Friday, November 30, 2012

Just who ARE Aurora and Mulan?

Like most of the OUAT characters, we know the Disney versions of these iconic princesses. However their backstory on ABC's hit show has obviously followed a different path - and I'm not just talking about Aurora's dress.

We know Aurora's been asleep for 1 year... or 28, depending on who you ask. We know Mulan was also in love with Phillip. We know Aurora is somewhat timid and uncertain (but is growing) and Mulan lives for honor, but keeps her past and her personality a tight secret. Beyond that, we know nothing.

How did Mulan and Phillip meet up? What kingdom to Mulan and Aurora come from? Do they have connections to any other characters we've met previously? Neither of them recognized Snow, and Snow didn't recognize either of them, which seems a little strange considering that Regina knew Maleficient... questions, questions, questions!

Well, that's not new. We always have questions. But considering how early on Season 1 gave us some backstory for all of the major characters, it seems really strange to me that we're at the mid-season finale for season 2 and we haven't had a flashback for either Mulan or Aurora. Really? Two of the four new major characters introduced, and neither of them get a single flashback, or get tied into/mentioned in someone else's flashback? What is going on here? Is it shoddy writing... or something more sinister?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Historical Fiction of Michelle Moran

I love good Historical Fiction. Books that are well-researched with three-dimensional characters and gripping plots, that just draw you into the reality of a distant time and place. Unfortunately, these books are hard to come by.

When I was at the Half Price Books Clearance Sale last month, I picked up a copy of Michelle Moran's "Nefertiti." While it wasn't what I'd call "Five Star Historical Fiction" it was good enough that I wanted to read her next book. And since "Nefertiti" was her first book, I thought there was a good chance that she would be even better in the next one.

I was right. "The Heretic Queen" (which follows Nefertiti's niece, Nefertari and her marriage to Rameses II during the Israelite Exodus) was better. But it was the third book, "Cleopatra's Daughter" (About Kleopatra Selene) that really pulled me in and secured my admiration. I loved it, and immediately recommended it to my mother. I've read several books about the Rome of Augustus Caeser, and this was the equal of any of them. Plus, despite being accurate about the horrors of the time period, it was seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl, thus toning down some of the graphicness included even in factual historical accounts of the era.

Moran's fourth book, "Madame Tussaud," follows the life of a woman we know for her famous waxworks museums. And the waxworks are amazing (I've seen some of them) but her life is even more fascinating. She lived during the French Revolution, and she and her family were friends with both the revolutionaries and the royals, a rare situation for anyone in that era. The result is an extremely complete look at the period that is rarely seen in fictional accounts. The only issue I had with the book was that it got a tad too long and detailed - otherwise it was a fantastic work.

Book #5 had the opposite problem - it was too short. Entitled "The Second Empress" it is the first of the books to utilize multiple narrators. Voice #1 belongs to Maria Louisa, the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and the niece of Marie Antoinette. At just 19 she was forced to leave Austria and marry the man who had humiliated her country, and who was 30 years her senior. Voice #2 belongs to Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon's promiscuous sister who is obsessed with ancient Egypt and more than half mad. Voice #3 belongs to Paul Moreau, Pauline's Chamberlain, a mulatto from Haiti who was a close personal friend to both Pauline and her brother.

UPDATE: I've since reviewed Book #6, "The Rebel Queen" here.

Each one of these books is a fascinating and captivating look into another time, and it feels as though you are really living with each of these very real personalities.

One caveat for younger readers - this is adult fiction. "The Heretic Queen," "Madame Tussaud," and "The Second Empress" all include sex scenes. They're short, well-written and sparsely utilized compared to most historical fiction, but they're there. "Madame Tussaud" and "Cleopatra's Daughter" are both set during extremely immoral and violent eras and are completely truthful when they relate some very difficult facts and scenes. I would not recommend any of these books for anyone under 18, or who was not comfortable with sex and violence.

However, these are a treat for any historically minded adult reader, and I am eagerly awaiting Moran's next novel, "The Empress of India."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

OUAT 2.8 - "Into the Deep"


Okay, breathe, back up, spoiler warning.


It's interesting, that for an episode that didn't focus on a given fairy tale or contain a single flashback, there certainly was a ton packed into this episode.

Henry and Aurora got a chance to be heroes in this episode - but neither chances lasted for long, with David choosing and Snow forced into taking their places.

Mulan got to do a little more than be the grunt this episode, but not by much. Is anyone else getting really curious to see her backstory? I did sort of think we'd get more on either her or Aurora before the midway point.

I have to say, it's pretty fun to see Gold and Regina teaming up for once. They work well together when they're not double crossing each other, and make a fun and sophisticated duo. Plus, throw David into the mix? A trio not to mess with.

Although now David's gone into a sleeping curse. It's not a surprising move, but it certainly ups the stakes, as he'll be out of action (presumably) until Snow gets back. Only I'm confused... hasn't he already been under a sleeping curse? At the very beginning of season 1 he was in a coma, and I guess I assumed it was sort of magical in nature, since it was enacted by the Curse. Shouldn't that have counted? Ah well, it's a gray area and they couldn't have both David and Snow get into the Netherworld by the same means.

Which, by the way, their reunion in the flames was pretty epic. Last season I was annoyed by a lot of their love story, but here we get to see the passion and pure love that makes them a couple to love. Definitely got me more emotionally invested in them and the show than I've been for awhile.

Who else got the mermaid reference? We know Ariel is supposed to appear at some point, and this could be a good intro for her if they end up having to get this ink by some route other than the vial in Rumple's old cell.

Cutest scene? Rumple and Belle at the cafe, eating hamburgers. Adorable!

Worst scene? Cora taking control of Aurora. What has happened to the real Aurora? Is she there but suppressed  Will she be able to fight it? Or has her soul gone to another place... like Cora says Phillip's has gone. Will we see Phillip again??? Here's hoping!

Doctor Who Rewatch and Rose Tyler

When I first was introduced to the Doctor Who fandom, it was in a completely haphazard order. I started off with "The Pirate Planet" from the 4th Doctor's run, then "The Voyage of the Damned" Christmas Special with David Tennant, and then skipped around in seasons 3, 2 and 4 (pretty much in that order) of New Who.

The reason for this was that I've always been sensitive to frightening images/ideas. After watching "The Girl in the Fireplace" I could hardly sleep that night thinking of the Clockwork Men hiding under one's bed. And yes, I was 21 years old at the time. So my friends helped me figure out which episodes would be least likely to disturb me and I watched them as I could get my hands on them. I loved every one.

Then there were no more that were "100% Elizabeth safe" so I started branching out, reading Wikipedia synopsises before watching them. I never had a sleepless night over Doctor Who again. Not even with "Blink". I think it was a combination of growing tougher by exposure, and getting healthier so that my sleep patterns were more regular and less likely to be influenced by frightening thoughts.

Ashamed to admit this? Maybe a little bit. But after all "hiding under the couch from the Daleks" is considered a British tradition.

Anyhow, the 1st season was the very last one I saw. And the first episodes in which I saw Rose were some of her worst appearances, where she seems petty and incapable. Plus the first friend who introduced me to her didn't like her... and I naturally loved Martha because she is the most like me of all the companions.

So, yes. I was definitely biased against Rose.

This fall I started getting Netflix (now that they're captioning almost everything) and have unlimited access to all of New Who. I decided to watch the whole thing, in order, to properly see all of the character arcs once and for all.

And you know what? I'm liking Rose a whole lot better  now. I know she's still going to bug me in some episodes, but I genuinely like her in season one, and I like 9 as well. I don't know how to explain it, but it works very well, and it's fun. Maybe it's partially a breath of fresh British air after the high action 'Americanized' recent seasons, but I'm enjoying it far more than I did the last time through. And I felt it was worth acknowledging.

However I'm only up to episode 3 (The Unquiet Dead) so we'll see how my feelings progress as I continue...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Journey into the Darkest Friday

I loathe consumerism. 

On the other hand, I love shopping. 

I hate that stores are starting Black Friday on Thursdays.

But I like the principle of Black Friday itself... SALES SALES SALES!

In recently years as friends have shared their Black Friday stories on Facebook, I've had a growing urge to check out the hype. The problem has been that November is one of the worst months for me health-wise, and I've been way too sick in past years to even think of venturing out on the craziest shopping day of the year. 

However, this year I was really excited about some sales at JCPenneys and JoAnn Fabrics and my father was willing to help me navigate the madness. So, at 5:00 in the morning, we woke up, drove through the dark, and arrived at the doors of JCPenneys just as the crowd was allowed in. It was pretty crazy, and I had to do a bit of ducking and diving to get the pair of boots I wanted, but it wasn't nearly as horrible as I'd expected. 

Then we went over to JoAnn's, which was also very busy, but still manageable, so long as you didn't need to get fabric cut. I avoided this (8 yds of pre-cut interfacing for $2.99? Give me six bolts!), but my father needed fabric for curtains in his office, so we did get in line and moved about five feet in twenty minutes. But we were together and it went okay. 

Surprisingly the check-out lines went really quickly in all the places we stopped, and the employees were calm and smiling, for which I give them kudos. The customers were obviously sleepy and intense, but the people at JoAnn's are nearly always nice, and stayed true to this rule. One lady even let us go ahead of her in the cutting line! 

I would never want to sit out all night in front of Best Buy or any place like that. High end doorbusters are risking a miserable night for a lot of disappointment. But for overall good sales, it was definitely worth going to JoAnn's. I saved over $170 by doing that, and honestly I could have gone a couple hours later and still had a good selection of stock. 

Summed up? I had fun. But I'm glad it's a once-a-year thing. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Words have Power. How will you use yours?

Something to think about...
Words have power.
Negativity tears people down.
Positivity builds people up.
Why would you want to tear someone down without good cause? (i.e. they’re a terrible person and need to be torn down and still that’s something you should only do with careful thought.)
I love the internet. I love the people I’ve met, the art, movies, stories, tutorials and everything else that I’ve gotten to know because of it.
But sometimes the hateful, thoughtless comments that I see (or even that are occasionally directed at me or my loved ones) make it almost not worth it. And I know that I get way, way less internet hate than most people. (Partially because I try really hard not to write/post stuff that could in any way be hurtful, and partially because I stay away from most controversial issues). And if the miniscule amount I’ve gotten can affect me so strongly (and I’m talking really bad pointless stuff, not like an intelligent, mature discussion that we all appreciate), how on earth do those who get worse cope? 
Words have power, peoples. With power comes great responsibility. Will you use yours for good or for evil? Will you help make a better world?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Will "Once Upon a Time" tackle "Snow White and Rose Red"?

So far ABC's hit show has stuck mainly to fairy tale kindergarten - i.e. the Disney classics we all grew up with. And then they deviated a bit this season by throwing in literary and legendary characters, like Lancelot, Captain Hook and Dr. Frankenstein.

But apparently they've talked about wanting to use more obscure fairy tales, news that is sure to delight any fairy tale fan. And 'obscure' doesn't mean unknown, not by far. In the last decade fairy tales and fairy tale retellings have been enormously popular, from big screen remakes, to hundreds of novels, and even comic books. So what fairy tales are popular enough to still have audience draw, but still fit the 'obscure' label? I think "Snow White and Rose Red" is a good contender.

They've already paid a pretty overt homage to it with Snow and Red's friendship. The two girls are like sisters already, and they go around in symbolic white and red cloaks. In the most recent episode we heard them planning to find a cabin in the woods together - exactly the setting for "Snow White and Rose Red." All we need is a dwarf to enchant a prince...

Think about it! Rumplestiltskin could easily cast an enchantment on Charming, perhaps at the bidding of King George?

Or it could be a totally new prince, one who will win the affections of Red. (And then die. Because all attractive single men die on OUAT. It's like a law or something.)

And, although it has never been made into a Disney film (or any film, for that matter, if you're not counting my independant film "The Shadow of the Bear"), it is still fairly well-known among young female readers - and guys know it too, as is apparent by the fact that Bill Willingham chose those titular sisters to play the heroines in his popular comic, "Fables."

Actually, "Fables" is the one reason why we might not get this particular fairy tale retold. Several years ago, ABC was in talks to produce a show based on Fables. That deal never worked out, but some people accused OUAT as being a rip-off to avoid rights fees. Willingham himself has gone on record as saying that this is completely untrue, and the show writers have also made it clear that they developed the idea independently  Still, there is good reason for them to wish to distance themselves from "Fables". They've already said that they had to change the original identity of Sheriff Graham to avoid rights issues, and since fairy tales aren't copyrighted, it's my private theory that they wanted him to be the Big Bad Wolf - which would have been very close to infringing on the copyright of "Fables" (which stars the Big Bad Wolf as the sheriff.)

So... will "Once Upon a Time" tackle "Snow White and Rose Red?" I think it very much depends on how long the show continues. The longer it goes, the more space they have to cover more stories. While I could see them holding off on this particular story for awhile to distance themselves from" Fables", I think it would be a real shame if they didn't incorporated it eventually, especially since they already have the perfect set-up.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Doctor Who - 2012 Christmas Goodness and Teasers!

It's that time of the year again... today the BBC released a short prequel to the DW Christmas Special for Children in Need, followed by the first trailer for the special. Exciting stuff!

The Prequel
(Transcripts by Megs - Thanks honey!)

 Matt: Hello@ And welcome to a special Children in Need Mini-sode of Doctor Who! And not just ANY mini-sode, that's just what we call them, this is a prequel to the Christmas Special. Now, remember, when last seen, The Doctor said good-bye to his best friend Rory and Amelia Pond. The woman who will never be replaced in his hearts.
Jenna: Hi.
Matt: Hi.....
Jenna: Oh don't worry she's not watching.
Matt: Of course not!
Jenna: She's in LA
Matt: Exactly! Roll the mini-sode!
Jenna: Do we REALLY call them that?
Matt: Yeah! Mini-sodes! That's what they're called! It's a cool name! Roll the mini-sode!
Narrator: In London in the time of Queen Victoria, there were many stories told about a man called The Great Detective, a friend of Madame Vastra , the lizard woman, and her remarkable adventures, with (Sorry..he talked really fast..I didn't get the whole sentence!) her beautiful assistant, Jenny Flynn, and Scratx, whose appearance was too terrible to photograph. There was also a fourth member of the gang (Can't get the name of the gang! Argh..sorry!) A shadowy who's assistance was only required at the direst of needs. 
Madame Vastra: I'm so glad you came! We have news, we think, of particular interest to you. There was a meteor shower in the midwest, I have a pretty sure chance that it came because of alien intervention.
Well....maybe 24% chance? could JUST be meteors but it's worth looking into! There is a very pleasant tea room in the area.
Jenny: There's also a professor who is going to cut the world open with a giant drill through the thinnest part of the Earth's crust! I think we should investigate! He doesn't have a giant drill, and he's not really a professor, and he was drunk and singing a bit but------
Scratx: I've decalred war on the Moon!
Madame Vastra: Oh do be quiet!
Scartx: For too long the Moon has been up there unmonitored in the sky! It is gaining enormous technical advantage!
Jenny: There's no one living there!
Scratx: So it's CLEARLY time to act! They won't suspect a thing! 
Jenny: WHO won't expect a thing?
Scratx: MOON-ITES! (HAHA! Oh my funny!)
The Doctor: Why do you keep doing this? What's the point? I told you. I KEEP telling you! I don't do this anymore. I've retired. 
Jenny: There's a man with an invisible wife! Well...maybe he just doesn't have a wife....
The Doctor: You're wasting your time.
Jenny: Merry Christmas!...You think he means it?
Madame Vastra: Yes, my dear. I rather think he does. 
Scratx: Damn moon!!!!!!
Matt: And there you go! The Doctor has retired! This Christmas is in terrible, terrible danger! BUT as all humanity hangs in the balance, will anybody be able to persuade the Doctor to save the day?
Jenna: Yes....
Matt: So much for dramatic tension! Blimey Jenna......stay tuned for the very first showing of the Christmas trailer!
Jenna: See ya later!

The Trailer
Matt: Now ladies and gentelmen, boys and girls, here's the very first look of the Doctor Who trailer! Which is, of course the very frist episode to feature Jenna-Louise Coleman!
Jenna: Second....
Matt: Oh were in the Dalek
 one, weren't you. You died....and got turned into a dalek...that's awful.....played a different character.
Jenna: Yeup totally different character.
Matt: you couldn't be the same character. at Christmas..That would be..just impossible.
Jenna: No way.....
Matt: Roll the trailer!
Clara: There is a called The Doctor. He lives on a cloud in the sky. And all he does all day, every day, is to stop all the children in the world from EVER having bad dreams.
Child: Am I gonna have the nightmare tonight?
Doctor: If you see something brand new in the world, something you have never seen before what's the next thing you look for?
Clara: DOCTOR!
Scratx: A grenade!
Madame Vastra: The Doctor doesn't help people
Doctor: What's you name?
Clara: Clara.
Man: What is this?!
Bad guy: I said I'd feed you....never said who to.
Doctor: Listen to me, the snow is feeding off your thoughts! It will build an army of will be the last day of humanity on this planet.........

So what do you think? I'm thrilled that we get Madam Vastra and Jenny back, and love how they are all trying to cheer the Doctor up.

And Clara! She looks to be so awesome! I think it's fantastic that she's a governess. It works so well for a single woman in the Victorian era, and really gives her a different background than any of the previous companions.

And oh man... Moffat is going to make us afraid of SNOW! Seriously that man is evil...

Lastly, a bit of humor I couldn't resist scribbling down!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


If you're not a regular viewer of the SyFy channel, you probably haven't heard of last year's adaptation of James Barrie's "Peter Pan." Well, when I say adaptation I mean 'prequel.' And when I say 'prequel' I mean an origins story that takes a more science fiction look at the world...

The basic premise is this: Neverland is a planet at the very heart of the galaxy, inhabited by pixie-like aliens who have the power of flight, longevity, and healing. Long ago, an orb was created that drew people from Earth to Neverland, and Pirates, Indians, and a troop of Oliver Twist orphans ended up trapped there.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm somewhat of a story purist. I heartily dislike retellings that miss the point of the original all together (although I love good parodies because they're not intending to be taken seriously). And Peter Pan is a story that most people seem to get wrong. Which is a shame because it's a perfectly magical book.

Still, this retelling works. Why? Because the director isn't intending to actually explain the origins of Neverland. Check out his explanation from

You know how when you really get into something and you’re mesmerized by that world? I’m one of those people that, when I read or get encapsulated by a world, I want to live and breathe and be there. I started to wonder, “Where did he come from?” There’s a line in the book where one of the Lost Boys says to Wendy, “Lost Boys are the babies that fall out of their prams, and their nannies forget them,” which was like a little joke, to me. It started to make me wonder, “Where did they come from? Why are they Lost Boys? Why don’t they want to grow up? Where in the hell did that pirate come from? What’s he doing there? Why are there Indians?”

Since I’ve grown up, I now know that it’s all to do with J.M. Barrie and the boys, and playing those games as kids. You imagine all the characters that boys like to imagine – pirates, Indians, mermaids and fairies – but at the time, when I was a kid, I had no idea. So, I wanted to know that, and that’s what motivated me to write the story. I wanted to figure out how it is that these characters got to that point, and how it is that a little boy doesn’t want to grow up. I remember that feeling, lying in bed and thinking, “I never want to grow up. I want to be like this forever.” But then, the next day, I wanted nothing more than to grow up. I was intrigued by what it is that gets a boy to that place. (Emphasis mine)

Nick Willing understands where the magic of Neverland is. He's using this miniseries to give us an alternative backstory using science fiction rather than children's imagination, but it's purely a 'what if.' And it works.

Peter is the Artful Dodger, running a group of pickpockets in the streets of Victorian London. Their Fagin is Peter's father figure, the fencing master Jimmy. One night a heist gone wrong strands them in a strange and magical world. Jimmy is seduced by the charismatic pirate captain, Elizabeth Bonny, while Peter and the lads find refuge with a tribe of Kaw Indians. Both the Indians and the Pirates are originally from earth, but due to separate encounters with the Orb, they've been stranded on Neverland for hundreds of years. Oh, and they never age. Tiger Lily has been a teenage girl for 100 years!

It's a nice twist that explains how pirates and Native Americans from drastically different time periods are trapped in the same place as 20th century London children. It explains why no one ages, and how Hook, who dresses like and crews a ship full of 18th century pirates nonetheless speaks and has a code of honor similar to a 19th century gentleman. Further adventures explain the Crocodile, why Peter is the only one who can fly on his own, why Peter and Hook hate each other so fiercely, and why Peter doesn't want to grow up.

No, it's not the Neverland you grew up knowing. But it's a well-written, fairly acted imagining that is worth the viewing time and perhaps a rewatching or two. It is also the only version of Peter Pan I've ever seen that includes the Indians, respectfully. ("Hook" avoided the problem by leaving them out altogether). Is it perfect? No, there are a few parts that are a bit too "strange" and I personally don't' feel they fully brought Peter to the mischievous fun-loving Pan we know. But it's still very good.

I, for one, would love to see Willing continue the premise of this story in a sequel, and how he would treat the addition of the Darling children.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Saga of the Scribble Comics

Last spring a conversation with some friends sparked my creative juices and I scribbled down a rough comic for their amusement. To my surprise, this simple comic (which I entitled "Thor and Loki Hair Fight") became pretty popular, garnering over 1000 views on DevientArt. I realized that though my drawings might not be the most polished, they adequately conveyed a humor that was appreciated. I love making people laugh, so drawing "scribble comics" became a semi-regular activity of mine.

So far Marvel remains my favorite universe to explore with humor, but Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings have also made appearances. Below I've shared some of my favorites, but you can see the whole gallery here. And stay tuned, I've got a new piece coming up that Star Wars fans will enjoy...

New Technology at Downton Abbey by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Old Meets New by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Scott Summers vs. The Box Office by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
To Which We Owe This Power Outage by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Buffy vs. Twilight by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Haircare Anonymous by ~Elenatintil on deviantART

Sunday, November 11, 2012

OUAT 2.7 - "Child of the Moon"

Huzzah, Ruby's back to a starring role in this week's installment of "Once Upon a Time!" But first of all, a SPOILER WARNING!

So far in FTL we've seen Ruby as she discovered her wolf side, and then much later as she supports Snow and Charming in their search to be reunited and recover the kingdom. Turns out there's another story in between... how Ruby got control over her wolf powers.

However, in Storybrooke it has been 28 years since Ruby last ran on four paws, and she's worried that this moon will turn her into an unwilling murderer. At first it seems her fears are well founded... but then we learn there is something more sinister behind the attack.

I love that they chose this storyline. It would have been something they could have just glossed over, but they didn't. I just wish Ruby's recovery wasn't so simple - this would have been an interesting story arc to continue over time. Ah well, so many characters, so few episodes... I do hope we get some more detail on Ruby/Granny/Anita at some point. There's more to that history than Ruby's been told, and I want to know it all!

And OUAT continue's it's streak of introducing promising guys only to kill them off. This week we got Quinn the wolf, (who I was secretly hoping was Ruby's half-brother) and Billy/Gus the Mouse. Okay, first of all, Gus the Mouse! That's so adorable! Please tell me we'll get another Cinderella flashback and get to see him as a mouse! Secondly... Gus the Mouse is dead! *passes around tissues*

On the upside, now that we've gotten rid of lamesauce Storybrooke David, we now have our badass Sheriff, and he's much more interesting to watch this way. It was the perfect move to have Charming step in as Sheriff.

Regina was kind of adorable this episode... I still hate her guts, but she does seem to be trying to reform. And who didn't go 'awww' when Rumple gave Henry' the necklace without a price? Is it really free, though? Or is Rumple genuinely being helpful because Henry reminds him of Bae at that age?

Speaking of Henry's dilemma... looks like we were right! Aurora and Henry are in the same place and their communication is going to prove vital. Which is really reassuring because -

KING GEORGE BURNED THE HAT. Seriously what is that guy's problem? I hope we get an episode this season that explains more of his evilness, because he is the most selfish, unredeeming character in the entire show - even Cora has more justifiable motivation for her evil actions than he does! (And I detest Cora.)

Oh, and this was the first episode where we got to see Belle on her own as a supporting character, and not as a heroine or in relation to Rumple. Huzzah!

We've got a two week wait until the next episode... and then it looks like we're in store for - zombies???

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fiction and Non-Fiction

So... I didn't want to post on Tuesday, because it was election day. And I didn't want to post on Wednesday because it was the day after election day (I try to keep this blog politics free).

So that brings us to today. Which was mostly sewing. Oh, and setting up the new tripod I got for my camera. I'm finally reading more of the instruction manual and wow, there's a lot I need to learn. I also need to read the instruction manual for my sewing machine and see if there is anything more I can do with it that I haven't discovered in the 10 years I've owned it. Instruction manuals actually have a lot of interesting information in them... er, helpful information? I find them really boring to read.

Actually, surprising fact about me. Although I'm a huge bookworm, I actually have a terrible time reading non-fiction. Give me a fiction novel and I'll gobble it up in record time. Give me a non-fiction novel and... well if the subject is /really/ interesting I might get two chapters in before I get bored and go back to a fiction novel. Which isn't terrible with some books, like sewing books or drawing books because that sort of information is good to take in chunks. And if I'm in the right mood I can sometimes swallow a really good biography about some interesting influential woman. I want to read more theology and the like, but the best way I've found for that is a chapter with my morning devotions. Hey, it works! I finally am nearly done with Mere Christianity which I've always found hard to finish...

Basically my brain likes bite sized info. And once it gets that info, it'll hold on to it, but try and overload and my brain shuts down. However, give me a good story and I'll disappear into it so completely that you won't see me for a week.

Well, you'll see me, but not my face because I'll have the book in front of it.

I love learning stuff though, which makes internet or magazine articles an ideal way for me to pick up the non-fiction part of life. Which of course is important for a writer... what will you have to write about if you don't understand the world around you?

So if you want to buy me a book, you probably shouldn't be picking up the non-fiction one, but rather giving me a magazine subscription. Or, you know, gift cards. Gift cards rock. Or take me out for coffee and let me pick out a book. Yeah, that'd be a great Christmas present...

Anyhow. I find this whole fiction/non-fiction thing interesting, because I've met few people that have it to the extreme I do. Most people seem to read more non-fiction as they leave high school, and move steadily into the realms of 'serious important adult stuff.' I mean, plenty of adults read fiction, but they balance it out.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Here's Another Library Story

So I went to the library today to pick up some books and pay a fine. Normally I use the self-check out, but of course you can't pay fines there.

(Well, you can go over to the computers and pay online but that takes longer and involves pulling out passwords and numbers and other monkey business.)

Anyhow. I get up to the desk, the librarian sits down and so does the desk.

Nope, not a typo. The desk was mechanized to move up and down to best suit whatever librarian was there. It could be counter height or table height. To put this in context, this library was built two and a half years ago and I go there nearly every week that I am in town and not sick. And I've paid library fines there before. (Let's not talk about how many.) Yet I'd never noticed this before.

"Radical!" I said, and walked away with my stack of books tucked under my chin.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Downton Abbey 3.8

Wow, did we finally get a happy ending to a season?

Mandated Spoiler Alert.

I'm going to say right off that while I did like this episode, I felt that this season was lacking some of the omph that was there in the first two seasons. What they did to Sybil still remains a major dark spot, and I'm starting to agree with the fans who feel that they've watered down Branson too much.

I still adore Mary and Matthew, and we got some really great Matthew stuff this season, but we haven't seen much of Mary since the first two episodes. While we had hints about the infertility thing, it really seemed written off in this episode. A 'small operation'? What on earth was she talking about? Color me mystified. I wonder if this will come into play further, or if the Christmas special will roll around with Mary already pregnant?

I'm glad Ethel's storyline has been resolved. I wasn't keen on her character for a long time, but I've come to care about her, and I do like the storyline they've given her. And she gets to see her son sometimes, so YAY.

I will say I'm disappointed in the very vocal pro-gay rights soapbox this season. It just seems to be forcing the modern political scene on those times. Everyone would /not/ have been as 'cool' with it as they were, seriously. I dislike it when any show takes on a too active agenda, but especially when historical shows overdo scenarios that really wouldn't have been laid out that way at the time.

Speaking of which... I didn't have a problem with Rose's storyline - we need a girl like that on the show - but she seemed really out of place in this episode. Just taking time from the other characters. Unless she's due to come back next season, it seems a waste of screentime.

I'm not sure what to think about Edith's newspaper man. The "wife in the asylum" thing seems a bit too Jane Eyre for me. Edith has historically been gullible... so while I give her total kudos for doing her research on the guy before getting involved with him, I'm worried that she'll buy his excuse too easily because she feels so sorry for him.

Anna and Bates are finally adorable again. I love their little cottage, and although I didn't like the historical shakiness, I did appreciate that Bates went to bat for Thomas. I hope that Thomas will have the grace and humility to show some gratitude and decency to Bates in the future.

I didn't hate this episode, I promise! I just found more to be critical about than usual. Ah well...

Still want a happy ending for Daisy.

OUAT 2.6 - "Tallahassee"

Well. Fans waited eagerly for this week's episode, because we got the identity of Henry's Father... was it all that we hoped? Read on... but SPOILERS galore.

So Emma was a teen thief. She's supposed to be 19 here, right? She doesn't look it, but oh well. I want to know how she ended up on the streets and that desperate. And Neil Cassidy is a thief too? So Henry is the son of two thieves? Little disappointed with this... but the whole backstory does explain why Emma has such trust issues and why she went into a career catching criminals.

Then in Fairy Tale Land we finally got some more character out of Aurora and Mulan. Well, Aurora. I love the connection between her and Snow. Snow is such a Mama Bear.

I still don't like how they're writing Hook, but I loved that he made a "Bad Form" comment, as that was kind of his catchphrase in the original play. Also that he referenced the lost boys. Will we see them? Please?

Anyone else catch the Oz reference in this episode? Mulan gives Emma poppy sleeping powder. Where do we find poppies putting people to sleep? Oz!

Jorge Garcia was an adorable giant. And I love the idea of Emma being a giant tamer. I hope we see him again! And did anyone else thing the Giant's treasure horde looked visually like the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin?

Back in our world, the long lost August appears. He's trying to babysit Emma, but it really seems like all he's doing is messing up her life even more. Apparently he never even let Neil know about the baby. Seriously? Although kudos to Neil, seems like he ended up a decent guy after all. Giving her the car was adorable. :) And what the heck is in August's box???

However, I felt a bit let down. Sure they gave us a glimpse of Neil in episode one, but he had no connection to FTL and we were hoping. Or at least, as far as we know. Further episodes could reveal more...

Anyhow. One last interesting connection. Some of us have wondered if Emma is supposed to represent someone from a fairy tale. Who knows? But she certainly pulled an Elizabeth Swann tonight when she locked up and abandoned a rum-loving compass obsessed pirate.

And the question of the week is... what is up with Aurora and Henry's dream? A red room with no doors and flames eating the curtains. It sounds important, like it could be a connection between the worlds... but the only thing it reminds me of is the Red Room from Jane Eyre and if Jane Eyre comes into this I give up utterly. EDIT - people are wondering why Henry and Aurora are sharing the dream. They both were just in enchanted sleeps. Remember how Snow said the nightmare was an after effect? Snow grew out of hers long ago, otherwise I bet she'd be sharing the dream too.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

So Disney's Bought out Lucasfilms... now what?

Huge news in the entertainment business this week - even for non-Star Wars fans. Why? Because not only is Disney getting the rights to the Star Wars franchise, but it is also getting the landmark technical and special effects houses owned by Lucasfilms, plus the Indiana Jones franchise.

Hefty stuff.

When Disney bought Marvel in 2009, there were a lot of outraged fans. And yet, apart from canceling WatXM, the changeover has brought nothing but good. Just look at the Whedon-helmed third biggest film ever: "The Avengers." Thanks Disney!

And then on the other hand, we have the reality that while George Lucas is a great visionary, fantastic concept guy, and dedicated producer, he really should not ever direct a movie or write a screenplay. That's why episodes V and VI of Star Wars are the strongest (written and directed by others), and the prequel trilogy are not only the weakest, but the often reviled.

As long as Lucas stays involved in some manner at the top, story concept throwing around phase, I think things can only go up from here.

The question is, what direction are they going in? Disney spokespeople have said both that they are not using material from the novels, but also that the Star Wars universe is huge with plenty of stories to tell (and yet much of that universe is due to the novels and comic books, not the movies).

George Lucas said back in the 80's that he'd love to bring back Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill when they are in their 60's to play older versions of their characters. I don't think it would be at all a bad idea to utilize this in some form to 'pass the torch' on to a new generation of stories. Just think of Leonard Nimoy's appearance as old Spoke in the Star Trek reboot. Something along those lines would work well, I think, and get fans excited.

What do I think? Frankly I'm excited about seeing a new Star Wars film in 2015. I think it has the potential to be good, and I'm ready for another trip back to a Galaxy Far Far Away.

(What's that? Nooo I totally didn't order some of the EU novels from the library, what are you talking about?)