Books Meme + Update

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:35 pm
wendelah1: Fox Mulder reading (reading is fundamental)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Tomorrow my husband has an appointment to see someone who isn't his doctor because his doctor is on vacation. He's feeling worse rather than better. Maybe he needs a different antibiotic. We'll see.

I'm tired and distracted. I'm thinking about defaulting on my kidlit exchange. I can't focus on writing.

~/~/~

Books I finished:

Jane's Warlord by Angela Knight. This is yet another time-travel romance. The time-travel plot is silly but when isn't it? The serial killer plot is even worse but that's not why you're reading this book. The romance is standard fare. Warrior Boy from the future travels back in time to save newspaper girl, they have the best sex like ever, and girl returns with boy to his own time (and planet--did I mention he's not from Earth?) and they live happily ever after. She gets to take her cat, too. Luckily, the universe doesn't break from the strain. If you like your heroes to be hyper-masculine, super-human sex machines and enjoy sex scenes featuring bondage without safe-words between total strangers, this might be just what you're looking for. How do I even rate something like this? One star because it was a quick read, especially since I skimmed the sex scenes.

Time and Again by Jack Finney. It's an illustrated novel from 1970. Spoilers ) I thought the premise of the book was intriguing enough to keep reading but the execution left something to be desired. I solved the big mystery at the center of the novel by the end of the paragraph in which it was introduced. The romance fell flat. The ending was a complete dud. The style was serviceable Two lukewarm stars.

Books I abandoned:

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. I checked this out because of the Amazon series, which I can't watch. A consolation prize? I know it's a classic but dammit, the book is boring. I didn't care about the characters. The plot seemed inconsequential, which given the premise, is pathetic. Maybe the series is better written. Anyway, after 67 pages, I'm done with it.

The Peppered Moth by Margaret Drabble. You should know that I have read and enjoyed a number of Drabble's books. This was not one of them. It was about genetics and the English class system. I didn't get through an entire chapter of this turkey. Books about unpleasant characters leading unpleasant lives need a hook and she didn't provide one.

Books in the pipeline:

The third and final book in the kid-lit series I'm reviewing for my kid-lit book exchange. Title withheld.

FedEx: A Dramatic Tale

Jul. 25th, 2017 06:38 pm
settiai: (Blue Beetle/Booster Gold -- dreadable)
[personal profile] settiai
As I've mentioned in the past, I tend to have trouble whenever I pay FedEx extra for an evening delivery (between 5-8pm). Unfortunately, if I order anything that needs a signature, that's my only option as I'm not home to sign for packages earlier than 5pm. So requesting evening delivery is the only way for me to actually get what I order, since they won't deliver after 5pm unless you pay extra.

Cut to the last week of June. I ordered two packages that were scheduled to be delivered on Thursday, and I paid for evening delivery. As has happened several times in the past, the packages never showed up as being on the truck to be delivered. So around 7pm or so I called customer service and started a paper trail, as well as started livetweeting the whole story on Twitter.

FedEx managed to get in touch with the local facility, who told them the package was out for delivery. The driver just hadn't scanned it when he left. ("Uh-huh," I told the poor customer service rep with more than a little skepticism.) This gets a bit long, but it's honestly a rather amusing story. In retrospect, at least. It wasn't so amusing at the time. )

... and that's why I will never again order from any company that only offers FedEx as a shipping option.

A fannish update...

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:15 pm
settiai: (Liara -- bleeding_muse)
[personal profile] settiai
Now that I've talked about real life a bit, I guess it's time for a bit of a fandom-related update. I'm not watching a lot of television lately, and the handful of shows that I am watching tend to be webseries rather than more traditional series. We'll see if that changes in the coming months?

I finally was able to start playing Mass Effect: Andromeda and have fallen back in love with the whole ME universe. I know a lot of people didn't like ME:A, but I really loved it. It's not my favorite game (that's still ME2), but I do think it might have moved to the #2 spot on my list. Could it have been better? Sure. But that doesn't mean I don't love it (and the characters) any less.

On a somewhat related note, I still love Dragon Age. I haven't been playing it as much lately, since ME has been taking up so much of my time, but I've gone back to working on fic. Which is a good thing, because DA is one of those rare fandoms that makes me want to write longfic. Even though I kind of suck at writing longfic and take forever to finish stories that are more than 5000 words.

I've also continued with my Critical Role obsession, to the surprise of nobody. The current storyline is slowly drawing to a close, and I'm expecting Vox Machina's tale to come to a close by the end of the year. Which makes me sad, since I love the characters. But on the other hand, a new story! With new characters! My chances of convincing people to start watching will greatly increase when they don't have 400+ hours to watch in order to get caught up.

Speaking of which, Dungeons & Dragons continues to eat a lot of my free time. I have two weekly games that I play in online via Roll20, one on Friday nights and one on Sunday nights. Then I have another Roll20 game on Saturday nights where I'm the DM. And then, because I have no sense of self-preservation, every other Sunday afternoon I walk over to the gaming store near my apartment to play in another campaign.

So, basically, every other week? I play four D&D games in a little over 48 hours. And even when I'm not cramming four games in, I'm still playing three. Which isn't much better.

Oops?

Um, let's see. What other fannish things should I talk about?

Geek and Sundry and Alpha are behind most of the webseries that I'm watching nowadays. There's Critical Role, of course, which I've already mentioned. Then there's Eric's TBD RPG, an awesome Doctor Who RPG that just recently came to an end and was replaced with Shield of Tomorrow, a Star Trek RPG. Oh, and Sagas of Sundry which is just... gods, it's hard to describe. It's creepy and amazing and I highly recommend it.

I'm not watching Vast yet (another one of their RPGs), but I've heard good things about it. It's definitely on my list, whenever I have free time again. (I also watch The Wednesday Club, but it's a bunch of geeks sitting around and talking about comics for two hours each week rather someone I'm particularly fannish about. It's a lot of fun if you like comics, though.)

Based on the recent Doctor Who casting news, I'm cautiously optimistic that I might be able to start watching regularly again. I managed to watch some of the episodes from this most recent series but not all of them. Still, the ones that I was able to watch reminded me just how much I miss this show. I really hope that, once Moffat is gone, it will feel more like Doctor Who to me again.

The upcoming fourth and final season of Star Wars: Rebels has me both excited and terrified. I want to see what happens, but at the same time... well, it's Star Wars. I know going in that there was a good chance a lot of the characters wouldn't actually live through the show. The question is this: who and how?

I really need to start thinking about Yuletide and what fandoms I want to nominate this year, since it's coming up fast. This might be the first time in years that I haven't even started thinking about it yet, though. That will deserve its own post in a few weeks, when I try to start brainstorming.

A long overdue RL update...

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:42 pm
settiai: (Cass -- shoemoney2night)
[personal profile] settiai
So, yes, I'm still alive. Life in general has been busy lately, and the little bit of spare time I've had has been taken up by D&D and Mass Effect: Andromeda. Oops?

Work has been ridiculous lately. It's not really something that I can talk about in detail, but there's definitely quite a bit of tension between the higher ups and, well, a large percentage of the employees who aren't being paid six figures annually. Let's just say that the amount of work expected of most employees has gone up while salaries haven't (except for the higher ups, who magically were able to get raises when people making significantly less than them weren't), and I'm very worried the directors are going to find out first-hand just how screwed they are if a large number of people all turn in their notice and walk.

Mainly because I'm not in a position where I can afford to do that, no matter how much I might want to sometimes. Which means I'll also be somewhat screwed if anyone turns in their notice.

Add in the aforementioned extra work and the fact that several people have been out for health-related reasons, meaning our workload is even heavier, and... well, needless to say, it's not been fun.

Let's see... I should probably talk about the cats, huh?

Garrus and Percy are getting along surprisingly well. The first few weeks were a bit rocky, but once they got used to each other (and realized just how similar they are), things became a lot smoother. They're at the point where they're regularly grooming each other and sleeping just a few inches apart, which is a lot better than I was hoping for after less than two months.

I still miss Tali a lot, obviously, but the fact that Garrus and Percy are getting along so well is definitely helping. Percy is a doll, and I'm already at the point where I can't imagine him not being here. I just, you know, sometimes wish that I could have had all three of them, even though the realistic side of my brain knows that I never would have met him if I hadn't lost her.

VividCon is next week, which... I have complicated feelings about. Brain weasels! Aren't they fun? )

Anyway, I'm hoping that my brain weasels will go away once I'm actually in Chicago. At the moment, though, I'm not nearly as excited about the con being next week as I usually am by this point. Which makes me sad. Hopefully that will change somewhat over the next week-and-a-half?

... oh, I just realized that I never posted about my week of hell with FedEx here on Dreamwidth. I should rectify that. I want to make a separate fandom-related post first, and then I'll post the whole terrifying tale.

Brainstorming For Yuletide

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:12 pm
calliopes_pen: (lost_spook will serve for lives)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I am compiling a list of things I would want to see nominated (or might nominate on my own) when Yuletide nominations do open in September. These are what I am currently taking into consideration:

-Makt Myrkranna | Powers of Darkness - Valdimar Ásmundsson
-The Haunting (1963)
-The Innocents (1961)
-The Uninvited (1944)
-Dark Shadows (1991)
-Dracula - Bram Stoker
-Dracula (TV 1968)
-Count Dracula (1977)
-Nosferatu (the 1979 remake) -Hammer Horror Films
-Universal Monster Movies
-Crimson Peak (2015)
-Fright Night (1985)
-Ghostbusters (Movies 1984-1989)
-The Last Unicorn (1982)

At the moment, I suspect that I’ll be nominating Makt Myrkranna (the Icelandic version of Stoker's Dracula that I discussed a while back) in that first slot. Either Dracula (TV 1968) or Dracula - Bram Stoker would go in the second slot unless someone else eventually nominated either one of those.

If it were going to be being released sooner than December, I would be able to add Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water to my list of potential things to throw in there.

Oh, and on a note that doesn’t involve Yuletide: I finally watched Jack The Ripper (1988), and I loved it.

Change of Plans

Jul. 23rd, 2017 12:56 pm
wendelah1: (The End)
[personal profile] wendelah1
We're leaving this afternoon for Fontana, no one's favorite vacation destination. Kyle's surgery is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow and he has to be at the surgery center an hour ahead. Rather than getting up at the crack of dawn, we're spending the night at the Hilton Garden Inn Fontana. He should be released before noon so we'll be back home by afternoon.

There is absolutely nothing to do in Fontana. There is not a decent sit-down restaurant in the entire city. Their highly rated Mexican hole-in-the-wall doesn't hold a candle to the one in my neighborhood. There is a pool at the hotel. There's a movie theater right down the street so we might go see the latest Spiderman reboot. (Good grief. How many more times will they reboot that movie franchise?) Or maybe we should see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets instead. Basic cable is basic. I'll bring my computer but WiFi is spotty.


I didn't get a chance to finish, let alone post this before it turned into old news.

My husband just aspirated again. The hotel is cancelled. The surgery center doesn't open until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow so informing them will have to wait.

I see a trip to Urgent Care in the near future, as soon as I can talk him into it. He's really scared. This could be bad, like our last December vacation in Hawaii kind of bad. At least this time we're at home.

Rest In Peace, John Heard

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:14 pm
calliopes_pen: (taibhrigh hear the Ood song)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
John Heard has passed away at the age of 72. May he rest in peace. He was found dead in his hotel room yesterday, two days after having minor back surgery. He might be most well known for the role of Peter McAllister (Kevin’s father) in the first two Home Alone films. I also vaguely remember him from Cat People (1982).

Summer tv indulgence

Jul. 22nd, 2017 11:52 am
castalia: (Fan by bravecows)
[personal profile] castalia
Is anyone else watching Blood Drive on Syfy? This is so not my usual type of show - I've never been a fan of grindhouse/exploitation stuff or anything like that - but I tuned in for Colin Cunningham and ended up really impressed by the quality of what they're doing. It starts out very silly and over the top and gratuitous but quickly starts to have interesting things to say about corporate greed, social mores, and looooots of meta about production companies and the entertainment industry. Plus, it's seriously funny.

It also looks good, especially considering the low tv budget they were working with. Excellent makeup, costuming, cinematography, practical effects, etc. So far they've done send-ups of everything from death race style films to zombies to cannibals to Mad Max wasteland type themes.

Most of the fannish squee is on Twitter, and I only have one other friend watching it afaik. Anyone else? Hannibal crowd, you might like this, though it's about as opposite in tone as you can get. Possibly more graphic, though, so if you don't like that then stay far away. I'm actually surprised by what they get away with, considering this isn't HBO or Showtime. Evidently you can say "fuck" on Syfy now, who knew.

Rest In Peace, Deborah Watling

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:09 pm
calliopes_pen: (sallymn Brigadier raining)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Deborah Watling has passed away, at the age of 69, following a battle with lung cancer. May she rest in peace. She played the role of Victoria Waterfield, companion to the Second Doctor, on Doctor Who. Unfortunately, most of her episodes were destroyed.

The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Enemy of the World managed to survive from her tenure on the series, along with the second episode of the serial The Evil of the Daleks.

Rest In Peace, Trevor Baxter

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:20 am
calliopes_pen: (lost_spook Lucy's throat Dracula's ring)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Trevor Baxter has passed away at the age of 84. May he rest in peace. For Doctor Who fans, he played Professor George Litefoot in the episode The Talons of Weng-Chiang. He reprised the role for Big Finish Productions, in Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: The Mahogany Murderers, and a series called Jago & Litefoot.

Having looked through his filmography, I see that he was in two episodes of Mystery And Imagination*--The Body Snatcher and Feet Foremost; I believe those are in the portion that are sadly lost. He was also in Jack The Ripper (1988) in the role of Lanyon--that one also starred Michael Caine, Lysette Anthony (Angelique from Dark Shadows 1991), and Susan George (Lucy in Dracula 1968). I have always meant to watch that one, so I’ll track it down. I think I spotted it at DailyMotion earlier, divided into parts.

*Come to think of it, that's two from Mystery And Imagination that have died in the last two months. Peter Sallis was the other one.

Wednesday Book Meme

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:44 pm
wendelah1: Sally from Peanuts looking at a shelf of books (book geek)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Because of all of the kids' books and quickie romances I've been reading lately, I am nine books ahead on my Goodreads challenge. I'm going to have to up the ante by ten books, at least, to compensate.

What I've finished

All the President's Men (1974), Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. I began reading it because of (1.) this article in Newsweek: "The Eerie Similarities Between Alleged Trump Scandals and All The President's Men, and (2.) because we'd just watched the movie based on it. (Note that the Newsweek story was published back in March. Imagine if they'd written it this week.) The book is award-winning journalism but honestly, the movie makes for a better story. Go rent the movie. Download it. Whatever. (We checked it out of the library). You will not be sorry. The movie gets five stars. The book gets four stars. These reporters, their editors, and their publisher are all American heroes.

Beany and the Beckoning Road (1959), Lenore Mattingly Weber. Beany believes that she has lost boyfriend Norbett to another girl: Cynthia. She and Johnny plan to drive from Denver to California to return their nephew to his parents and advertise for passengers to share the travel expenses. What a surprise for Beany when she discovers that one of the passengers is Cynthia. What will happen to a mismatched set of passengers with very little money and a tomato plant in the back seat?

This was better than the previous book in the series. Beany flies off the handle one time too many for my taste but whatever. Three stars for retro-charm and that tomato plant. I haven't decided if I'm going to continue on with the Malone family, but this book was funny and engaging.

Girl in the Water (2016), Dana Marton. I took a chance and purchased (I know!) this book because of how much I liked Secret Soldier. The online reviews were enthusiastic, but I was not impressed. Marton tried to weave together three stories, and multiple points of view, and couldn't quite pull it off. spoilers ) I applaud her attempt to write something more ambitious than your run of the mill romance but this didn't work for me at all. I give it one star.

I returned Sugar and Other Stories (1987) by A.S. Byatt to the library after reading just one story. Actually, I didn't make it through the first story. I can't recall the title. It was about an unpleasant little girl, attending an atrocious boarding school, with nasty classmates and an appalling, sadistic headmistress, who I've decided in retrospect might be a stand-in for the writer. Byatt enjoys torturing her characters in much the same way that her headmistress character enjoyed torturing her students. Halfway through, I found I wasn't liking anything about this story. Enough was enough. I skimmed through the next two stories and they were more of the same. No, thank you.

What's next?

I borrowed another book in the time travel porn series from the LAPL. I think this one is called "The Slayer" but it has nothing to do with vampires.

I'm still rereading the series for my kidlit fic exchange, titles withheld.

I unearthed an old novel of Margaret Drabble's which I'd never read, The Peppered Moth.

I'm carrying around Mirror Dance from the Vorkosigan saga in my purse.

There's a stack of time travel novels from the library at my bedside.

Entering Space: Creating a Space-faring Civilization by Robert Zubrin is sitting around somewhere, too. I got it out of mothballs because there is a chapter on mining asteroids, which is relevant to my interests. Speaking of space-faring civilizations, season two of The Expanse arrived yesterday!

black kitty

Import In Progress

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:02 am
calliopes_pen: (jkpolk mine evil laugh Master)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I am in the process of importing my older fanfic to Ao3. A large portion of it is probably Doctor Who, from the Tenth Doctor days. So if you suddenly notice a new story* from me, it's not new. It's so very, very old and fluff more than anything in most cases. Looking back now, quite a few are not that great, but they're going up for the sake of completion.

*There were two occasions as I started the import where it accidentally made it post to today's date, but it was eventually fixed. I learned that trying to import from Teaspoon does that for whatever reason, while importing from Dreamwidth does not, and gives the original date without me needing to change it.

And then I remembered…

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:14 pm
calliopes_pen: (taibhrigh Clue one plus one)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I suddenly remembered that long ago, for whatever reason, I had made two other Photobucket accounts (one in 2004 and one in 2005, according to the registration dating; they looked to be empty, so I had deleted stuff years ago in there). I vaguely remembered the ancient e-mail addresses for them, but not the usernames. Using the former, I was able to get the latter. So now, they are deleted, too.

And with that, I have cut ties with Photobucket completely.
lizbee: (Default)
[personal profile] lizbee
I've been sick as a dog for almost a week -- I haven't had a voice since Saturday morning -- so I was "lucky" enough to have coughed myself awake just in time to catch the announcement live via Twitter.

I've really been hoping for a woman of colour as the next Doctor, and I didn't recognise Jodie Whittaker by name, so I felt a weird stab of disappointment and even betrayal when I saw her white hand, coupled with simultaneous excitement that it was clearly a woman's hand.

I still think that a white woman was the easy option, casting-wise, but I've seen Whittaker in a few things -- including the first four episodes of Broadchurch, which I inhaled last night and enjoyed so much I completely forgot about Game of Thrones -- and she's very, very good.

And I also wonder if it would be unfair to an actress of colour, to throw her to the same wolves that drove Leslie Jones off Twitter, while also expecting her to lead a show with (so far) all-white writers. Which is not to excuse the implications of casting a white woman, I just think it might be complicated. Most things are. Whitakker's already been hit with a barrage of misogyny, and I hope the BBC is filtering her mail.

Anyway, I've curated my social media so well that I haven't seen a single friend or acquaintance saying they're opposed to a female Doctor as such.

On the other hand, I've seen a lot of performative finger-wagging, reminding us that this is only a victory for white women (got it, thanks) and that we can't rely on pop culture to save the world (no, really? Good heavens, I had no idea, thank goodness I had you, random Twitter person, to tell us off for being invested in a hobby!).

I guess I'm weary of performative wokeness, and, while everyone's entitled to an opinion, I find a lot of opinions on Doctor Who from people who aren't or haven't been in the fandom ... lack context? Which is sometimes valuable, and sometimes it's just the hot take equivalent of "DID YOU KNOW THAT 'TORCHWOOD' IS AN ANAGRAM OF 'DOCTOR WHO'?"

ANYWAY. Whitakker. I'm looking forward to her run, I'm still holding out hope for Alexander Siddig or Sophie Okonedo as Fourteen (it's never too soon!), people are already complaining that Whitakker is too young and too old, so, like women everywhere, we already know she just can't win.

Fic! Marauders sedoretu fic, in fact

Jul. 17th, 2017 03:41 pm
aria: (Default)
[personal profile] aria
So I've only been working on this fic, on and off, since the last HP movie came out. Never say I don't eventually finish my beloved old WIPs.

Geometry of the Impossible, Remus/Sirius/James/Lily
"I don't think Lily nor James would be very happy if I did his courting for him," Remus said. He saw that Sirius' face was fixed into blank patience, and had a flash of desire to snarl and go for Sirius' throat, because he might at least understand that. "Look. There are comical farces written around your idea, and I'm not terribly keen on having Lily fall for me instead --"

Please enjoy 21k of Teenage Werewolf Disaster :DDD

So Long, Photobucket Account

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:59 pm
calliopes_pen: (cruelest_month Dani valkyrie)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Since I’m certain I have the two images for my fanfic backed up elsewhere, and that I have things settled in that location to my satisfaction, I have deleted my Photobucket account. It should be completely gone in two days, according to the little message.

I had apparently originally registered December 25th, 2003. So 13 1/2 years before I felt the need to leave.
calliopes_pen: (54 IJ Edith silhouette books)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Martin Landau has passed away at the age of 89, after “suffering complications during a brief hospitalization.” May he rest in peace.

I remember him mostly for how great he was as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994). He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor the role. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen the original Mission: Impossible series, or Space: 1999. He was in an episode of Columbo where he played twins—I’ve seen that episode once, a while back on Me-TV. After going through IMDB, I also learned that he was the voice of Mac Gargan/The Scorpion, in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

I spotted North By Northwest via Comcast On Demand’s Turner Classic Movies section (can’t get the channel, but I can get the On Demand version of it) just the other day, and wondered if I should give it a watch. So now I will. I may also track down Strange Shadows In An Empty Room (1976) and The Fall of the House of Usher (1979), since he plays Roderick Usher.

Thomas E. Sanders has passed away, at the age of 63, after a battle with cancer. May he rest in peace. He was the production designer for Crimson Peak (2015), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). For Star Trek fans, he did production design for Star Trek Beyond. I’ll be watching Crimson Peak again this evening.

(And apparently, linking to Deadline is considered spam. Therefore, it cannot accept the crosspost with that link. So on the LJ side, the only link is the Star Trek.com article.)

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