July 13, 2016
A short post to let you know that my long-form review of Warcraft is now live at Lightspeed. I called it “A Mage, A Knight, and a Half-orc Walk into a Tavern–” because I just couldn’t not call it that. Verdict? It falls in the category of “A D&D style movie a million times better than the actual D&D movie.” Which is, granted, a very low bar…
I’ll be writing a long review of the new Ghostbusters for Lightspeed as well. Got my tickets to see it tomorrow. I can’t wait. I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about it.
In other news, from the back, my dog looks like a cat.
July 11, 2016
I’ve finished knitting a third pair of socks:
Most complex yet. I used a pattern from The Enchanted Sole by Janel Laidman, and the yarn is “Stone Walk” from Western Sky Knits. Pretty darned fancy, all told. I’m also told I’m super-successful because I’ve actually done both socks on every pair I’ve knitted so far. Heh.
I don’t think I’m really a fan of knitting socks. Hand-knitted socks are super-comfy, but they seem to take me a really long time to do. And then you have to do it all over again. Tiny stitches, tiny needles, and stress about whether it’s all going to fit when you’re done. I really like knitting scarves — much more meditative, I think, and they always fit. So, I’m going to take a break from socks for now. Go back to knitting a few Jayne hats, with big chunky yarn.
July 8, 2016
July 6, 2016
I turned in Bannerless. It’s a novel. I expect another round of revisions, but for now, that stage of the work is finished. Moving on to phase 2! The book should be out around spring next year.
Now it’s time to do all those chores and things I put off while I was finishing the book. . .one of the things I want to do soon is send out a newsletter. Yes, I have a sporadic newsletter and you can sign up for it here.
Very helpful in clearing out post-novel stress blahs: yoga class, or as we call it in my house, Jedi meditation training.
July 4, 2016
Happy Independence Day, USA-ians! The home fireworks thing has been a little out of hand this year, it feels like. Last night was so bad Lily spent it under the bed. At least she’s not a runner. Me — I just have sparklers. Tonight, we’ll be grilling, which is really enough excitement around here.
A few more things:
1. It’s the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. I sometimes feel like Western culture still hasn’t really processed World War I, the first industrialized war, the war that set off everything else that happened in the 20th century, like a row of dominoes. In Britain, this astonishing living memorial made amazing use of costuming and live-action roleplaying to remember the battle. This is the real power of theater/costuming.
2. I finished season 2 of Star Wars: Rebels. Well, that was a little abrupt. I’m still a Kanan fangirl but I really want to see what happens next.
3. Shark Week on the Discovery Channel is getting better about not being all sensationalist shark attack coverage all the time. In fact, this year it was mostly enthusiastic scientists leaning dangerously off the sides of boats while trying to stick tags, cameras, and whatnot onto shark fins. Kind of endearing. And I really liked that they had shows dedicated to other species than great whites: makos, oceanic white-tips, tigers. In fact, in what may be a first, they even had segments on sharks I’ve seen while diving: various species of reef sharks, and my beloved nurse sharks. These species tend to be smaller and not aggressive, so I guess they don’t make good TV, but I really like them. They’re very chill when you spot them underwater. What I really want? I’d love for Shark Week to do a segment on whale sharks, which are just really amazing and a holy grail for many divers. I have not seen a whale shark in the wild. Yet.
4. This is the stage I’m at on the revision of Bannerless:
Spoiler: I figured out how to fix it. I helpfully cropped that bit out to not give it away. I should be done with this thing in just a couple more days.
July 1, 2016
The latest binge-watch has been Star Wars: Rebels. I confess to being super out of date on all the animated Star Wars offerings. I watched and very much enjoyed Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars, which I thought delved into Anakin’s darkness and ambivalence in a way the movies didn’t capture. But then later Clone Wars series seemed to explode and expand in ways I couldn’t keep up with. And I’ll confess I’ve never been a fan of that style of computer animation, which always seems stiff and expressionless to me.
That’s what kept me away from Rebels, until friends urged me to watch. (Which hasn’t really happened with Clone Wars, which is telling.) Still not a fan of that animation style. But. . .Rebels has that same dynamic that hearkens back to my old role-playing campaigns, the same ethos that means I can’t watch the Rogue One trailer without bursting into tears. A diverse group of people on the fringes, overcoming dark pasts, trying to do good.
It took me a few episodes, but I’m into it now. And surprisingly, my favorite part may be how the show handles the Jedi. (The episode that won me over is the one where Ezra visits the hidden Jedi temple and gets a message from Yoda. Just lovely.) The Jedi and Force users were never my favorite part of the game — I think because a lot of gamers I played with seemed to treat those characters more like D&D mages and wizards than their own thing. Jedi in the games seemed to lack gravitas. Rebels, on the other hand, really seems clued into the theme of these lost, scattered followers of a broken faith trying to hold on to the good parts of what they learned while overcoming what the old Jedi Order did wrong.
And that may be why Kanan is probably my favorite character. (An aside: I know I’m getting older because these days I relate more to the parent figures in shows than I do to the kids, and that’s a switch. (And I think it’s really smart for a show like this to have characters kids can relate to, and ones their parents can relate to.)) If I’ve got my timing right, Kanan was a teenager when Order 66 went out. A newly-minted Jedi Knight — or maybe not even officially a knight. And then he lost everything, and he’s got a bad case of survivor’s guilt, and he’s trying to be a good Jedi and now he’s got this kid whom he feels obligated to train while not being at all confident of his own abilities. . . Really good story meat here.
I’ve got about half of season 2 left to go. So no spoilers, please! I hear it gets kind of dark. Hmm….
Other notes: I love that their R2 unit is actually kind of chaotic neutral. No charming little cute droid here. Sheesh.
That baby Ithorian in that one episode is about the most ridiculously adorable thing I’ve ever seen.
I’m really enjoying being a Star Wars fan again.
June 29, 2016
You might recall, I got my very first smart phone last January. How are things going, six months on?
I’m trying to use it to go paperless, as much as I can. I’ve used mobile boarding passes for nearly every trip since I got it, and I’ve been using it for movie tickets, which is really convenient — no more forgetting paper tickets in the printer. I’m playing around with a couple of apps to see if I can make all my travel paperless — no more printed reservations, etc. That’ll be nice.
I’ve been using it for navigation quite a bit, though there’ve been a couple of cases where I would have been better off trusting my instincts. I’m still ambivalent about the GPS navigation thing, but I’m easing into it.
I haven’t used the camera all that much. One thing I am using it for: taking pictures of wine labels that I like. Theoretically, I can take the pictures to the store to figure out what wines to buy. It’s a nice thought, anyway.
And what about the instantaneous, ubiquitous communication? Still not happy with that part. It’s amazing how that little dinging notification garners an immediate response, like a pavlovian kick to the brain. Must check phone now. . . And this is why people text while driving, still, after all the warnings. Because we’re like rats pushing the button for little food pellets. The phone dings, must check. Except, of course, we don’t have to. I can turn the ringer off. I can just ignore it. I still prefer making plans ahead of time — messaging should be for changes in plans, not for making them at the last minute. I’m training all my friends not to expect instant responses from me. Hardly anything we deal with requires an instant response. The smart phone age seems to have made everything seem urgent, when it’s really not. I don’t keep my phone next to me 24/7 — it usually lives in my bag on the counter in the other room. I usually don’t get messages right away.
But it is quite nice having a phone available anywhere, just in case. And I have now been that person who looks something up in the middle of dinner at a restaurant to settle an argument. Then, I put the phone away.
I’m pretty sure I’m still not using the thing to its full potential. I’m also not really sure what its full potential even looks like. So, it’s a work in progress.