lizzieladie: (Default)
2012-07-10 07:11 pm

The Big Read

Gacked from everyone.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1.) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2.) Italicize those you intend to read.
3.) Underline those you LOVE.
4.) Put an asterisk next to the books you'd rather shove hot pokers in your eyes than read.

Read more... )

It's interesting, a decent chunk of these were for school, but most of the ones I really love I read for fun as a kid.  The only "love" on the list that I came to after high school was Hamlet.  (I did read it in high school, but I didn't get it or love it until college). 
lizzieladie: (barney)
2011-01-09 04:44 pm

Random Observation:

A Bit of Fry and Laurie is possibly the most meta series I have ever seen.
lizzieladie: (Default)
2010-12-17 08:58 pm
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Things that I have learned in my first time as an almost adult

1. If you think you're going to send holiday cards to Jewish and other non-Christian friends, think about the holiday cards well before your boss gives you one right before you leave for Christmas break. It's just tacky to get the cards together a week after Hanukkah has ended. Also, if you have a friend in Israel, don't just think about it before Hanukkah, think about it long enough before Hanukkah that you can get a card to her overseas without paying an arm and a leg for it.

1a. Large mid-western grocery store chains are a not a good place to buy nifty holiday cards. Their Christmas card selection is decent, the holiday card selection, not so much. Therefore: buy ahead so that you can check more places.

2. Walk slowly on the ice. No really. Falling on your face is not fun.

3. States in the mid-west are a lot bigger than in the northeast.

4. Midwestern accents are adorable.

5. Even really clumsy people can use knives at work without killing themselves.

6. Librarians are awesome.

7. Start doing the dishes at least an hour before you want to go to bed. Also, get an apartment with a dishwasher next time.

8. Taking up watching the Rachel Maddow show religiously about a month before spending Christmas with really conservative relatives is just a holiday politics fight waiting to happen.

9. The real test of full adulthood is when you earn enough that you see don't see it as an overall win to take three weeks worth of laundry 13 hours away to your parents' house over breaks because you can do it for free there.
lizzieladie: (Default)
2010-12-17 08:57 pm

Torchwood or how not to run a Secret Organization

So I watched Torchwood earlier this year. Children of Earth was amazing. The rest...let's just say that I was not impressed by half of the plots being driven by Jack being completely incompetent at running a secret organization. I nominate him for management, common sense, and ethics classes.

Things that Jack might want to reconsider in the set-up of his super secret organization: )

Doctor Who can get away with completely nonsensical plots because of its whimsical tone. I don't think the shift in tone with Torchwood gave it the same license, which is why I largely don't think the series worked. Children of Earth does a lot better because it engages with the kind of questions that suit darker works, and uses a much more solid plot to do it.

My other issue with this show is that Russell T. Davies equates sex with adulthood, apparently to the exclusion of things like maturity and responsibility. Sex is only one part of adulthood, and watching characters fumble through with the same sense of ethics and maturity that I see in shows about teenagers is just frustrating for me, especially when I know that the show was designed specifically to be an adult alternative to Doctor Who.

In short: I can take a completely ridiculous plot when it comes packaged in funny, but when you're trying to be serious I expect the plot to hold together.
lizzieladie: (Default)
2010-10-23 11:19 am
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Why NPR Needed to Fire Juan Williams

It's very simple, and it's not because Williams said racist things, although saying those things was not of the good.

There is a crisis in news organizations in this country. We have some news organizations that actually report the news and have a commitment to doing so in an ethical way, and an increasing number of organizations that are willing to pay outrageous sums of money to tv personalities in order to bloviate their opinions on the news, sometimes in lieu of actual coverage of the news. Fox is the worst offender on this count, but MSNBC and CNN are doing their darnedest to catch up. Given that NPR requires it journalists to act with the same ethics and integrity that NPR requires of them in any public appearance that they make, it seems to me that appearing on an opinion show on any of those networks should probably be a firing offense, since the entire of set-up of those shows requires that you throw nuance and objectiveness that NPR requires of its reporters out the window. What this same media has largely missed in its coverage of this story is that the tension here is not between conservative and liberal view points, but between genuine journalism and opinion driven, high paying pseudo-journalism. The fact that Williams himself is unable to make this distinction suggests that if he ever intellectual rigor necessary to be a real journalist, it's gone now, and getting paid large sums to give his opinions on Fox is a completely appropriate direction for him to take his career in. If there are liberal NPR reporters commenting on Keith Olberman or any similar shows on MSNBC and CNN, they need to be dismissed as well, in order that we have at least one news organization in this country committed to objectivity and genuine news coverage.
lizzieladie: (books)
2010-08-25 10:11 pm
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Slightly terrifying features of the Midwest...

There is nothing more disconcerting than taking a break from the Agatha Christie episode of Doctor Who to go for a run down country-ish roads behind your new apartment complex and running past bee hives and a giant metal bee.
lizzieladie: (awkward)
2010-08-08 12:22 am
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Vampire Puppets

So I have not organized any coherent thoughts on the Middleman yet, but I just wanted to say that there's a multi-fandom vampire puppet episode marathon in my future. I thank the Middleman for contributing to it.
lizzieladie: (books)
2010-08-07 12:48 am
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Avatar (of the Last Airbender Variety)

So a couple of weeks ago, I hurt my back, and spent a week lying on the floor watching Avatar, which is currently running neck and neck with The Middleman and this video of baby sloths in the "cutest thing Liz has seen this year competition." My thoughts on the show lie behind this spoiler cut. )

But on the whole, this was an awesome ride, and I'm excited that I discovered it just in time for the follow-up series. Shame the live action movie was so bad, the costumes could have stunning.
lizzieladie: (feminism)
2010-07-08 01:49 am
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The Daily Show Controversy

So, Jezebel criticized The Daily Show for both not putting enough women on screen and for being a toxic working environment for women. Slate fired back, accusing Jezebel of being inaccurate, and of profiting from that inaccuracy in a way that is similar to the women's magazines Jezebel has tried to provide an alternative to. The women who work at The Daily Show have released a letter defending the Daily Show's gender practices on all fronts.

I think they're all wrong, cut for length. ) In other news, I need to start doing more squee posts to get some happy in here. The Doctor Who Season finale anyone?!
lizzieladie: (ballet)
2010-06-04 03:35 pm
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I wish I could quit this show. Other people have demonstrated amply that it's not really doing what it thinks it is in terms of highlighting kids who are on the outside, so I'm not gonna go there. My love for Sue Sylvester is infinite, but it's actually gotten to the point where I'm rooting for her evil self (as opposed to appreciating her comedic value in the show) because I really think that Will Schuester is a terrible teacher. It's one thing to learn with and from your students, and quite another to be giving them terrible advice at the beginning of every episode because you're learning the exact same lessons that they are at the exact same time that they are. The immaturity of the students is expected and a reasonable part of the story. That their teacher should also have that maturity level is annoying, especially when he's constantly referred to as an excellent teacher. He may be very good at teaching them the fundamentals of music and dance off-screen or something, but I think that he's not doing a very good job of providing the emotional support that the everyone on the show thinks he's so wonderful for providing. Sue certainly doesn't really treat her students any better, but at least everyone is honest about her techniques.
lizzieladie: (Default)
2010-06-03 12:32 am
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Rape in Veronica Mars

So I have some issues with the depiction of rape in Veronica Mars. Cut for length, triggers, and spoilers. )
lizzieladie: (feminism)
2010-06-03 12:05 am
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Some thoughts that I've been acquiring over the last six months...

So now that college is over I finally have some time to post on some things I've been meaning to talk about for ages.

First up: my thoughts on Veronica Mars. The first season was one of the best pieces of television I've ever seen. Ever. I love Veronica (she's so deliciously flawed and strong, all at the same time), I love the noire feel, the depth of the characters, their complex relationships, and the writing.

After that, it went a bit downhill. The bus crash simply never captured my interest. I think [personal profile] musesfool's assessment that intense emotional connection that Veronica felt to Lily's murder was never really recaptured is correct.

S3 was a mess on several levels, and I'm going to devote the rest of this post to my issues with its depiction of feminists, and a separate post to depictions of rape. Cut for length and spoilers. I'm warning for passing references to rape, as catching a serial rapist was the main plot the feminists were involved in. )
lizzieladie: (Sierra)
2009-12-19 03:15 pm

(no subject)

So I've been thinking about Dollhouse's impending end, and I'm finally beginning to reconcile to it a bit. When Serenity came out it was good, but I felt cheated, like I would have preferred to see the story slowly revealed over several seasons. I've heard a couple of people comment on the breakneck pace that we've been getting with Dollhouse for the last couple of episodes, and I think that the plot developments work better because the writers know that they need to wrap things up quickly. There's a basic difference between Firefly and Dollhouse, which is that Firefly's individual episodes that didn't move the plot forward were incredibly entertaining and though-provoking. I really feel that by canceling it, Fox stole several years of top notch television from me. In contrast, Dollhouse was at best average when it was doing episodes that focused on engagements. It tended to use plot devices that have been done over and over again, and done much better elsewhere. But the overarching plot, the questions about who Caroline was and what Rossum's goals are make a very entertaining story, one that is probably better served by the intense focus that's it getting due to the cancellation. This season of Dollhouse has been so much better than the previous one in part because the writers aren't trying to make it last longer than it should.
lizzieladie: (Sierra)
2009-12-14 12:08 am

Memo to Joss Whedon:

If Dollhouse had been this good during the first season it might not have been canceled. Actually, in light of Firefly and the Sarah Connor Chronicles, that's not necessarily true, but I'd have a little bit more sympathy for you. If by some miracle you get another show please don't screw around for a whole season and then make me like it right before it gets canceled okay?
lizzieladie: (Default)
2009-05-18 09:41 pm

(no subject)

I have two DW invite codes; just comment if you would like one.
lizzieladie: (feminism)
2009-05-09 06:55 pm
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So I finally got around to watching the episodes 8-12 and I have some spoilery thoughts. )
lizzieladie: (Default)
2009-04-24 10:11 pm
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lizzieladie: (Default)
2009-04-13 04:13 pm
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So Amazon's stock took a small hit today, and Yahoo Finance seems to think it's due to the fail.

Just for good measure, Amazon Rank.
lizzieladie: (Default)
2009-03-29 05:47 pm
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So we're a good seven episodes into Dollhouse and I'm still not sold. There two things that I expect when I sit down to watch a Joss Whedon show - excellent dialogue and kick ass characters. The dialogue is just not here in this show, I have no idea why, but excellent dialogue could probably get me watching a show that I hated everything else about. It's lack means Firefly needs to sell me on either premise or characters. I still don't know the names of the vast majority of the characters on this show, and in the instance of every single character who is played by an actor that I've seen in something else, I prefer their role in something else. Hell I like Ilyria more than whoever it is that Amy Acker is playing here. Early on in the show I kept thinking that it was a big ensemble cast and that it's sometimes hard to introduce characters in those circumstances, but by episode 7 in Firfly we could have "Jaynestown," an episode which would not have worked if people still didn't know the names of the characters by that point. I hate to say it, but not only am I getting ready to quit watching Dollhouse, I'm beginning to hope that it'll be canceled so that Joss and the cast can go do something more fitting of their collective talent.

I honestly wonder if Joss isn't rushing the plot of Dollhouse (which in its overall arc, with the secret greater agenda of a shadowy agency is at least vaguely reminiscent of where Firefly was intended to go) at the expense of the things that he usually does well in order to avoid being canceled before the plot gets off the ground. It's a shame if that's what's going on, because I think that it's seriously damaged the quality of the show.
lizzieladie: (character)
2009-03-20 06:11 pm
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BSG: Some Thoughts

So in the last couple of weeks I've been catching up the entirety of BSG. For the most part I've really liked what I found. The story of a civilization being reduced almost to nothing and then trying to sort out which parts of its identity it should keep and which parts need to go is incredibly compelling. It also satisfied some left over frustrations that I've had with the way morality was portrayed in Harry Potter - people seem to really be defined by their choices rather than by who their parents were. President Roslin's very understandable disgust and guilt with Gaius Baltar's presidency and the occupation really remind me of an expectation that some people had back in the early days of HP, that Harry would eventually have to realize that he had the same unfair prejudices about Slytherin House that the Slytherins had about muggle borns. Of course JKR totally did not go there, though I think that the series would have been a lot better if she had. Roslin's attitude towards Baltar reminded me a lot of that idea - thinking that you have the moral high ground when you really have prejudice, not enough information, and in Roslin's case a lot of guilt. Baltar's trial and Lee Adama's assertion that everyone else who screwed up throughout the series has been forgiven, that Baltar shouldn't have to pay for sins just because society/the President need someone to blame gave me a sense of closure on the HP stuff. It was just really nice to know that there are some people doing things right in storytelling. That said, the mechanism by which they got Lee on the stand to make that assertion was probably one of their sloppiest yet. I think they could have made up a better legal device to give him the floor.

One of the really obvious things about the show is that the twelve colonies parallel the US government and society in the twentieth century. Everything from the importance of the president (I would say the whole structure of the government, but if there was a balancing judiciary before the cylon attack all of the judges seem to have been killed), to the racial make up of the fleet invokes the modern US. I cannot for the life of me decide if this is a strength or a weakness to the show. For my initial viewing it certainly made moments like the invocation of the fifth-amendment equivalent extremely powerful. However, I wonder how things like that play to non-US viewers. Also, given that the planet earth that they go to seems to in fact be our earth, until very recently I was expecting that we would get some sort of explanation of our world's connection to the twelve colonies, most probably that all of of the colonies originated from a population of humans living there. It might be possible to explain how the religious views had evolved, and how everyone seemed to be the Roman/Greek variety of pagan and how no one remembered any of the details of what are now the major world religions. But it would have been really hard to explain how the government ended up as solidly American (as opposed to Parliamentary) as it is when people have no memory of our earth, and why the population is majority white. It might have made more sense in the long run to create a completely new governmental and religious system. I think that there are good historical reasons for things ending up the way they have on this planet at this time, and that you can't just transplant those things to another set of planets in another time without raising questions about the quality and consistency of your world building.

The other major thing about BSG is that cylon/human relations arc reminds me very strongly of the oankali/human relations arc in Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood series. In some ways, that the aliens the humans are trying to come to an understanding with and build a life are the very aliens who have killed humanity in the first place makes a more poignant story than that of aliens coming in from the outside to save humanity. On the other hand, the the motivation of the Oankali made sense in terms of their morality - humanity has proved that it is capable of destroying itself, therefore we need to step in and change it. It's problematic morally and denies agency to the humans, but it makes sense. In contrast, BSG's entire explanation for cylon/human relations thus far is that John Cavil has identity issues and is a nutjob. I understand why Cavil feels the way he feels, I don't understand how he got the other Cylons to agree with him for so long unless he actually changed their programming to make them agree more (in the same way that he wanted them to never think about the final five) but in that case, he did a really bad job. I also have a sneaking suspicion that he intentionally changed Ellen's programming to make her more promiscuous and silly in line with own view of her when he sent her to earth, but that skeeves me out so much I don't like to think about it.

One of the things that has really bugged throughout BSG is the focus on sexual relationships as the important ones that will bring the races together. On one level, because Cylon reproduction depends on humans it makes sense. On another, I don't think that you can just have strong sexual relationships and have a society that functions. Early in the series, I was frustrated because Boomer and Caprica 6 seemed to be integrating only along those lines, but I think that as the series progressed it's done a better job moving away from the emphasis on sex. For one thing, I can't say that either Boomer or Caprica 6 have integrated well into human society. When Boomer believed she was human she had, but in recent episodes it seems that her only tie to her humanity was the Chief, that all of the other relationships she developed meant nothing to her. Similarly, Caprica 6's motivation to help humans stemmed mostly from her relationship with Baltar, rather than from any other relationships she developed. For a while it looked like Athena was going to go this route too, with her closest ties being to Helo and Hera, but I think the reason that she has successfully integrated into human society again is that she did develop friendships and trust with the other pilots and with Adama, that she developed connections outside of her family. The show has actually performed a lot better on this count than I would have guessed it would after season two.

All in all, it's great show, one of the best things I've seen put together for television and I'm very excited for the finale. That said, I'm not sure that it was planned out as well as I thought it was, and I think that the people who are saying that it's transcending the SF genre need to do some reading and then see if they think that it's as original as they thought. I think that the appeal to women and stories focusing on people have been done quite a lot in literary SF and that the people who think of SF as equaling the old BSG should realize that this was only true on television. (And not even there really, Farscape was fairly character driven.) BSG is an excellent example of the fact that the television medium is capable of keeping up with other mediums, and that when it's used well it can bring the complexity that long novels can get that movies sometimes have to leave behind to a screen format. BSG is not an example of SF doing anything new and shiny and spectacular.