oh, hi

Jun. 15th, 2016 08:32 am
hedda62: Harold Finch, half in shadow, text: Oh, Mr. Finch (finch)
I figured just after the penultimate episode of Person of Interest was a good time to pop back in here. I've been busy, and not really feeling the fannish love for anything, but here's a brief TV wrap-up, and that's the right word, since so many of my shows have come to an end.

POI: I've enjoyed this season on the whole, or at least felt the usual mix of admiration and dissatisfaction. Last night's episode: I was operating on about two hours of sleep, so likely missed things, but the plot seemed to have taken several leaps past logic. Which is par for the course on this show: set things up for years, and yet have smart characters fail to take ordinary precautions or question stuff that seems weird. Anyway, next week will be it, and we'll all get over it - and I kind of want to write Machine-POV fic except that might mean having to watch too many episodes over again so I can figure out what was going on.

The Good Wife: Didn't love the ending, not so much because of the non-conclusive nature (I am all about that) but because of the it's-all-about-men thing, though I suppose that is thematically right, just really annoying.

Castle: Let's just pretend the last season or two didn't happen, or that we never found out all the backstage gossip, or that they had time to plan out the series finish.

Sleepy Hollow: Boy, am I glad I stopped watching this at the beginning of this season. Oy.

Agent Carter: Sorry that it couldn't keep going, but my investment in the Marvel-verse is pretty shallow anyway.

Elementary: Actually that was a pretty satisfying season. John Noble, aren't you glad you got killed off on Sleepy Hollow?

Orphan Black: Still enjoying this too. OMG Helena and her hat. And her deer.

I am going to try not to get hooked on anything else, and spend more evenings reading or writing. Or, you know, sleeping.

hug it out

Feb. 25th, 2015 05:41 pm
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
From Give Me My Remote:

As she beats up an 18th-century colonel, Ichabod watches a video in which he and Abbie attempt to take a selfie and talk about waffles. This scene is the only thing you need to know about SLEEPY HOLLOW.

THANK YOU SHOW, YOU ARE BACK. If awkwardly, at the end of a pretty terrible season, with questionable time travel practices. (Well, magic. *handwaves*) I guess we don't know about renewal yet, but if this is the end, a nice mirror-image reboot is a good way to go about it.

More soon, since I haven't posted in a while, but I'm glad I went ahead and watched the SH finale (I was kind of dreading them messing it up).
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Quick TV catch-up:

Sleepy Hollow: Almost like Katrina after last night's episode. Almost. Also, nice to see Frank again? I hope?

Castle: Back to form and they managed to find a new twist to keep things running a little longer. (Based on last week; haven't seen this week's yet.)

The Good Wife: And the Chicago canyons echo again with the refrain, "Kalinda, what the hell, no!" Also, I love episodes that require "we didn't know this would be in the news" disclaimers.

Elementary: Introducing new main characters and giving them storylines of their own is a good thing, people; season developing nicely. (I should probably note here that Ophelia Lovibond was yet another in the category of "where, oh where, have I seen that actor before? *checks imdb* Of course: 'Lewis'.")

Agent Carter: Watched the first two episodes of this; will probably keep watching. My main reaction is: it's just so satisfying. In somewhat the same way as Miss Fisher except with much more anger and fork-in-artery grit.

Person of Interest: On hold again until February, dammit. (Not that I begrudge the State of the Union, but otherwise grrr.) Good essay here: Why Person of Interest Needs to Continue Being the Gutsiest Show on Television. It's hard to remember sometimes that reactions are different outside fandom, but I'm not surprised that some viewers want it to go back to being the cosy procedural it never was. And probably hate Root/Shaw.

Couple of reading notes: Aside from finishing A People's History of the American Revolution, it's been mainly comfort reading. Among other things, I reread Lois Bujold's The Spirit Ring, which is an early stand-alone historical fantasy novel that I must have read originally after plunging through the Vorkosigan books. In that context it was a bit disappointing, but it's really very good on its own merits: the world-building is solid, the writing sings in places, and the characters are appealing. Seen retrospectively, it strikes some interesting notes with regard to the Chalion series, too.

Earlier in the month, to remove the taste of a dreadful Agatha Christie conspiracy thriller dealing with the misuse of an international youth movement, I reread some John Verney - anyone else here familiar with the Callendar series? ismo is the relevant one here, but the series starts with Friday's Tunnel - very fun 1960s British teenage adventures, which for some reason our local library possessed when I was a kid, and I later managed to procure copies for my kids (out of print alas and tend to be expensive). All of them use female POV, girls with real personalities and varied interests and a tendency to be irritable, and I'm glad to find I still love them (the books and the protagonists, especially February). If I ever do participate in Yuletide, I'll be sure to propose this series - there has to be someone out there who's read it.

Epiphanies

Jan. 6th, 2015 07:41 am
hedda62: Harold Finch on ecstasy, dancing (drugged finch)
Well, lots of things happening on January 6, anyway:

- Snow!!
- Foxglove Summer out in the U.S. and on my Kindle! Lots of stuff to get done before I can read it, alas.
- New Person of Interest tonight! Looks to be a very interestingly-structured episode and a hell of a cliffhanger.
- Sherlock Holmes's birthday, if one cares to celebrate that.
- Last day for the Christmas tree (and the Christmas Penguin, outside).

Also, Sleepy Hollow last night… !!!

Yesterday was apparently National Bird Day and I did a little author blog post on that and the bird thing in my books - pretty much what some of you have read here already. Also it was Twelfth Night, of course.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Oh, Sleepy Hollow, NO. You did NOT do that. Please be the kind of show that doesn't. *writes furious fix-it fic in head*

And, to continue the previous Katrina thoughts - I read somewhere on Tumblr bits of an interview someone did with some showrunner (sorry, cannot cite. "I read it on Tumblr somewhere": death to modern scholarship) where among other things (one of them being that they consider Katrina to be a "strong woman") it was stated that K. is having difficulties getting her magic in line after all that time in purgatory - and, okay, that would be cool. I would go for that. Except that all that's coming across is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and she shows no real reaction in either case. Or rather, she shows a reaction to the result of the success or failure, but not to the success or failure itself, which a craftsperson should do; there should be a little smirk of triumph or anger when what should happen doesn't. It's bad writing as much as bad acting. She could be a reluctant witch - that would be interesting - and a witch of necessity only, or she can be totally getting off on it, but in any case she needs to desire competence. And to regret failure, not just because it kills people but because it makes her look bad.

On another subject entirely, I think I've fixed the epub file problem - still waiting for Smashwords to review the files (apparently they are still on holiday schedule) but I auto-vetted the file and it passed, so I'm pretty confident (and you will hear wailing and gnashing of teeth if it still fails for some reason). [personal profile] mmegaera said it might be in the headers or footers, and it was - phantom page numbers in the footer, which I never put in there, but Word in its infinite wisdom decided should be present. Don't know why in this book and not any of the others, but there you are.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) I put together a FAQ for my books, mostly spurred by having to make that "check the box or not?" decision again for "adult content." I did not check the box. Here's the relevant portion of the FAQ:

situationally-appropriate )


I think this is all reasonable, but there's bound to be someone out there who gets huffy. Difficult sometimes to remember that not all the world reads E-rated fanfic on a regular basis and thinks my writing is tame. :)

2) I am having trouble being quite as enthused about season two of Sleepy Hollow as I was about season one, and I'm afraid it has to do with Katrina. It's very hard to express dislike for her without being one of those "gets in the way of my ship!" people, and while I do kind of ship Ichabod/Abbie, I would love Katrina to be a great character instead of the inconsistently written and acted mess that she is. She could be both the love of Ichabod's life and a person causing him great consternation; she could be both badass and ladylike; she could be smart as hell and still confused by her confusing circumstances; she could be motherly and passionate and jealous, and conflicted about those feelings. There's plenty of room for fascinating development along all those axes of character, but instead she's tossed arbitrarily from one side to another, never gets to be fully competent at anything, never gets to be as funny as the other characters, is often a victim and more frequently stupid, has marvelously unclear motivations, and keeps wearing an outfit you'd think she would toss in the trash immediately. And she's been the focus of a lot of episodes this season, so all this is unfortunately front and center.

Also, not nearly enough Frank Irving is happening, but we knew that.

3) Bad POI fan here: dozed off here and there during last night's episode and missed both Bear's swimming and the bit about the circle (which I know about from browsing Tumblr), so I will have to watch it again. It's not the show; it's me and my previous night's insomnia. But I did wake up for the ending and look forward to mayhem ensuing next week. And I didn't snore as much as Fusco.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) Post up on visiting places you write about (the why and the maybe why not) at the author blog. With reference to Venice, because.

(Incidentally, I am gathering that as with Twitter, so with Wordpress there is a method whereby bloggers like, follow, and/or post empty comments with the intent of getting you to follow them back; see comment about my interesting post on travel writing which is not what I wrote about but is what the commenter does. Sorry, I have you all sussed out now and I'm not going there. So to speak.)

2) Things I need to do in the next few days: upload teaser chapters for Time Goes By; decide on a not-stupid About the Author blurb for that book, and also whether I should have a dedication; start formatting the print version; do a temporary price cut for TFT and TAF ebooks (month of November, buy 'em now); send out email announcements as well as posting on the blog; get ready to agonize over cover design. Plus other things in other spheres of my life.

ETA: Also have to come up with a blurb for TGB a little more extensive than the placeholder ("Adventures extending over five centuries, three separate continents, and one world-convulsing war"). OMG how.

3) Am attempting to catch up on TV missed while away. Caught up on Person of Interest, which continues to be fantastic this season (all of you who gave up last season, you should come back!); on Castle, which is still entertaining if stretching it a bit with the amnesia plot oh please; on Sleepy Hollow, which is just absurd but completely lovable and doing interesting things with interpersonal relationships; on Doctor Who, which… I just don't know, really. Others to follow.

4) I read, over the course of the trip, several books but two in particular that I'd really like to review together if that were possible anywhere, just because they resonated as if unrelated objects struck and vibrating in close harmony. One is Jo Walton's My Real Children, which I loved as a transformation of the mundane extraordinariness of life into the fantastical (old woman with dementia in nursing home reflects on two entirely separate lives she remembers having lived in two versions of the 20th and early 21st centuries (neither of them ours)), and the other is a memoir by my second cousin Ann Hedreen about her life and that of her mother who died in her 70s of early-onset Alzheimer's, called Her Beautiful Brain. The resonance is close in the description of confusion and forgetting and disintegration, the life choices faced by women, the poignancy of loss and ordinary living, the portrait of a period of time; the format is different, of course, but I think Walton's book has a lot of elements of memoir (there's a lot more of "and then this thing happened, and then the other thing" than I thought I could put up with in what has to be categorized as speculative fiction) and it certainly reads as a real person's story, or stories. (But it's a different sort of person who chooses to write about their own life rather than those of invented characters. I didn't know Ann very well before reading her book; now I almost feel I know her too well. Memoir is not a choice I'd make for myself, even if my life was interesting enough to merit one.) Also, I had no idea before I started Walton's book that it had so much to do with Italy, so that was fun.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I cleverly scheduled [personal profile] brewsternorth's request "Things you like/are looking forward to about Sleepy Hollow" two days after the finale, which would be tomorrow, but I'm going to answer it today because WHEEEE. In other words, the delightfulness is fresh in memory, as is the HORRIBLE OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU DO THAT cliffhanger.

I wasn't prepared to like Sleepy Hollow. As I posted a few days ago, my suspension of disbelief is fully functioning, but there are limits, and this show seemed like it was going to push them (like, out of a skyscraper), and I'm still mad at them for the Middle English thing but… you know, never mind. I can take retconning of American history for Secret Battle Against Evil purposes, and certainly I can manage witches and demons and resurrections and all that, because after all I've done vampires and werewolves and Slayers. The comparisons between Sleepy Hollow and Buffy are pretty obvious; it's just that SH hung up the apocalyptic window dressing a lot sooner. But both shows depend on the chemistry and likability of the leads - they even both have a pleasant British accent dryly commenting on the action! - on teamwork and friendship, on snark, and on tapping a deep essence of what it means to be human, more than they do on the supernatural-heavy plot elements, even if there'd be no show without them. Both of them can be total camp one minute and then get serious the next. And I'm expecting to see an overall evolution from silly to deep on SH as well, hopefully without losing any of the entertaining banter.

The obvious difference, and what's given SH a lot of its press, is the casting; how half of the leads (I'd say more, because despite the opening credits Jenny is a lot more prominent on the show now than Katrina) and a lot of the supporting cast members are non-white, which is great and really refreshing on network TV. It's worth noting, too, that of the main cast the only obvious immigrant is Ichabod himself, and he's an immigrant twice over. So they can play a bit with what would be a really painful stereotype if it was, say, rural Guatemalan comes to live in the U.S. and is baffled by computers and donut holes. Looking at this from the perspective of a time travel writer, of course, that didn't occur to me for a long time; I was too busy enjoying how Ichabod adjusts to the 21st century (the voice mails! I will never not be in love with the voice mails. And in the finale, you can see that Abbie's enchanted by them too, and then he starts complaining that his phone isn't the latest upgrade, oh man, you are part of our century now. And the skinny jeans. And Starbucks. Etc. It's actually a brilliant way of showing how foolish our reality is, which perhaps makes the more spooky part of their reality less ridiculous? After all, it's all magic to Ichabod). They may still be trying either too hard or not hard enough on the social aspects, but they bring up things like race and slavery and sexism and the hypocrisy of the Founding Fathers, which is, again, refreshing.

I haven't dipped into fanfic for SH yet (maybe I'll write some! that could be fun) but I'm assuming that it's one of those shows where slash takes a back seat to the obviousness of the Ichabod/Abbie pairing. Which… I am of two minds about. On the one hand, YES, but… well, first of all, Ichabod's married, even if his wife is a witch and neglected to tell him that and has been trapped in purgatory for centuries and I don't really like her that much. And secondly, I enjoy them as friends and colleagues ("colleagues" is putting it mildly. Fellow Witnesses Preventing the End of the World; stamp it on the letterhead). They are, in fact, absolutely delightful together, without adding even a hint of UST, although it's certainly there. And Abbie is a Strong Woman in that nice complicated sense that means she has a lot of vulnerabilities that don't get fixed by being in love with a man or having a man love her (though many of them seem to, and why wouldn't they). When she talks about loving and losing, it's about her sister and her parents and Sheriff Corbin, and it's her reunion with Jenny that hits the high emotional mark for the season. And that's fantastic. (I found the temptations she and Ichabod faced in the finale really interesting in that respect, but… spoilers.)

Then there are the Irvings, and… how wonderful are they? And I love how beautifully conflicted Frank Irving is, in his evolution through the whole season, right through to his actions in the finale, and how they tie up what might have been A and B plots into a near-seamless whole. (Also, Orlando Jones's full-throttle venture into fandom is delightful in its own regard. But that's a side benefit, akin to the benefit of getting to admire Tom Mison every week.)

I'm not even sure what I'm looking forward to, except more of the same but even better, and did I mention the HORRIBLE OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU DO THAT cliffhanger? Fall 2014 - how are we supposed to wait that long?
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
… for Person of Interest to commence operations, and by operations I mean open-heart surgery that takes three weeks to complete. (Or more, in my case. I'm hoping to get to watch the third part sooner than five days after it airs, but no guarantees.)

a) I take back what I said about Sleepy Hollow. Well, no, I don't, but all is forgiven for the delightful sequence in which Ichabod decides to leave Abbie a voice mail and, because he has barely managed to grasp that his words can be recorded and listened to, and has not yet proceeded to phone etiquette, basically writes a letter out loud, beginning Dear Miss Mills and ending Your Faithful Servant (or something similar; I can't remember). I can be very picky about more aspects of this show than the aforementioned historical inaccuracies, including the ways in which Ichabod adjusts and does not to the 21st century (I have written several novel-chapters in which an 18th-century man adjusts to the 20th century, and I had to think about it constantly to get it right, and he didn't run into any black female police lieutenants), but bits like the above make it all worthwhile. And I think I see where they were heading with the Sally Hemings conversation, even if the circumstances made a full and frank discussion rather impractical. So, all in all, I'm going to keep on watching.

Also, Orlando Jones.

b) Currently reading (after having finished Broken Homes thanks to [personal profile] pendrecarc, bless you and I will mail it back soon, and oh Lesley what are you doing?): Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series, though all in the wrong order because of library availability. So far have read #s 7, 9, 6, 1, and 3, the last two bought over the weekend at Houston's Murder by the Book (my son literally lives around the corner from this delightful place, where Julia Spencer-Fleming was reading and signing her new book today, a day after I left alas. I declined to buy the hardcover. Maybe the Kindle edition). Anyway, I really like Penny's writing: interesting descriptions, gentle sense of humor, intriguing characters, long development arc which I am getting all chopped up and mixed, but whatever. The setting is mostly divided between Montreal and a fictional Quebec village, which reminds me rather of Martha Grimes's Inspector Jury books, but these have a deeper sense of place, less repetitive characterization, and more grit. (The comparison seems to have occurred to the Murder by the Book staff too, since they have Penny shelved under "British," meaning, I gathered when I mildly complained, "cosy." Which I wouldn't say she is at all (nor by any means could one define all British mystery novels that way). But they don't have a Canadian section, just British, American, and Foreign. The placement just strikes me as really weird considering how fundamental the francophone-anglophone conflict is to the plots.) There is a lot about art and a lot about bone-aching resentment, and they should be very sad and aren't, and I am enjoying them greatly.

c) Oh shit it's cold. I am not ready for Suddenly Twenty-Three Degrees Fahrenheit. At least it didn't snow today.

Damn, still not ten o'clock.
hedda62: Harold Finch on ecstasy, dancing (drugged finch)
First of all: oh, thank goodness. I really enjoyed Person of Interest last night; that is the show I've been looking for. WELCOME BACK, BABY. Oh, Shaw who has a heart hidden in there somewhere. And OMG Carter you badass.

In other TV news, my usual Tuesday afternoon exhaustion yesterday (I work really hard in a garden all morning, this time complicated by my hanging-on cold and chilly rain) led to sampling the first two eps of Sleepy Hollow, which I'd heard good things about. I like it, though I'm not sure I'll keep watching. It's one of those shows where you have to suspend disbelief hard, hard enough to... concentrate your mind wonderfully, and in this case I'm having difficulty. (And there are many other shows out there, and time is at a premium, etc.) I do love Abbie, though, and Crane is very restful on the eyes and ears. We'll see. Just... Horsemen of the Apocalypse, really?

The Good Wife is fantastic this season. I am fingernails-in-palms till next episode. Figuratively, or else I'd have trouble typing this. And boy, no horsemen at all, just law firm drama.

Have not watched White Collar premiere yet, nor any Castle; still slowly working through Breaking Bad.

We are traveling a lot this fall: Allentown this weekend, Houston two weeks later, Allentown and Massachusetts Thanksgiving week. Somehow in the middle of all that (and starting to prep next year's MG events already) I am still determined to bring out a book. Possibly not in time for maximizing Christmas sales, but I'm not sure it matters all that much. I'll do it when I can do it; there are significant dates it would be fun to aim for, but November 22 I'll be on the road and December 16 is... well, not too late really. Again, we'll see. (I think the next one coming out on April 30 would be amusing. It makes my already-filling-up calendar insane, but whatever. *makes note to get flu shot*) Meanwhile, I am sorting through teacup photos and hoping to launch a website... next week?

LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS, THANK YOU GREGOR.

June 2016

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