Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Addiction Continues

I ordered the latest installment of Leverage DVDs last March, when they were announced. They were released May 25th, but because Barnes & Noble is a blessed place, they sent the discs out a day early so I got them on Tuesday. The rewatching -- with commentary -- finished today. There were also some sharing of episodes with others I've succeeded in addicting, which slowed down the process, but increased the pleasure.

Oh, glory be! If all television was like this show, I'd be doomed.

I'll be honest -- just like the first season, not every episode was my favorite. A couple I didn't like nearly as much, but I suspect that, with repeated watchings, just like last season, they will grow on me. They did do a marvelous job of building a new arc upon the edifice of the old, rolling with the punches. Writing, acting, directing, camera, effects -- I just don't get tired of this show.

Also, the gag reel was a long spin of incredibly funny wrongness. The Husband and I couldn't breathe for laughing.

Season 3 starts in a few weeks. I'm just able to contain my excitement. Oh please, please, let them get a good 5 seasons. I think, based on the shows so far, they can get a wonderful five seasons before they risk repeating themselves or wearing the idea thin. Depending on what happens with the meta-arcs, it's possible they could swing a 6th, but by then a lot of the Big Questions of the story should be more or less settled or even resolved -- the writers have done such an excellent job of creating characters with great depth, with demons and questions and room for growth, but at some point they have to let the growth happen. First season was Nate's "stage 1" -- his was the large arc -- and some maturing for Hardison. Second season was Sophie's growth and Nate "stage 2", as well as some set up for Parker and Elliot, and a little more for Hardison. Season 3 promises to bring some resolution for Nate, show us the results of Sophie's growth, and -- potentially -- more exploration of Elliot.

At least, that's what I'm hoping for. Waiting, waiting, waiting!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Review

Just finished today Nick Rennison's Sherlock Holmes: The Unauthorized Biography, which is a slightly tongue in cheek take on the famous detective that states he was in no way fictional. The author has done a fair bit of research on the political and historical goings on that the illustrious detective could have had a hand in and does a nice job of picking out supposed clues (obsfuscated, of course, by Dr. Watson) to determine what really went on.

It's a nice review of my favorite fictional detective's life and adventures, and was much more interesting to read than the biography I recently attempted on Conan Doyle (here relegated to literary agent for Watson). While revealing nothing of great surprise about the character and sticking fairly close to the canon/popular view of him while proclaiming not to, it was still an interesting game of speculation and "connect the dots".

I'm currently listening to the audio version of Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice, which I read several years ago and enjoyed while barely remembering a thing about it. It's such a fan fiction-y piece, complete with a Mary Sue and (eventually in the series) romantic entanglement with the detective. Despite this, it's very well written, logically constructed, backs itself up nicely with the canonical material, and is good fun. I was discussing with a friend that, as out of place and unlikely as the May-December romance is, it serves a good purpose in getting any questions about sex, propriety in the time setting, and romance tucked out of the way so the adventures can be gotten on with. Otherwise, those particular themes would have dangled like anvils around the neck of any story to come after the initial entry of the series. Further books in the series are much too good to let that stand in the way. My particular favorite is O! Jerusalem. I've just picked up last year's entry into the series (now that it is in paperback, although not in mass market...had to go with a trade, which will just mess up my shelves!) and now have to wait for this year's entry to go through its hardback cycle.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back in Blue

Bebe Bleu, my beloved Mazda 3, is back in the driveway, looking shiny and new-ish. The awful, terrible, violence inducing VW is back at the rental agency.

I will say that, after I figured out the head rest and got used to the braking and acceleration, I hated it a little less. This is not love, it's just less virulent hatred. The whole plastic-y, tight, tiny interior, the lack of any space for human legs in the back seats, and the amazing number of blind spots in a car with so much glass were simply staggering. It is not the car for me. I never want to see the inside of one again. I'm not all that jazzed to see the outside, either.

But my Mazda runs just fine. I have new seat covers on order and I need to vacuum the interior to go with the whole "clean and shiny" theme I have going there. but it feels so good to drive my own car. Also, my knee does not bump the steering column. It's all good.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How To Build Brand Hatred

You've seen it -- I know you have -- the stupid "Punch Dub" campaign for Volkswagen. According to this, it's based on a kid's game where kids would "playfully" punch each other when they saw a VW Bug.

I think it's an excellent way to make people hate a particular car brand, unless they have severe masochistic inclinations. Seriously, if someone were to punch me because they saw a stupid car (which is exactly what kids would do because, let's face it, kids are not yet socialized nor have their brains developed completely, so they do idiotic things) I would be inclined to not only hate the person who hit me for no good reason, but the car that inspired the violence.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Talent -- I Haz It

I just sneezed twice. Being the polite sort, even when there are only cats around (and not wanting to snot all over my keyboard and monitor) I put my hand up in front of my nose and mouth. For no particular reason, I put the back of my hand toward my face.

And on the second sneeze, I bit my own hand.

Wait, it gets better. I didn't take a hunk out of my hand or anything. My head rocked from the force of the sneeze and I caught a bit of skin on the back of my hand between an upper and a lower tooth, and the sneeze forced my jaw shut.

I now have a toothmark and a tiny, painful bruise welling up.

That's not something just ANYONE can manage, you know.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saturday, May 08, 2010

But It Seems So Real

A friend of mine -- a clever and devious sort of friend -- has a new hobby.

Book of Mavro

I can't help but think "Mavro" is a variation on "maverick", that much maligned word from which all meaning was beaten during the 2008 US Presidential elections. That's sad, because I really prefer thinking of it as a fairly fun 1950s/60s western TV show about a gambler/con man. Either way, it is fitting.

And, just in case Mavro wants someone new to play with, I suggest he check out this goodie my buddy Scott found, if only for the incredibly humor caused by the complete lack of basic scientific knowledge and application of logic. As dumb as Mavro plays to scammers, I'm not sure even he can manage to be that dumb. But, it might be a worthy challenge.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Surrender

I gave up on "The Man Who Wrote Sherlock Holmes", even though I was close to 200 pages in. Mostly, I gave up on it because it must go back to the library early -- The Husband wants to return all library books before he graduates, even though they are not due for another 3 weeks. So, there goes my planned reading on women in science fiction.

So, I may have to check it out elsewhere. I might. It was SORT of getting interesting, but it still had some big problems. For example, the author insisted on telling us every damn time A.C. Doyle played cricket, including the names of the opposing teams and often the score. I DO NOT CARE! It's nothing against cricket, really. I'd feel the same no matter what organized sport was involved. Tell me that Doyle played X sport and that he played it on and off for X years, and I know all I need. Tell me about the one or two incidents where something Very Interesting happened in association with a particular game, and that's all good. I find it hard to work up interest in the details of amateur sporting events that took place over 100 years ago.

So, there's that.

Another annoyance were the tiny, fleeting references to the Holmes stories as being derived or related to particular incidents, locations, people, or ideas. When the author actually got into explaining how X became a part of the Holmes world, I was interested. However, saying "Doyle used this name in his Holmes stories" is, again, a rank of detail filed under BORING. Seriously, I already know that authors often pull place names, character names, and even small details from the world and the people around them. This is not a big secret (if it is to you, you should get out more). I do not need a comprehensive list of every person, place, or thing Doyle crossed in his life that eventually turned up in a book. This is NOT INTERESTING, not even on a Trivial Pursuit level.

In short, the book could have benefited from a much more ruthless editor -- one with a whip as well as a red pen, perhaps.

Don't know what book I will pick up next. I have the next Stieg Larrson book on my e-Reader. I also have the pile of books on the shelves waiting for me. Since my Serious Summer Reading list is no longer available, I might just indulge in major amounts of Not Serious Reading.

Or I could pull down that bio on Edward R. Murrow...

Monday, May 03, 2010

It's White


I picked up my rental car today, a car to tide me over while Bebe Bleu is in the shop having all that body work replaced.
The rental is a new model VW Beetle, all shiny and white.

So far, I hate it.

Lemme 'splain. It looks really cute. I'll give it cute. However, it and I have some serious differences of opinion. Let's start with that head rest. No matter how I adjust the seat, the headrest hits me where most headrests hit -- right at the point that forces my chin into my chest. I do not care to sit like this, and I especially do not care to drive like this. In fact, adjusting the seat promises to be a real adventure. I spent 15 minutes trying to get it correct and even then, I have to squeeze under the steering wheel (at least until I can adjust that thing). My mother was notorious for hunching over the steering wheel when she drove (one reason she hated to drive was because her back and shoulders hurt after about 20 minutes, but she never learned to sit back and relax in the seat). I'm sitting up straight and hunched over the wheel because I can't get the seat adjusted properly. I'll spend another 1/2 hour on it tomorrow.

The first time I touched the brakes, I almost put myself through the windshield. Let's just say they are tight and touchy. There's no smooth, gradual slowing down. The thing throws out a grappling hook and an anchor.

The acceleration is...hesitant. Yes, that gas pedal insists you make a commitment to going, and it will check after you press the pedal to make sure you REALLY want to go. No, really? You don't like this spot here, in the driveway, away from all the traffic? Can't we stay here and get ice cream or something? Do you REALLY want out there? Oh....all right.

Apparently, between the problems with the seat and the position of the headrests, at my seated height, the thing is FULL of blind spots. I'm a paranoid driver. I check in every direction before I move a car because, dammit, people come out of no where and just assume you will kindly go immaterial so they can drive through. I've yet to figure out how to de- and re-materialize, so I watch for those idiots. I can't see several points on this car, which just cranks up the paranoia.

I figure I can make it to the grocery store and Pak-mail in this car. I know that if I drive it a bit, I will get used to the brakes and the acceleration, and if I fiddle with all the buttons I will eventually reach a compromise with the seat. However, that won't solve the biggest problem I have -- pure claustrophobia. Everything is too close.

Let me clarify. I drive a Mazda 3. It's not a big car. In fact, it's a small car because I really prefer smaller, more nimble cars. The VW's interior feels TEENY compared to my Mazda . It's as if everything is too close to my face and my elbows. My nose is going to hit that rear view mirror, I just know it.

Two weeks. For two weeks I will be one of those White Cars that straggles out just long enough so you can't make the right hand turn or pull into a lane. I now understand what those people are going through.