rose_griffes: (Default)
rose_griffes ([personal profile] rose_griffes) wrote2016-02-14 06:13 pm

accidental hiatus

Wow, this may be my longest ever accidental livejournal hiatus? Oops! And hi!

I took a four week art class on painting with acrylics, which I've never done before. Acrylics are fun! I want to continue. For now, though, I'm going to switch to a drawing class, because a work friend of mine and I were talking about art and decided to take this one together. We start this week.

I've read... the Parasitology series by Mira Grant. Grant is a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, who is both prolific and apparently wanted to keep her zombie/medical stuff away from her fairyland books. Hence a second authorial name.

Anyway, the book that starts this series, Parasite, has a strong and interesting voice in its narrator. The surprise element is broadcast from the very beginning, but the narrator herself remains (willfully) unaware of it until close to the end. That revelation leads into the story covered by the two remaining books. The whole series is a clever and scientifically scary way to use the zombie genre. I don't actually like zombie stories but this was a compelling read.

Daniel José Older has a two-book series set in a modern-day New York, but with ghosts both corporeal and non-corporeal. The first, Half-Resurrection Blues, left me with mixed feelings. The narrator does a very bad thing; the text acknowledges it as a bad thing, and his choice has some serious consequences, but I'm torn about how I feel about reading more of his adventures. So I haven't tried the second book yet. Maybe I'll see if it's at the library.

Finally, The Martian... good book, better movie. For all the movie's faults, the book itself reads more like a thought exercise than a fully-fledged novel. But I enjoyed both, so thumbs up to both/either, if you're interested.

Lastly for books, I finished a re-read of the Harry Potter series in January. Yes, all seven books. Yes, for the fourth time, I believe.

TV! I'm behind on Jane the Virgin. There are enough writing missteps that I'm hesitant to catch up. I'm sure I will eventually. I'm team "Anyone but Michael unless he goes through some serious character redemption". Even though I like Michael and most of the story he's been getting. But not the part where he's a possible romantic partner for Jane.

Galavant came back for a fun second season, and if you're wanting a very silly comedy with fourth-wall breaking songs, I'd recommend it. It's short! There's a mostly-happy ending! Characters actually evolve in interesting ways!

Agent Carter has also returned and... well. It looks like the writers decided to take to heart some of the complaints about the all-white cast, and they introduced Jason Wilkes, a black man and scientist in late 1940s Los Angeles. Which is great! He talked about the fight he had to get his job, about growing up picking oranges... he flirted with Peggy, and she flirted back.

And then he died. Except not. He's currently incorporeal. Adding one black man and then taking away most of his agency to act, and his ability to touch/be touched? Not so good. It wouldn't be as bad if there were any other people of color in the main cast, but there aren't. Most of the time there aren't any other people of color onscreen other than Wilkes. In 1940s Los Angeles.

Whole swaths of the show remain Peggy and the White Men. Almost sounds like a band name. Also, we got Edwin Jarvis's lovely wife Ana, and then she's barely been around; and Sousa's fiancee Violet, ditto. Speaking of Violet, I'm not a fan of love triangles in general, and this love triangle in particular. This makes me like Sousa less.

Thank goodness for Whitney Frost. I'm really enjoying her arc from Agnes Cully, Oklahoma girl to Whitney Frost, Hollywood actress and supportive wife (and secret scientist), to... whatever Whitney is becoming. At the core of it, what she wants is power, something in short supply in her previous lives.

Also, Edwin Jarvis and Peggy Carter have a marvelous friendship. I miss Angie Martinelli from season one, but Jarvis and Carter are a fun combination. Oh, and Rose! She finally got to do field work, and it was glorious!

Anyway. I like Agent Carter, and I'm glad to have it back, but the writers can aim higher and do better.

Supergirl and The Flash are both still on my watch list. TF continues its tradition of writing women terribly, and SG continues its tradition of removing consequences from the characters it likes. To the point where I'm almost rooting for Maxwell whatisface, the villain of the piece. Ah well.

On to movies! While Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn't exactly bold new territory in the storytelling realm, it was (mostly) exciting to watch, and they did make at least one bold choice by casting John Boyega (black British) as one of the leads. From what I've read, the (secondary) role of pilot Poe was initially going to be played by a black man, and Finn--Boyega's role--was going to be a white man. Instead we have Boyega in a leading role, and Poe played by Guatemalan-born Oscar Isaac.

Boyega was fantastic, by the way. Actually, the acting was very good all around, at least by Star Wars standards. The dialogue wasn't the clunky mess that Lucas wrote in the earlier films, whiched helped. All in all a good (re)start, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes next.

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