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.
lonemagpie: Jaffar (deep thought)
1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Had laser/eye surgery. Had a flu vaccination. Heard Alestorm.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

As I say every year, I don't make them. The way you live your life is for life, not just New Year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not that I recall.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Bel, the cat I've known the longest, at the age of 17 and a half, in January. Great start to the year, right there.

5. What countries did you visit?

None. Unless you count Wales.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

The usual- Contracts for paid-up-front work. Stress-free periods of time. No surgeries. (Fat chance of this – there's one next month that I already know about.) Doing some proper fencing, choreography, and self defence workshops.

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 24th, me and the boatman pulling a woman from the canal into a water taxi in Leeds. I've been in the right place at the right time to save nine lives over the years, but this one was from water, which for various reasons in my past makes it particularly meaningful to me.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

See the answer above- pulling a woman from the canal.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not attending any convention or teaching any fencing/choreography/self defence workshops... I dunno, really – I'm sure there are too many to choose from.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Eyesight went south in late January, bottoming out around late April/early May, but has largely recovered, to the state it was in around the end of 2015. And of course there have surgeries of one kind or another every few weeks - averages out to at least one a month, though more in the first half of the year than the second, and I managed to have December off from any.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I dunno. Really – can't think of anything specific. Something really cheap in a charity shop, probably.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Lots of people, as always... Lesley, Anne, Lynette, Cedar, Becky and Tony, Tlanti and Tyrone. Grouse. The various eye surgeons...

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Brexiters and Trumpeters.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills and arrears and Lesley's SCA adventures.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Nothing much. At least nothing much that actually happened.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

Alive by Meatloaf.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? I dunno. The same. Neither?
ii. thinner or fatter? The same.
iii. richer or poorer? The same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Work that paid, of course. Fencing/choreography/self dence workshops teaching and coaching, as I already said. Orgies and bisexual depravity? Political assassination? Bank robbery?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Having machines shoved down my throat and needles stuck in my eyeballs.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Same as last year- sitting at home, hoping the Dr Who special isn't shit.

21. How will you be spending New Year's?

Same as last year- sitting at home, hoping Sherlock isn't shit.

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Not specifically, but I fall in love with Lesley over again all the time. I think I mentioned that in previous years' answers as well.

23. How many one-night stands?

None. Ish.

24. What was your favorite TV program(s)?

Game Of Thrones, Westworld, Ripper Street, Murdoch Mysteries, The Flash, Gotham, etc.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Various politicians I'd never heard of last year. Otherwise just the same people.

26. What was the best book you read?

Probably Stephen King's “Revival” though the end was a bit of a letdown.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Alestorm

28. What did you want and get?

Improvement in health and eyesight? I think.

29. What did you want and not get?

Good paid contracts, the workshops I like to do, an Xbox One, a tidy house....

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I think Rogue One is the only movie I saw at the cinema this year, so...

31. What did you do on your birthday?

It's next week. Don't remember what I did last year.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I've mentioned the swordy martial arts teaching thing in this already, right? Or if we go with the other meaning of “satisfying” then I've made a crack about orgies and depravity...

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Clothed. Occasionally with armour.

34. What kept you sane?

Who said I kept sane? You should feel the inside of my head.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I dunno, I tend to fancy people that I actually know, based on personality, and the purely visual fancying tends to be when I'm watching movies or TV that could be decades old, so who knows what they even look like now, let alone what they're actually like?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The EU referendum.

37. Who did you miss?

The same people as always, and also Bel.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Cedar the Barefoot Bard, and also not forgetting some other SCA types such as Kirk Poore and Master Ulrik von Matanuska. But Cedar was the one who kept us singing, and was in our pageant!


39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:

Probably none of the ones I should.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

We'll roll the old chariot along, and we'll all hang on behind.
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
Finished Stephen King's "Revival" - pretty good, though not to the heights of, say, 11/22/63. Overall it was more a reflection on getting older, mixed with that old Americana, a bit of scientific mystery, and riffs on carnies and religious shows - so far so good - but the end felt disappointing somehow. The climax was well done, but a little too formulaic and didn't really quite fit the rest of the book. It's as if King had a nicely-done vignette with no story to it, which he then decided to weld on to a novel that needed a bit more punch as if to show he could still do that. Overall good, though.
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
Last book I read was Nancy Holder's Buffy book, Blood And Fog, which had some good bits, but.... Compared to her others it felt like something that had been either written in a hurry to fill a gap in the schedule, or messed around a lot somewhere behind the scenes by others.

Coincidentally, it's foggy here this morning, as if to mark October 1st. I associate that more with Holmes, though, so I might start on House Of Silk.
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
Oh, so I finatty read Trigger Mortis (Anthony Horowitz) which was pretty good. The much-vaunted having Pussy Galore back -and indeed that whole section - was basically irrelevant padding, and that chasing-a-bomb-carrying-train-by-road-through-NYC thing was straight out of Die Hard With A Vengeance, but overall it felt more like a proper Bond novel than any of the guest-written ones so far...

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