and few other dark anti-hero stories I'd seen...and it is a trope that I'd grown weary of. I have to admit, it may very well have been why Angel didn't quite work for me and I gave up completely on the comics.

I do know that it was not until I saw the episode Blink, Midnight, and Grid-Lock that I began to change my mind about Doctor Who. Also, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead -- in which the Doctor doesn't save the day, Doctor Song does, and all he can do is preserve an echo of her. He's powerless. I, oddly, liked the episodes in which he was powerless. I also liked the one's that commented on his power, and entitlement, in a critical fashion. Felt the same about Angel the Series.
I preferred the episodes that critiqued Angel's view that he was chosen, that he was the champion.
The episodes that critiqued that trope. The one's that embraced the trope irritated me and made me stop watching, like Doctor Who, I had to be persuaded to try Angel again.

I do not deal with entitlement, authority, or the idea of I'm the hero, so I can wreck havoc as long as it is for the greater good. I cry bullshit.

Much prefer the reluctant hero trope, or the one who feels they've screwed up royally, and are struggling to make amends. When Angel was playing the hero who screwed up royally, I liked him, when he was playing the entitled champion, I was done.

Same with Doctor Who, when he's the entitled authority or lonely entitled hero, I can't watch the show. It does not work for me. When he isn't, and his power is questioned, or critiqued, or someone else has to figure it out, I like it better. One of my favorite episodes is Blink for that reason.
It's also possibly why I preferred Moffat's Who to Davies at times. Moffat critiqued that entitlement, the ego, and often undercut it. You see him doing it with Sherlock as well.

I think it's also been my difficulty with my own country and state's leaders -- there's an air of entitlement and I know what is best, worship me. Instead of humble, kindness, of wanting advice and ideas, and brain storming. Too much posturing and ego on display, not enough heart and mind and soul or spirit. Instead of a collaboration, it's more authoritarian in nature -- and that scares me. Because that doesn't end well. People are not infallible and cannot be gods. In fact to put them up there in any way is blasphemous to my view of God.

And because what is happening in the real world is so...painful on so many levels, and for so long, and because of my issues with authority, I veer away from any entertainment in which a "lonely god" or "absolute authority" or "entitled person" trope is suggested. Or at least I try to.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-07 10:15 pm

(no subject)

1. For Game of Thrones devotees...HBO released the episode titles for the first three episodes and a S7 synopsis, GOT episode titles and synopsis courtesy of the daily dot.

2. Years ago my Aunt told me about a course she took in graduate school. It was a psychology course about how people think and learning disabilities. During the course they had an interesting little which everyone in the class was asked to listen to a piece of music and then write about it. Everyone in the class except for my Aunt, wrote down colors, musical notes, symbols, lyrics, number schemes, while my Aunt wrote a story. She saw the music visually. She went on to explain to me how her son thinks numerically and auditory, and how fictional stories make no sense to him. He can do a complex physics equation in his head, but he can't explain what happened in The Great Gatsby.

I thought this was a good description of how differently we all think. Most of the people I've met appear to have auditory memories or think in sounds and numbers. I think visually, and often see patterns in things -- I can look at a story and clear as day see where it is going, and why, not only that, I can see all the possible directions it could go. I also can remember visual images. Paintings and photographs stick in my head, but I can't remember a sonnet or poem to save my life.

For me, a painting is poetry and I'm very good at it. It comes naturally to me. I can see almost intuitively what colors to use, and what to put on the paper. I can also easily understand and interpret what someone wanted to convey. But a poem or a song...I can't do as well. And I can't sing because I can't remember the tune to save my life. And I can't recreate it. I may have a sense of it. I can certainly appreciate it. But I can't get the tonal quality right or remember it.

When I took theater courses, it was very hard to do the poetry recitations. Lines, yes. Poetry, harder. I could do anything that had a definitive visual pattern to it. But auditory patterns were harder to pick up on. I could. But not as easily.

I don't like radio. There's a reason for it -- I can't follow it effectively. My mind wanders. I mishear words, and often forget what is said. I'd rather read the transcript. Listening to interviews and documentaries makes me crazy, because again my ability to remember things that are conveyed in an auditory manner is limited. I have a tendency to mishear what people are saying. And there's no way of double checking like with a book or television show or movie or piece of writing. But the majority of the population is the exact opposite. They think in auditory terms, or so it seems. Most of school was taught in an "auditory" manner. People would prefer a meeting to email or written correspondence. I want it in writing. I want to see it. I want to edit it. I find meetings a waste of time and difficult to follow.

I think it is hard for us to understand someone who thinks in the opposite manner from us. Since most people I've met think differently than I do, I've had to find ways to compensate and to adapt to how they think. Or capitulate to their way of thinking. I do it at work all the time. I will repeat back what someone has said, or summarize it back to them to ensure I did not mishear it.

I also we perceive the world and what we like or dislike has a great deal on how our mind works. What comes easiest. But it is hard, sometimes, to perceive that someone else, another human being, doesn't perceive the same thing. That when they hear a piece of music they don't see the color purple, instead they see a bunch of people dancing and making love. Or two lions running across the jungle, as opposed to notes on a scale or a mathematical equation.

This popped into my head today, when someone explained to me why they weren't into television and preferred listening to the radio or writing a poem.

3. From John Scalzi's blog - a Reading List of new books he's received because apparently traditionally published professional novelists get a lot of free books to read and review...(so unfair, although the rest of us have no time to do that, so maybe clever)...

Two titles, okay four caught my eye:

"The Art of Starving" -- there is an art to starving? Okay, then.

"Shadows and Reflections by Roger Zelzany" -- I thought he was dead? I've noticed this lately, apparently they can't find enough books to traditionally publish, so they are publishing the recently discovered writings of dead writers. Bonus - you don't to pay them, or argue royalties or for that matter, editorial changes.

"Sea of Rust" ???

"The Wild Book"???

4. Apparently a Teacher Banned Bottle Flipping in his 6th grade Class, then practiced and released a video of it, depicting how easy it was to do -- apparently, bottle Flipping is now a thing, who knew? Kids, these days.
When I was a kid we didn't have bottled water, we had soda.

5. TNT's riff on William Shakespeare -- entitle "WILL" is sort of in the same vein as Reign, Star Crossed, and The Tudors. In short more emphasis on fun, less on history.
Which is actually better, considering how dull the one's that try to follow history too closely have been of late.

6. Off to read, and it appears that the only thing dripping in my apt tonight is rain on the air conditioner, and not in the living room or in the bathroom. Although apparently there's a leak on the roof and it is dripping from floor 6 all the way to floor 3. Which is absurd.

I spoke to the super's wife, Monika, who told me per usual more than I needed to know. Apparently they've had worse tenant left the water on, hot water, in the sink, running, while he took a nap. He just forgot to turn it off. It flooded the entire kitchen and the downstairs apartment. They found out, when the downstairs tenant called to complain about their living room being flooded from a leak upstairs. They knocked on the door, and the guy apologized. He forgot to turn it off. The super's wife replied: "you're a young guy! how can you forget to turn it off??"

I repeated this story to my mother over the fun, she could not stop laughing for twenty minutes.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-05 09:15 pm

Luke Cage - Review

As previously noted, I didn't like this as much as the critics did. My guess is they are starved for socio-political commentary in comic book noir serials. And leapt on this like a bunch of starving kids seeing someone selling funnel wheels. It's funnel wheels...but hey, starving.

I've seen this sort of thing done better elsewhere. The first half of Luke Cage feels like a poorly written rip-off of The Wire. (If you haven't seen it? Go stream that instead. You can thank me later.) The second half, a poorly written commentary on Blaxploitation films of the 1970s.

To be fair, Luke Cage was Marvel comics reaction to the popular 1970s Blaxploitation films -- which were also commented on, albeit better by Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction.

The Marvel Comics back story on Luke Cage is that he becomes "a hero for hire" aka Powerman, marries Jessica Jone and has a child by her, and teams up with Iron Fist.

Throughout the television series, which is very noir, as were the Blaxploitation films of the 70s, Cage is referred to as either Powerman (a commentary on Black Power), and the bulletproof black man with a hoodie --- and a hero, a symbol of black male disenfranchisement. You also have various reference throughout to racial profiling.

Of the four series, Luke Cage has the most socio-political references. At times it stops everything and provides us with a lecture. The lecture either comes from Luke or one of the supporting characters. I actually think Daredevil and Jessica Jones handled it better, with less preaching. There's a lot of preaching going on in Luke Cage. Makes sense, considering the hero and the villain are sons of a southern baptist preacher.

The series suffers from some major league pacing issues. I kept falling asleep during it. We'd be in the height of action, and the writers would feel the need to do a music video. In which everyone is shown sitting around brooding while music is played in the background. OR we'd be treated to various and sundry press reports or speeches, mostly by Alfra Woodward's Councilwoman Mariah Dillard. All this slowed the action to a halt. And made it frustrating to watch. I started scanning past the speeches after a bit. This series was in desperate need of an editor.

The fight sequences also went on for too long. Luke Cage is gifted with skin that is bullet proof, he can't be effectively punched or shot, without special armor piercing bullets, called Judas Bullets.
So watching him fight is a bit like watching people fight a wall or battering ram. Also those no style to it. It's just punch and throw. Hardly as pretty or entertaining as Iron Fist and Daredevil's martial arts. No fancy leaps -- well unless you count Luke punching someone hard enough that they fly through the air, or when he throws people. I guess if you are into boxing it might be somewhat interesting.

There's a lot of unnecessary filler, which draws attention away from the characters and the story.

What works? Once again the female characters are by far the best developed and interesting. Misty Knight, the black female police detective who has a photographic memory and can visualize what happened just by looking at a photograph. She's also a basketball player. There's a history behind Misty and the show teases at it. The actress portraying the character is pitch perfect, world-weary and sharp. Unlike Mike Coulter, who plays the lead, you can see everything in her eyes and the lines in her face.

Then there's Rosaria Dawson's fourth or rather third turn as Clair Temple, who is developed even further in this entry, as a potential love interest for Luke, and a confidante. She's also kick-ass, and given family members and more of a back-story.

Alfre Woodward's Mariah Dillard is far more interesting than either of the male villains surrounding her. And her back-story more layered. She doesn't want to become the person she's being yanked into becoming by her family and her drive for power.

The cast is entirely black except for four or five characters, all supporting. And a lot of the cast comes from The Wire. Which is a nice shift, although hardly a stand-out. It's being done a lot now that we have over 450 scripted series, and POC have become a major marketing demographic. If this had popped up around the time The Wire did or fifteen years prior, yeah, big deal. Now? Which tells you how much things have changed and for the better.

There's various pop cultural references scattered throughout -- that highlight the trope that the writers are examining. They are also critic and academic bait. But I liked them and thought they added nuance to the series.

What did not work, besides the pacing and constant speechifying? Diamondback is an annoying villain. And poorly developed. By the time we get a back story, it's impossible to care. Shades, on the other hand, is more interesting. As was Cottonmouth, or Cornel Stokes, who had far more layers and in some respects felt more justified. Torn apart by guilt and resentment...his is almost a tragic story. It helps of course that he's portrayed by Marshala Ali of Moonlight.

And Mike Coulter, unfortunately, is not compelling as Cage. Pretty yes. But not compelling. It's telling when the villains are more compelling than he is. I half-wished this was Misty Knight's tale and not his.

Overall? Okay. Nothing to shout about. I probably won't stick around for S2.


Daredevil/Jessica Jones
Iron Fist
Luke Cage
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-05 07:28 pm

Wed Reading Meme and other things..

1. Bought a new computer finally -- the MacBook Air - 13 inch. It's lighter and smaller than the old one. Also Apple isn't as helpful as they used to be. Last time I bought a computer, they switched my stuff from the old one over, free of charge. Took two hours. Now? 48 hours, and $99. So I chose to buy the far cheaper external hard drive and just flip over the items that required transfer, and everything else drops in from the cloud.

Bloody expensive computers. Last one was about 7-8 years old. I got sometime around 2010.

This one is faster than the last one. And the power button is on the keyboard again, instead of on the computer frame. Also no way to download CDs or DVDs. And less USB slots. The power hook-up is better, the last one was a magnet that kept slipping out.

I don't know if it is necessarily better just different. I'm going to have to down load all software though, impossible to copy from a CD. Although considering the problems I was having ejecting CDs from the old model, not that big of a deal.

I'm guessing the change is now you just download everything. Less waste. I suppose I could purchase an external CD/DVD drive. Found one on Amazon. My MacBook Pro had a built in DVD/CD drive, but the discs often got trapped in it.

I don't understand why they couldn't keep that attribute. Stupid people. I actually think the computers and laptops I had in the 1990s and early part of 21st Century or 00s were better made. And more durable. I miss them. I don't need all these weird add-ons. I deleted Garage Band from it, and movie maker.

2. Finished streaming Luke Cage, which had received rave reviews. Ghod knows why. I found it rough going and rather dull in places. Major pacing issues. I'm guessing the critics fell in love with the socio-political commentary, and allusions to Blaxploition cinema. Which makes sense, the best bits were that commentary. I just wish there was a better story. I don't watch tv shows like Luke Cage for socio-political commentary, I watch tv shows like the Wire and American Crime for that sort of thing. I was disappointed in it, and rather bored. Doesn't live up to the hype. Interesting the series they all hated, Iron Fist, was more entertaining and better paced than the one they all loved.

If it weren't for Clair Temple and Misty Knight, I'd have given up on this installment completely.

3. Wed Reading Meme

Just finished A Gentleman on the Street (Campbell Siblings #1) by Alisha Rae.

off-the-cuff review below )

Reading now ...Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3) by CS Pascat -- this is an m/m fantasy series that had started online, got popular, the writer decided to self-publish, and has published three books and several novellas.

It's about two Greek (at least I think its Greek) Princes who are mortal enemies, but end up falling in love due to their relatives power play for their thrones.

Prince Damianos in Book One, is sold into slavery by his brother. Who basically sells him to their enemies as chattel. Ripped of his identity, his title, and everything. But as he soon discovers, the sale was done in cahoots with the Regent of the neighboring territory, in hopes that Damianos would kill Prince Laurent, the Regent's charge and allow Regent to take the throne. Of course that doesn't quite happen. But you can sort of see why they'd have thought it would work -- since Damianos becomes Laurent's personal sex slave and well...

But instead, Damianos falls in love with Laurent and vice versa. Damianos is bisexual. And everyone has slaves. It's ancient Greece.

There really are no female characters to speak of. Which usually would irritate me. But the male characters are captivating enough on their own. Also I like M/M slash. Overall? I don't really care that much about the gender of the characters involved just as long as they are interesting and the story captivates me. Will admit, that I find m/m more interesting than f/f. Although I've written and read both.

Anyhow...this is the final book in the trilogy and we had to wait a godawful long time for it. Not quite as long as we do for the next GRR Martin Song of Ice and Fire installation. But close. (Speaking GRR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire -- anyone else given up on that series? I honestly don't think he's going to finish that series before he dies. If he's even trying at this point. Oh well, I like the television series from a plot and character standpoint better. Still don't understand the fan love for the Stark clan. People do like their traditional hero tropes, don't they?)

The final book has less sex in it. The most sex is in Book One, and it's rather explicit and BDSM with sexual violence, albeit with men in mind. (ie, men are raped, women aren't). This book so far doesn't appear to have that much, but I'm only 7% of the way in. There's a lot of torture in all three, and violence, and warfare...hello ancient greeks fighting each other.