season finale season

May 24, 2017

I’ve only seen the season finale to Supergirl, which managed to encapsulate everything good and bad about the show.  First, the good.

So remember awhile back I had an epic rant about the Green Lantern trailer?  The one where the doe-eyed girlfriend tells Hal, “I believe in you, you’re awesome, go save the world!” And what I wanted in that moment with the passion of a million burning suns was a show where the earnest supportive boyfriend tells the superheroine, “I believe in you, you’re awesome, go save the world!” And my friend at the time insisted I would never, ever get that? And I was so, so angry?

Supergirl gave me that moment.  I love Mon-el, he’s a doofus and adorable and perfect for Kara, and he does it. He tells her he believes in her and sends her off to save the world. It’s so wonderful, I cried, it made me so happy.

And then the show turned around and did this:  “We’ll fill the atmosphere with lead, lead isn’t harmful to humans!”

OMG what the actual hell did they really write that line of dialog, have someone recite that line of dialog, and nobody went, “Hey guys, you know what? THAT’S SO WRONG THERE ISN’T ENOUGH WRONG FOR HOW WRONG THAT IS.”

OMG.  Supergirl. Why do you do this to us?

This happened:

CO book awad 2017

so I have a question

May 19, 2017

But first a couple of things:

The Colorado Book Awards reception and celebration is Sunday!  My collection Amaryllis and Other Stories is a finalist in the genre category. Tickets are available on the website!

I’ve been watching my favorite osprey pair valiantly protecting their four nearly-hatched eggs from all the snow we got yesterday. Oh my goodness!

And now for my question. So I was cruising Netflix earlier this week when I discovered a Disney show called Lab Rats.  It’s a teen sitcom of the usual Disney variety, super goofy and aimed at 13 year olds. And…I kind of love it. I mean, I would have adored it when I was 13. But even now, I binged like 10 episodes before I even knew what was happening.

It’s about Leo, whose mother has just married a billionaire inventor ala Tony Stark except more like Tony Stark as played by Jon Cryer.  And he’s exploring the smart house mansion when he discovers three bionic kids living in the basement. Like, goofy Tony Stark has been performing totally unethical human experimentation on children in the basement and no one ever says anything about it. But Leo convinces Tony (Donald actually, but you know) that Adam, Bree, and Chase should be allowed to go to school and have normal kid experiences.  And also if he has bionic step-siblings at school the bullies will leave him alone.

I KNOW RIGHT?! Isn’t this the most amazing setup?  The comedy is on par with Weird Al and Spaceballs, and the kid actors are complete earnest and gung-ho and I kind of love them all. The show is all about family, which I also love. Leo and the three bionic kids instantly bond and it’s just so sweet.

I’m sort of bemused about the whole thing, really.

There’s another Disney show, Mighty Med, about two geek teens who discover a secret hospital for superheroes, which is also an amazing concept, but I only got a couple of episodes into that one because it seems more mean-spirited than Lab Rats, with a lot of the humor coming from making fun of its characters rather than growing out of their antics. Apparently last year they took characters from both shows to make a new one, which I haven’t seen yet.

Anyway, my question:  Has anyone else watched this?  Maybe anyone with 13 year old kids?  Is this really as fun as I think it is or am I just crazy and reverting to my childhood self?

 

My Big Day #2

May 17, 2017

As I mentioned, last Saturday was eBird’s Global Big Day of birding, where birders all over the world head out to see how many species they can log in one day. This year’s stats: over 6500 species. That’s a lot of birds. My goal was to get over 50. Didn’t quite get there. I got just at 50, the same I did last year. Would have gotten more if I were better at IDing hawks in flight, but I’m not. Well, now I know what I need to practice at. But it is fun being part of a big project like this. I logged all my sightings.

Oddly enough, the rainy weather might have helped me last year. The best time for birding is the hour or so after dawn. Trouble is, I’m not a morning person. Last year, the gloomy weather fooled the birds into thinking dawn was later, so I got some really good sightings even with the late start. This year was bright, sunny, and beautiful, and I missed ’em. I’m going to have to figure out how to get started earlier.

Also, there were a ton more birders out, which led to situations like this:

Other, better birders: “Oh yeah, we’re seeing lots! Like *lists of ten species, half of which I’ve never seen before*.”

Me: “I saw a robin. It’s right there.”

So yeah. A little bit of a failure of confidence there. And then there were NO DUCKS on Barr Lake. Like, none. If I’d seen half the ducks I normally see at Barr and Walden, I’d have made 60 species, easy. Where the hell were the ducks?

Ah, birding.

So at Walden I thought about walking the upper ponds to try to find ducks, but I was so tired and lazy I just got out the spotting scope and parked it and stayed put for half an hour.

And that was when I got my one lifer for the day. A Wilson’s pharalope, which I would not have seen without the scope. (Also spotted with scope: American avocets and long-billed dowitcher.) Even better: if you’re good and steady, you can take pictures through a spotting scope. So I got out my little point-and-shoot digital, and I did. Not a great picture. But I did it. My last 3 birds of the day:

three waders

So, a nice end to a really long day. Next year, I’m considering only hitting one location, Walden Ponds, and really for real getting up at the crack of dawn this time, and just seeing how many birds I can spot in one place. No goal, just a good day. Yeah, that sounds good.

First off, this has way more in common with Conan the Barbarian than with anything resembling Arthurian mythos.  In fact, I kept thinking that squeezing Arthur through a Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft filter the way this movie does is really kind of genius and I wish I had thought of it.  When the film opens on a darkness-shrouded ziggurat  and a passable replica of Minas Morgal, complete with flames shooting out of the top, I knew to chuck any expectation of anything making sense out the window. Since Arthur and his band of miscreants are all quite likeable, and I for one find Guy Ritchie’s directorial quirks delightful — he knows exactly when to skip a long narrative sequence and replace it with a snappy montage instead — I had a pretty good time with this.

In fact, it’s a way better Dungeons and Dragons movie than the actual D&D movie. Someday I’m going to rank my “way better D&D movie than the actual D&D movie” movies.

Although I have to admit, none of us could abide how badly Arthur treated his sword. You don’t drag Excalibur on the stone floor, even if it makes cool sparks!

 

Big Day 2017!

May 12, 2017

Tomorrow, Saturday, is birding’s Global Big Day 2017! You may remember I participated last year, and found it to be a fun mini-challenge, a real spur to take my birding to the next level, visit some sites I’d never been to before, and be more diligent about recording my observations.

I learned a ton last year, and I’m going to try to apply some of that this year. In the first place, the weather is supposed to be a ton better, so I’m hoping my stamina will hold out longer. I’m also going to pack plenty of food and sodas and things. (Seems like a no-brainer, right? You’d be surprised…)  I’m going to try to use the spotting scope this year. I usually like to walk while I’m watching, but I have a couple of spots in mind where I can park with the scope and still see some cool things. I’m also going to make more of an effort to go after sightings of common birds that I just missed last year, like pigeons and crows, and record what I see in transit, driving out to the sites, which I didn’t do last year.

Other than those changes, I’m going to visit the same spots I did last year, because I really want to compare this year with last year. Both to see what a difference the weather makes, and also to see if maybe I really have become a better birder in the meantime. Last year’s goal was 50 birds, and I got right to 50. Let’s see if I can get past 50 this year.

Happy Birding!

 

Two months til Bannerless is out! It’s available for preorder in all the usual places! This is my post-apocalyptic murder mystery. I’m anxious for this one to get out in the world — I really hope people like it!

I’ve got a few appearances coming up, just in case you haven’t seen them:

May 21, 4 pm: Colorado Book Awards Celebration at the Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center. Tickets $20. Amaryllis and Other Stories is up for the award in the genre category. This should be a good party!

June 5, 8 – 9:30 pm: Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Lit Fest in Denver, I’ll be participating in a panel discussion: “Highbrow, Lowbrow, No Brow: Debating Literary Taste.” (I believe tickets are required, please see website.)

June 23-24:  I’m teaching at the Locus Writers Workshop in Seattle, along with Connie Willis. This is in conjunction with the Locus Awards, and I’m looking forward to making a weekend of it!