michelel72: (SGA-RodneySam-Reading)
I've been simply wretched at tracking stuff I've read, so I'm just going to leave some brief notes here of my most recent reads. Only the vaguest of spoilers (and I, a spoiler-phobe, am not sure they even qualify at all).

Magic Ex Libris series (Libriomancer; Codex Born; Unbound; Revisionary) by Jim C. Hines: Very well done and entertaining. I don't think I'll read them again, though; nothing really grabbed me (or my id) -- which doesn't entirely surprise me, since I had the same reaction to his Princess series. Glad I visited; don't need to go back. Book 3 explicitly deals with depression but didn't feel as written-from-within-depression, wow-that's-bleak as the fourth book in the Princess series did, oddly. Book 4 was harder for me to get into because political infighting and conspiracies are soooooo not my thing -- I'm reading fantasy to get away from that stuff! -- but it moved somewhere more interesting to me after about the first quarter. Somehow, even though book 4 was published in 2016 and therefore couldn't have been plotted and written within 2016, it nailed the sociopolitical feeling of 2016/2017.

"Interim Errantry 2" ebook (which might actually be titled "On Ordeal"? Not sure) by Diane Duane. I'd already read (and possibly paid for) the first of the three stories here, which was frustrating. The other two were fine but read more like rambly worldbuilding fill-in fanfic than anything essential to the Young Wizards universe. I don't think these stories would make any sense to anyone who hasn't read at least most of the main-series Young Wizards books, and they have spoilers for two of those books anyway. ("A Wizard on Mars", along with the "Rafting" short story from the first "Interim Errantry", are lightly spoiled by the second story; an important plot development in "A Wizard Abroad" is spoiled by the third story.)
michelel72: (DS-Jon-Headdesk)
Before yesterday, I probably would have been vaguely amused by something like a phone app to find your car in a parking lot. Sure, it'd be useful for some people, but I don't tend to go many unfamiliar places. And it's not like I would manage to lose my car in the garage I've been parking in several times a week for FIFTEEN OF THE LAST SEVENTEEN YEARS or anything. Especially not in 10-degree (F) weather.

Sigh.

(The problem was that I was listening to a conference call as I parked that morning, and the confusion of disconnecting my phone from the car's hands-free system and getting into the building, all while following the technical conversation, meant that I wasn't paying nearly enough attention to where I'd parked. And apparently my key fob's "unlock" works just fine, but the "emergency horn" either doesn't work or has a trick to it.)
In random other news, I've dropped "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." I'd only seen three episodes and my DVR space was getting critical, so B and agreed that was the show on the block. I decided to check it out a little more alone, on the off chance it might have improved, but I couldn't get past the 15-minute mark of episode four. Squee-harshing within. )

The news coverage of the New Jersey bridge closure scandal is frankly far more entertaining, anyway ....

(* I admit that giving the van the code name "short bus", in relation to their transport plane being "the bus", was pretty amusing, though.)
Apparently I wrote 14,336 words (possibly including some amount of notes/outlining) in 2013, 4700 of them in December. That's ... not nothing, at least.
michelel72: (SGA-Zelenka-Intent)
For no particular reason, I offer you an update on the shows I'm currently watching.

Elementary )

Doctor Who )

Others: Once upon a Time is entertaining enough to keep me coming back. I'm not super-fannish about Criminal Minds anymore, but I really like Alex Blake. (This is how you bring in a new female profiler!) Castle seems to have managed the change from UST to canon-ship admirably and is still fun to watch. Orphan Black hasn't yet even reached the stuff that was in the pre-show trailers, but the first two episodes have definitely held my interest. Revolution, on the other hand ... I can't work up the interest to pick that up again yet, because I have to be in the right mood to enjoy laughing at something that's trying to be serious. And Princess Tutu was all kinds of fantastic.
michelel72: (SGA-RodneySam-Reading)
I've been trying to do more non-internet reading lately, as well as checking out more shows now and then. Two recent works have been outside my comfort zone in different ways.

(I've tried to avoid spoilers for the works discussed here.)

'Redemption in Indigo' by Karen Lord ... )

Meanwhile, for probably over a year now I've been reading the "reviews" and many of the comments at the Mark Does Stuff sites. (Without those sites, I might never have discovered the Newsflesh series or Tamora Pierce's books, just for two book examples. I can't read at his posting pace — see my comments about WIPs above — so if a book he's currently processing interests me, I read ahead and then follow his slower pace for the discussions. I don't have the same problem with visual media, fortunately, though re-watching Buffy and Angel as he discovered them for the first time was highly entertaining.)

He recently covered the short anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica )

I don't read or watch much outside my comfort zone of standard English-language narratives. Whedon's trope deconstructions (and similar) are about as adventurous as I tend to get, and I've felt ... disappointed lately by the books and TV series that don't give me the resolution I'm expecting. I've always felt a little bad that my narrative consumption tends to be so culturally "sheltered", but I rarely have the time or energy or knowledge to get into works from other cultures or traditions.

In some cases, there are "other-culture" narratives that are tailored to cater to the inexperienced; I think Redemption in Indigo is one such. But for those that aren't, I think I need the "book club" approach to walk me through it. It's odd; I don't tend to go seeking out communities, for the most part.

But I'm glad when I come across these experiences anyway. The works deserve appreciation on their own merits, and working to appreciate them is good brain exercise.
michelel72: (CM-Garcia-Downcast)
So I was vaguely thinking of getting back into the habit of posting, y'know, ever, and I was thinking that as part of that I should ask if anyone else is watching Last Resort. The premise held no interest for me at all until I noticed Andre Braugher was attached, but he's almost always a reason for me to check out a show, so I did.

And I was thrilled. Plots and scenarios were realistic! I don't know all that much about actual life in the military nor on a submarine, but each detail seemed at least plausible! Character motivations were reasonable! People who were supposed to be intelligent actually acted intelligently! There's only been one story that started with *shock scene!* *period of time earlier ...* (which is the runaway winner for "most overused storytelling device of the year" for every year this millenium), and for that story, that structure actually made in-narrative sense! Interesting character combinations in varying scenes, tension and plotting that wasn't artificial, nifty contrasting scenes ... good stuff. And because I can't say it enough, intelligence.

I should have known ABC couldn't allow that to exist. Cancelled. The 13 originally ordered episodes will apparently air, though the schedule is apparently not yet fully set, and ABC won't even release the rights for another station to pick the show up, because they don't even know if they have anything else workable for the (dreadful) timeslot in the pipeline.

Dammit, why can't we have nice things?!
michelel72: (SGA-RodneySam-Reading)
Is anybody watching the new US television shows "American Horror Story" (FX), "Once upon a Time" (ABC), or "Grimm" (NBC)? (I don't know if they're available internationally yet.)

Vague spoilers for all three within: AHS through 1x04, OUAT through 1x02, G only to the degree the Wikipedia article is spoilery. )

"Anyway, I'm sorry, but that just happens to be how I feel about it. What do you think?"
michelel72: (DW-Skeptical)
Dear writers of modern, western-world police procedurals:

No, it doesn't sound like the victim is pleading for mercy. It doesn't sound like the victim is talking about their assailant's lack of (or possession of) mercy. It sincerely doesn't.

It sounds like the victim is talking about or to someone named Mercy, or talking about or to someone named Marcy, or talking about Mercy General, or spotting a Mercedes Benz, or hell, deliriously singing "Mercy Street" ... but when you have your detective musing that "It sounds like he's begging for mercy," for example, we in the audience simply roll our eyes, because we all know that's completely wrong and we know we'll be wasting entirely too much time on that foolishness.

Quit it.

And "Castle" and "Criminal Minds", since you've both tried to pull that nonsense recently, you are both On Notice. Try to pull it again ... and I will have no mercy.

Okay, okay, that just means I'll make a snarky post about it. Still.
michelel72: (Cat-Gonzo-Surprise)
What is this? I'm liking stuff? Who am I and what have I done with ... me?

Doctor Who 6x10 "The Girl Who Waited": (No real spoilers) I kind of hate the open (primarily for the false! urgency! and the brief appearance of the Idiot Ball), but other than that, this episode works for me. Interesting, fascinating character dynamics, bad-ass-ness and devotion in rewarding distributions, dark elements. My DVR choked on the recording, and I'm glad I managed to track this episode down regardless. (I always forget I have OnDemand, because it never seems to have anything useful ... until now.)

Eureka 4x11 "Liftoff": Cut for minor spoilers )

So, anyway. I liked stuff for a change! There may be hope for me yet!
michelel72: Garcia, happy (CM-Garcia-Joy)
So [livejournal.com profile] ninjamonkey73 got into Castle … round about season two, I suppose? And she's recently been very into it. I always meant to get into it but never quite got around to it, but in the aftermath of the third season's finale, she tracked down the first two seasons for me and [personal profile] violetcheetah to watch. (We can't see season three yet; the network is only airing isolated episodes, and I hate watching things out of order. More than that, we both vastly prefer to watch with captions/subtitles so that we don't miss dialogue, which means the typical online methods aren't useful. We'll catch up when that season releases in September and just buffer season four for a few weeks.)

I'm actively enjoying it; it's fun. Stana Katic has some serious charisma, and Nathan Fillion is magical. I can't say I ship them, at least yet, but I definitely like each of them and like them as friends.

Some thoughts on the first two seasons, in no particular order:

(My thoughts. My many, many thoughts. )

TL;DR: Fun show. Would watch again. Looking forward to seasons three and four.
michelel72: (SGA-Rodney-NotMorning)
I haven't been around much; I haven't had time. Most of that is work; I adore my job, but it's exhausting, and nights/weekends really aren't enough for me even to keep up with the day-to-day, much less reading (I haven't read half the SGA Big Bang archive; I haven't read any of last year's Atlantis Big Bang; I have over 400 fics, fic indexes, and other works tagged as "to be read"; the ReverseBang just went live and the GenFicathon is about to), much much less writing. Which is frustrating. I simply need more time than that to switch from programmer-mindset to writing-mindset.

A brief (for me) whine about the State of the Writing. )

With reading and writing fic, as well as keeping up with my rlist/flist, I spend a lot of time on my computer. My ISP is Comcast, who provides Symantec's Norton Security Suite free to its customers, and I have to wonder what the hell they're thinking. Norton was once the gold standard for computer utilities, if I recall correctly, but it's been worse than a joke for years. Why in the world would Comcast encourage its customers to use a product that makes Comcast's service seem unusably slow? I'm not exaggerating — when my browser takes 48 seconds to process a simple page-down command (yes, I timed it, twice; yes, the response time is unmeasurably quick with Norton uninstalled), I may be savvy enough to blame the add-on software, but not everyone will be, and they'll blame Comcast's speed. Inexplicably stupid marketing/support choice.

Not much else to report beyond that, so I'll close out with a huge batch of …

TV mini-reviews (and two bonus fic recs) )

And that's that.
michelel72: (DW-Skeptical)
Well, that was crap. I could dwell on spoilers ), or even the Doctor suddenly using "virus" and "bacteria" interchangeably because it's so in-character for him not to know the difference, but ... meh. This one found the strange intersection between dull and annoying.

ETA: Actually, that last item might be an artifact of Eleven's speech patterns rather than his truly using them interchangeably; I certainly don't care to watch again to check. But I left out another spoiler )! Why oh why do people write science fiction if they can't be bothered to follow through with the implications of the elements they introduce? It's like this whole season is a showcase for privilege-and-centrism fail. Bah.
michelel72: (DW-Skeptical)
The first time I watched these episodes, I found them fun. The more I think on them, though, the more they bother me.

Spoilers within! )
michelel72: (SGA-Rodney-LaserEyes)
Hey, guys! I wrote almost five thousand words overnight! … And it's all a book review. And lucky you, here it is.

"Homecoming" is the first book in the "Legacy" series, and I'm not sure how I feel about the prospect of more. There were a few bits I actively liked, quite a lot that really annoyed me, and a plenty of average connecting them.

Anyone who has ever had me beta for them can testify to this: I am far better at calling out what doesn't work for me than I am at praising what does (though I've been working on that). So let me make it clear: Despite the volume of negative commentary and the level of vitriol in what follows, I didn't hate this book. (Make no mistake: Neither did I love it. It was, on balance, okay.)

(If anyone new is thinking of asking me to beta … I'm nicer in my actual beta feedback! Mostly! Honest!)

And so we launch. Batten down the hatches, folks, and full spleen ahead! )
Anyway: Other than that? The book's … meh, okay. Not overly annoyed I read it at all; wouldn't bother to read it again.
michelel72: (CM-Garcia-Downcast)
Well, it's official: "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" is Not Good. There's no need to get into too much by way of specifics, so I won't bother with a cut. Sarah Bunting is pretty on-target in that first paragraph, particularly when noting the "dialogue that assumes neither the viewers nor the characters themselves know anything about the field in which the characters work, therefore requiring exposition to explain the most elementary aspects of profiling or detective work". The characters act as if they met one another only two days ago, and the ways in which the fragments of their backstories are "worked in" are laughably clumsy. The dialogue in general is clumsy, for that matter; the line readings make me think the actors are reading literally cut-and-pasted scripts for the very first time. There is no flow, no rhythm, no tone modulation. And as [livejournal.com profile] violetcheetah noted while we watched the (wretched) backdoor pilot, a ragtag elite FBI team is a stupid concept. (A pardoned murderer? Right.) How did this show ever get Richard Schiff as a recurring guest?

I watch "Criminal Minds" because I like the characters a lot and I love the team. (Sidebar: Fie on all the people who put blatant spoilers for the latest episode, 6x18 "Lauren", in their open-comm-posted fic summaries and even disclaimers! I'm glad the mods are cracking down, finally.) In CM:SB, I don't care about any of these people beyond a vague annoyance ... though seeing that one actress react to a child's tearful embrace as though she'd swallowed a huge bug was on the amusing side. (Shame it was supposed to be emotional. Or something.) I don't really give a rip about the cases themselves, particularly not when they're recycling twists — not just plots, plot twists — from CM itself. The snippets we get of Garcia aren't enough, especially since they aren't bothering to synch her character with the developments in the primary show. That may be due to a scheduling snafu, but I don't care: I'm done.
michelel72: (SGA-John-OhPlz)
I know there's a fan comm to discuss these books, but since there's only one comment on the entry for this book, I can't judge whether it's actually another one of those communities that really only welcome squee. If it is, that's fine; I don't want to harsh anyone's squee, and I have a bad habit of not reading the room until too late, so here in my journal this tepid review will remain.

I'm posting this now so that I can go ahead and read "Homecoming" without forgetting anything here; I'd like to start that with a clean (mental) palate. Anyone who feels moved to comment, please do not spoil me for "Homecoming" or "The Lost".tl;dr: Some nice bits, but too many errors. )
michelel72: (Cat-Winry-Eek)
When my mother and I visited Vancouver, we had downtime in our hotel room. She likes having the television on pretty much all the time, while I can't stand that; I want the TV on only when I'm watching something specific. It worked out, though; she wanted to get me into Criminal Minds, which was on all the time, so I got a nice hefty dose of a very good show. In addition, we also ran across a few other shows that didn't drive me insane; one of those was "Holmes on Homes", which I liked so much that — now that I've found it on US cable — I now record all episodes (new and repeats) for those times when I actually do want to watch non-narrative television.

More about 'Holmes on Homes' (in short: yay!) )
I bring this review forward now because it's become timely for me. A recurring theme on the show (and the spin-off "Holmes Inspection") has been "how not to run electrical wiring". They point out bad junctions, improper runs, inadequate cabling, hazardous placement near water sources, and the like. One tidbit they've mentioned is that side-entry electrical boxes have become the latest preferred standard. I found that interesting, but I didn't really follow the reasons, which they may not have mentioned; regardless, that observation stuck with me.

I now know why they're a good idea.

Guess what's a bad idea to mix with electricity? )
michelel72: (Cat-Gonzo-Out of it)
I'll post some more positive media reactions soon, promise. I even thought about doing one per day for the duration of this week-long vacation (Destination: Living Room!), but part of the point is not holding myself to any deadlines, and I want to do the positive stuff justice. So, coming soon: Chuck! Mumford & Sons! Garcia! Mike Holmes! But for now, a couple of "meh" reactions ... from the "late-alphabet single-character title" division, heh.
Cut for tl;dr spoilers for all of 'V' )
Cut for slightly less tl;dr spoilers for 'Y: The Last Man' )
michelel72: (SGA-Rodney-LaserEyes)
The hero is an utter idiot. That, right there, is a deal-breaker for me. The supposed emotion is all schmaltzy relationship crap I could not give less of a damn about. The rare moments of funny aren't; every line and development is utterly predictable, in the bad way; the pilot reveled in the "flashbacks for the stupid" gimmick that "Tru Calling" made notorious; even the music is both overbearing and ludicrous. (OMG, the drama shots of The Cape — bwah!) It's like all the worst elements of "Heroes" got funky one night with all the worst elements of "FlashForward" and had a really repulsive offspring.

The whole "foreign accents signify villains" thing also pisses me off. And no, British-ish and Aussie-I-guess doesn't excuse that.

I really like Summer Glau; pity she couldn't have gotten a better show.
As for "No Ordinary Family", I really like the actors (the whole main family, the two sidekicks, even the conflicted hit man), but I sincerely don't give a damn about anything going on in the show. I haven't yet watched any of the episodes since the break, and I don't know if I'll bother.
michelel72: (SGA-John-OhPlz)
I love me some Joe Flanigan, but wow, this movie is so bad. (That is in no way his fault.) I figured it would tickle that part of me that has a weakness for old-school "warm" films, the kind I can only enjoy now if I don't really think about the obnoxious and/or offensive normativities they parrot, but no — it's just not good. It's just so profoundly false throughout, I can't even.

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