Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: Crimson Shore




I had trouble coming up with actual words to describe this book. Like Pfizer, it's literally indescribable.

But unlike Pfizer, I suspect the Gentlemen prefer us to try to describe their books in words, so here goes nothing.

Pendergast has been hired to do some freelance detective work for a wealthy man from Innsmouth Exmouth. Percival Lake's wine cellar was broken into, and his fabulously rare wine stolen. Wine is, like, super incredibly important to Pendergast, so he takes the job with the only payment being one of the few rare bottles left.

They discover pretty early on that the wine theft was a cover up for something else stolen-a human skeleton that was walled up in the basement! It's a pretty old skeleton, of course, but that begs the question-who wanted to cover up a centuries old murder?

Of course, this is Arkham Exmouth, and the first thing everyone brings up is the witches that supposedly fled Salem and moved there. While Constance is away studying up on witches in Salem proper, Pendergast begins learning more about the town's past, and why a walled up skeleton is of interest to them in the present.

However, even when the mystery is solved, something even darker is going on.

I liked the book. It felt a little disjointed, and I suspect it's because the Gentlemen were very excited to get to the cliffhanger ending. However, it was still a good story, and it definitely gave us a deeper look into the black hole that is Constance's mind.

I admit, I was hoping for some sort of Lovecraft reference, even a small one, but it's okay, because that ending. That ending.

You see...that ending...it's so spoilery...
































Someone who most certainly should be dead, who the Gentlemen spent years insisting he was dead...

Is back.






Monday, April 25, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The God Complex, Closing Time, The Wedding of River Song

The God Complex

In this episode, the Doctor, Rory, and Amy arrive in the House.

No, really.

Or a Tarantino trunk scene. I mean, it's pretty similar.

It appears to be an outdated hotel, but the Doctor soon realizes that it is an alien structure that is meant to look like a hotel. They meet a few others who have somehow arrived in the Hotel, along with Joe, who has already been driven crazy by whatever the Hotel does. There is apparently some beast roaming the halls, who draws people into rooms containing their worst fears. After entering, they begin to praise the Mighty Glow Cloud beast, and then are taken, with no sign of where they went.

The beast, for the record, is a Minotaur.

"I just forgot my room key! Honestly!"

As the group gets picked off one by one, the Doctor manages to temporarily trap the Minotaur and question it. It turns out, the Hotel has imprisoned the Minotaur, who feeds off the people without wishing to.

After Rita a Muslim woman, succumbs, the Doctor works out what's going: the Minotaur doesn't feed on fear, it feeds on faith. People meet their fears, which causes them to fall back on their faith, which is transferred to the Minotaur.

And even worse, the TARDIS was drawn to the Hotel because of Amy's faith in him. In order to save her, he has to entirely break her trust in him, which he does in the saddest speech ever. Okay, almost saddest speech.

Actually, Doctor Who contains a lot of sad speeches.

Amy's trust is broken when she realizes the Doctor can't save them, and the illusion fades to reveal a prison ship. The Minotaur wishes for death after being forced to feed on people for so long, but points out that the Doctor feels the same weariness of a too-long life as well.

The Doctor, disheartened, leaves Rory and Amy on Earth to live a normal life together.




Closing Time

For the Doctor, it's been 200 years since he last saw Amy and Rory. He is aware he only has a day to go till his death, so he is visiting his old friends. (Later on, compare this to the Twelfth Doctor's behavior, which involves a medieval rock concert. Have I mentioned the Twelfth Doctor is awesome? Because he's awesome.)

The Doctor drops by to visit Craig and Sophie, and their new baby, Alfie STORMAGEDDON, DARK LORD OF ALL.

Sophie has gone away for the weekend, and Craig is left trying to care for a baby by himself. The Doctor gives encouragement in the only way he can, which is through sheer nonsense, but upon leaving is distracted by anomalies. He tries very hard not to go to rescue, but just can't help himself.

Later, Craig is at a department store shopping with STORMAGEDDON, and discover the Doctor is working at a toy store, which is the most logical alternative to saving the galaxy for him.


Apparently, shop assistants, apart from constantly mistaking the Doctor and Craig for lovers, have sighted silver rats.

You see where we're going, now, don't you kids?

The Doctor and Craig enter an elevator, accidentally get teleported to a Cyberman ship, but the Doctor manages to reverse it.

Also, Amy is a perfume model and her and Rory have completely normal lives and will clearly never undergo anything strange again.

The Doctor and Craig catch a cybermat after hours, and, after some reprogramming, use it to track the Cyber signals.

The Doctor gets captured and discovers the Cybermen have been slowly siphoning bits of energy from the store to repower their ship. And convert the human race.


Craig leaves STORMAGEDDON with a store clerk so he can find the Doctor. He is promptly captured and the Cybermen attempt to convert him.

The Cybermen have a pretty bad learning curve when it comes to realizing humanity is hard to convert. Hearing STORMAGEDDON cry is enough to turn Craig into Robo Dad. The Cybermen experience emotions from Craig and...well...

why can't i stop watching this


In the end, Alfie sheds the title of STORMAGEDDON and comes to appreciate his father.

Yes, I know we're talking about an infant. Just go with it.

Meanwhile, in the future, River, having just become an archaeologist and still looking for the Doctor, is captured by Madame Kovarian, shoved into a space suit (which probably fits her better now that she's, you know, an adult), and submerged into Lake Silencio.

"Well, this wasn't exactly my idea of vacation after graduate school..."


The Wedding of River Song

Okay, get ready for a mindscrew. I'm still not sure I totally understand this episode, but that's okay, because it's fun.

The Doctor is trying to figure out why Madame Kovarian and the Silence want to kill him. The Teselecta, posing as a Silence and apparently crewed by people aren't as horrible as the last ones, offer to help him in any way they can, bludgeoning the audience with their foreshadowing as hard as possible.

The Doctor runs into Dorium. Who's Dorium? Oh, that blue guy I didn't know before. He was beheaded by the Headless Monks, but his head is still working. Dorium reveals that the Eleventh Doctor was originally meant to die on the planet of Trenzalore, and there a question will be asked "that must never be answered". Failing to see that said question is being asked all the time, because the fourth wall is rather permeable, the Doctor moves on. Once he discovers that the Brig has finally stopped being trapped in Brazil, or Peru, or wherever he was, and died waiting for him to come visit, which seriously THAT IS THE WORST THING EVER, HE KEPT WAITING AND WAITING FOR THE DOCTOR TO DROP BY AND HAVE A DRINK WITH HIM, WHAT THE HELL MOFFAT.

So, the Doctor heads on to Lake Silencio, and sends off his invitations from the beginning of the season. River, unable to control her movements, is set to shoot him, but then drains the weapon's system and averts the Doctor's death, a fixed point in time.

AND THEN EVERYTHING GETS REALLY CONFUSING.

Time gets stuck and mixed up at the same time. Churchhill is the Holy Roman Emperor, which sounds a lot like historical fanfiction. The Doctor is his "soothsayer", there are Silence all over the place, and then Amy arrives with an eyepatch (actually a drive designed to prevent Silence memory loss) and some soldiers to rescue him. Thanks to the crack in her bedroom, she is aware that time isn't right. River is aware too, but won't let the Doctor touch her, since that would cause previous events to resume. Rory is the captain of the squad of soldiers and Amy can't remember him. Again.

"In a world where everyone wears eye patches and flips their hair dramatically..."


Madame Kovarian is not as captured as they thought she was, as she and the Silence begin overrunning the Giza Pyramid, which is Area 52.

Reference-ception.

The patches are getting overloaded, Amy makes Madame Kovarian keep hers on, which kills her and is also a hilariously awesome scene, and then the Doctor points out to River that saving him will cause, you know, the destruction of reality. So he marries her. Yep, he just marries her out of the blue, which makes sense after all those accidental proposals. He tells her his name, kisses her, and then the timeline is restored.



Except the Doctor actually told River to look into his eye, because the Doctor that is shot is actually the Teselecta. The Teselecta giggle at their obvious foreshadowing, River arrives at Rory and Amy's house to explain it all, and Dorium mentions his favorite TV series, Doctor Who.

What's next for our hero? C.S. Lewis jokes, of course.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WHY TEH WIMMENZ SHOULDN'T BE IN BASEBALLZ



IT'S JUST NOT FAIR ALL THE WOMEN KEEP TAKING ALL THE MEN'S THINGS AND NEVER LETTING THEM HAVE ANYTHING OF THEIR OWN

AND ALL THEY DO IS GOSSIP AND ARE MEAN AND STUFF

THE POOR MEN NEVER GET ANYTHING OF THEIR OWN. IT'S LIKE WOMEN HAVE ALL THE POWER IN THIS COUNTRY WHERE THEY'RE ALL POLITICIANS AND PRESIDENTS AND CEO'S AND THINGS. MEN ARE SOCIALLY EXPECTED TO SHOW MORE INTEREST IN DOMESTIC THINGS AND THEIR PERSONAL APPEARANCE AND IT'S NOT FAIR.

IT'S SO SAD YOU GUYS. I'M SAD.

"Man Tears", while often misused, are appropriate in this case.


This was a comment on an article regarding the problems women face in attempting to become umpires.

The commenter in question apparently believes that women ruin everything they touch. Making sweeping generalizations about a gender based on a stereotype that the gender is mean and terrible is totally the logical way to explain why women shouldn't be in baseball. Totally.

I'm also wondering about these "women only" things the guy is talking about. Sports? Nope, can't think of a single sport that is women-only. Spas? Nope, they have services catering to men too. Midwives? Uh, well...

That's it. It's not fair men can't get pregnant and go to those mommy meetings where they talk about labor and breastfeeding and stuff. So unfair.



Edit: I looked, and the comment is already gone? I mean, I'm fine with someone expressing nonsensical viewpoints, so long as I get to mock them relentlessly. I'm scared of this new found power. Am I a Q now? Has anyone noticed any fissures in reality lately? Is this even the same reality now? I'm not sure, but I also can't explain the sudden appearance of chocolate and kittens in my room.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"Jesus Lunches" and why journalists REALLY need to clarify things

So, a controversy has arisen. Which means it is literally any day of the week. But I digress.

Let's lay out the facts here. A group of moms in Middleton, WI started bringing lunch for their middle schoolers to Fireman's Park. More kids wanted to come, and it's become a regular gathering. They eat sandwiches and talk about Jesus in regular conversation.

Now, the superintendent has asked them to stop. Even though kids can go off-campus for lunch, Fireman's Park is leased during school hours to the school.

There are two problems with this scenario that so far have not really been covered.

1. What does it mean by the school leasing the park during school hours

Presumably, the public can still use the park. Yet the school has certain rules when it comes to the students. This is an ambiguous situation that the school really didn't think through. It seems strange to regularly lease a public space, yet have certain rules only apply to certain things. Does the school have a specific set of rules regarding it? Do they have them posted, or have they announced them? We aren't told. When I worked at a library, our new director sat down with the managers and set out specific rules and policies, and made copies for every work station. That way, if someone questioned why we told them to stop screaming into their cell phones, we could show them the policy list and explain why. If the school is going to lease the park during the day, they need to be specific in how it can and can't be used.

2. The school's changing reasons for opposing the gathering.

The school initially started out with the reason of separating school activities from religion. See #1 for why this didn't work-the ambiguity of the park situation. Then, their reason changed to food safety. Understandable, but again...#1. Then, they insisted that it was distressing other students and their parents. Personally, I think if someone breaks down into tears at the thought of other people going somewhere away from them to practice a religion, they need therapy. That's not a healthy response to other beliefs. If it's because they feel left out by friends who are going there...that's still not a healthy response. As a Christian, I am told over and over again by society that I need to accept other beliefs regardless of how I feel about them. I agree with this; but everyone needs to have that acceptance. It's not good to constantly stress yourself out over what others believe or do. (Unless that belief is "kill 'em all", then we should be stressing. But I digress.)


For my own opinion, this really does seem like a situation in which the religion in question is disagreed with and as such the officials try to find a good reason to stop it. (It does happen-to Christians, as well as other religious groups.) The video of the superintendent's rather condescending behavior doesn't help matters. I would say the students could reorganize it into a student-run gathering where they invite the ladies in, but the school now has food safety objections, sort of ruining the idea of a free lunch. This also leads me to believe the true objection actually is a religious one.

Basically, the situation could have been prevented with a specific set of rules regarding the use of the park and how the public not associated with the school is affected by this.


Sources:

http://www.channel3000.com/news/middleton-school-district-at-odds-over-jesus-lunch/39009058

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/04/15/school-superintendent-principal-confront-moms-over-jesus-lunch.html

http://eagnews.org/exclusive-video-school-administrators-try-to-physically-block-parents-from-hosting-jesus-lunch/

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/religious-lunch-event-causing-tension-between-organizers-and-middleton-school/article_b39bf369-8c75-5622-8a02-3baa664acca7.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-wisconsin-school-parents-at-odds-over-jesus-lunches-20160414-story.html

Monday, April 4, 2016

Wattpad

So, recently I've discovered Wattpad. In a way, it's similar to Fictionpress, but it allows you to upload covers to your stories, so that's a plus. Also, it seems to be a bit more well-known.

A while back, I was writing the company newsletter for my old job, and I put some of my short stories in there. The problem now is that, because the stories have a possibility of being available to the general public, I can't send them out to magazines because most magazines want first rights, which I can no longer give them. So, those stories are going there, while I continue attempting traditional publishing.

Wattpad is free to use, you just need to sign up. No pressure to write anything yourself, or even comment. (But if you want to comment, either to tell me I'm TEH GREATEST WRITAR EVAR or tell me I should be properly ashamed of myself, that's okay too.)

Right now, I have "Polydactyl" and "Lydia" on there. Others, based on much shorter 100 Themes Challenge things I've done, will follow.