lonemagpie: Bogie! (bogie)
THE HIDDEN OASIS by Paul Sussman. A real mixed bag. After intriguing first half dozen pages, absolutely fuck all happens for the next 170 (to the point that I almost gave up on it and did start just skimming). Then the chase-thriller plot that was advertised actually starts, and it's... OK. Nothing special. Better than Matthew Reilly, not as good as Cussler or Andy McDermott in the action fun stakes. For most of it, this is a racing smugglers to some stolen uranium kind of gig. Then in the last 120 pages or so, it jumps the shark into full-on random supernatural impossibility, which seems to have wandered in from a completely different book altogether and doesn't fit with what's gone on so far in this one. Throw in uninteresting characters and dialogue, and into the charity shop bag it goes.
lonemagpie: Jaffar (deep thought)
is watching loved ones suffer and not being able to... save them.

Broken

Feb. 28th, 2017 10:56 pm
lonemagpie: like it says (fuck it)
Separate from the events of the convention, the weekend was interesting test of the state of my health. Not having control what's in the stuff I eat, coupled with a buggering up of routine, and random rather than programmed amounts of activity and stresses meant my blood sugar was all over the place (not into dangerous levels, but inconvenient) - so I must watch out for that any time I'm away having meals in hotels for multiple days.

I also at one point was looking for a particular person, was pointed to where he was, and, because of the colour of his jacket in a dark room with flashing coloured lights, walked straight past him because I literally couldn't see him in that colour/shade environment of a disco. Which means I think, even with the eyesight improvement, next time they ask if I want to register as partially sighted I might actually agree to do it.

I also know a lot of people who have mobility issues and lack of spoons, and was somewhat shocked, to see by direct interaction and comparison, that by Sunday evening I was as bad (with my left foot, whose heel I busted 30 years ago, as well as the blood thing). Cos I'm usually fairly... Able. I mean, I run around fencing and fighting in medieval armour, for fuck's sake...

So, I have to admit, though the panels and talks and stuff I did at the convention were great fun, health-wise that was a pretty disatrous weekend.
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
I've been at Redemption 17 since Thursday, but before that finished The Chronicles Of Conan 1: Tower Of The Elephant And Other Stories. This is a collection (by Dark Horse) of the first 8 issues of Marvel's Conan The Barbarian from back in the day ( written by Roy Thomas, with Barry Smith's art nicely upgraded for smooth modern paper by Digital Chameleon). It was good fun, apart from Conan's silly two-horned helmet. The writing takes a strange tone of telling us what's happening in the panels, as if we couldn't see, and is filled with REH-style florid voerbosity - and somehow it works, even though we an see what's happening. So, good fun.
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
ANITA BLAKE, VAMPIRE HUNTER: THE LAUGHING CORPSE – ANIMATOR by Laurell K Hamilton and Ron Lim. This is a hardback graphic novel adaptation of the second Anita Blake novel, which I'd got free as a handout at a convention a couple of years ago. I know nothing about the series – thought it was one of thse cliched things for teenage girls, but actually this isn't bad at all (well, there's the appearance of vampire master Jean-Claude, but I suspect he's meant to take the piss out of the whole Anne Rice subgenre), and jumping on without knowing the first book wasn't a problem – it was pretty much self contained, with any necessary background exposition slotted in. It's a sort of police procedural mystery thing with zombies and vampires, and felt tonally very like the Harry Dresden books, which is a good thing. The art is nice too. What's not nice is that it collects five issues of comic and ends on “to be continued in The Laughing Corpse- Necromancer” which I haven't got. Still, it does actually make me wonder if the novels are of of a similar Dresden-ish tone, and so I may have to try one if I see one...
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
ALLEGIANCE by Timothy Zahn. A spot of Star Wars, set between Episodes IV and V. Entertaining fun, though felt like generic space opera with added insistence on all the make and model numbers of equipment. Mara Jade's detective element was best – though at this point she's supposed to be 18 and already a superheroine who's just too fair and good to be working so well with Vader and Palpatine – with the Stormtrooper squad also providing fun – they should have done a series with them as the Rainbow Six to her Jack Ryan. The Luke/Han/Leia stuff didn't really sit that well, and I think things would have been tauter without them being in... But still, good fun.

I feel some comics reading coming on next, now that my eyes have recovered enough to handle dialogue balloons on coloured backgrounds again...
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
GRAVITY by Tess Gerritsen. That wasn't bad – probably more surprising for her regular medico-thriller readers than an SF reader, but it did necely genre-straddle, being legitimately hard SF as well as a medical thriller thing (which isn't my general reading material, and less likely to become so these days).

There was some predictability in there, and characterisation not so great – I didn't really get an image or voice for anyone – and the use of Chekhov's Gun was frequent and obvious from the get go. OTOH, the plot, moved along nice and smoothly, even if I found myself skimming the bits where the estranged couple each don't want to get divorced but everything they say makes the other think that they do want it.

As an aside, no, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the film Gravity, bar the title and the ISS. Overall... It was OK. I dunno that I'd look out for other Gerritsen books generally, but I'd read a sequel to this if there was one.
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
Ah, another of those "not a resolution, but a normal thing I've now been restored enough to get back to" that today (being Twelfth Night, and the decorations are down) is appropriate to go back to- the minimum daily word count, put ahead of hobbies and stuff, certain people (who I'm married to, especially) take note. Traditionally it was 2000 words, but has historically varied up past 5-6k when I was on a roll, albeit not for about 18 months.

So... (Well, I say that, but have surgeries again next weekend, so fuck knows how efficiently this'll work, depending on what they do then.)
lonemagpie: Jake and Elwood (blues brothers)
#2- DESPICABLE ME MINIONS ANNUAL 2017. Yeah, another Xmas novelty I got. I do love Minions, and this is an all-Minion volume. There are assorted little puzzles and stuff which should be fun for the kiddies, some nice cartoons, an a brief novelisation (of sorts) of The Minions movie. The main feature is some 3D Minions card kits, which are pretty good, though they do come out more squared and angular than the rounded Minions we know...

#3 HORRIBLE HISTORIES' FESTIVE FEASTS by Terry Deary. Less of a novelty, but just to round off the Xmas-themed reading... Well, basically it's a Horrible Histories book- we all know what that means: nice easily-digestible chunks of interesting and amusing historical tidbits, largely addressed to 8-12 year-olds, but pretty much appealing to all ages. This one isn't specifically about foods or feasts at Christmas, but covers lots of seasonal facts and customs, in the typical HH style. Not really anything I didn't already know, but then again, I've done a fair bit of research on the subject for another book, so there's bound to be quite a bit that's new to most people. And since it's so readable, it makes an ideal dip-into sort of thing (e.g. what we here call a bog-book, cos it's handy for something to look at while sat on one) more than a page-turning novel sort of thing. But fun.
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
MR MID-LIFE CRISIS AND FRIENDS by Jack Collier & Sarah Lawrence. OK, so it's a little novelty thing of few pages that Lesley gave me for Xmas, with a page each on several dubious modern middle-aged Mr Men – Mr Mid-Life Crisis, Mr Shed, Mr Geek, etc – which are quite amusing and fit well with the “official” Mr Men books today. Thankfully I don't seem to fit any of them quite that much, though I do share with Mr Commuter the pleasure in watching others try to find a seat after I've got one. Mind you, the best entry in it is one Lesley wrote on the inside of the back cover...
Normally I wouldn't bother posting about such a short novelty, but I wanted to get more books read and a more regular book log back as early as possible this year, not as a New Year resolution of the “oh, I must get back into the habit of reading more,” but as reaffirmation of being able to read properly again, in the sense of my eyes being able to distinguish normal text on a printed page – because there was a point last April/May when my sight had degraded to the point where I couldn't.
So, anyway, there's the first finishing of 2017. Which really should have been Tess Gerritsen's Gravity, but I'm struggling with that due to it being boring, and also wanted to read something new in the New Year, rather than be slogging through something I started a month ago...
lonemagpie: if only (by me)
Time to fulfil a regular New Year tradition and write a least a line of something new as a start as a I mean to go on thing... Though this time it's a couple of short pieces anyway, so...

Remember

Jan. 1st, 2017 12:39 pm
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
Remember, folks, if you want the year to be great and happy and stuff... you have to make it so. You have to *do* good things. Oh, there's always random outside shit that can mess things up, that you can't do anything about, so you have to do things about the stuff you can do things about!
lonemagpie: Bogie & Bacall (Bogie & Bacall)
And I'll repeat my last thing of 2016 to start off the new year and set a tone:
Go, right now, without passing go and collecting 200 anything, regardless of what else is happening, and tell someone you love that you love them. At least one person, by email, by phone, or in person. Whether it's romantic love, platonic, filial, maternal, paternal, whatever. You love someone, you tell them. And mean it. Right now. Go on, the internet will still be here when you get back; we'll wait.
lonemagpie: Jake and Elwood (blues brothers)
Happy New Year all. Do what you gotta do, and, an it harm none, do what makes you safe and happy and content.
lonemagpie: Bogie & Bacall (Bogie & Bacall)
Oh, yeah, and I said this last year in one of the end of year memes, because I was in that kind of place after what happened last year, but I figure this is the right time to say it again, because it's a good way to round off the year and get closure, and to start off the new year and set a tone:
Go, right now, without passing go and collecting 200 anything, regardless of what else is happening, and tell someone you love that you love them. At least one person, by email, by phone, or in person. Whether it's romantic love, platonic, filial, maternal, paternal, whatever. You love someone, you tell them. Right now. Go on, the internet will still be here when you get back; we'll wait.
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
Oh, a note for those expecting that 2017 will miraculously erase the events of 2016 and instantly be a better year: well, no. Trump's inauguration is due in three weeks, Article 50 in March, and all my generations heroes are in their 70s-90s now... But the difference is we're going into those things with our eyes open. It's like Return Of The Jedi – all the shit has been set up already, so we know Han is in the clutches of Jabba, and the Emperor is moving in to the second Death Star, which means now we know what the situation is... We know what we're fighting, what we're standing up to, and so it doesn't have the shock and surprise value this time around.

So, in that sense.... yeah, with caution, a Happy New Year could be had – so go and have it, and make it that. It won't be happy if you don't make it happy...
lonemagpie: Jaffar (deep thought)
I've had many “Happy Birthday” wishes and now it's the Happy New Year time. And... It has been a happy birthday, in that I've had nice noms, got some DVDs and stuff, and fenced in the dark. I'm not sure that just things make me happy, though – I've a huge backlog of DVDs to watch, games to play, and books to read, so mere material things aren't what makes me properly actually happy.

Being productive does; finishing stuff does, and achieving stuff does, whether it be in a game or in work, or whatever. I had hoped to finish some bits and pieces today – A Study in Steampunk especially – but didn't manage that. Seeing that somebody's learned something I taught them does. Interacting with friends does. I wonder if part of 2016 being rubbish is because of so many people who I didn't see at all this year.

Anyway, yeah, I have some nice things to enjoy, which is good. As for 2017, Yeah, I have stuff to finish, and stuff to start, and actually get to see some of those people. Which is nice. I don't do resolutions, as I've said before, but I do occasionally need to make note of reminders. I do have a convention or two to go to this coming year; I know that now that my eyesight has recovered somewhat, I actually can restore my book reading levels; I know I've got a routine sorted out over this year that keeps my sugar stable and low, and I just need to make sure I get doing that swordy teaching and coaching stuff...

Shit, there was something else I was going to say, and I forget what it is.

2016 Score

Dec. 31st, 2016 08:50 pm
lonemagpie: Bogie! (bogie)
As in 2013 and 2015 (somehow I never did it for 2014), rather than a review of my year, I’ve assembled a playlist for the soundtrack score... So, I know what they all refer to; some of you might get what some of them refer to, but all you get is the title, composer, and thing it’s from... But if you dig out the tracks, and play them in order, you’ll get a feel for my year.


01) Gunbarrel (Thomas Newman, SPECTRE)
02) The King's Arrival (Ramin Djawadi, Game Of Thrones season 1)
03) Dirty Martini (David Arnold, Casino Royale)
04) You Know My Name (Chris Cornell, Casino Royale)
05) Dream of Cyberia (Murray Gold, Dr Who series 7)
06) Mountain Of Power Procession (Basil Poledouris, Conan)
07) You And Me, Amy (Murray Gold, Dr Who series 5)
08) Stoick's Ship (John Powell, How To Train Your Dragon 2)
09) Upgrade In Progress (Murray Gold, Dr Who series 7)
10) The Fencing Lesson (James Horner, Mask Of Zorro)
11) Genesis Countdown (James Horner, Star Trek II)
12)This Is Berk (John Powell, How To Train Your Dragon)
13) Enterprise Clears Moorings (James Horner, Star Trek II)
14) Remember Me (Murray Gold, Dr Who Series 7)
15) Space Adventure Part 2 (Martin Slavin, Tomb of the Cybermen)
16) All In A Day's Work (David Arnold, Tomorrow Never Dies)
17) Los Muertos Vivos Estan (Thomas Newman, SPECTRE)
18) Barbarian Horde (Hans Zimmer, Gladiator)
19) Ronin (Hans Zimmer, The Last Samurai)
20) A Good Man? (Murray Gold, Dr Who series 8)
21) The Enigma Of River Song (Murray Gold, Dr Who Series 6)
22) Robo Vs ED-209 (Basil Poledouris, Robocop)
23) The War Begins (Christopher Franke, B5 In The Beginning)
24) OHMSS theme (John Barry, OHMSS)
25) Ready The Ships (John Powell, How To Train Your Dragon)
26) Bond Lookalike (John Barry, Octopussy)
27) Reign (Ramin Djawadi, Game Of Thrones season 6)
28) Hail Mary (Paul Englishby, The Musketeers season 2)
29) Red Warrior (Hans Zimmer, Last Samurai)
30) They Are Here Somewhere (Paul Englishby, The Musketeers season 2)
31) Bones Theme (Crystal Method, Bones)
32) They Walk Among Us (Murray Gold, Dr Who Series 8)
33) Rock Shop (Basil Poledouris, Robocop)
34) Musketeers Don't Die Easily (Murray Gold, The Musketeers)
35) The Medallion Calls (Klaus Badelt, POTC)
36) Breaking The Wall (Murray Gold. Dr Who series 9) This one will probably change.
37) There Is No Clara Oswald (Murray Gold, Dr Who Series 8)
38) Light Of The Seven (Ramin Djawadi, GOT season 6)
39) Blunt Instrument (David Arnold, Casino Royale)
40) Combat Drop (James Horner, Aliens)
41) Jack Sparrow (Hans Zimmer, POTC, Dead Man's Chest)
42) Training The Village (Paul Englishby, The Musketeers season 2)
43) Qui-Gon Obi-Wan And Darth Maul Continue Battle (John Williams, The Phantom Menace)
44) Escape From Swiss Bank (David Arnold, TWINE)
45) Barbossa Is Hungry (Klaus Badelt, POTC)
46) Dinner Jackets (David Arnold, Casino Royale)
47) The Flag Parade (John Williams, The Phantom Menace)
48) Whose Enigma (Murray Gold, Dr Who The Snowmen)
49) The North Remembers (Ramin Djawadi, Game Of Thrones Season 4)
50) Way Of The Sword (Hans Zimmer, Last Samurai)
51) The Brethren Court (Hans Zimmer, POTC AWE)
52) Memories Of Grey (Ben Foster, Torchwood Series 1)
53) Drebin – Hero! (Ira Newborn, The Naked Gun)
54) The Kitchen/The Orgy (Basil Poledouris, Conan The Barbarian)
55) A Secret He Will Take To His Grave? (Murray Gold, Dr Who Series 7)
56) Blood Of My Blood (Ramin Djawadi, Game Of Thrones Season 6)
57) The Majestic Tale Of An Idiot With A Box (Murray Gold, Dr Who series 8)
58) Enter Lord Vader (John Williams, Revenge Of The Sith)
59) One Day (Hans Zimmer, POTC: AWE)
60) Titanium (David Giuetta & Sia)
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
Well, that was better than I expected from the trailer. Good fun, filled with geeky if somewhat obvious comic books references (I especially liked the moment where Grant did the one-finger Christopher Reeve glasses-push. A tiny irrelevance I know, but I reacted immediately). Capaldi was on top form, and Nardole was... er, OK, actually. I quite liked him in this, a lot more than I did last year. There's hope for him in season 10, then. It was funny, and entertaining. I like that they acknowledged within it that the Doctor has been away - i.e. that there's been a year without a season - though I'm not sure that tying it so much to last year's special will have made much of an impression on the casual viewers, who won't remember it and will think those bits were padding. Though Lesley immediately went "that's you! That's you at Yule Ball!" in the last bit.

So, overall... Not a really *special* Special, but a fucking good season premiere episode, if you see what I mean - just a shame we have to wait till April (AIUI) for the second episode... I suspect that will work even better next year if the season 10 DVD set includes this as the first episode.
lonemagpie: Jaffar (deep thought)
The thing that gets me about the end of A Christmas Carol, and makes me think there ought to be a sequel that covers it, is the thing about Scrooge then keeping the spirit of Christmas - of kindness and helping and stuff - all year round, now that he feels Christmassy.

See, let me explain. If you're doing all these things and getting the Christmassy vibe from the fact that doing good things does actually make you feel good, then what actually happens when the calendar hits the Christmas season?

I'll tell you what happens - it feels like something is missing, cos you know what it should feel like, but most likely it''s actually going to work out to be a day which you don't get that good feeling, cos everything's shut and you're at home....

I mean, The most Christmassy I've felt this year was at times like the aftermath of pulling that random woman from the canal, or some things that happened at times like Yule Ball.. Which means by the time we reach this weekend - and especially when one is self-employed working from home - it feels like just a day when I'm sitting at home... It feels, basically, *less* Christmassy than other times of year. If this makes any sense at all.

They need to do a sequel that covers that. And that sounds less arsey, cos I know that probably comes over as some weird comic book bollocks that Peter Parker would have a problem with.

I dunno, I should do a novel or a script themed around it. Very odd.

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