tiger

ellestra


Thoughts, ramblings and other stuff


See it from behind
big gun
ellestra
I think that films and TV made me used to male buts being on display that I assumed that's what all the media does. But films and TV learned that pandering to female viewers is important (mostly TV - since more women watch scripted shows) for success. Of course pandering with great character development would be preferable everywhere.


American version is alway shinier and with prittier people
charlie jade
ellestra
I missed the first episode of Colony. There is so many shows premiering (or restarting) now it's hard to keep track. Luckily USA knew this would happen and repeatedly shown it on last Saturday so I DVRed it and watched it and the second episode together. And it's better than I expected. Much better.

Partially because I didn't expect much from it but mostly because it gives me that weird feeling of familiarity when I watch it. I am old enough to remember communism and I did absorb from people around me and films and books how it used to be when it was really bad and before that during German occupation which was even worse. And the patterns of collaboration and resistance look familiar but it's the lives of everyone else who just tries to live their lives that seem most familiar. This is the part that the films about dissidents and resistance usually ignore and people who never lived through totalitarism don't understand. Most people just try to live their lives. Through the curfew and food shortages and the medicine shortages.

It's everyday struggle to get food and simple necessities of life. I remember the coming back from school and taking a spot in the line so my mother could buy meat two hours later when she came back from work. I remember my mother had to bring needles when I was getting penicillin shots because there was no disposables in the clinic (and I remember getting some of the shots with the autoclaveable one). I remember toilet paper shortages and empty shelves. I remember weird cans and boxes that had "replacement packaging" written on them so the only thing you knew for sure about what was inside was that it wasn't what was on the label. And that was the very end of it in Poland.

In worse times and dictatorships couldn't move or travel without permit. In the really bad ones you could be stopped and and shot on a street. Or sent to a camp. But if you kept your head low and don't draw attention to yourself you and more importantly those you love may live to see the times that are better. Or maybe even be free.

Of course that did require existence of those who where willing to sacrifice everything to fight for that freedom. But the sad truth is that freedom is almost never regained that way without outside help. The peaceful solution only works when the occupiers or your own dictatorship are just not willing to shoot. The ones who can be shamed or just don't have the will or support to enforce the status quo any more.

But when the occupiers are aliens (or so it seems) with technology that surpasses everything that humans have at their disposals (disabled all defences in 8 minutes) what chance there is to fight them? Better to cooperate and hope they don't kill us all. They obviously need local administration and troops (not that different from Brits in India - only the technological gap is much higher) so why not get safe life for your family? Maybe they'll leave once they get what they want and then world can be back to normal. And if not than maybe, at least, you'll be the last to go. Get to live a little longer. Instead of dying in a pointless struggle that only hurts other prisoners not the ones who actually built the prison.

But maybe that's not completely pointless fight. Maybe the answer is in the Factory. Maybe the resistance can get the knowledge needed to win. Maybe there is a way out. And then it's going to matter which side you were on. But if history teaches us anything it's that the ones who can forgive and keep the administration (and police) going are usually better off than those who let everything burn. Rebuilding from the ashes isn't as much fun when you have to live in it.

Jumping up and down
winged
ellestra
Agent Carter is back.

[Spoiler (click to open)]I was a little upset at Captain America special about spoiling Dottie's return and the fight but it tuned out to be the first 5 minutes of the first episode. And it seemed almost like Dottie really enjoyed being caught. At least being caught by Peggy - she has no respect for Jack.

Jack seems to get over his disdain for Peggy. He lets her lead the team and interrogation and sends away guys who make comments about her. He also obviously ships Peggy and Daniel and that's why he sends her when Sousa asks for help. Too bad that his efforts to emulate Peggy are not very successful.

Also unfortunately for the shipping part Sousa has a girlfriend in California. But Peggy finds a new love interest pretty fast. Of course it's implied dies at the end but I'm pretty sure he's not dead. Just like the first episode implied he is evil and on the conspiracy but he wasn't. This is mostly because I really, really want to see dr Wilkes back (but also because he is credited for all 10 episodes).

But the best parts are of course Peggy and Jarvis. The wrestling, the flamingo, the cars. And most of all Jarvis' wife Anna. Peggy is still a badass and Jarvis is still taking care of everyone so the main things I love about this show haven't changed. There is just more sunshine.

We see the creation of the main bad guy for the season - Madame Mask. Whitney Frost seemed like another actress trophy wife of power hungry politician but she is the ambitious one. She is the driving force behind her husband rise - the secrets experiments and societies and his political ambitions and it looks like now she is really going to take the matters into her own hands.

And it looks like that secret society he belongs to is HYDRA. The original one. The one who wants their Inhuman god back. The symbol on the pin is obviously the same that was basis of Will's patch and the zero matter is suspected to have transdimensional properties. And it looks like Jack's new boss might be part of this too.

Winter is coming
lightning
ellestra
Yesterday, was a beautiful, sunny and warm day. After a week of frosty mornings and then rain it was perfect. But it didn't last. It's cold again and it's about to get even colder. Neither Monday nor Tuesday is going to go much above freezing and nights are suppose to be something like -10oC (17oF). It's just slightly warmer than Poland now but Poland also has snow so it at least looks pretty (I got photos from my mum - it's a prefect postcard winter because snow was wet when it was falling and then it got cold so it froze on branches and fences) and you can do all the snow stuff. Here the worst part about cold weather is that it comes with the cold wind and this kind of chilly air that goes through most of clothes like cold needles. My parents refuse to believe it's necessary this far South but I keep telling them that when the weather gets like this I wear all my warmest jackets - the ones I use for -15oC days in Poland and sometimes that air still gets through. The feel of around 0oC or just below temperatures here is almost always like it's much colder. In Poland it's often still feels OK or even warmer than it is - especially when it's snowing. Of course the forecast says there might be snow next weekend here too. And that's always like a small apocalypse.

Meanwhile in today's Glavant episodes [Spoiler (click to open)]Richard got himself a dragon. A real one unfortunately (the lizard looks like bearded dragon). He bought it for the Crown Jewel of Valencia. This leads to another fight that ends up in war when they both join to opposing fractions of identically sized men - Dwarfs and Giants (the latter led by Nick Frost) and abandon Bobbie. I'm starting to like Bobbie - she never looses the sight of how ridiculous the whole conflict was and fixes it all by herself.

Meanwhile the jewel is still gone and they still don't have the army. Isabella won't be happy once she finds out. Especially since she is finally free from her wedding spell thanks to a visit to an improper Princess Jubilee. No that Izzy is back to her normal self and free from her engagement to cousin Harry (for the price of a bra) I wouldn't mind if she and Jubilee spent more time together. They could practice sword fighting.

Speaking of swordfighting - Galavant has found his father again. And the sword fighting school for lost boys he runs. And to add insult to injury Unfortunately he was recasted so no Anthony Head for us but they do make up and play cabbage. Meanwhile Roberta and Richard bond over valuing food over pity. Who care about bad parenting when there is meal in sight?

So Wormwood is exiled and Syd has escaped and they coincidently they meat in the Forest of Coincidence where everyone gets what they need - cart, horse, sword and information. Syd gets to meet with Galavant again and Wormwood gets his war-mad king and queen. After Queen Madalena has been unable to give Gareth a proper fight for birthday (poor Gareth - no one wants to brawl with a king) she is happy to give him a war. That’s all he really wanted. Awww, those two give each other perfect gifts - cut off ears, wars and sometimes flowers. I'm kind of starting to feel this relationship.

Another day, another death
winged
ellestra
Between terrorist attacks and cancer this was a depressing week.

I just opened the news and there was another attack today. This time in Burkina Faso with 20 people dead and burning buildings but at least over 30 people were rescued by police forces. Yesterday, it was Istanbul in the historic district and targeted German tourists and planned by Russian nationals. And two days ago Jakarta where luckily only 2 people died. The reports said it was rushed and poorly organised because Indonesian police was closing on them and they didn't have time to plan it properly. And the week started with the bombings in Iraq. All of these are connected to Daesh.

Of course there is no real comparison between this and cancer.

Terrorist attacks are made of the belief that your truth is so much more important that anyone else's that you will make them listen no matter what. Sometimes it's because of helplessness and lack of hope. But most of the time it's malice and treating other people as disposable. If they don't believe in your truth then they deserve to die. This self-importance and feeling that you are more right and therefore justified is not unique to those who explode themselves to kill others or shoot at crowds but not everyone goes to this extreme. In a way this is why everyone just rolls their eyes (and sends dildos) to the guys in Oregon. We all wish all terrorist would seclude themselves in frozen wilderness.

Cancer kills way more people. It happens everyday, all around us as people die of cancer, often in great pain, so we erase that fact from our minds to be able to live our lives. Until it's someone we know. Family, friends, celebrities who impacted our lives. And then the feeling of helplessness comes back. And fear - who else will be lost (us, maybe?). For most of us terrorist, while scary is a far away problem except of course where terror is an everyday occurrence but thankfully that's still small fragment of the world). For most people terrorist attack is random and unlikely like earthquakes or tornadoes. Cancer is real and close. I'm sure you all have a list in your head of those lost. My grandfather's tumour was not malignant and for a while it seemed like it could be OK. My aunt's was like Bowie's and Rickman's of internal organs so deep in the abdomen that by the time it started giving symptoms it was already too late. I feel like besides breast/prostate check we should all have regular abdomen ultrasounds. Maybe at least some of those would get noticed when there is still time.

Maybe then we will have a little more moments spent together. Some more songs. Few more movies.

Tributes can wait (it's not like The Simpsons are ending any time soon)

Recently seen
charlie jade
ellestra
I'm continuing to watch the pilots but I'm not sure about the Second Chance (it had so many better titles in past few months). Here is my reaction.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
It was predictable but the tech design looks pretty and there is a potential in crime solving with Cinderella superman (his super strength turns into pumpkin after 12 hours) and the twins’ spyware lookingglass (good thing all those tech billionaires violate our privacy only to fight crime).

I like the twins. So far they were the most interesting. My main reason to watch next episode is their private language and Arthur.

The main hero is kind of unlikeable. They laid his”sheriff” person so thick it was hard to see anything but asshole (I’m sure he is supposed to have heart of gold in there somewhere). And the conflict between him and his son based on how they treat work/family thing was also shown in very simplistic, broad strokes (the son values family time and makes police work wait for later and dad makes disappointed noises *eyeroll*). Right now I don’t care for any of the law enforcement or family drama there.

I was also bothered by the way Rob Kazinsky spoke. I don’t think it was bad accent (I don’t feel like I can judge his American accent) but it was like he was pretending to speak like an old person for a prank call. Very unconvincing and kind of ridiculous sounding. Your vocal cords got regenerated too - you don’t have to speak like 70-year old smoker.

I give it 3 episodes to see if I care.


American Horror Story: Hotel had a very happy ending. I was surprised.

The iZombie is back and it looks like Blaine is finally may be getting what he deserves. [Spoiler (click to open)]If you start to forget how awful he is (because David Anders's charm) there is always that one reminder that show gives us. Like the mention of that woman he was forcing to prostitute herself for brains. So I didn't even feel sorry about him getting the news (or being recognised by the FBI agent).

Major on the other hand - it's just piling on the break-up so it's lucky that FBI agent has been distracted from finding he's "killing" zombies by Blaine. Major also learned not to be so gullible and didn't fell for the pretty obvious loyalty check (mostly because he now has tapped Vaughn). Obviously no one enjoys work on this show the way Steven Webber enjoys being evil and skeevy. Vaughn doesn't even care about deaths he causes or abandoning his kid (no hassle of raising a daughter and all the advantages of having someone to help with evil plans). All he cares about are his abs, ass and money. It's fun to watch but I can't wait till Major makes him pay.

But the best part of this episode was how the show poked fun at itself, the CW and TV production in general. The Zombie High had all the too pretty cast, stunt deaths and the location switch (Seattle pretending to be Portland when in iZombie and so many, many other shows it's British Columbia pretending to be Seattle). They also made fun of an idea of zombie protagonist and zombie science. This doesn't bode well for Ravi search - neither the one for tainted Utopium nor the one for the cure. At least Babineaux let Liv come back to help.
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Recognition
galavant
ellestra
I' not big on Award Shows. I had Galavant to watch today and Downton Abbey and The Good Wife is back (it's still funny to see Gwynne morph into Daisy and Allan Cummings announce show competing with his own). But I did look up the results and I'm positively surprised by the love the Golden Globes voters have shown to Mr. Robot and The Martian. But none of this makes me even slightly interested in seeing The Revenant (it's just not a movie find interesting at all). Also YAY for Taraji.

To go back to the important stuff.

[Galavant Spoilers]
No one clarifies murder like Madalena. But the “wedding plan, evil plot and colour scheme” guy is doing real good. I’m afraid this mind control will end up with the same scene as Madalena’s rescue. Isabella will tell Galavant she wants to marry cousin Harry. But Madalena was doing it for money and power and Isabella because of magic. However, Madalena learnt from her roast was that she has feelings. She aspired to emulate their cruelty all her life and when she finally though she made it they crushed her spirits. Show the commoner she is not one of them (they made me almost feel bad for Madalena and she is pretty evil and loves it). Good Gareth was there to lift her mood with some ear(ings).

It’s nice Galavant tried to set Richard and Bobby up after his big break up with Gareth but we all know Gareth still dreams of Richard. Too bad it’s nightmares. He feels guilty about taking his crown. And he misses hugs. Awwwww…

King Richard’s land (which shouldn’t really be called that any more, should it?) is now a real Democracy. Just like Greeks (or American funding fathers) intended - for rich, straight, white men only. At least they are not going to get themselves into pointless foreign wars, right?

Life was just too good in Hortensia for Gwynne and Vincenzo. Those clothes are way more colourful than the ones at Downton. And there’s so much more sun than in Yorkshire. It's hard to switch. It's also sad because the two of them were the only ones who noticed what was going on with Isabella and had an idea why.


On The Good Wife Alicia not giving a fuck was the beautiful and I loved her reaction to Eli confession (the calm sorting of the plates killed).

Also watching Sherlock special again made me realise how many similar ideas to the last season of Doctor Who are in it. It might be good that Moffat is starting to look for someone to take over Doctor Who. I don't dislike him like some corners of the web do but I think change could be good for everyone.

No one cares, Ben
slingers
ellestra
The popularity of the new Star Wars is still soaring. And it's very popular - it just became the highest grossing film in US ever and third in the world already and despite everyone saying China doesn't care for Star Wars it's also did extremely well on it's first day there (I knew it - what does it matter they didn't watch the originals in cinemas - they stay on point on popular culture as well as everyone else and love big spectacle as much as everyone else - maybe even more). This kind of popularity means inevitable fan art and parodies.

There are the beautiful mash-ups of Star Wars with Calvin and Hobbes by Disney artist Brian Kesinger. The most popular one is the most classical:


By my favourite one is this - so true


After all we all know Kylo Ren is the emo one (I wondered if he dies his hair from the start - noone in the family had hair this dark). He shows us all how misunderstood he truly is through his twitter account. Misunderstood by his parents and picked on by his very lonely uncle Luke.


It's a hard life. The one that's may lead one to drank Force calling that girl Rey and keep offering to teach her the Dark Side. Because "No" is never an answer and and she will eventually want him if only Hux stops putting his tantrums on Youtube. It's all described in Kylo Ren needs to Chill.

What are you going to watch?
root and shaw
ellestra
I wrote about the things I'm waiting most for this year but that was just the things I could remember from the top of my head. But now io9 (or should I say gizmodo?) has complied both the list of genre (and genre-adjacent) films and the TV series (at least for the first half) coming this year. I completely forgot Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was coming out next month and I had no idea there is going to be The Little Prince film. It also reminded me I wanted to see Lucifer and maybe also Damien (devil is all the rage now on TV) and how much I love The 100 (I though it'd be a forgettable teen series but it turned out awesome and I can't wait to see what Errica Cerra is up too). Oh, and there's a X-Men TV series coming form Fox some time - Legion.
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Who thought it's be good idea to put them all on one night?
big gun
ellestra
I don't know what is it with the TV program planners. Do they have special meetings when all the channels head of programming meet and decide which day they will use for specific type of shows and then everyone piles up everything in that one day? When did they decide to move everything genre on Tuesdays? I thought it was bad in the fall with The Muppets, The Flash, iZombie, Agents of SHIELD and Limitless but that was still manageable. This month it got ridiculous.

This Tuesday saw the return of Limitless (YAY) but The Expanse (with the spaceships and battles and all the real SF) is already running in that time spot and I have to choose (The Expanse obviously but it's still hard). But now MTV has also switched to Tuesdays and put their new fantasy series - The Shannara Chronicles - out on Tuesday at 10 pm. They also moved Teen Wolf (my favourite guilty pleasure) to Tuesday at 9 and it was the only one yesterday but next week the new ABC Family show is coming - Shadowhunters (looks cheesy but may also become a guilty fun so I wanted to at least try). And iZombie is coming back (YAY). And then a week after that Agent Carter (AWESOME ♥) comes back and takes over this time slot completely (actually first week is double episode so both 9 and 10 pm will be taken). And The Flash is back too but at least there is nothing else to watch at 8 (well except for that first week when they'll show Captain America 75 Years Anniversary Special). I'm running out of DVR simultaneous recording capacity.

Luckily, I watched the next two episodes (after the 2 hour premiere yesterday) of The Shannara Chronicles today so I'm done with it for another 2 weeks and can figure the other stuff out. I wanted to hate it because that would be one less thing to watch but it was actually pretty fun. It's not like Game of Thrones (for some reason people wanted to compare the two even though they only have high fantasy genre in common) but that's not bad thing. It's a little cheesy and very clean and everyone is so pretty and the main male protagonist has this perpetual surprised, pouty look on his face but it was fun. I ended up disappointed when I run out of extra episodes as I became pretty engrossed in the story (even though it's the most standard fantasy quest you can imagine - which is why I never managed to get through the books it was so repetitively boring. But it's easier on film. New Zealand is very pretty, although it's a little funny how the show takes place in Northwest of North American continent where almost all the other shows are filmed but this one is filmed in New Zealand. Vancouver is everywhere but when you need post-apocalypse, fantasy Vancouver - you get New Zealand. At least that means some new background actors. John Rhys-Davies and Manu Bennett bring some real acting and some gravitas to the whole thing (and Allanon gets to b pretty awesome). And I loved Eretria (although I wish they didn't pronounce her name like the country). She is my favourite character (even with her ridiculously evil father) and the fact that she is played by Ophelia from Pan's Labirynth makes me love her even more. This is not high art but it is pretty entertaining. I missed fantasy that is not gritty but pure adventure. This is going to be fun.

Also I love new ♥ look.

The New Year glee
galavant
ellestra
Sherlock - The Abominable Bride. The episode was fun. It was great to see all the classic Holmes and Watson imagery - from hat to pipes to dr. Watson moustache.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
I realised pretty quickly it was an illusion (all those little elements that didn’t fit - from "he" instead of "she" to "virus in the data" to wobbliness that happened now and then) so I was happy they admitted it pretty early. After all Sherlock says at the beginning that to solve current case sometimes one must first solve an old one. I also expected from the end of season 3 that Moriarty was dead and somebody else was using his image (apparently following one of his plans). Of course we won’t know why for another year or more so no need to get too excited.

But I loved Mary - both as Mycroft’s secret agent and pain in his ass. I generally love Mary and Sherlock clearly ships her and John - he did everything to keep them together even after he exposed her evil past. And in his mind place she is clearly under appreciated but loved very much by her husband. And she is the smarter one. Just like Mycroft is the cleverer one (especially in MP). The best part of this Sherlock episode, for me, was Mycroft having his own Watson. I would watch Mycroft Holmes and Mrs. Watson.

I loved that Mycroft cares - I’m a sucker for their little sibling moments. Although I’m really afraid now Mycroft is dying.

And I loved Terry Pratchett’s shout out.


Oh, Galavant, how I missed you. For the whole hour I kept making those weird dolphin noises. Everything was perfect. Thank you ABC for making it happen.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
King Richard as always have completely no useful knowledge. Poor pirates - not only were they tortured with the Galavant song but they also lost their ship. At least Pete can go back to being Earl Grantham next - last season of Downton Abbey finally reaches this far away shores now.

That dig at Once Upon a Time got even better when Enchanted Forest turned out to be a gay pub. With Kylie Minogue as the Queen. And Jean Hamm was there. And we all could admire Galavant abs. At least King Richard finally realised his uncle Keith is gay. I don't think it stretches to anyone else though.

Meanwhile the real evil queen Madalena does not like the realities of ruling. At all. But at least Gareth bothered her into making him King.

In second episode King Richard gets a stoker unicorn due to being sexually pure. At least he’s One True King who pulled sword out of the stone.

Even magical Skype keeps freezing and it led to some really bad miscommunication. Poor Isabella - it’s almost as heartbreaking as Richard learning about Gareth. I think we can all agree that those are both examples of true love. And both Galavant and Richard will have to go through many trials to get theirs back. Galavant/Isabella is obvious and we know Richard and Gareth only ever really cared for each other. Gareth reacted to Madalena's declaration of sexual prowess with "I prefer beer" and if Richard wasn't so clueless he would know what his uncle noticed. And the only thing Madalena and Gareth have together is their homicidal tendencies.

We are left with the mystery of Moving Castle. They even took the dungeons.

Put it on my calendar
anomander rake
ellestra
This is the New Year so let's look ahead at what is coming. All the things I'm most excited so far. It will change - some things will disappoint and others I don't know about yet. But this is what I'm waiting for:

Movies - Deadpool, Ghostbusters, Civil War and Story of Your Life (I’m big fan of Ted Chiang so I’m very excited about this).

TV - X-Files, obviously, and The Magicians (loved the first episode), Luke Cage, You, Me and the Apocalypse (I know it's already has been shown in UK but only Doctor Who crosses Atlantic fast - he can travel in Time and Space) and BrainDead - for new ones. I also, of course, eagerly await the return of Galavant (tomorrow!!!), Limitless (Tuesday!!!), Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, iZombie, Daredevil, Orphan Black, Sense8, Humans, Mr. Robot, The Man in the High Castle and, most of all, Person of Interest. Here's a list of what is coming and when in next few months so you can make your own schedule.

Books - Steven Erikson’s Fall of Light - the 2nd book in Kharkanas Trilogy and Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Dancer Lament because I’m a big Malazan fan.

Happy New Year!
root and shaw
ellestra
Happy New Year!

It's time to look back at the 2015. It wasn't the best of years - with terrorism rising and the weather going all wonky - but at least entertainment was good.

My top films of the year (it's SFF because that's what I see in cinemas - I usually prefer to see other films at home without people talking and looking at their phones and the smell of popcorn - but for genre I usually want the big screen experience):

The ones I was most entertained by - mostly in order: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Unlike almost everyone I had fun watching Jupiter Ascending (it was pretty and I liked Terry Gilliam parts more than the whole of Zero Theorem). I remember liking Age of Ultron but can't quite recall the plot - something, something, killer robots, something Vison, city falling from the sky, new Avengers - so in retrospect the story wasn't that interesting and I was distracted by how shiny it was. I was underwhelmed by all the YA adaptations.

The TV was pretty awesome. I need to cut back on stuff but I really, really like so much nowadays. There are all the awesome new shows. The year started with the joy that was Galavant which to surprise of everyone (and my great joy) is coming back on Sunday.The summer came with Humans and Mr. Robot. And Syfy brought some entertaining space shows - Dark Matter and Killjoys and the beautiful, high quality The Expanse series (already renewed). And Amazon has finally made SF worth watching with the wonderful The Man in the High Castle. It's certainly became my favourite show of theirs (it used to be Alpha House). I also loved Sense8 - from the get go and didn't find it hard to follow at all. I'm very excited to know they are all coming back this year. I never expected to like Limitless (I finally watched the film and it was OK but I'm glad I didn't see it in the cinema) but it turned out to be the most wonderful thing and I'm so happy it's back on Tuesday.

In another controversial view I admit that my favourite Marvel show is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's probably because I generally prefer assemble shows but I also have most fun watching it. Then it's Agent Carter (incredibly awesome and coming back in few weeks) and then Netflix ones - Daredevil and Jessica Jones (I don't have preference here so they are in chronological order). I know it makes me an odd one and I will make it even worse by admitting I like all Marvel shows more than anything DC. And that my favourite CW comic book based show is iZombie. I like Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and and I liked Constantine but this is my order of preference.

I said good bye to Continuum, Defiance and Dominium. Haven ended too but Lost Girl still has episodes to burn in US. I gave up on Gotham and Sleepy Hollow and everyone gave up on Minority Report. There were things like Falling Skies and Hemlock's Grove where couldn't get through last season - just watched last episode (still painful). I just read spoilers for Game of Thrones and watched dragons parts. I liked the miniseries - both Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Childhood's End. I also finally binged Black Mirror over the holidays and it is as awesome as everyone says it is. Luther would've been great too but I don't know if I can get over Alice.

There were all my old favourites. I watch The Librarians for pure fun and Doctor Who has improved this year. Person of Interest - still no one want to let us know when it'll come back but it might become a summer show (in place of the horrible Under the Dome and Extant that CBS finally cancelled) and get couple more seasons and I cant wait when our favourite psychopaths will be back. Orphan Black - Helena became true MVP this season and RIP monitors. Also have you seen the new trailers? Creepy.

My guilty pleasures included The Originals and Teen Wolf (so many pretty people in both). And I kept following my favourite dramas - The Good Wife, Major Crimes, Suits,Switched at Birth, The Fosters, The Americans, Halt and Catch Fire, The Blacklist, Elementary (Morland is a joy) and kind of keep track of Shondaland. I don't really watch sitcoms but I watched The Muppets and sometimes Blackish.

In books dragons stay my weak spot - I fell in love with Rachel Aaron's Heartstrikers books. There was more Laundry - from Mo's PoV and with superheroes. I read The Martian and The Magicians trilogy before seeing adaptations and loved both. I've read Raising Steam but I haven't touched The Shepard's Crown because if I don't then I still have one more book by Terry Pratchett to read.

We might've broken the world
lightning
ellestra
So the second bout of word erasing rain came today. Another Wednesday full of flood alarms (all the devices beep, buzz and screech at me like I've somehow missed it's pouring out there - I'm not Zoe Deschanel). Another day with streams going down the streets and the hill I live in (and turning actual streams into rivers). Just look at the view from my window.



If it wasn't for the tree roots the whole hill could've been washed off. I live on a hill and on second floor so I'm not afraid of flooding but I'm a little worried about mud slides. The tracks made by those temporary streams keep getting deeper. My friends' house started leaking - the ground is so soaked water started seeping into the basement rooms. And their neighbours house got a little crushed by a rock washed out by last week rain.

And so far we only have flash floods. People a little more inland had those and now they also have the river flooding as the ground can't hold this much water and it's all draining into rivers. There are many record and close to record water levels on Mississippi and it's tributaries.

It's still very warm. It got a little cooler when it got drier yesterday. I switched to heating for a moment but it's still 17oC now (it was 25 today) and with this humidity I had to switch back to AC (mostly to get humidity out - everything is rotting around here). The unusually warm weather is still holding over the rest of East Coast (at times New York had almost the same temperature as Sidney) while the West part of North America have unusually cold weather (in some places also very snowy so at least California is getting its snow pack back and can hope for a little drought relief). This is the reverse of last couple of years that had East cold and West baking. And then there were tornadoes.

It's also very warm in Europe - UK has yet to experience freezing and has it's own flooding problem. Spain is fighting fires and there is no snow in Alps due to unseasonably warm weather and Italy has smog problem. Although it's nowhere as bad as what is happening to Beijing.

But the weirdest thing is happening on North Pole. It just got very warm. Very, very warm - for North Pole in the middle of winter night - because it just went above 0. From yesterday temperature rose for over 30 o and it went from reasonable (for North Pole in Winter) -33oC to almost +1. I know that we all blame El Niño and the weird heat tunnel over Atlantic that takes hot and humid air all the way to the top but this is what really made this scary for me. What next - beach weather in Antarctic? Snow on the Amazon?

At least Poland finally got seasonably cold. We may get there on Saturday.

"Pratchetts have cats like other people have bathrooms"
telamon
ellestra
I was to write about the Expanse (and other new Syfy series) but I just read Rhianna Pratchett's obituary for her father and the screen is a little blurry. If you didn't read it go now. Space battles can wait till tomorrow.

And in the background +GNU Terry Pratchett keeps being sent.

If you haven't heard Winter started less than week ago
tiger
ellestra
It's still very warm and humid but since Wednesday all we had was the fog condensing into drizzle. There where even few moments of sunshine here and there. The Wednesday downpour was turning into fog every night then rose as clouds and drizzle down when the atmosphere just couldn't hold this much water. It was just above 20oC but the humidity made it feel hotter. Even in summer clothes we were all sweating like crazy (I took shower 4 times on Christmas Eve just to be presentable for supper). The rain is supposed to come back tomorrow and last for couple of days until the front behind it brings colder air again. So we go into the cycle of hot and cold. One week we have frost the other heat wave. I don't know which clothes to keep on hand and the plants are even more confused.

Here is a week ago (and week from now) - all frosty and cold - and now - with flowering quince flowering.



And all the other plants - forsythia, iris, first ornamental fruit trees etc.

[Click to see]







Thanks El Niño!

The Long Goodbye
river song
ellestra
This was the time when some of The Husbands of River Song met and I loved that Alex Kingston got the first billing in the intor (I also liked the added snow).

[Doctor Who Christmas Special SPOILERS]
So we learn River had at at least three husbands and two wives. She does get around when Doctor is not around. And she keeps stealing his ride. Of course I don't know why he acted so surprised he gave her the keys so why wouldn't she take rides when she needs to and she was never shy to mention her conquests (but I loved how they threw the names at each other).

I took great pleasure in Doctor getting all peeved by the fact that River had another husband. And was borrowing his TARDIS when he wasn't looking and he never noticed. And that she shown great disregard for him (and lives of people in general). And then he gets completely heartbroken when he hears River believes he never loved her back (or really cared that much). Do I think she meant any of it? Yes and no.

Yes - because she always treated him in a kind of utilitarian way - he's her ticket to adventure, ride when she need it and when she says love is an easiest lie you can tell a man and that he is terribly useful it hurts him right in the feels. She also obviously has a lot of her own adventures (in TARDIS and without it and plenty of other spouses) and life without him (even when she's in prison she gets out for things that are not dates - see Byzantium). I never really cared about complains that her life completely revolves around him (birth, childhood, death, prison) because that's only the part we see - the Doctor part. I always figured out she did stuff, a lot of stuff, neither we nor the Doctor knew about. It's easy to believe that Doctor is the hero of every story because he is the hero of every story we see but he's not the hero of every story of River Song life. To her he is Damsel in Distress and a ride. It was nice to get it confirmed. Sometime all she needed was TARDIS.

And yes - because we see that fragility and uncertainty about how much he cares before. The Time of Angels only just happened to her and she tried to hide her injury because he wouldn't like it and even after this she was surprised he saw her in The Name of the Doctor. There is this ever present doubt that he doesn't care nearly as much as she does. That he is only there for the fun part not the hard ones. It's not completely unfunded but she also does everything she can to hide it and he always try to show her how much he cares (heals her hand with his regeneration energy, tells her he always sees her but it hurts too much and tells her there is always a song when you need).

No - because River lies and exaggerates. When she tells Hydroflax about what she will do with the diamond she gives a Doctor-like speech about giving it back to good people and then just steals it and sells it to highest bidder. She has a reserved space on a ship for mass murderers but she tries to save it from crashing. She says what is necessary or just sounds cool at the moment. Or just to distract people or gain time. It doesn't make what she says true. It doesn't mean there isn't a core of truth in there but she also knows how much he cares about the humans he is close to, how much he would sacrifice for them. To her they last saw each other in Manhattan - she saw what the loss of her parents meant and what he'd do for her. We see her say outright lies or just half truths all the time (including this episode) with full conviction and it's often hard to say when she lies (remember how she pretended she didn't know why they were at Lake Silencio or who was the girl in spacesuit or that Doctor is alive). I'm not even 100% sure she really didn't recognised him (95% sure but not 100%). (So I can believe they could meet again before this for River and after for him.)

So I think there truth in all she says about him but it isn't the whole truth. The first part is exaggeration for lulz and the second is exaggeration of her fears for time. Just enough to fool the lie detector. Not enough to full encompass the flowchart of their feelings.

I liked how Doctor smiled and laughed when he met River. He’s so happy to see her again. And then she keeps refusing to recognise him and he can observe how she is when she’s not with him and what she calls him - Damsel (in Distress) who needs rescuing all the time (I suppose from her point of view that happens a lot) - and how she behaves - steals and killstires to kill (like a good psychopath she was raised to be) and how much he loves him. And they can’t stop flirting even when one of them doesn’t know who the other one is. Or even when both of them think the other one just doesn’t love them as much as they love them (it breaks my heart and makes me feel fuzzy inside at the same time). And then they get even worsebetter. And he finally stops avoiding it (he always avoids things he doesn't like) and just like with his death (until the Brigadier died) and Clara (until she erase herself from his memories) so with saying goodbye to River (so many times) there has to be something forcing his hand. But there is always last time. For everything there is always first and last time.

Of course I’m biased because I love River.

"What do you think by the way?"
"About what?"
"My new body."
"Oh, I'll let you know. I've only seen the face."


General observations:

I love how Doctor said people need flowchart for their relationship.

River carries fez in her bag and she knows where he keeps alcohol/has secret storage for alcohol in TARDIS cotrol room (every control room - the new design doesn't seem to faze her). And once again she knows better what console levers and buttons do (let's all avoid deck 7).

Some people seemed to be (pleasantly) surprised River had wives but River has been based in 51st century when Jack's from) most of her life and this is 54th - it'd be surprising if she didn't.

Doctor mentions the haircut and suit just before he recognises River. She's not impressed. But she likes the new one he wears for their last night/(beginning of) 24 years.

People complain she seemed much nicer and caring about human lives in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. This is last time they meet for the Doctor and second to last for River - next time it's Ten and she dies - but we don't know how long it is between these two events for River. She is still mostly Doctor here and she is very insistent on Professor then so it might be a while (and the 24 years).

This is their last goodbye (as far as we know). The first one was when Ten met her but it didn't mean much as the Doctor (and we) didn't know her yet. The final goodbye for the River was in The Name of the Doctor (for her and Eleven) and now this is the Doctor seeing her for the last time (this is why she said "Spoilers" in TNotD). Now he (and we) know how much it really hurt.

"Sonic trowel. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?" says a man with sonic sunglasses.


Also the Williams family and trowels

Just made me all misty eyed a bit.

It's all about looking for droids
sunrise
ellestra
Despite pouring rain I managed to get to the cinema and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Everyone have already analysed every second of it so here are just the observations that stood out to me the most.

It was funny. Much funnier than I expected and it was mostly based on great interactions between characters. The chemistry between main characters is instant and great and you don't mind that they became BFFs (or fall in love) basically at first look (only Han is a little grumpy but that just adds to his charm). There is a lot of shout outs to the original movies both inside the story and just for the viewers. And the story is pretty classical peasant boy finds out his destiny is to save the world but she's actually a girl so she even gets to save herself and that was great. She does rescue her love interest just like it always happens in these stories. But even the tropes in the story were mostly done in a fun and enjoyable way and the interplay of the old and new elements and beautiful visuals to make this great film to watch.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
There were few moments they were a little too obvious. I went in completely unspoiled but I still knew exactly what the fate of Han Solo will be the moment Leia mentioned trying to talk their son out of being on Dark Side (like he went and joined Scientology or something). So when went on that bridge I knew the only way he'll comes out of it was down. But the "dying of the light" behind him and the lightsaber through the heart were so over the top symbolic I just spent that whole thing rolling my eyes. Still, it was sad to let Han go - he was always my favourite (like most people) and incredibly fun in this film (not to mention the crazy stunts with hyperspace jumping). But I was also expecting they are going to kill all the old cast so the new generation can take over (and just like old film did with Obi-wan and Yoda) so I'm also glad we still have Leia and Luke.

The First Order flags and looks (and the Empire before that) had distinctly Nazi looks but I thought they went a little overboard with Domhnall Gleeson's character basically going full Hitler on that speech. This was not a comedic scene but it made me giggle because they managed to combine to ultimate movie evils - posh British accent and Hitler (and he's ginger). And that guy doesn't even use Force. But I loved him because he was such a wonderful prick to Kylo Ren about everything (tattling on him to Supreme Leader and enjoying his every misstep). I can imagine these two in an office type comedy (only with more dead planets).

The last scene was also a little ridiculous. I know it was supposed to be moving but they just stare at each other silently for so long it started being funny (it also felt like the whole thing was in the film only to have Luke in the film). Also he was gone for years but he knew where he was going (left a map) and it was close enough that Ray just flew there to get him so it's not like searching for that place took him years. It looked like he failed at Jedi school so he left home and abandoned everyone to brood in Ireland and stare at sea (and Han went to have fun adventures in shipping). While Leia did all the actual hard work of fighting the bad guys and maintaining alliances. Way to go guys - abandon the work for fun and side projects while woman takes care of everything.

The current most popular theory is that Rey is Luke's daughter. I can see that too. Someone did abandon her on Jakku and never came back and Luke did that basically to everyone so why not her too. And as everyone points out she is a tech genius on a desert world with strong connection to the Force. Just like Anakin and Luke. But thorough the film I also wondered if she might be Leia and Han's. Rey and Han were shown to be so similar - literally thinking the same thing and understanding each other without words and then she basically takes inherits his ship. Also the way they often show Ray and Kylo Ren mirroring each other - identical but opposite. She is the daughter Han didn’t know but who wants to be just like him and Ben is the son who knew him and rejects him. It’s very mythological. I’m fine with her being Luke’s daughter but the foreshadowing here that he was Han’s and Ben’s sister was pretty heavy. (I’m not the only one who thinks so.) But no matter whose daughter she is it seems implied pretty hard she is a Skywalker (that suspicious cut when Leia asks Han who the girl is made me wonder if they know) and that makes the whole epic story about battle between Light and Dark Side of the Force a family affair. Again.

I know these may seem like I didn't like it but I did. It is great entertainment and Rey was awesome, Finn was precious, Poe was likeable (limited screen time he had) and the old guard characters were great to see again. I saw a lot of complains about Kylo Ren - that he isn't as competent nor as scary as Vader but I thought he perfectly captured brooding and anger issues of young Anakin (both also slayers of children) so he seemed a lot like his grandfather actually. And I would like to see more Maz Kanata. She was great. I also don't care about the scenes that were in trailers that weren't in the film (partly because I stopped watching trailers few weeks ago - there were so many of them) but I'm sorry that the changes in story for final cut meant all Maisie Richardson-Sellers had left is one staring scene before being blown up.

Winter starts at 20C
lightning
ellestra
So today is the Winter Solstice and the days will finally start getting longer. I'm hoping that this is the reason behind me being so sleepy and tired all the time. This and the weather change. The season started with pouring rain and the beginning of heatwave (for winter). It's 10 pm and it's still 16oC (60F) outside and it's only going to get warmer. Also coming - more thunderstorms. I need to decide witch summer dress to wear for Christmas Eve. Tomorrow, I'm thinking capris since I'm going to spend 3 hours in the cinema (yes, I'm finally going to see Star Wars) and it might be cold inside. How is global warming treating you?

The third episode of The Expanse is on Syfy today but you can watch it and the 4th one on the Syfy website today. I saw all 4 of them and I love it so far but I'll write down the details after it shws up on TV. Also the shows you can see early are the occupied LA of the future drama Colony and Frankenstein-inspired cop drama Second Chance. I'm glad we are no longer playing the "leaked" pilot game and they just officially put them out early to get people interested in the shows (NBC Universal cable channels especially). It turns out that if you give people a way to watch thing legally that what they'll do - Netflix took over torrent as the main internet traffic hog by far this year. But this is still just US solution - the rest of the world is still left catching up on that other internet. Unless you don't care that much and wait for it to show up on TV. I remember that for shows I liked but didn't care to stay current on AXN channels, Fox and Universal were doing pretty decent job on staying current.

Meanwhile on real Mars Curiosity has drilled some more holes. We got detailed pictures of the real Ceres; some even in 3D (almost as pretty as Pluto). And Yutu shows that the Moon is more geologically complex than we knew. And here on Earth the robots are slowly taking over... raindeer jobs. Lucky us they don't fly yet or Robot Santa would come for us all.

And he probably never got to see Paris
winged
ellestra
One of the traditional TV events in Poland is showing Home Alone movies (at least the first two). My brother said they tried to stop last year but there was big outcry. Way to profit from some kid traumatic experience. Ever wondered what living with this kind of PTSD do to a person? You no longer need to - just take a look at the man Kevin became:

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