Monthly Archives: July 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT!!! suchmusicWOW

Ladies, Gentledudes, and Those Who Have Yet to Make Up Their Minds!

It has perforce been required of me to create a spectacle involving music and the language of Doge.

Therefore, I am most please-ed to announce the creation of SUCHMUSICWOW, an all Doge, all the time, music review blog site.

Please to check it out, and potentially tweet, comment, share, and otherwise spread it like a virus.

Sincerely,

Twittyimages

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman

Grossman_The-Magicians-712796

I have two words: Unmitigated Disaster.

headdesk

In fact, to call it that might almost be an understatement. I will never understand how some books wind up on the bestseller lists.

Let me be clear: If you like self-hating characters thrust into an urban fantasy with no satisfying resolution and stolen plot ideas, then this is *totally* the book for you. If that’s not your thing, then I would steer clear of Grossman’s novel.

It’s entirely possible that the second and third books in the series will somewhat redeem the first, but since I cannot get over how much I disliked The Magicians, I will never read them. Darn.

Now, I don’t dislike this book because it’s a dark urban fantasy where people die and never achieve their dreams. Oh, no. I like a grimdark novel as much as the next GOT fan—probably more so. Seriously: add sex, and murder, and as much mayhem as you want. I don’t care if the princess gets rescued, or the kingdom gets saved, or if every hero in the bunch dies. I just want *something* to happen. Potentially something *interesting*. And I want it to happen in an *interesting* and *entertaining* fashion. That’s one of the reasons why I read books—to be entertained. Even if it’s dark, serious entertainment.

Instead, I was bored.

BORED!

And it wasn’t even an accounting manual!

merida-headdesk1I was bored at 30 pages in, and I was still bored at 150 pages. But I kept reading because the little voice in the back of my head kept going “It has to get better…”

Next time, I’ll listen to the little voice.

***

wrongAccording to Wikipedia, a review by The A.V. Club, (a non-satirical offshoot of The Onion), stated the theme of the book to be “a sad dream of what it means to want something badly and never fully reach it”. (Quoted here.) So I suppose looking at that, then this book definitely lives up to its ideals. I should applaud Grossman—I wanted something to happen, and something never did, which essentially turned me into one of his always-complaining characters.

But only briefly, because after this review, I will be done thinking about The Magicians, and will move on to something much more interesting…which Grossmans’ poor characters will never be able to do.

Shame.

***

Let me also mention Grossman’s blatant thievery of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia.

3aa26ec9d96343d1fb218d2db43c757b27454faf910160ae4394eaa0bfe8a06dC.S. Lewis is a true magician of words, and it was really sad to see someone using a fan-fictionalized version of his creations in such an uncreative and (need I really say it?) boring way.

I’m honestly surprised Lev Grossman’s agents weren’t slapped with a million copyright infringement suits, but I suppose that’s today’s world: Anything can get published as a ‘new thing’, as long as you change a few names, draw a new map, and maybe introduce one new plot device.

Takes me right back to the days of Twilight and 50 Shades…

ecacaa9bec0642dfe7d936036914257a6c63c96aae1ccbe0ed772e62d47c52b4But setting aside the boringness and the truly uncreative use of Narnia’s lands, I think the thing that bothered me most about this book was that Grossman felt the need to wax-on for over 300 pages about how, when you have the ability to accomplish anything, you have nothing left to accomplish. I’m wondering where the rationality is in that theory, and how that wound up being the theoretical consensus of every magician in Grossman’s entire universe.

These kids had no guide, no common sense, and no desire to find either.

They were given a truly sad and pathetic existence, wasted the very intellect their author inscribed them with, and left every reader depressed about it.

images

*sigh*

Shit, I’d rather read Selfish by Kim K than have to re-read Grossman’s horror story. And I don’t even like plastic surgery novels. (har har)

And so maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But you know what?

I’m not boring!

ENTERTAINED4

For book suggestions and a ridiculously long reading list, check me out on Goodreads HERE.

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REVIEW: SENSE8

sense8_headerFinally, a sci-fi show that’s not afraid of tackling sex and gender issues! With a positive representation of the LGBT community, boundary pushing mental orgies, and openly gay main characters (including a lovely trans mtf lady), it makes the Wachowskis’ strange obsession with filming birthing mothers almost forgivable. (Seriously, who wants to look at a stretched, bloody vagina with a baby’s mushy head poking through it?)

Speaking of the Wachowskis, Sense8 is the clear next step on the podium of their work. It combines Cloud Atlas’ twisted and confusing plot devices with V for Vendetta’s startling alacrity to depict government conspiracies around every corner. Add a dash of Matrix-like multiple realities, and you’ve got an idea of what you’ll see in Season 1. Now, if we can ignore Straczynski’s prolific character exposition, the show is actually pretty good. In my opinion, it spends a little too much time defining the individual stories of each character. I mean, when you have upwards of ten main characters, it does take time to develop their backstories, but usually simpler is better when you already have a plot involving 8 psychically linked people trying to avoid a government conspiracy.

Let’s take a quick look at our 8 mentally-intertwined (and slightly incestuous) siblings: I really enjoyed the variety of characters, and the high quantity of strong females. The quality of their relationships with one another makes me hopeful for humanity. Here is a group of basically decent people, (Wolfgang doesn’t turn trigger happy until close to the end of the season), who stick up for each other regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. You can’t ask for a better overall message than that!

THE PLAYERS

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SUN BAK: She is definitely my favorite! She is one sexy, smart, badass chica! Those Muay-Thai moves of hers would fit right in in any Van Damme or Jackie Chan flick. I loved every serious-faced second of on-screen Sun time.

Sense8Sun

“I take allllll that emotion, and I push it down into my fists.”

CAPHEUS: I love Capheus’ attitude and respect for family. His sunny disposition and sensible optimism made me smile every time he came onscreen. And the Van Damme Van—I mean, who couldn’t love that??

“Van Damme always comes back!”

NOMI: I *love* the fact that Sense8’s character roster included a badass trans woman. This show took a brave step in the direction of positive LGBT community portrayals. Using Nomi’s character to illuminate and target some serious discrimination issues against the LGBT community was a pleasing change in the attitude of major network PR. I suppose we really shouldn’t be surprised at this exceptionally modern viewpoint, given the proclivities of one Lana Wachowski. (Previously, the Wachowskis used to be known as the Wachowski Brothers, until “Larry” underwent the change to “Lana”.) Still, it was nice to see.

“The real violence, the violence I realized was unforgivable, is the violence we do to ourselves when we’re too afraid to be who we really are.”

WOLFGANG: Oh. My. Gawd. Excuse me while I fangirl out a moment. I’m fairly certain Max Riemelt is one of the sexiest men on television, and not just because he isn’t shy about showing off his pecker on screen. That scowly face of his is just so cute when he gets all serious and gangsta! Gotta love that sex-appeal factor. His interplay with Kala makes me so happy—“Oh god, you are a demon!”.

“He’s my brother. And not by something as accidental as blood. By something much stronger.

By choice.”

LITO: Speaking of sexy men….Between Lito and his boyfriend Hernando, I’m not sure who’s sexier. Add in Daniela’s ass, and holy cow! That’s one heck of a trio of hotsimama! But anyway, Lito’s character is kind of hilarious. I mean, Latino Soap Opera star? You can’t get more dramatically awesome than that. And Those Pants! I seriously cannot get over Those Pants…They’re so tight, it makes me wonder how he fits all his junk in there. If you watch closely enough, you can actually see that they make him walk funny. Epic.

“We will all be judged by the courage of our hearts.”

KALA: Tina Desai is such a beautiful girl! I loved watching her in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and I loved seeing her again in Sense8. Kala’s character is so sweet, and her clothes are GORGEOUS!!! One of her dresses has become the object of a future sewing project for me, because I just cannot get over how fabulous it is. But I think what I loved best about Kala was her sweet nature. She’s the Belle to Wolfgang’s Beast, and the gentle conscience of the siblings. I really enjoyed her monologue about science and faith being intermingled.

“My love for science doesn’t preclude my faith. It’s only that science is another language we use to talk to about the same miracles that faith talks about.”

“But one language makes sense, one doesn’t…”

“Sense? Like quantum physics? Like a particle that can be here, and not be? Or sense like gravity? A force no one knows why it exists. Only that, if it didn’t exist…if there wasn’t this mysterious attraction, this pull between objects…none of this would exist either.”

“Thank god for gravity.”

“Exactly.”

Next to Sun’s badassery, Kala’s intellectualism and gentleness makes her my other favorite character.

“Oh my god! You *are* a demon!”

WILL: Cute. Hoo-RA, Chicago Police! Buuuuuut, a little lack-luster in the character department. He basically seems to be there to bring the team together when Riley needs help. I’ll admit his handcuff picking skills are handy, but hey, anyone can learn that from a 5 minute youtube video, or a kink 101 class… His one redeeming moment is that interchange between himself and Lito in the last episode. (“Do I know you?” “We had sex.” “Uhhmmmm…” “It was special.” “Ah…”)

“But it’s such a nice car!”

RILEY: Oh, that poor, poor broken girl. Quel dramatique! Our little emo dj… Well, I think we can make a pretty good guess that she’ll be the one to give birth to the new sensate in future episodes. The mother motif that runs through her script is so strong, I’m surprised it didn’t slap me upside the head while I was watching the show. Despite that, I think she’s almost as inconsequential a character as Will. (Again, her biggest moment is in the season finale when she becomes the target of rescue.) I’ll be interested to see how her character develops through the next season, but I’m hoping they’ll give her a bit more personality, and maybe some backbone.

O.M.G. I AM THE MOST DRAMATIC PERSON EVER.

IN CONCLUSION

While I enjoyed the show, the only episode that truly wowed me was the season finale. I think I may have kept watching the series waiting for that moment when the team would come together and start using their powers effectively, with panache. It was gratifying to see it happen. Finally. After 12 episodes. Despite the drawn out and convoluted story development, I think that Sense8 does a fantastic job of bringing up important gender-related social issues in a positive light. Because of that, I give it a 8/10 rating. If I were just basing my rating on plot, character development, and script, it would be a 7-7.5/10. Still very good, but not the best show I’ve ever seen. There’s room for improvement in future seasons, and it definitely has potential for becoming a mind blowing series. I think the writer(s) just need to be careful about putting too much detail into the script. With 8+ main characters, simpler is better.

For another highly funny take on the show, here’s a link to UPROXX’s “Confessions of A Sense8 Viewer Who Has No Idea What Is Happening So Far”. It’s seriously funny, and points out the script prevarications and character confusion which lowered my score down to a 7-7.5. Enjoy!

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Attack of the Blocktopus

(Blocktopus: That’s “cock-blocking-octopus”. And by “cock” I mean “pen”. Obviously.)

octopus mechanicus~“Start a blog,” she said…

“It’ll be fun!” she said……to herself, without thinking it through.

Because oh my lordy! How many freaking blog topics there are to choose from! I mean sure, if someone says “Hey, write me a food blog”, or “Hey, do me a daily Tumblr on funny looking mammoths!”, then it’s ok because there’s something to focus on. But, give me free reign to write anything about anything? Dude, that’s just trouble in the making.

It’s like my brain explodes into this more-than-eight-legged ADHD squidling with an attention span shinier than a squirrel on crack. I wind up with the worst case of writer’s block–due to an overload of inspiration, rather than a lack of it–and the whole time I feel like I’ve got mental whiplash from the number of potential writing topics. Talk about your mental cases, eh?

And you’d think that making a grab bag of choices would be the simplest solution to the problem, right? Of course! But, no. Because the second I start to write a list of blog topics, the Blocktopus goes silent. Tentacled bastard.

This is the point where I revert to my old-school poetry days, and carry around a tiny notebook, into which gets scribbled any random, emo thing that pops into my head, Blocktopus or no, until I’ve got enough of a list to start with. It takes weeks, and the list is always terrible.

Lucky for me, I’m stubborn. And crafty. And eventually I will work through every one of my dumb starter list of topics until the ideas start flowing, and the Blocktopus realizes the ink cloud didn’t quite work the way it thought it would, and then you’ll see me sitting in front of my computer muttering things like “No, Ahab, I will not buy you a new spear gun! Go sit in your boat and be quiet!”

So for everyone out there suffering from their own version of Blocktopus Syndrome, keep on! You’ll know you’ve reached the “stubborn success” phase when you start yelling at mythical characters from books you’ve never actually read…

To everyone else? Enjoy the ride! It’s not every day you get inked by a mental, tentacled freak. ;D

Sincerely,

Authorious Cephalopodus

cephalopod

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