Wednesday says Happy Diwali

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:21 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Ingested two David Wishart Corvinus mysteries, Trade Secrets (2016) and Foreign Bodies (2016) - Severn House having finally decided, it seems, to come down at some point to a price for their ebooks that is more or less comparable with mass market paperbacks rather than hardcover. These were pretty much the mixture as usual - combination of what seems to me pretty solid knowledge of what Rome and its Empire was like at the period, with upper-crust Roman sleuth cracking wise and somewhat anachronistic as the bodies pile up. There is probably a rule with extended series like this that if you haven't given up somewhere along the line, you will as a matter of habit pick up succeeding episodes as they come along.

Tremontaine Series 3, Episode 1. Interested to see where this is going to go.

Discovered by entire chance that there is an ebook of short stories about Rosemary Edghill's Bast, Failure of Moonlight: The Collected Bast Shorter Works (2012), which I had not known about and gulped down. This led me to a binge re-read of the 3 Bast mysteries - set in the world of contemporary Wicca/Paganism of the 1990s - :Speak Daggers to Her (1995), Book of Moons (1995) and The Bowl of Night (1996). I thought these held up pretty well, though possibly more for their evocation of a particular time, place and subculture, and Bast's own moral ambivalence, than for the mystery plots. In an essay appended to the shorter works she wonders if these will be what she is remembered for, eventually: she's written quite a lot in various genres under various names. I see that when I reread the space-opera trilogy Butterfly and Hellflower, written as eluki bes shahar, I felt it had rather lost its shiny. There were also, I think, some rather generic fantasy works and collaborations with Mercedes Lackey which have pretty much faded from memory, and I'm not sure I ever read any of her romances.

On the go

Only Sexual Forensics which got a bit back-burnered lately.

Up Next

The next episode of Tremontaine Season 3. Maybe Ruthanne Emrys, Winter Tide, which I have heard good things about, and is at present very briefly a giveaway from Tor. Also, have received some more v srs books from An Academic Publisher for reviewing a proposal (when offered this, I specifically look for books which are hideously expensive destined for university library editions that I would not buy for myself).

oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin

Last week I had the pneumococcal vaccine, courtesy of what is still, mostly, a beneficient National Health Service.

Unlike the flu shot, it is a one-off and should, as they say, See Me Out.

However, while I tend not to have any repercussions from the flu shot, this one gave me a sore arm, like, really sore for 2-3 days and still quite tender after that, as well a day or two feeling Vaguely Crap, that well-known unspecific medical condition.

Thought this was All Over, but this morning, discovered I had a Sore Armpit. Don't know whether this is a final repercussion, a muscle I pulled and didn't realise, or, since partner had something yesterday that might have been a virus and involved various aches and pains, whether it is that, though on the whole I would say I feel a good deal less Vaguely Crap than a few days ago.

A general condition of Slob-Out was declared and has not yet quite terminated.

(no subject)

Oct. 17th, 2017 09:18 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] susanstinson!
shadowkat: (tv slut)
[personal profile] shadowkat
Welcome back Maze. A week with Maze, Detective Dan, and Dr. Linda...and no Ella or Tom Welling/Pierce. YAY! I missed Maze, although she looks different, softer somehow. Did miss Amenadial.
Rather liked that episode. This is my favorite procedural, although it's not a true procedural. In fact the writers aren't even trying any longer with the procedural. Reminds me of what happened with the Good Wife and Angel the Series, started out as a procedural, writers got sort of bored, and went off in another direction. Works for me. I'm not a fan of procedurals, I'm too good at figuring out the mystery ahead of the characters and well, then what's the point?

spoilers )

Fun episode.

Oh, and my other favorite television show is back -- "Good Behavior" -- it's also a darkly funny series, but about a thief, a hitman, and her kid on the run.

Right now my favorite tv shows on or must watch shows on cable (not streaming) are:

* Lucifer
* The Good Place
* Good Behavior
* Grey's
* Poldark
* This is Us
* Riverdale
* Big Bang Theory

And possibly The Gifted.

Enjoying Inhumans and Seal Team. On the fence about everything else.

Can't say I'm fangurl or fannish about any of it...but I'm rarely fannish about things. Last thing I was somewhat fannish about may have been Farscape, but I came so late to the party -- it lasted a year. BSG -- fannish about for a little while, but got annoyed with the final season. Same deal with Lost. Also happened with Once Upon a Time - was fannish for the first three seasons, then got annoyed. Similar situation with Veronica Mars.

The only series I think I managed to stay fannish about during and after its entire run was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's among the few series that I got more fannish about as it went, usually it's the opposite. I'm not really a cereal fan (meaning jumping from fandom to fandom, not the breakfast cereal).

NaNoWriMo 2017?

Oct. 16th, 2017 05:07 pm
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[personal profile] laundrybaskets posting in [community profile] nano_writers
 Anyone else going attempt NaNoWriMo this year?

For the first time in years, I am seriously planning on writing a story. I have no plot, but my main characters are loud and demanding. 

Pathetic fallacy in search of a story

Oct. 16th, 2017 03:55 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

There has been the most ominous-looking light over north London for several hours now - a sort of copper colour. The sky is covered by a greyish cloud with wisps of whiter cloud drifting across it.

No rain, a bit of a breeze wafting through the trees in the street, but so far, nothing stronger.

The effect is somewhat John Martin-esque, or possibly requiring figures to run through the pocket park behind the house crying 'Heathcliff!' 'Cathy!'. Or at least, the foreshadowingly brooding overture to such.

I assume this is something to do with Hurricane Ophelia, even if so far this part of England is not supposed to be affected. This morning when I went shopping it was sunny and unusually warm, but I put that down to the Little Summer of St Luke.

(no subject)

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:56 am
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[personal profile] camille_bacon_smith
 Saw another ballet this weekend, The Sleeping Beauty at the Academy of Music. Loved it.  You can see my review here!

http://bit.ly/2kTAvEb


(no subject)

Oct. 16th, 2017 06:17 am
fresne: Circe (Default)
[personal profile] fresne
Well, that was a lot of writing.

Back in last November, having spent the preceding six months worried about now-45 winning, it happened. I had this visceral desire to wrap my arms around the world to try to keep it safe. Somehow, wanting to tell stories and not sure if that was quite my place. Appropriation. Not-sure.
In any case, I had written a story a number of years back for a friend that dealt with hope in hard times. Switched back and forth between religious stories from various faith traditions to more prosaic life moments. It was about 3k words. I decided to expand on that. Really aiming for 20k, so it could be published as a novella.

I keep describing it as all the things that worry me, but that's not quite it. It's more a case of 45 stirs up many ugly elements of society that we haven't really dealt with and I needed to think about in fictional form.

I've just wrapped up about 67k and over 60 stories. This isn't all I wrote. I wrote many stories that didn't quite work. Each story needed to have certain elements of mixed hope and despair. The mundane stories needing to be moments rather than complete epic adventures. I'll have to see if there are narratives they do work in.

As I wrote, I found myself reorganizing the story structure many times. Initially starting with a 3 story structure of: origin, current day ecstatic, current day mundane. But this really didn't work when I reached a certain size. There were too many issues I wanted to address and the flow just wasn't there. I went back and forth on chronological, until I decided oh whatever, ancient history and then leap to the modern world/1800s. I hadn't expected to use quite so much of my family history, but often that helped leaven the sense of telling other people's stories while divorcing myself from the narrative. Not me. Not complicit.
Nope, there's where I fit in.

I ended up buying two pieces of metal and sticking chapters with magnets to them to figure things/order out. Lots of moving paper around.

Anyway, the narrative let me know it was done about a week ago. Funny how that works. Although, on-going disasters do want to get included. Anyway, I do want to try and get this out by this year's election. We'll
see how fast editing goes. E-version more probable than the printed version.

You'll see another version of this when it's time to publish.

(no subject)

Oct. 16th, 2017 09:14 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] desayunoencama!

(no subject)

Oct. 15th, 2017 09:27 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
I feel like I've watched a lot of television shows this weekend. I don't tend to watch that much during the week -- mainly because no time. Between work, errands, and other things not worth mentioning...there's limited time. Plus early wake up time.

Burned out. Don't want to watch any more. Poldark will just have to wait until Monday. Assuming I don't decide to watch Lucifer instead.

Anyhow...more television shows below. I don't know if calling this a review is really accurate. Someone took exception with me calling a post a review once, which made me wonder -- what exactly is determined to be or defined as a review?

1. The Gifted

Still enjoying for the most part. But, it's a bit anxiety inducing and seems to make me angry. I think it may be triggering me? I have major difficulties with people being arrested without fair trial or due process. Unfair imprisonment enrages me and is among my worst nightmares. Also, I have issues with racism and fascism. It's why I have not been able to watch The Man in the High Castle -- every time I attempt it -- it triggers me.

So, while I'm enjoying the series -- I keep finding myself yelling at the television set and wanting to kick the villains.

Don't know how long I'll stick with it. I gave up on The Walking Dead and Revenge for some of the same reasons, and admittedly have struggled with both Poldark and Game of Thrones. Comfort television this isn't. It's frustrating to watch at times...and let's face it the world can be frustrating all on its own, sometimes you just want to escape from it.

Anyhow, I like the characters, the actors, and the story for the most part -- I just wish they'd break out Reed Strucker and Polaris from the damn prison and move on to another story already. Not sure I can watch Polaris get beaten up much longer.

I'm beginning to understand why everyone seems to prefer the DC superhero series and MAOS, they are less frustrating and there's a happy ending, for the most part, or a satisfying conclusion. It's less anxiety inducing. Hmmm...I may be a bit of a masochist where television is concerned.

2. Riverdale

Season opener was slow in places, but did a good job of pushing the story forward and maintaining the general norish atmosphere. It really does feel a bit like Archie Comics by way of Twin Peaks, or at the most James M. Cain. The point of view is mainly the teens, but unlike various 90s and early 00s television series -- the parents have a major role and aren't relegated to the sidelines, or completely invisible. That was always my quibble with Buffy and various other teen oriented series -- the parents didn't appear to exist. They were there...but rarely seen. Did Buffy never meet Xander and Willow's parents? It seemed odd. Here at least they are part of the story and a vital part, they may even be the villains. It's not clear.

What's disturbing is who they are casting as the parents...people who were in all the teen shows and movies that I watched in the 1990s and 80s. I mean Luke Perry was Buffy's boyfriend in the Buffy Movie and the teen heart-throbe in 90210. And Molly Ringwald did all those John Hughes teen films.
Madchen -- Betty's mother, was the teen hottie for guys in Twin Peaks, and Billy Crudup - was the teen baddie in the Scream flicks. Ack. I now know how my parents felt. Weirdest thing about getting older, you don't feel like you are any older...until you look at other people and think, okay, wait a second.

Anyhow, I like this season better than last. It's done a good job of building the characters. And Jughead has gotten a bit more interesting.

The teens or rather twenty-somethings playing the teens are rather good in their roles. It's well cast. And the cinematography feels like you are watching a painting unfold. Each scene is so perfectly shot. The writing good be a smidgen or two better...but considering what it is, it's not bad.

3. Once Upon a Time

Well, they've definitely rebooted the concept. This week's episode answered one of the three questions that I was curious about. Which was how they were going to continue the series with Hook, but without Emma, and still keep their happy ending. Also why the heck Regina and Hook ended up in Hyperion Heights with Henry, but no one else did outside of Rumplestilskin. spoiler )

The other two questions I have are -- how'd Rumple get there and what in the hell is his deal this round? Once that gets answered, I may or may not give up on it. Emma unfortunately was and is a better actress and character than her son Henry, and the guy currently playing him. So, I'm not sure this is going to have much staying power. That said, the actress playing Cinderella aka Lucinda, rocks. I love her.

Lucinda: I find it disturbing that my daughter thinks I'm Cinderella waiting for her prince to save her. I want her to see me as saving myself, and supporting her, not idly waiting around thinking some day my prince will come.
Henry: Actually, I think that was Snow White.

Go Lucinda.

Other than that...I don't know how long I'll stick with it. The evil stepmother isn't as interesting or entertaining as the Evil Queen. She wasn't in the fairy tale either. It's sort of dull. And I think they wrapped it up rather neatly last year.

4. Grey's Anatomy

I enjoyed this episode better than last weeks. (I'm not a fan of April, Arizona or Jo Wilson...so when they aren't featured, I'm happy. My mother isn't either. We grouse about them over the phone, so no need to do it here.) That said, I'm feeling sorry for Wilson, and I can't quite decide where they are going with April.

spoilers )


5. Scandal -- yes, I'm still watching Scandal. How much longer don't know. Since it is the final season, I may stick it out.

I like the actors and characters for the most part. Particularly Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope. She's fierce. And Cyrus Been is interesting to me. Also have an odd fondness for Charlie and Quinn.

It's interesting that now that Olivia has the power, she's doing underhanded things. The series has always been a rather adept examination of power, how people abuse it, and how it corrupts. It's similar to The Good Wife in this respect. Both the Good Wife and Scandal are political satires about gender politics, and power. I think The Good Wife is better written, but Scandal is definitely entertaining at times, even though it's plots often make no sense.

New & Returning TV Shows...

Oct. 15th, 2017 04:12 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
1. Valor

Well, I didn't make it past the first fifteen minutes.Read more... )

2. Dynasty

Will have to watch a few more episodes first. It's okay. Read more... )

It's a more diverse cast. And the actor playing Jeff Colby, has high cheekbones and attitude that reminds me weirdly of James Marsters Spike meets Mr. Trick.

3. The Inhumans

I've seen three episodes of this to date. The first two were apparently back to back, and the third one the next week -- which I caught on "On Demand" because I forgot to record it.

I appear to like it better than everyone else does. But I've learned over the past fifty years not to care that much what other people think - at least in regards to television shows. ;-)

It's different than the other superhero shows on, and it's rather funny in places.

Medusa to ATM: I am Queen of Attilan, Give me money.
ATM:....
Medusa: I am Queen...give me some money...please?
ATM:....

So Medusa goes and robs the royal estates in Hawaii of a jacket, trousers, shirt, and purse -- then goes off to hunt down Black Bolt.

Morpheus - This is taking forever, can't we find a path.
Team member with pretty hair -- oh there are so many plants and they are so beautiful
Morpheus: That's nice, can't you make a path between them?
Team member: Oh, I can do that. Sure thing.
Morpheus: Oh, I can do that? And you wait until now...

It sort of pokes fun at itself. Too many of these superhero series take themselves far too seriously.

It's hard to write reviews of television series. I mean what do you say exactly? I liked the acting? People, or so I've discovered, have very different perceptions/views on what is good acting based on their own knowledge and experiences.

Anyhow, the show is about a royal family of beings with powers. It's not a series about superheroes. It actually has more in common with The Gifted and Heroes, than MAOS, Supergirl, Arrow, etc. Read more... )

That said, if you don't like shows about people with powers in which they aren't doing heroic deeds, saving the world, or working to do so...(ie. not Superheroes but just people with powers and in this case entitled people from another territory with powers), this won't work for you. It's about a bunch of half alien/half human powered beings who think they are better and more evolved than humans, and the racial prejudice on both ends of the spectrum -- with well, the fact that one side can kill the other just by opening their mouth. I can see how that might turn off a few people. It's also serial in structure, with no case of the week, or job to do. So you sort of have to watch it from the beginning or you'll get a bit lost -- similar to Heroes, Legion, and The Gifted. Except no where near as well written. It's fun, but depends on your sense of humor -- mine's rather dry and absurdist, so I found it hilarious in spots, but I tend to find things funny others don't and vice versa.


4. Situational Comedies:

*9JKL - this is a comedy about a television actor whose lost everything a divorce, moving into an apt between his brother/sis-inlaw, and parents. Think "Everybody Loves Raymond" but more upper East Side, and not as likable. (Considering I never liked or appreciated the humor in Everybody Loves Raymond, it's not surprising this didn't work for me. Most situation comedies don't. I like the work place comedies or off-the-beaten track.) I didn't make it past fifteen minutes.

* The Mayor -- eh, has potential, just didn't hold my interest. My jump again if it survives. It may be too political, which was my difficulty with it. Also didn't make it very far. But at least it's different.

Think twenty-something black rapper suddenly becomes Mayor of a small city, with an all-white city council. That's the set-up.

* Blackish -- This is an old show, and I rarely watch because family sitcoms don't work for me, but if you haven't seen The Juneteenth Episode Premiere - try to. I watched it on "On Demand".
It's brilliant. They do a great satire of the old School House Rock ditty I Am a Bill...except instead of I Am Bill -- it's I Am Slave -- detailing the history of slavery from the black perspective in ten minutes. Also does a great job of slaughtering Columbus Day. The whole episode points out the power imbalance between the races and the difficulty of privilege, which by extension has had serious and detrimental consequences -- but in a funny and insightful way.

* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - another old show, which is often a bit too over the top for me, but this episode is worth watching for the satiric song and dance number "Watch Us Generalize About Men" -- if you can find a clip of it on Youtube, watch it. It's hilarious and an excellent satire on gender politics. Actually the entire series is a satire on gender politics and how our society views sex and romantic love. Each song satirizes one or the other and quite well. Subtle it's not -- so keep that in mind.

*. The Good Place -- worth watching for the riff on existentialism. The writers either are frustrated philosophy majors or have the same general irritation regarding it that I do. It's hilarious, they make fun of the meaning of life, death, and existentialist theory in this episode. Also, make some good points about narcissism. It's a bit smarter with its humor and a tad more subtle than the other shows.

Culinary

Oct. 15th, 2017 08:18 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

This week's bread: the Blake/Collister My Favourite Loaf, white spelt/wholemeal/einkorn flour, made up with the remains of the buttermilk.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft roll recipe, 4:1 white spelt/buckwheat flour, maple sugar, dried blueberries.

Today's lunch: New Zealand venison loin medallions, panfried in butter, served with sweet potato oven fries, cauliflower florets roasted in pumpkin seed oil with cumin seeds (I think these could have done either with being cooked a bit longer, or broken up into smaller pieces), fennel cut into thinnish strips, healthy-grilled in olive oil, and splashed with elderflower vinegar.

oursin: hedgehog carving from Amiens cathedral (Amiens hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Oh, David Mitchell, I normally like and approve of your columns, but this one?

Our forebears’ unquestioning belief in a higher power gave them a confidence that it’s hard not to envy.

Which made me think of pretty much all societies, 'throughout history', where just because there was a belief in a higher power didn't mean that there wasn't massive conflict over: who was the real higher power and how best to worship that higher power. And even when there was a generally accepted overall belief system, there are differences within between schools of thought and practice (cf persecution of Christians or Muslims who are not of the predominant category within a particular nation). Heretics get persecuted at least as much as infidels.

And you may like to think

I know in my heart that had I been brought up in such a setting – say, in Anglican Victorian England – I wouldn’t have quibbled with those answers and would’ve been comforted by them.

That would Anglican Victorian England which a) pretty much invented the concept of honest doubt and b) within the C of E, massive conflicts between High and Low Church, no? Not so cosy.

Paging Mr Blake and the Ever-Lasting Gospel. Written at the same time that a large number of actual clergymen had gone into that line of work because they were the third son and it was a living, and why would anyone trouble themselves over the 39 Articles? and it gave them plenty of time off for hunting.

(no subject)

Oct. 15th, 2017 12:19 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] akuchling, [personal profile] brithistorian and [personal profile] mamculuna!

media consumed

Oct. 15th, 2017 11:32 am
ironed_orchid: buffy and willow star at computer, text "the tentacle goes where?" (tentacle)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid
I am so bad at this updating thing.

Between having a week off work and then getting sick (again), I've been spending a lot of time on the couch binge watching. Here is a list of tv stuffs I have been watching in the last month or so:

The Good Place: I find this fun, but now that I am caught up and have to wait for weekly episodes, each one feels short.

Glitch: season two - so good, so interesting, but now we are more into the SF of how people came back from the dead, and less into their personal histories.

Bojack Horseman: I watched the entire 4 seasons in just over a week. I'd assumed this was yet another mean and sarcastic cartoon for adults, but I ended up caring a lot about the characters, even the mean and sarcastic ones.

Star Trek: Discovery: I think I want to like this more than I actually do, but it doesn't matter as I am utterly smitten with Michael Burnham and want her to be happy, which means I'll probably keep watching forever.

Dance Academy: seasons one and two on Netflix, season three on iview - I find this silly show for teenagers about a Sydney ballet school surprisingly charming and easy to watch.

Grace and Frankie: Another show I didn't watch before and then devoured in a few sittings. I have loved Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda since I was about 12, and they are a delight to watch together. Some good stuff about ageing and being single older women. I find some of the story lines a bit clunky, but there is good natured humour to keep me watching.

American Vandal: Who drew the dicks? I wasn't sure about it but the mockumentary format really works, and the kids actually look and act like teenagers and their theories are so dumb that it's beautiful.

The Good Fight: A spin off from The Good Wife and does assume background knowledge for some plots and characters. I like Rose Leslie's character, strange to see her playing and American, but she does it well. It still does that annoying thing of ever so slightly fictionalising actual people and events and the episode with the character who was Not!Milo was one of the weakest.

I am frustrated with Netflix for making new shows I want to watch which only air weekly. I guess it's because they want to sell them to other networks, but it sucks.

Seal Team

Oct. 14th, 2017 09:28 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
why I'll be posting less and mainly on innocuous topics )

Television

Watching Seal Team, which is better than I expected. It's well acted, and an interesting role for Boreanze, who for the most part is playing more of character role for a change, less romantic lead. (Of course he's not pretty any longer, somewhat rugged, sort of looks like a hockey player gone to seed, and more normal looking. And somewhere between Buffy S1 and Seal, Boreanze became a good television actor, although I never thought he was a bad actor. I liked him well enough in Angel and Buffy. Buffy, for the most part, was well cast, as was Angel, or I'd have never stuck with either.) It's a good role for DB, who is playing Jason, leader of the team, a conflicted solider with problems at home. DB does conflicted well. Also the rest of the heavy male-oriented cast is good. So far I don't see any weak links in the cast.

The pilot is exposition heavy and hard to follow as a result. There's a lot going on, and a lot of back story. The story picks up in the middle, with the team already established. Via flashbacks, we learn that Boreanze's character feels directly responsible for one of his team members' deaths who was also his best friend. That he's separated from his wife due to being married to his job and being away a lot, also not exactly into sharing and emotionally distant. Has three kids, all teenagers. We jump into the team mid-flow, with a lot of military jargon thrown at the screen, and the first job is your typical hostage rescue, failing to capture not kill the bad guy routine (Similar to The Brave's plot-line, but less suspenseful and far more realistic. Not to mention less predictable and cliche ridden.). The difficulty is there's a lot of
jumping back and forth between the flashback, the job, and the home lives of the team -- also a lot of characters are introduced at once and too many pov's.

The second episode is much better than the first. It was compelling enough to get me to watch the second episode "On Demand", which I guess is saying something, right?

This episode gives us more insight on how the team works together. It follows two main pov's instead of several, Jason (Boreanze), who is the seasoned leader of the team, with the world on his shoulders, and Clay Spenser, the young hot-head, who he kicked back to training and off the team. Both are compelling characters, and hit my story kinks pretty hard. (I like wounded/conflicted male and female heroes, with savior complexes, and who have to make tough and often ambiguous decisions. I'm not really gender specific.) The other thing about this episode is it is realistic -- they come upon a bunch of poisoned Syrian kids, and debate what to do about it. The debate is mainly, if you rescued them, then what? They spend their lives in a refugee camp? Will we even be able to do it?
And do we risk ourselves for a fools mission? With impossible odds? They win and lose the day. And Jason also has to make a decision about whether to tell one of his team-mates about his wife undergoing a difficult c-section to delivery her child. Each decision is realistic and fits the tough and world-weary character that DB is portraying. Seal Team, unlike The Brave, feels more like a character piece and the jobs are less important that the character's arcs. It's also not a soap opera, there's no romantic bed-hopping, or love triangles. It's a straight from the top military action drama.

The one draw-back of both episodes, and why my attention kept wandering, is I had to watch both "On Demand" and you can't fast-forward via On Demand. So you are stuck with about five-six commercials interrupting the flow of the drama. I wish the commercials would be before, at an intermission and after -- less disruptive.

[There are so many tv shows that I can't keep track of when they are premiering any longer. I've missed five pilots to date. And had to watch shows via On Demand. Part of the problem is they all have different start dates between September - November. And some of the date published in magazines and elsewhere were wrong. I miss the days when there were less shows and it was easier to track. There are now so many the entertainment mags have given up giving full reviews of all of them. (145 scripted each season). ]

I have the third episode of Seal taped apparently. I thought it was the second.

After seeing these two episodes, I may stick with it for a while. I'm not in love with it or anything, but I find it compelling in places and recommend it to people who enjoy strong albeit conflicted male leaders, military action dramas with heavy and somewhat diverse male casts (although this one is heavily white, but there are POC in it), with a few women characters in supporting roles. If that isn't your thing? Pass this one on by.

I've seen two of these military action dramas to date, The Brave and Seal Team, and I think "Seal Team" is better -- better written at any rate. Title sucks. While they are very different in some respects, they have similar set-ups, so it is hard not to compare them. Also of the two, one (The Brave) I don't buy at all (it reminds me of one too many similar top secret US government covert ops thriller television series that I've seen...which no, the government just doesn't operate like that. I can tell the writers don't know what they are writing about), and the other one I do (Seal Team - whoever is writing this appears to have done some serious research). And certainly more compelling. Of the two? I think Seal Team has more longevity. I could be wrong about that. Anyhow, considering I don't tend to like military action dramas and am not a fan of David Boreanze by any stretch of the imagination, yet of the two dramas -- watched the second episode of Seal Team (on "On Demand" no less) and didn't bother to record the second one of The Brave. Add to all of that? I wanted to like the Brave and not like Seal Team. In short, don't judge a television show by its title or the actors in it.

Oh, I think it goes back before that

Oct. 14th, 2017 03:32 pm
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

Article in today's Guardian Weekend by a bloke whose wife earns a lot more than he does in a high-powered job, and he is stay at home dad. And it's not egregiously annoying, but I was taken aback by this line, which is a quote from something else:

The post-industrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength

The guy in question was a journalist and his friends do not sound as though they were pursuing careers as stevedores, miners, steelworkers, etc etc, before the economy took a downturn. They had office/creative-type jobs.

And surely it's been true for quite a long time that, just as the majority of men have not been called upon to defend their country in arms, the majority of men have not been working in fields where size and brute strength were necessarily particularly relevant.

This is a point I tend to think of when I see some man sounding off about women can't [X] or there has been no female [Y], and I think, you know what, mate, I don't suppose you're all that fit for doing [X], and on the basis of your Facebook post/tweet, I don't think you're the new [Y]. They take the credit to themselves for any achievement by a man that demonstrates, they suppose, the ultimate superiority of their gender, rather than having a component of chance and opportunity (cf V Woolf on J Shakespeare).

Which I don't think is so much the case with women? if we cite e.g. Ada Lovelace, or Serena Williams, it is more to say, well, actually, women can.

oursin: Frankie Howerd, probably in Up Pompeii, overwritten Don't Mock (Don't Mock)
[personal profile] oursin

Because, at first, larf, I far lay on the ground, about this: First Meeting of Society to Establish a Minister for Men passes off without incident

But two door supervisors were deemed necessary on Wednesday evening to stop anyone entering the Pulteney Room who was not sympathetic to the views of the fledgling Society to Establish a Minister for Men.
....
What was scheduled to be the first meeting up the M5 at a pub in Cheltenham earlier this week was cancelled after – according to O’Pie – the landlord was warned there would be repercussions.

“We thought we had better be safe rather than sorry,” he told the Guardian. “We don’t want people to be frightened by feminist people shouting with banners.* I’ve had that before, it’s ridiculous.” But he added: “I’m being totally paranoid because nobody has turned up.”

The Pulteney Room and its environs were not packed. Around a dozen people, including one 18-year-old woman, attended the meeting. And there was just one protester outside.

As the Bath Choral Society rehearsed in a nearby room, O’Pie set out the society’s objectives. The Guardian was not allowed in, but was provided with a handout in an envelope labelled: “Please read BEFORE you condemn.”

The handout argues that “male-specific problems and issues” rarely appear in the media, are deliberately neglected in schools and universities and are not addressed anywhere in the political system.**

It states that male MPs do not represent men but female politicians do represent women, because they “think, bond and therefore act as a political gender group across party lines”.











*Aw, diddums.

**In the splendid tradition of 'Why is there No International Men's Day'***/White History Month/Straight Pride'.

***19th November, for your information.

This, we may add somewhat wearily, in a week during which Men Are Terribly Poor Stuff And They Get Away With It was turned up to 11 or more.

O’Pie, a father of three, said he was not disappointed at the turnout and vowed to press on.

O’Pie is a veteran of the Fathers4Justice movement, which involved activists taking part in stunts and demonstrations dressed as superheroes. He has written a book called Why Britain Hates Men: Exposing Feminism, and earlier this year, he and Holbrook unsuccessfully took on the Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips by delivering leaflets asking constituents if they really want a “feminist as your MP”.

One is inclined to think 'lone crank', and that anybody who turned up was either coming in out of the rain, waiting for their spouse to emerge from the Choral Society rehearsal and their phone charge had died, or were merely there for the lols.

On the other paw, when I think of all the good causes that began with a very few people regarded as crazy or evil, historian is not entirely sure that this paradigm does not also work for really bad causes.

(no subject)

Oct. 13th, 2017 09:19 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] mystefaction and [personal profile] norabombay!

(no subject)

Oct. 12th, 2017 04:36 pm
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[personal profile] camille_bacon_smith
 

Busy week--the season is in full swing! Went to see Buyers and Cellars at 1812 Theater, a comedy about a gay man hired to maintain a cellar full of stuff that, in the play Barbra Streisand has bought and set up as a mall in her basement, the relationship he strikes up with Streisand in her faux mall, and how that effects his personal relationship at home. There were a lot of laugh-lines, but the play also had a lot of heart. It was a great antidote to the news.

Also saw The Haydn Seven Last Words. The sermonizing before the music started was a bit overwrought and head-scratchy, given that we were at the Kimmel Center and not a Church, and it is November and nowhere near Easter Week, but the music was fine, so whevs. I didn't review it, but this one from Philly.com pretty much covers it.


http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/arts/pcms-orion-string-quartet-haydn-concert-review-20171012.html
oursin: photograph of E M Delafield IM IN UR PROVINCEZ SEKKRITLY SNARKIN (Delafield)
[personal profile] oursin

Horseshoe bus seats introduced to encourage passengers to talk to each other.

(And I really don't think it's going to discourage people putting their bags on the seats: in fact I envisage them building a defensive redoubt of the things.)

People don't want to talk to one another on public transport, or at least, not to random strangers. I am moderately amused that this is being put into practice in one of those parts of the country which one vaguely assumes is not like the Anomic Metroples, full of atomised sad lonely individuals who can only be brought to exchange words in the face of disaster, when Blitz Spirit kicks in and we all start singing London Pride.

Though, honestly, Wiltshire and Dorset? are we not then in Hardy Country? would you want to get into conversation with a Hardy character on a bus? We think not. Who knows what it would lead to? (even if they were not clutching a boar's pizzle.) Also, they would be on the wrong bus going in the wrong direction.

(no subject)

Oct. 12th, 2017 09:30 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kalmn!

Wednesday was out to lunch

Oct. 11th, 2017 06:58 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished the book on the Frankaus - less on Pamela than I should have liked, and the overall structure was non-linear but not thematic, so occasionally a bit confusing. It looks as though as a literary family they had serious form over including real people thinly disguised, or at least, plausibly identifiable, in their fiction, and also in not being entirely reliable narrators of events in their own lives.

Simon R Green, Dead Man Walking (2016) and Very Important Corpses (2017), 2 & 2 in the Ishmael Jones sequence, which combine the usual eldritch horrors and snarky fighter/s against the powers of darkness within a riff on the country-house (or other isolated enclosed community) mystery.

Matt Wallace, Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour #1) (2015): because this was a freebie of something that keeps popping up on my recs lists. Enjoyable - would not say 'hilarious' - might read another.

Margaret Maron, Take Out (2017). The long-awaited return of Lt Sigrid Harald (though there was a cross-over with the Deborah Knott series), and as such, a fair amount of catch-up on various existing strands, and that problem that the last entry in the series was over twenty years ago, but this takes place in real time just after that, which can sometimes feel a bit weird.

On the go

Finally have a copy of Roberta Rubenstein, Literary Half-Lives: Doris Lessing, Clancy Sigal, and Roman à Clef (2014) - not only was her relationship with Sigal the inspiration for Saul Green in The Golden Notebook (and other works) he too made use of the episode in his own (I would guess, much less well-known) works (though I think I read Weekend in Dinlock very many years ago; also have a - charity-shop find - copy of his novel based on his experience at RD Laing's Kingsley Hall); and am working my way through it.

Up next

Apart from various things which have either finally appeared, or the ebook price has come down to what I consider reasonable for an ebook, have also got some academic press freebies for refereeing.

Why details are important

Oct. 11th, 2017 09:19 am
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[personal profile] cactuswatcher


You can only do your best. You are not always going to catch every mistake in your thinking. But it is important to try to not to let your current thinking, your personal vanity and emotions overpower the need to keep improving your actions, your writing, your life and the lives of those you affect. --note to self--

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