grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I have looked at a lot of art, lately, because I have had some time on my hands. Stories and games, and especially story games, have long been my preferred coping mechanism for life, so this is hardly a surprise. This is the first of a series of posts to sort of clear my mental buffer of thoughts about what I'm currently enjoying, and I'm going to start with the ridiculous amount of TV I have been watching.

Agents of SHIELD )

and speaking of Gotham... )

Sleepy Hollow )

The Good Wife )


Constantine )

Elementary )

Doctor Who )

Gracepoint )

Legend Of Korra )

Finally, it got cancelled after one short season, but Almost Human did quite well as a police procedural with strong SF/futurist elements. The heart of the show was the dynamic between Karl Urban as detective Kennex and Michael Ehle as his android counterpart Dorian. This was a fantastic show with lots going on, and great commentary on contemporary racial politics. A pity it didn't last.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I was summoned for jury duty today, which necessitated getting up about 90 minutes before my alarm normally goes off in the morning.  The one trial in the offing was a criminal case, and the defendant faced a slew of charges, one of which was dissemination of harmful material to a minor.  When I was asked if there was any reason why I wouldn't be able to serve impartially on the jury, I explained that I didn't see how showing someone art would merit sending them to jail.  If no one went to prison for showing kids Passion Of The Christ (and no one should), then no one should go to prison for showing another person porn .  The judge asked if I could follow the law, regardless of my beliefs, and said that I could not.  He then excused me.

i had not expected jury duty to play out like that.  While the timing would have been inconvenient, and the case sounded depressing, I was ready and willing to serve.  The rest of the charge are quite serious, and the case will, I'm sure, require jurors like me.  But, if the prosecution's other charges all fell apart, there was no way I was going to convict someone solely for smutty pictures.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Last month, Dark Horse published the first graphic novel continuation of the Avatar The Last Airbender series, the Promise. It's the first part of the story, but it's picking up on the loose threads of Zuko's dad in jail, his missing mother, and the great task of constructing the peace now that the war is finally over. I quite like it: the art keeps the look and feel of the cartoon, but works as comics, and not just screen caps. The writing seems true to the show in themes, characters and dialogue. If you like the show, you should rush over to my shop and get this book.



(Oh, and in my post the other day, I forgot to mention that M and I have watched the first season of Warehouse 13, and actually quite liked it. Saul Rubinek is a lot of fun, and the rapport between the two Secret Service agents working for him is enjoyably functional and comic. I like that the guy (can't recall his name) is so easy-going and friendly that he can play ping pong with his reflection in the Mirror Universe (courtesy of the Lewis Carroll's Looking Glass) while other people dread it because it will unleash their subconscious dark side. I think we'll watch more when we get the chance.)
grinninfoole: (Default)
I meant to post a few days ago, but I got sick a few days ago, and I'm only recovering now. (Some sort of gastro-intestinal whatsis, which made it so I couldn't eat for almost 2 days straight. Now I'm feeling better, but I still feel a bit of discomfort just below my sternum.) M was so kind and helpful in taking care of me during this ordeal.

My dad has, as they say in biz, plateaued. He's not likely to get much better, so he's switching to custodial care, which means Medicare won't cover his bills any more. Which means it's time for me to step up and get serious about making claims on my Dad's insurance policies, because the bills come out to more than $10,000 a month. A lot more. I don't know how families without our resources cope.

I'm going to have to work some convention in New Jersey at the end of the month. Not looking forward to all the driving, and I've already missed one weekend visiting Dad because of my illness.

M is preparing to move out at the end of the month. I'm going to stay here in our house. We're figuring out what's going to stay, and what she's taking with her, and so forth. It's pretty low key, but I do find myself tripping over the mental change from team mode to solo mode.

M and I are awaiting the final season of DS9. Until then, we're watching other stuff, like the new Tinker Tailor (which we loved, though was there gay subtext added to the story, or did we just miss it in the Alec Guinness version?), the 1981 BBC TV Smiley's People (less gripping plot, more comprehensible characters than Tinker Tailor), some Jeeves & Wooster (glad it holds up so well), and now Rome. We're half-way through a rewatch of season 1, en route to the unplumbed wonders of season 2. It's such a good show, though I had forgotten just how shockingly, explicitly sexual and violent it is.

I caught the tail end of the Superbowl last week, and I was briefly sad that the Patriots lost. While my football loyalty remains a foot wide and an inch deep, however, I did form a powerful emotional attachment to a new fandom during the game, though I suppose it's really more of an anti-fandom: the New York Giants scored their winning touchdown in the last minute, and the guy who scored it actually turned and completed the play butt first. I really can't stand arrogance or a sense of entitlement, and, which is what's always bugged me about the Yankees, and this struck me as a blatant display of same. So, I still don't care all that much about the Patriots, but I really hate the New York Giants. Funny how these things work, isn't it?


P.S. I'm having lunch with [Grounded] on Wednesday, so cross your fingers, eh?
grinninfoole: (Default)
Our cat Tilda has disappeared. She went out Friday evening, and hasn’t come back since. We’ve gone all around out back looking for her, we’ve scattered cat litter in the back yard to help her find her way home, and I passed out flyers with her picture and our phone number on them. So far, nothing. Anything can happen, of course, and I well recall another cat called Orestes who literally disappeared for a month before turning up one day. But I can’t shake the feeling that I’ll never see Tilda again, and it makes me ache inside. She's lived with us for just about 4 years (which makes her seven!), and I really hope she comes home.

(It isn't helping my mood that I watched the end of Life on Mars. SPOILER!


I really liked the people Sam encountered in 1973, and I can understand why he'd choose them over the apparently drab life he's living in 2006, with no friends or connections, but they aren't real. So his decision to jump off a building rather than try and make friends with real people just makes me sad. I have wasted so much of my life getting stuck in fantasy, and not embracing relationships with actual people (or myself), and I just find it a bit... upsetting that Sam chooses to feel something, but to do so he retreats into imagination and death, rather than life. They play Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and I get the connection to the Wizard of Oz, but I honestly never understood why Dorothy would prefer drab old b&w Kansas to wonderful technicolor Oz. Sam rejects his Kansas, but I don't agree with his choice. (however satisfying it was to see Sam and Annie reunite, and listen to Sam and Gene bicker.)
grinninfoole: (Default)
In one word: WOW.

In more words: I was moved by this movie.

I have read several critiques of the film which all pointed to a racist sub-text of one sort or another.
Tasha Robinson posted a good short review, and there are links to some of those more negative reviews of this sort in the comments. (For reviews attacking the film as 'liberal' and 'America hating', check out Big Hollywood.)

I do not contradict those opinions–even the ones at which I rolled my eyes. Avatar does share thematic (and plot, iIrc) elements with Dances With Wolves, and probably a number of other films. Seeing as the latest in what [livejournal.com profile] rollick  calls America's Holocaust Narrative makes sense, and this is the story of a white man who becomes one of the colored people, etc.

As a (re)viewer, though, I tend to focus on the particulars of the film itself, on how the story works within its own little world. (Yes, I know, very New Criticism. I did go to Kenyon.:) I don't deny the applicability of larger perspectives, or of experiencing the movie through the emotional lens of 'ugh, this is White Guilt Fantasy–I hate those', but this film, I think, is not an allegory, and I believe that there is more to it, both emotionally and dramatically, than a sop to White Guilt.

Here's where the spoilers come in: )



Or, maybe this comic puts it more simply: Multiplex from last week.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Today, [livejournal.com profile] fuschia  came over and showed M and I the first half dozen episodes of Veronica Mars.  I am completely hooked.  This yet another excellent show that I didn't see until years after it was canceled.  Alas.  The writing is witty, yet doesn't feel completely stylized, and Veronica makes mistakes and thus escapes the Mary Sue trap, and even the assholes have motives and inner lives.  My current theory about the big mystery (who killed Veronica's best friend) is that the mother did it.  I may even be right. 

The theme song has wormed into my brain, and (something new for me) I want the soundtrack.  (Also, I am now in lust with Amanda Seyfried, though apparently I come late to the party.)

Anyway, it took an effort of will to stop watching, make some supper, and pick up a friend at the train station.  (At least it wasn't the airport.)  M and I made plans to socialize tomorrow, and tomorrow should be lovely, but I'm tempted to blow everything off and watch the remaining 16 hours all at once.

Oh, new crack, how I love thee.

grinninfoole: (Default)
It's late, and I don't want to take to stay too much later, but I MUST post about this.

(No, not Nouri al-Maliki's interview in Der Spiegel in which he basically endorses Obama's timetable for troop withdrawal....though I'm depressed how poorly covered this story is by my regular news sources.)

No, I want to remark on how, recently, I have been emotionally overwhelmed by art.  Lots of it.

Last month, it was the half-season finale of BSG.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, it was the Doctor meeting, maybe, the woman of his lifetime, in Silence In The Library and Forest Of The Dead.

in just the last few days, it's been relentless.

Dr. Who struck again with Turn Left, and bids fair to wring me dry with the two part finale.  (Rose is back, and the cloister bell is ringing, and I hear rumors of lots of old characters returning!  My nickel is on Davros for this year's secret antagonist, though how he's managed to step up to shutting off the stars is a puzzle.)

Then, Avatar The Last Airbender at last aired its final seven episodes, culminating in a two hour movie that was amazingly good.

Then, Joss Whedon dropped Dr. Horrible on me.

And tonight, I saw Dark Knight.  And it was just... wow.  So many good performances--Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhall.....  A genuinely intelligent, interesting, morally complex script.  A well-shot action film in which I could usually tell what was going on. 


And, now, I'm overloaded.  I can't take any more awesome.

I need to decompress for a bit.



And, man, do I really feel the need to get to work on my writing.  I want to wow millions of other people like this.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Do you love clever story telling? Do you enjoy fine acting and subtle character development? Do movies with beautiful soundtracks strike your fancy?  Does contemplating one of the greatest achievements of film making stir your intellect?  Are you willing to be moved to tears and have your heart lifted?  Do you, in short, have any interest at all in the most gorgeous film I have ever seen?  If so, you should see the Fall

Now.

Seriously.

Book note

Jul. 4th, 2006 02:00 pm
grinninfoole: (Default)
The Destroyer gave me two great gifts on my birthday--a brief case/new gaming satchel, and a book, The Translator by John Crowley.  It's an excellent book, and Crowley writes a suggestive book, both allusive and elusive, in which not much happens, and it's all on the small scale of a girl's life, and yet it is a deeply moving and engrossing book.  I recommend it to anyone interersted in good writing.  I must find something to give in return.
grinninfoole: (Default)
I am pressed because it's nearly July and I still have much to do on my research project. It's so easy to find other things to do, that I have not made nearly enough progress. Yet, to be fair, I have made some. I now know more or less what I am trying to do, and I think I can churn something out of it. I don't know if it will be very good, but with work it may well be good enough. All I need to do is get this done and retake the American science comp and I'm finished. Closer, closer....

Millari and I are slowly and steadily getting better at living together, and despite the occasional personal crisis for either of us, I am very happy, and I think she is, too.

I'm looking forward to getting the research out of the way, because then I can make time for many things that I have been putting off for awhile, including:

--finishing unpacking our things and arranging our home to our satisfaction.

--visiting my family. My mom called today, and she said, with a hint of tears in her voice, that she missed me. I need to go home soon. And, she needs to come visit.

--play OverPower. Unimportant, but fun.

--design NPCs, setting details, and adventures for the new D&D game I shall start running in September. And, maybe, prep another one to run at the store, perhaps on Friday nights when Jim's game isn't running. I think I can set up a campaign in the Southlands of the Cloth with a pleasing mix of old-school dungeon crawling and a lot of the politics, role-playing and macro-scale plot that I enjoy.

--Call folks out of town or state that I want to speak to at length, especially Justin, Gwyn, Fletch, Fran, Shawn, and Ronnie & Amy.

--plan and research for our upcoming trip to Europe. The main impetus is a reunion with some of the other people who were part of the Kenyon Exeter program in 1990-91. I haven't seen any of them in seven years, and I'm worried that they'll all decide that I'm lame and that they hate me, but they're special people and I wish I was close to them as I used to be. Of course, the reason I haven't been so good about staying in touch as I was a few years ago is that I am no longer so painfully lonely. I realized this when I read a letter I sent to someone years ago that got returned, and it was difficult to read because it seemed so needy. For this, I must thank my good friends here in Western MA, some of whom no longer want to talk to me, so I shan't mention names except to single out Millari for especial appreciation.

--Life goals, medium and long term. Medium: once I have the MA, I want to get a job and support myself. Talking with Jim, there may be a possibility of more hours at the store, which is very exciting, though it depends on our continued sales growth, which is definitely counting chickens early. If that proves unworkable, I'll have to explore other options. I'd like to work 25-35 hours a week, which would leave me enough time for a Long term goal: writing. I have ideas for novels and essays (and even a couple of documentary films, for what that's worth), and they may all suck, but if I don't ever confront my fear of failure and inadequacy and try, I'll never be really happy with my life.

Cool thing I have to mention:
I did well on my job performance review last week. I must credit Jim for his patience and help with my punctuality issues. I have gotten a lot better about timeliness and it no longer feels like a huge effort to be on time for things. (Credit for this also goes to Dr. Lange and my Tuesday therapy group for calling me on this a lot, and, for that matter, to Filthyassistant for her frustrated efforts over the years.)

Oh, I forgot to mention the other cool things about going to Europe: 1) we shall visit Michelle's old friend Arnaud in Toulouse. I hope to get to see the cathedral at Chartres on the way, and spend a day in Carcassone! (I'm interested in the Albigensian Crusade.) 2) I hope to see my friend Rob Shearman, a wonderfully nice, hugely talented, incredibly smart and, last I saw him, modest play/screen writer. He's working on the new Dr. Who show, which means that at least some of it will be really, really good.

Check out these links for more info on Rob and his work:

http://www.tertiary.consoleroom.btinternet.co.uk/interview-robshearman.htm

http://www0.bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho/cd/interviews/index.shtml

Hmm. Somewhere, I have copies of a lot of playscripts Rob wrote back in the late 80s and early 90s. I should check them out again, and then see how much he squirms when I bring them up. :)


Unimportant matters:
I have become a regular follower of the LJ life of a woman in Chicago who writes for the Onion. Check out [livejournal.com profile] rollick for a more interesting blog than this one.

And, finally, cool LJ name spotted at random: amorousuroboros


That's all for now. Hope all my friends (and any other readers) are prosperous and healthy.

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