Sunday, March 19, 2017

Remember that time I went on blog hiatus without telling anyone

So yeah. Since I haven't posted anything of substance in months, I guess we can call this a hiatus. When you're reading three books a week and a coworker quit abruptly in the middle of the work day leaving you short staffed, life gets hectic.

So let's get this out of the way.

I probably won't be doing anymore individual episode reviews of different series. X-Files, for example, is leaving Netflix in April, which means I can't just plop down and watch one when I have time. Instead, I'll write series or season reviews, which I think will work better for me.

I have a huge back list of book reviews to write, though, so those will be arriving at some point. In the future. When I can stop reading preachy books about the environment. Five more weeks of it. I can make it.

See you on the flip side.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Chaucer's Valentine's Day Advice

Chaucer wrote a column for NPR, dishing out medieval love advice.

"Lo, whanne first yn love al folke do interpret choyces and signals more carefullye than the protagonists of Dan Browne novels."

Do try to avoid the Deciduous Forest of Certain Maiming.

Monday, January 16, 2017

In Defense of Eldritch Tomes

I bet you weren't aware that Jane Austen was a staunch defender of the Necronomicon. Now you know.

Yes, eldritch tomes; for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with tome–writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding — joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own scholar, who, if she accidentally take up a tome, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the scholar of one tome be not patronized by the scholar of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new tome to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected madness than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine–hundredth abridger of the Collected Works of David Foster Wallace, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen quotes of Joyce, Hemingway, and Faulkner, with a paper from the New Yorker, and a chapter from Franzen, are eulogized by a thousand pens — there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the tome writer, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. “I am no tome–reader — I seldom look into eldritch tomes — Do not imagine that I often read tomes — It is really very well for a tome.” Such is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss — ?” “Oh! It is only a tome!” replies the young sacrifice, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only the Necronomicon, or the Book of Eibon, or the Pnakotic Manuscripts”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of eldritch beings, the mind-blasting delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of insanity and horror, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language. Now, had the same young lady been engaged with a volume of The Atlantic, instead of such a work, how proudly would she have produced the book, and told its name; though the chances must be against her being occupied by any part of that mundane publication, of which either the matter or manner would not disgust a young cultist of taste: the substance of its papers so often consisting in the statement of probable circumstances, natural characters, and topics of conversation which concern anyone not living in the shadow of Kadath; and their language, too, frequently so dull as to give no very favourable idea of the world, unconscious to the threat of eldritch invasion, that could endure it.


She was truly eloquent on the plight of mad scholars.


All this to say I have a cold, I'm sleep deprived, and I need to start blogging again.


Note: All names chosen for their connection to so-called "high brow culture", not for any personal opinion about them, and also because they might possibly be devoured first when Cthulhu next awakens. By all means, enjoy these thoroughly mundane tales not connected to the problem of vast, unknowable beings that will one day cleanse the earth of humanity and drag it off to their dimension, presumably to use it for an eldritch tea party.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

X-Files: S1, E9: Space

Today, the world mourns John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. There is also something to be said for a person who goes "I'm 77, and I'm going to space." You go Glenn!



That said, it seems appropriate then to resume my X-Files reviews, and with the very appropriate "Space", in which an astronaut is possessed by that goofy not-face from Mars.

In 1977, they found water on Mars. Insert your own Doctor Who joke here.

Lieutenant Colonel Belt is having some flashbacks to being In Space, especially as he ran into the Mars face during a spacewalk. Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully are investigating possible sabotage at NASA. Someone doesn't want people going to space, and we're assuming its aliens, even though they seem to have no problem hanging around Earth, pretending like they pay rent. 

I Googled "Why don't aliens pay rent for air space". Was not disappointed.

They hang out with the Obviously Sketchy Belt, and the launch goes fine, but then they lose contact with the astronauts. I mean, it is starting to sound like a Doctor Who episode, but unfortunately the Doctor does not show up, nor does he try to fit himself and two other people into a very tiny space shuttle. Also, now Michelle Generoo, communications commander, is seeing an alien face. Belt makes decisions that everyone thinks are bad, but actually sound like decent ideas, but he's bad because this is the program's "last chance". Granted, we haven't been too interested in our space programs lately, but still. It wasn't like NASA was going to call it quits over one bad mission. I mean, one got exploded and they kept on going.

Speaking of, Belt is rapidly coming under suspicion. He was at that explodey episode as well, along with some other problematic events. When he goes to sleep that night, the alien ghost that is possessing him flies to space to troll the astronauts up there. Which causes an oxygen leak. What a jerk.

Anyways, he commits suicide to stop the alien entity from continuing to sabotage missions, which doesn't make sense, as it could probably just possess someone else. 

So that was it. An episode about...a space ghost.

MEANWHILE ON X-FILES


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Update and Book Review: The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Hey look! I'm a little tired of politics. I said my piece, I changed exactly 0 people's minds about politics, welcome to the Internet, this happens all the time.

So, let's just move on, shall we? I'm eager to get back to reviewing entertainment that temporarily distracts us from our troubles.

LAST TIME ON PENDERGAST

There were witches in Innsmouth Exmouth. Monsters were set loose. Constance tried to make out with Pendergast, which ended about as well as everyone expected it to. Pendergast died. Again. Readers began to wonder if the real mind behind the Pendergast series was Steven Moffat.

Also Diogenes came back to life.

Readers began to wonder if--

ANYWAYS

No, Diogenes didn't "come back to life". He just landed on a convenient ledge and crawled back out. How? I...

Umm...

Moving on.

Diogenes has come to the conclusion that he is in fact in love with Constance, and suddenly the book turns into a Gothic romance, complete with a secluded island. Also, supposedly, the arcanum backfires if someone stops taking it, and Diogenes is Constance's only hope. Why did she just now starts suffering from it? We're not sure.

Diogenes has a psychotic female assistant who is not, in fact, Harley Quinn, because if she was then we would actually like her. Said female assistant has, predictably, fallen in love with Diogenes. Confusion ensues.

Meanwhile, PROCTOR IS ON A HIGH SPEED CHASE THROUGH THE DESERT TO FIND CONSTANCE AND HE FIGHTS OFF TWO LIONS ALL BY HIS LONESOME BUT WE DON'T SEE THAT BECAUSE BOOOOOOOOOO

I have strong feelings about not seeing Proctor's epic fight against lions.

Pendergast is not dead. Of course. Instead, he has been rescued by drug runners, who are holding him hostage on the boat and being Obviously Evil. They try to ransom him back to the FBI, which is divided between The Old Guys Who Implicitly Trust Pendergast's Wacky Ways and the Young Hotshot Who Isn't As Smart As He Thinks He Is. Where Mulder and Scully fall on this divide can be inferred.

This review has been a lot more sarcastic than I intended. I mean, it was a fun book, but I felt there was something slightly off. It's almost like the Gentlemen were like, "Hey, look at all these wacky theories by the Diogenes fangirls. Let's write them" and then it happened. The concept itself isn't bad, but I felt like Diogenes feelings came out of left field, and there was little focus on either Pendergast or Proctor's amazing ability to fight off two lions at once. (I'm not letting that go.) We get a little bit of Pendergast Pendergasting around, but that doesn't last long.

And what the hell happened to Tristram? You know, HIS SON? THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BACK? This kid started a rebellion at the age of, like, 15, after being locked in a basement for most of his life. WE REALLY NEED MORE ABOUT HIM.

That said, I'm interested to see where this particular arc point is going. And I'm happy to hear that the next book is going to be a classic Pendergast/D'Agosta team-up.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Post Election After Thoughts

I've been holding off writing this, first because to me, I had the same reaction I would have had if Hillary had been elected. "Well, that sucks." I made no secret that I despised both candidates. But here we are, and we have an orange president for four years (and hopefully no longer).

First, let's address the Electoral College thing. Look, I know it's frustrating when someone wins the college but not the popular vote, because I've been in that exact situation. But the purpose of the Electoral College is to prevent the high population areas from creating a tyranny of the majority over the rest of the country. It's job is to give voice to the people in rural areas and "fly over" states that would otherwise be drowned out. America was never intended to be a pure democracy. It was always a republic. There are some great Enlightenment works out there that discuss these concepts. I think a good foundation for learning about our country and political system would be to look at them.

Second, let's address the racists. I have one thing to say.

STOP

This is what you look like when you get mad at people of different ethnicities for merely existing:



I'm so confused by this. I admit, I laughed at people's outraged reactions the day after Trump won. I was scolded because "people are genuinely scared". Well, I maintain the majority of them were still ridiculous, especially these crying 18 year old white kids curled up in safe spaces. Stop that. No one got anything done doing that. And I'm saying this as a person who will cry at the drop of a hat. I also maintain that if that chick hadn't made up a false report about being attacked, these idiots wouldn't have latched onto the idea. I think she shot herself in the foot with that one.

That said, these idiots exist. They think Trump's strict (in some people's opinions, overstrict) immigration laws = HATE ALL MINORITIES, but these are also the people that took the Crusades out of context to apply them to any issue they don't like. Give us back Deus Vult, you varlets. You wouldn't last two seconds in an actual battle of any kind.

Look, Trump isn't exactly an ideal president. His public persona accidentally called out the crazy racists of the country, but I said it before and I will keep saying it: his "promises" are not going to come through. President Obama made a lot of promises too, and most of those didn't come to fruition either. I will also point out that Trump has never been "conservative", or even very Republican. In fact, he basically won because he's slightly outside the establishment. (We'll see how long that lasts.) But the point is, he had some very different ideas before the election, so I've always been skeptical about what exactly he's really going to do.

For now, we have to move on. He's in charge, like it or not, and the best we can hope for is that he doesn't screw up any worse than past presidents have done. We've been in this situation before. We can make it. And, on the bright side, we have four years of Oompa-Loompa jokes to use.

But next time you hear about some racist mob, the best thing to do is confront them dressed as a Crusader. Riding a horse, if  possible. See how fast they run.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some Lighthearted Lovecraftian Fun to Cleanse Our Palates



Randolph Carter is having a bad night. His best friend went down into a tomb, and now he sounds really weird, and keeps insisting that there are go-carts down there, and Carter should totally come join him!