The Usual Report: Post-equinox edition

The cute puppy has nothing to do with this post. I added him because I haven’t done an update in a while & thought readers deserved a bit of bonus cute.

BOOKS:

Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story. Anyone who reads this blog more than a few times knows I consider most writing advice a stinking pile of bullshit, and I’m happy to dispute most standard guidelines for plotting, character development etc. Yet here I am recommending this book. It’s that useful. If you want to write stories, you’llfind something good in it. Nuff said.

The Broken Kingdoms N. K. Jemison. Book 2 in an epic epic fantasy series. (bonus: the series is done!)  I keep meaning to recommend this to my dad, lifelong fan of phenomenal world-builders & lyrical prosemakers. The problem is, I always get distracted by other things when we’re on the phone. (HI, DAD! READ N. K. JEMISON. START WITH THE ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS)

Fluffy romances. All of the historical variety. Some Cathy Maxwell, some Sarah Maclean, some Victoria Alexander. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I read a lot of them. Most have problematic elements and some make me wince. But they’re easy on the brain, and sometimes I just want some snappy dialogue and a short, simple theme park ride of a plot.

I also got a sneak peek at Rights of Use, which is an “aliens are real” science-fiction novel you won’t want to miss by an author named Shannon Eichorn. It’s in the publishing process now.I’ll let you know when it hits the shelves. It’s a rollicking fun read.

Next up on my list (along with more fluffy romances) are the books I bought at CapriCon & Concoction. Tune in next month for updates.

TV:

Jessica Jones season 2. This show took everything I appreciated in the character and ground it to pieces under the grimy old boots of “Angry Wimmens Be Evil.”  OMFG. I AM SO DISAPPOINT. I don’t even want to talk about it. Moving on.

Wait no, that’s it on TV. My DVR caught a glitch while most shows were on holiday break, but I only recently realized none of my regular shows were recording. I’ll catch up on Madame Secretary and Supernatural later. The rest? I didn’t miss them, so I won’t bother continuing with them.

MOVIES at home:

Thor Ragnarok. Twice. And I watched all the extra features too. Hey, it was a bad day, full of joint aches and dizziness and general physical misery. Superhero action+CGI battles+ a big dose of Chris Hemsworth totally helped.

Geostorm. A plot made of stupid & frosted with obvious committee decision-making, bereft of anything resembling scientific accuracy or authentic human interaction. Not recommended. Why did I watch it? HOLY CATS SO MUCH GLORIOUS ABSURD WEATHER CGI. Sometimes I am a shallow person.

Blade Runner 2049. It deserved the visual awards and really should’ve gotten the sound ones too. Gloomy, dark, and gritty, it plowed & twisted its way into plot territory where movies rarely tread. It not only stayed true to the (misogynist, misanthropic) feel of the original but built on the foundation in unexpected, fascinating ways. I’m astonished it got made.  Glad I saw it. Don’t ever need to see it again.

THEATER MOVIES:

Black Panther. Everything I want in a movie and more. Drama, humor, fine acting, brilliant costuming & moviecraft, and ACTION.  I could quibble about the iffy subtext of the antagonist’s motivations and tragic flaw, but NO I WON’T. First off, it would require spoilers and I don’t do real movie reviews. Second of all, I’m not the reviewer to tackle that. My take starts and ends with WAKANDA FOREVER, over and done.

Tomb Raider: Some Subtitle I’ve Already Forgotten. I planned to skip this one until it hit Netflix. I was only a spectator to the original video game, and I wasn’t impressed by the Angelina Jolie versions (sexy outfits, lousy writing) Meh, I thought. MEH.

Then this review from the Philly Voice hit my Twitter feed:

“She never comes across as having an ounce of sex appeal and, at times, looks like she could be sixteen. Toss in the lack of curves and Warner Brothers could have decided to gender bend and make a film titled Luke Croft and it would have come across much the same way.”

Female protagonist in a non-sexually charged slam-bang action plot? SIGN ME UP.  It was no Black Panther, but it was well-designed, decently-acted action flock that stayed true to its videogame plotting roots. I enjoyed it.

Pacific Rim: Uprising. Wow. Three great movies in a row. This movie world has an utterly absurd premise (giant robots driven by telepathically-linked human pairs fight extra-dimensional giant monsters with super-charged hand weapons? Uh.)  BUT. If you accept “that’s how things work in this world” then you get to revel in a fantastic sports movie without the boring sports part. Plus tons of kickass giant robot action.

Side note: John Boyega (the lead) is a phenomenal actor. Action leads can get away with playing basically the same role in a lot of different movies (Ahem. Clint Eastwoood, Mel Gibson)  but Boyega was effortlessly NOT “Finn in Star Wars only in a different setting.”

KITCHEN THINGS:

I have been playing with my egg bake recipe and making scones of various types pretty regularly. Working through the last of the summer’s applesauce, blueberry & cherry stashes. As if I needed an excuse to eat fruits & drink cider.

I was going to make some whipped cream to go with apple stuff and remembered AGAIN that my stick blender is missing. I have no idea if I loaned it to someone or left it somewhere or have lost it in the kitchen, but it’s gone. First noticed its absence before Christmas, forgot, noticed around New Year’s, forgot…at this point I need to consider buying a new one.

Look for the final decision in the next report.