Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

By this point in time, your average ghost story has become fairly predictable. Person visits house, things move around by themselves and scary noises happen, person finally flees the house in terror. Ghost still lurks about in a creepy manner.

And Susan Hill goes by formula. Yet, somehow, she still manages to make it fresh and make it scary.

Our narrator, Arthur Kipps, is enjoying Christmas with his wife and grown up children. But as they begin telling ghost stories around the fire, he is hit with an anxiety attack and must go outside to recover. It is after this he decides to tell his tale, in order to lay his demons to rest once and for all.

As a young man, Arthur, a solicitor, traveled to the small village of Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of a client, an elderly woman named Mrs. Drablow. He must also gather her important documents from her house, a creaky old thing sitting on a causeway in the middle of the marsh. However, from the moment he arrives, he can tell something is wrong, and that the people are deathly afraid of anything connected with Eel Marsh House. And then he begins seeing this woman in black…

As I said before, as far as ghost stories go, this one seems pretty formulaic. You guess what’s going on long before the end, yet Hill manages to deliver all the same. Part of this is atmosphere. Hill manages the atmosphere and setting of her book with great skill. You can feel the isolation on the marsh and the disorientation when the fog rolls in. The image of a silent group of children watching the woman in black is particularly chilling.

And best of all, right at the very end Hill decides to break formula. The twist is absolutely gut-wrenching, yet, looking back, it comes as no surprise at all.

I give this a 3.5 out 5.

Now go watch the trailer for the movie and tell me you don’t get the shivers from it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Upon seeing Entry 54....




Time to build a pillow fort against the forces of evil.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: Mysterious Celtic Mythology in American Folklore by Bob Curran

First off, I want to say that yes, I think the word “mysterious” was rather unnecessary. It makes it sound almost like one of those “DO ALIENS EXIST? WELL I’M NOT SAYING IT WAS ALIENS BUT IT WAS ALIENS!” type of books. But that is definitely not what this book is.

This book examines how Celtic legends were integrated into the setting of America once Europeans began settling in this country. And it does this well.

I’ve always been fascinated by folklore. Growing up in the Appalachians, it’s always been a part of my daily life. My poor old Granddad can tell the same story thirty times yet it still feels fresh each time. He told my brother and me about the guys who made a witch’s picture out of dough and shot it seven times, and how the witch’s daughters wouldn’t let anyone see the body because they found seven bullet holes in it. This is a common story throughout the South, yet it always felt like it belonged peculiarly to Craig County. We heard about his murder car and the ghost in his backseat. We grew wide-eyed at the transparent old lady in the house window, and shivered over the ghost that would walk up their steps each night. Granddad talked about the “hollerin’ things” in Franklin County. (This is the only story I’ve never found a duplicate of, which, quite frankly, makes it that much scarier.) We were always wary of the headless Confederate soldier and knew about the “murder hole” where, supposedly, a man in his carriage was driven to his death. If you live in any type of small town, you simply can’t escape the story telling tradition. And all these stories have origins elsewhere, in much older civilizations.

Bob Curran weaves his tales with the skill of a story teller. Although it’s essentially a study in folkloric tradition, it doesn’t read like a textbook. It flows, it has rhythm. And yes, many of the stories were quite familiar.

You have the portents of death, the strange noises from underground. Curran shows how tales of the old gods became tales of demons (which, coming from a Christian point of view, makes perfect sense). He points out how the similarity in landscape played a part in which stories settled where in this country. It’s an absolutely fascinating read.

This is a must for anyone interested in folkore, stories, or just like finding good yarns for the fireside.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bad Science Fiction

That's what Dale calls "Left Behind", anyways. Thanks to TV Tropes, I found quite a hilarious list of articles (a loooong list) joyfully mocking these silly books.

Here's just a sampling of the nonsense:

"Buck, likewise, seems nonchalant about his appointment that same day with the Ten-Horned Beast from the Abyss. It wasn’t that long ago that these characters were all convinced that Buck only survived his conversation with Nicolae due to the defensive magic of their prayer shield, but now they just routinely hang out with the guy, imperturbed by his mind-reading and mind-control powers."

THE ECUMENICAL COUNCIL WILL EAT YOUR SOUL.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Well then...

Binging on Slenderblogs + late night walk + why is it getting foggy only after we go outside =

"Slender Man!"



But actually the only problem was large, but not unnaturally large worms.

On an entirely different note, it seems Marble Hornets might actually be DOING SOMETHING. Yay.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Debra White Smith Review: Amanda

Though quirky, this one was rather well done. Perhaps that’s because the novel Emma was rather quirky as well.

At 25, Amanda is the youngest CEO in Australia, running her father’s travel company with the help of her dowdy but efficient secretary Haley. After realizing Haley is on the cusp of being married to a local farmer, Amanda decides drastic measures are in order, gives her a makeover, and tries to hook her up with the pastor of their church, Mason Eldridge. This simultaneously amuses and exasperates long-time family friend Nate Knighton.

This translated quite well with only minor changes. Haley, for example, is much more intelligent than Harriet, and seems to mainly suffer from lack of confidence. Amanda, like most Emma incarnations, is a somewhat softer, friendlier version, although she is still done quite well overall. And of course, the Mr. Woodhouse expy isn’t ailing in the least, though his daughter still clearly spoils him.

What can I say? It’s one of the ones I like to go back and read over, simply because it is well-written, entertaining, and translates well from the original novel. Amanda is loveable, exasperating, pitiable, sweet, snobbish, and the complex character we expect. As usual Smith makes it more obvious than in the original novels that the main characters are in love (though Amanda, like her counterpart, is just as oblivious till the end). The main failing is that the “Frank”/”Jane” pairing seemed rushed rather than subtly hinted at throughout the book.

Overall, a very good read, and the one I would place second on the list.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Debra White Smith Review: Central Park

Now that I have no Marble Hornets things to obsess talk about, I think I'll move on to my large amount of blog posts I have written for just such an emergency as this.

So, onto Central Park, yet another in Debra White Smith's Austen series.


Oh, this book. This was the book that actually got me started on the series. Mansfield Park is possibly my favorite, so finding a good, refreshing update where Fanny isn’t turned into some wild unrecognizable creature is nice.

Francine Ponce comes to Central Park to live with her wealthy Uncle Tom and his family, including the sour Aunt Nora. Exceedingly shy, she finally becomes comfortable in her new home, only to find she is falling in love with Tom’s foster son, Ethan.

It’s very much like the original, with a few exceptions. In Mansfield Park, it’s clear to the reader that Fanny is in love with Edmund long before she herself figures it out. In Central Park Franny states outright in a bit of monologue how much she loves Ethan and how she hopes to marry him some day.

Apart from that, this update was surprisingly accurate. Uncle Tom is quite gruff, Aunt Mariette is quite lazy, and Aunt Nora is quite unpleasant (though still a cake walk compared to Mrs. Norris of the original!). Marie and Julie are actually quite accurate as well, with Julie showing clear signs of being a follower. The “Caspers”, too, are well done. Like the original, one feels quite sympathetic toward Carrie. Even though in this book Ethan is the only son and therefore heir, it is still quite clear Carrie is in love with him for his own sake. The Henry expy isn’t so well done. Even though he is sometimes funny he is so clearly sketchy that even his claim to be in love with Franny seems rather like he has convinced himself he’s in love with her, as opposed to actually loving her. (In the book the Omniscient Narrator states Henry really was in love with Fanny.) He’s still an integral part of the story, but you don’t feel quite that sympathy that has caused Mansfield Park shipping wars across the Internet.

Even the minor characters are well done. The Yates character (or Yancey Bates) was actually extremely funny. Smith is good at writing humorous dialogue between characters, and it is no more evident than here. Another success is showing Franny’s immediate family and their house. I have been in places very like Franny’s old home-cluttered, dirty, an air of neglect throughout, even in the people. You can tell the kids are making the best of it but you can also tell that it is not a good place to grow up.

And in this, of all books, Smith makes it clearer than ever that physical attraction is an integral part of the characters’ interactions. As the book progresses Ethan, despite dating the gorgeous Carrie, finds himself oddly attracted to his “cousin”, something he finds unnatural. At one point, his monologue mentions dreams “that promised heaven in Francine’s arms.” Wow. Make the old ladies gasp, why don’tcha? But kudos to Smith for this. It seems like a lot of Christian authors are so afraid of mentioning what is painfully obvious to people actually in relationships. (And that sounded much meaner than intended. But I shan’t take it back.)

Now, there is a down side to this one as well, believe it or not after all that gushing. At times Smith’s writing seems to get ADD, and I’ve noticed this a bit in her other books as well. For one, when a character is deep in thought, Smith feels the need to mention every little thing the character sees as he or she looks around. It takes away from the tension of the moment. The other problem is that her characters seem to see one thing and have it remind them of something entirely different, but plot relevant. Carrie Casper seems especially bad about this, though in some cases the reminders seem mainly to emphasize her egotistical shallowness.

Apart from that, this novel is amazing. This is the one to start with because it is definitely the one that translates best.

Monday, March 12, 2012

DISNEY TRULY IS EVIL!


It's hard to see but DO YOU SEE IT? DISNEY WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Speaking of Slender Vlogs...

While I wait breathlessly for Entry 53 to arrive, I think I'll do a short review of another series I've found.

StanFrederickBTS is the YouTube channel maintained by the eponymous Stan, a kid making an amateur horror movie. He chats about his script, screen tests, and his camera problems. He also seems to be having issues with the neighbor kids, who for some reason like going out and playing late at night. He tweets about this quite a bit.

But his camera problems-and insomnia-start getting worse, and then one of the kids next door starts calling late at night, complaining about odd noises. This has come to a head when Stan goes outside, finds little Loretta sitting uselessly on the pavement, her brother gone-and a rather tall man who seems to be lacking some important features...namely, a face...

Stan gives chase, but has no memory of what happened beyond the footage, and now Loretta's brother is gone. And to make it worse, Stan has attracted some Slender groupies, who have decided it's time to start harassing him on YouTube.

Now, this series has been pretty slow going. The distortion is pretty well done, however, and startling at times, and now it seems like the creator is getting a clearer idea of where he wants to go with this. Some things seem a bit cliche-the Slender groupies are calling themselves the Collective, an idea originally started by Tribe Twelve, and Stan uses the Operator symbol at the end of the Collective video. The Operator symbol doesn't bother me so much. It's become so widely used in just about every Slender story that it's less a Marble Hornets thing and accepted as just a sign of the Slender Man in general. However, I hope the creator gets a bit more original with his Collective idea. It's an intriguing thought, but if it's exactly the same as Tribe Twelve that will definitely take away from the horror (unless, of course, this is in the same setting as Tribe Twelve, upon which I will take away my disapproval and cheer on the crossovers).

Overall, it's decent, and it seems like it's going to get better.

Also, it is proof that Slender Man just can't stand amateur filmmakers.

Wait a minute...could it be...? Could Slender Man really be...?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tomorrow!

Entry 53'll come out
Tomorrow!
Bet your twenny dollaz
That tomorrow
There'll be 53!

What does 53 have in store for us? Will the Operator stand there menacingly? Will Tim finally ask Jay why he's been stalking him for four months? Will Jay continue lurking outside of buildings and scaring the locals?

Who knows?

Only the Shadow the creators know!

My guess is that Tim will don a mask and start tackling people again. Because that's just oh so much fun.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Parody 5

Well...I've decided to subject you all to this. Having read the hilarious Movies in Fifteen Minutes, I was inspired to do my own parodying. Parodies, as a rule, tend to be affectionate, so I decided to parody Babylon 5. I've been told by those who haven't watched Babylon 5 that these make basically no sense to them. Since I'm used to that, I suppose I'm doing pretty well in the humor department. Without further ado, I give you...



Parody 5: The Disco Gathering!

TNT greets us cheerily. Thanks TNT! Then Londo starts talking.

Londo: So here’s B5. Lots of crazy, crazy crap happened. Probably because of all these weirdos here. Like…HEY THAT’S ME. Anyways, B5 was supposed to bring about peace. Guess how well that turned out.

Takashima: Are you guys loving this disco party or what?
Ironheartish Guy: Damn straight.
Garibaldi: Where’s Sinclair?
Takashima: Dealing with a tourist problem.

Tourist Problem

Sinclair: Hey, I know that chick’s hot, but Arnasians like eating their mates. Like, literally.
Tourist: D-:
Chick: LOL.

Security

A Sketchy Guy arrives. He is named Varner and is clearly Plot Relevant.

Garibaldi: I know, right? Here, Lyta, let me introduce you to Sinclair.
Sinclair: What’s all this about “Elvis Lives”?
Lyta: HE DOES.
Sinclair: While Garibaldi talks about arc-relevant dust, let me explain all these telepath rules for the audience.
Random Guy: HEY I’M TAKING A HOSTAGE! Give me my arc-relevant dust back!
Sinclair: Let me use my mad negotiation/trying to get myself killed skills. Dude…this really isn’t going to work. Like at all. You’re just gonna get arrested one way or another. Also I have snipers. Like everywhere.
Random Dust Guy: Well, crap.
Sinclair: We’ll let you leave but if you take the hostage you die. Horribly.
Random Dust Guy: Hell!
Sinclair: Also we’ll blow you up next time you come here.
Random Dust Guy: D-:
Sinclair: And pillage your planet.
Random Dust Guy: I’m from Earth…
Sinclair: WE’LL PILLAGE IT ANYWAYS. So, Lyta, tour eh?

DISCO CENTRAL

G’Kar: Takashima! My ship can’t dock and I hate your disco!
Takashima: It’s a weapons search. I mean, come on, what’s with the jerkiness?
G’Kar: IT’S CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!

Alien Zoo

Sinclair: This is the alien sector. These guys have no problem being stared at by people walking through, and they don’t understand curtains.
Lyta: So four alien ambassadors, eh?
Sinclair: Your future lov—mentor will be here soon.
Lyta: And why is it B5?
Sinclair: There were four. The first one sank into space. The second one sank into space. The third one burned down, fell over, then sank into space. The fourth one disappeared in a puff of plot device.

Teleporting Meeting Room

Takashima: Kosh said he’s on his way.
Garibaldi: And we basically know nothing about Vorlons.
Dr. Kyle: But we do know what they breathe. Methane, sulfur, fun stuff.
Sinclair: And their sex lives?
Dr. Kyle: …
Sinclair: That’s a joke. No, really.
Dr. Kyle: …

Meanwhile, a robotic thing merges with the ship. The audience giggles.

Garden

Sinclair: Good God, Delenn, why do you look so masculine?
Delenn: I haven’t yet discovered cosmetics. I like this stone garden. You drop a rock in and it changes the pattern of the sand. It’s like a metaphor for what a single individual can do. I wonder if that’s arc relevant?
Sinclair: Probably.
Delenn: So Kosh is on his way. Here’s all the information we have. Don’t tell anyone I gave it to you, and definitely don’t tell anyone what it says. Especially the audience.
Sinclair: Naturally.

Disco Central

Takashima: WHY IS KOSH HERE TWO DAYS EARLY?
Random Guy 221: To screw with us?
Takashima: Damn straight. Call Sinclair. Maybe nothing will go wrong.
Audience: God why.

Varner’s Pad

Varner: Hi.
Mysterious Person: Die.
*he does so*

Sinclair’s Pad

Sinclair: Who’s calling me?
Carolyn: Hi Jeff. ~*~I have Carnelian bed sheets~*~.
Sinclair: Aren’t those frictionless? HOW DOES THAT EVEN WORK?
Carolyn: I…don’t know.

Docking Bay

G’Kar: We’ll submit to your weapons search, and we’ll let Kosh come on board first.
Takashima: Um…great? ...this is plot relevant, isn't it?

GAMBLING!

Londo: BIG MONEY! BIG MONEY!
Garibaldi: Hey, I need to—
Londo: You jinxed me!
Garibaldi: Kosh is basically here. You’re coming to the reception. Even if I have to tranq you and prop you up in the room.
Londo: Hey, can you borrow me some money?
Garibaldi: NO.
Londo: Please?
Garibaldi: NOOO.
Londo: Remember that story about us conquering the galaxy?
Garibaldi: Londo, I have to go secure a Vorlon. Come meet us, we’ll have drinks, probably throw a disco party because I heard mysterious races like disco parties, that sort of thing.
Varnerish: I’LL BACK YOU LONDO!
Londo: SWEET.

Negotiating

Two business types negotiate, and Lyta happily points out that one guy is lying through his teeth.

Business Guy: Screw telepaths.
G’Kar: Speaking of screwing telepaths…we need to talk.
Lyta: Oh dear God.
G’Kar: I want your genetics so we can make more telepaths. I would prefer the direct method of breeding. I’ll pick up the wine after we deal with the “greeting the Vorlon” thing. What color lingerie do you like?
Lyta: WHAT.

Disco

Takashima: All right, Kosh, come on in. Don’t mind the disco party.

Elevator

*is stuck*
Sinclair: I wonder if this is plot relevant?

Docking of EPIC

Kosh turns around slowly, epically, as he emerges from the mist while music swells to a pitch in the background.

There’s no one there.

Kosh: …I made this entrance for nothing?

Greeting

Sinclair: I got stuck on the elevator.

Then the Assassination Attempt Alarm goes off, and they enter the docking area to find Kosh has fallen down. HE FELL DOWN A LOT.

MedLab

Takashima: The Vorlons say you can’t open the encounter suit.
Dr. Kyle: How am I supposed to heal him?
Takashima: Apparently they’re epic jerks.
Sinclair: Dr. Kyle is bound to confidentiality, now cut the cameras and get to it.
Takashima: Did you know that the first person to see a Vorlon turned to stone?
Other Doctors: OH GOD WHY.
Dr. Kyle: But he’s just shiny! SO VERY VERY SHINY!

Kosh is exceedingly shiny indeed.

Commander’s Pad

Senator Guy: So someone tries to kill Kosh the moment he steps off the ship? I mean what the hell. And Garibaldi is sketchy so I dunno about this.
Sinclair: Whatev.
Garibaldi: Nice guy. So I think Londo’s sketchy, and lots of people are sketchy. Hell, the senator’s right, even I’m sketchy! And you need sleep.

Sinclair’s Pad

Sinclair: Ah, sleep...NAKED GIRL IN MY BED! WHO NEEDS SLEEP?

MedLab

Computer: So we don’t know what the heck is up with Kosh but he’s dying.
Dr. Kyle: So the coolest alien ever is dying? I must call Sinclair.

Calling Sinclair

Sinclair: I was sleeping with a naked girl!
Dr. Kyle: That’s nice. Looks like someone poisoned him, have no idea what. But we don’t even know HOW it happened. And he’s basically dead within a day.
Sinclair: MY GOD MAN, THAT WILL THROW OFF THE ENTIRE ARC! Security, someone tried to kill the awesome alien. Don’t let anyone go anywhere EVAR.

Delenn’s Pad

G’Kar: IT WAS LONDO! Totally Londo.
Delenn: Okay?
G’Kar: And we can ally against the evil evil Centauri! Because you guys are awesome, and we are the brute force of epic.
Delenn: That’s completely terrifying.
G’Kar: But the Centauri were mean!
Delenn: Nope nope nope.
G’Kar: I’LL SHOUT AT YOU! The Grey Council SUX.
Delenn: You know what? Screw this. Where’d I put those force rings?
G’Kar: F—force rings?
Delenn: Yeah. I can totally like crush your rib cage with these things.
G’Kar: Do your worst!
Delenn: And I can also make you start whining like an emo.
G’Kar: GREAT MAKER NO! I won’t talk about the Grey Council ever again ever.
Delenn: Damn straight.

Zocalo

Garibaldi: Hey Londo.
Londo: So the Vorlons want to kill us all?
Garibaldi: Where were you anyways?
Londo: Trying out my gambling system. That Varner guy said he’d back me then he ran away. He’s over there being sketchy. He talked to Lyta a little later.
Garibaldi: RELEVANT.
Londo: We’re pretty sharks.
Garibaldi: Uh…huh. That’s not relevant. Like at all.
Londo: It’s arc relevant.

So Takashima plays some mystical music and then Dr. Kyle arrives.

Dr. Kyle: I’ve been taking stims. Probably arc relevant.
Takashima: Let me give you my illegal coffee.
Dr. Kyle: PRECIOUS CAFFEINE. So I have no idea how to save Kosh, the Awesome Guy.
Takashima: No one saw what happened.
Dr. Kyle: But Kosh does. We could totally have him scanned. The Vorlons don’t have to know.
Takashima: You know, I have this long back story about being a rebel when I dealt with corrupt security. But instead, I’ll just say why the hell not?
Dr. Kyle: TO THE TELEPATH!

MedLab

Lyta: I could totally get kicked out of Psi-Corps!
Takashima: And Kosh could totally die.
Lyta: Oh fine. I’m sure this isn’t arc relevant or anything. Think he’ll remember it?
Dr. Kyle: What, are you hoping for some energy transferral action?
Lyta: OH YEAH.

Elevator

Garibaldi: These things are lame. I feel like I’m on a frigging roller coaster. Why can’t we just have a pole to grab on to?
Sinclair: Have you seen what happens when you put poles on trains?
Garibaldi: Oh God.

MedLab

Lyta: Just to explain, I’ll feel what he did but I’ll see my own body. So no one has to CGI a Vorlon hand. Hey, the encounter suit is opening more! That’s not symbolic, is it?
Dr. Kyle: It totally is. Go for it.

Lyta sticks her hand inside the encounter suit, which I guess is like grabbing Kosh’s hand or something, and then she gets in Kosh’s head, and apparently Sinclair walked up and shook his…hand? Whatever, he shook his hand and grinned like a mad slasher and Kosh calls him Entil’zha which is totally not plot relevant I’m sure, and Lyta’s hand is glowing and something was slapped on Kosh’s hand and he starts twitching around and...

Lyta: OH GOD THAT WAS THE SCARIEST THING EVER.
Dr. Kyle: What happened?
Lyta: He was poisoned on his hand or something it was like a skin tab and it hurt and it was…
Sinclair: Hi guys.
Lyta: IT WAS HIM! HOW DARE YOU KILL MY FUTURE LOV—MENTOR? THE COMMANDER IS BAD TOUCH!
Takashima: She’s very upset, if you couldn’t tell.
Lyta: BAD TOUCH.

Commander’s Pad

Senator: So yeah this is awkward. Takashima, you take over.
Takashima: Oh, no, I totally could not. Like at all. Nope.
Senator: Do it. Bye guys. Have fun with that.

Meanwhile that plot relevant robot is still having fun on side of the station.

In the Zocalo, Varner creeps on Lyta, who buys like a scarf or something to make herself feel better about everything. He then shoots some friend named Eric. Nice guy.

In some meeting room, Delenn looks horrible under black light, G’Kar acts like a jerk, and Dr. Kyle tries to defend Sinclair. Londo, meanwhile, looks like he just woke up, or something.

G’Kar: What poison was used?
Dr. Kyle: It’s called Florazyne. It messed with blue cells. It’s from the Damocles sector, which is Centauri space.
G’Kar: Isn’t that where Carolyn was?
Sinclair: DON’T YOU MESS WITH MY WOMAN.

Hallway

Garibaldi: I don’t trust telepaths. And she’s talked to Del Varner, who’s a criminal. And smuggles illegal tech. And deals with Centauri stuff. I WONDER WHAT THAT’S ABOUT.
Sinclair: I have no idea. But I bet he’s plot relevant.

Casino!

G’Kar: Hi Londo. Let’s talk.
Londo: What.

Advisory Council of Idiocy

G’Kar: Hey. We all like Sinclair, he’s awesome. But we’ve all fought each other a lot, and we know he totally was in the Minbari war.
Takashima: Get on with it!
Londo: Yes, get on with it.
Everyone: GET ON WITH IT.
G’Kar: Anyways, we should totally let the Vorlons deal with him.
Takashima: Good God man, they’ll force lightning him!
G’Kar: I think it’s a good idea.
Takashima: No.
Delenn: Unfortunately, we’re just not gonna say anything because the Vorlons might scream at us.
Londo: Err…yeah.
G’Kar: And the Vorlons totally vote yeah. They said they were gonna break out the alcohol afterwards.
Takashima: Well, CRAP.
G’Kar: You got twelve hours Sinclair. Love ya.
Sinclair: GREAT.

Varner’s Pad

Garibaldi: Uh, hello? Well, CRAP. Looks like he peed on the floor. Or he’s dead.

MedLab

Garibaldi: So I basically have no idea about anything. How’s Kosh?
Dr. Kyle: I found a counter-agent to Florazyne! It will be ready just before he dies.
Sinclair: Great. Real great.

Delenn’s Pad

Carolyn: WHAT THE HECK DELENN?
Delenn: I had to abstain.
Carolyn: Why is your face red?
Delenn: THESE TERRIBLE COSMETICS.
Carolyn: I thought Jeff was your BFF?
Delenn: I’ve basically been ordered to observe and nothing else. With regards to Sinclair. It’s arc relevant.

Place

G’Kar: I have gill implants.
OMGWTFLYTA?: Sweet. Let’s talk.

Casino

Garibaldi: Screw you Londo.
Londo: Well…uh…G’Kar promised me brivari. Also he had blackmail material. My grandfather was a jerk on Narn. I screwed up, I know. Friends?
Garibaldi: Thanks. Jerk.

Meanwhile, Sinclair is angsting in his pad over the Minbari war, which is arc relevant.

Carolyn: Why’d you throw your shiny medal?
Sinclair: EVERYTHING.
Carolyn: Earth is badass. Stop being a wimp. AND I’M YOUR GIRLFRIEND. Hey, you were on the Line? Where the Minbari nearly killed the crap out of everyone?
Sinclair: Yeah. Very arc relevant. My friends died and then I got captured by Minbari and I don’t remember any of it.
Carolyn: My God, Jeff, you could be like the Chosen One or something!
Sinclair: I know. *sigh* I know. We should totally have sex.
Carolyn: Good idea.

MedLab

Lyta: Hi Doctor.
Dr. Kyle: Huh, looks like Kosh will be okay. I mean, that’s awesome and I thought Del Varner has been dead for like three days and WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING OVER THERE?

Lyta messes with instruments and tries to kill Dr. Kyle. He blasts her, she steps out, and…

Real!Lyta: OH MY GOD IT’S ME.
Sinclair: What the hell?
Dr. Kyle: I’ve got everything working again. WHY WAS THERE A MINDSCREW IN MY MEDLAB?

Hallway

Lytaish stumbles about and her face changes and it’s creepy.

Down in the basement place, Garibaldi and Sinclair find that a weird transport had let someone on the station. Probably the Lytaish Varnerish thing.

Sinclair: I guess someone brought it here.
Garibaldi: And I bet someone on the station helped, who is totally not Takashima. Also some poor guy died.
Takashima: I have something plot relevant.

Varner’s Pad

Takashima: He had a changeling net. That’s how they pretended to be Sinclair.
Sinclair: That can screw people up epically. I have a plan!
Garibaldi: I love it when he says that.

Disco!

Takashima: Let’s start this party, find that changeling net!

Stayin’ Alive plays while they find out where Varnerish is.

Meanwhile, Angry!Vorlons are Angry.

Down in the basementish thing, Garibaldi is hurt while Sinclair chases the Varnerish thing. The Varnerish guy steals his gas mask, then Delenn pops up for no apparent reason to save Garibaldi, we don’t know why, she just does this every now and then, it’s a bad habit of hers, and then Sinclair goes to fight an epic battle.

Disco

Takashima: Show the Vorlons what’s going on!
Morden: I got it.
Takashima: Who the heck are you?
Morden: Brian Morden, Mr. Morden’s long lost twin brother.
Ironheartish: And I’m Ironheart’s long lost twin.
Brian Morden: WE CAN BE FRIENDS FOREVER!
Takashima: What.
Chick: The Vorlons say they want Sinclair or they’ll blow everyone up.
Takashima: Vorlons can get stuffed!
Vorlons: FFFFFFUUUUUU—

So Sinclair is creeping about in the dark when suddenly some guy leaps at him. They punch each other a lot, the guy gives a slasher smile, turns into Varner, then Lyta, then Sinclair throws him against an electric fence…thing.

Sinclair: A Minbari? What the hell?

Disco

Mordenish: The Vorlons are going to shoot us!
Vorlons: STUFF THIS!

Basement

Sinclair: Why?
Minbari Guy: There’s a hole in your mind TROLOLOL.

He then sets off an explosive and Sinclair just barely escapes and that whole section blows up. Everyone falls, and then the Vorlons are like, “LOLWUT?” and decide to get far far away. Takashima yells at Mordenish, and Ironheartish meddles with stuff to look like he’s busy, and the blonde chick is confused.

Hallway

Sinclair: Hi guys.
Garibaldi: Hey.
Delenn: Yo.
Sinclair: I want a mocha. And Vicodin.
Delenn: Done.

Docking

Sinclair: Goodbye, Carolyn. It was nice seeing you for this pilot episode. But I’m going back to my old love interest so we can go back in time together.
Carolyn: Oh, fine. TTYL.

MedLab

Dr. Kyle: Garibaldi’s in his quarters, watching cartoons.
Takashima: We’re fixing the ship.
Dr. Kyle: Kosh is fine, by the way. He’s epic.
Delenn: We need to talk about this awkwardness.
Takashima: I’ll go look at the Vorlon. Aliens are fine with that, right?
Delenn: Sorry about the silliness with the Minbari guy. Here’s a record.
Takashima: So, you saw a Vorlon, eh?
Dr. Kyle: VORLONS ARE THE MOST AWESOME THINGS EVER MY GOD THEY COULD TAKE ON CTHUHLU.

Sinclair’s Pad

Sinclair: Let’s have a drink, G’Kar. I found out the Minbari guy is from the warrior caste, the super crazy sect. Varner spent a lot of time working for you guys, by the way. He got a changeling net and was supposed to meet with someone in the Tigris sector where your ship was. And so you used the naughty transport thing, Varner died, and the assassin went about his business. Story over.
G’Kar: Great. Beautiful. Bye.
Sinclair: So I put a nanotech tracker in your drink. Nice lace hanky, by the way. If anyting happens to B5 my friends find you. Lol.
G’Kar: WHAT.

G’Kar flees only to find Londo telling Garibaldi another story he’s told about ten times before.

G’Kar: DEAR GOD WHY.
Garibaldi: Beep lol.
Londo: Must be a circus IMEAN Earth thing.

Hallway

Garibaldi: Think they’ll find it?
Sinclair: There is no transmitter. They’re just going to keep looking.
Garibaldi: LOL.

Reception

Sinclair: Hey guys. Kosh is here, and he is epic. HI KOSH.
Everyone: HI KOSH!
Delenn: Yo.
Kosh: I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH.

Garden

Sinclair: I’m brooding.
Delenn: I know. They just brought down the disco ball, and Kosh was saying something cryptic about “transmitters” to G’Kar.
Sinclair: What does “a hole in your mind” mean?
Delenn: Just an old insult and all.
Sinclair: So you’re not hiding anything arc relevant?
Delenn: I’m doing everything for your own good.
Sinclair: Well let’s get back to this disco party.
Delenn: I find it hilarious you built four more stations after the first one got destroyed.
Sinclair: We’re stubborn. And we had a poet talk about that.
Delenn: There once was a man from Nantucket, who had a—
Sinclair: ANYWAYS.

Disco Party

Takashima: Hi guys. I’m not gonna be here for long, but come on in. WE HAVE DISCO.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Movie Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles

First off, I haven’t read the books yet, but now I really want to. This was an excellent movie. It had its weak points but for the most part it makes for a good fantasy film.

Mallory, Jared, and Simon Grace have just moved into an old house their mother inherited. They soon find a book written by the original owner of the house, their great great uncle Arthur Spiderwick. The book is a bestiary of supernatural creatures that live unseen parallel our world. His daughter claimed he was abducted by faeries; however, she was taken to an insane asylum. But then they discover that Arthur Spiderwick was right, and they soon find the evil ogre Mulgurath wants the book for himself, so he can take over the faery world.

The combination of traditional folklore and new additions to faery lore make for a very interesting world, and the designs of the supernatural creatures are very creative. The acting was pretty good overall as well. Freddie Highmore was fighting his accent tooth and nail, and did good for someone acting two very different parts. Jared was a very pushy boy with a sulk and an anger issue. Simon is a laid back pacifist who hates conflict. The actress who plays Mallory actually played a very believable teenager. Not whiny and melodramatically angsty, but definitely going through the teenage cage stage while trying to be the responsible one in the family. Sometimes with the mom it felt as though either the actress or the script was trying too hard to be “Reasonable!Mother”, but the focus of the movie was not really on her.

Sometimes the effects seem a bit pretentious too, mainly when they try to throw in unnecessary slow-mo. Overall, however, they were colorful and vibrant.

The best thing about this movie is that it can appeal to a wide demographic. Younger kids will like the fairy tale aspect, older kids will relate to the characters, who are in the preteen to teen ages, and adults will be entertained, even if this isn’t their cup of tea.

And, of course, let’s not forget the Obvious Christian Imagery. Such as getting spit in your eyes to be able to see the supernatural, Arthur Spiderwick being taken away and promising to return (and more that will definitely count as spoilers)…

And to add to its appeal for me given my recent Lovecraft obsession, the backstory seems very Lovecraftian. A scholarly fellow discovers there is more to this life than what we see, begins recording his observations on this, but winds up awakening evil and mysteriously disappears.

I would give this a 3 out of 5. It’s not particularly deep, but it’s a ripping good yarn and very entertaining.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Debra White Smith Reviews: First Impressions

Onto something a little less philosophical...


This wasn’t one of the better ones, and I believe it is due partly to the fact that Smith gets a bit…meta in this one. See, the main characters in this Pride and Prejudice update are playing their own characters in a play version of Pride and Prejudice within the novel universe. It’s somewhat mind-boggling, actually.

Eddi Boswick has just set up her practice as a lawyer (naturally). She is roped into a local theater production of Pride and Prejudice, playing the part of Elizabeth Bennett, opposite the difficult Dave, a local who has made his dislike for her quite clear. Meanwhile, Eddi’s sister chases every cop she can, especially the handsome Wickham expy.

Now, apart from the mind screw Smith has going on, I just didn’t feel connected to the characters. I believe this was her first novel, so it’s to be expected that it won’t be as good as the later ones, but I still feel like something is missing here, though I really can’t tell what. I suppose they seemed more like they were, in fact, people being forced to perform a play as opposed to characters in their own rights. Where Reason and Romance succeeded was that you can forget you’re reading an updated version of a novel. You feel for Elaina as Elaina, not Elinor as Elaina. In this, however, it seems like one is constantly reminded “Yes, this is Pride and Prejudice!” Perhaps it is because Smith decided to be meta and make frequent mention of the original novel.

The other part is that the Lydia expy’s ending felt horrible. In Pride and Prejudice, you feel like Lydia has gotten her just desserts. She’s thoughtless as ever, and you know her and Wickham’s relationship will not be a good one. However, you also know that overall she’s not going to have a horrific life. In this novel, however, the Wickham character is even worse. I suppose that’s realistic but that makes the ending actually sadder. In this book, “Lydia” and “Wickham” take off for a tropical resort. The Lydia character proceeds to get pregnant, and while she is dealing with morning sickness, the Wickham expy tries to pressure her into sex, gets mad and shoves her down when she won’t give in, and promptly goes to have sex with another woman. In the end, our runaway isn’t returned to her home where people love her and can help her care for her child. No, she wants to marry the cop, so “Darcy” arranges it! Sure, “Darcy” has his two bouncer-type friends living across the hall from them so “Wickham” doesn’t abuse her, but it still doesn’t feel right at all. In the original novel Lydia is a thoughtless little fool who has no fear and no regrets. When you learn she’s stuck with Wickham, you feel she gets what she deserves. In this book “Lydia” is a foolish girl who gets kicked hard by life, learns the error of her ways and deeply regrets them, and her husband is a drug-addled abuser waiting to happen!

Overall, this was not the best update.



On another note, I often wondered why, if they were going to mix Jane Austen books with horror, they did ridiculous things like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies instead of mixing it with, say, Lovecraftian horror.

Oh, wait.



*coughCharlesDexterWardcough*