The X-Files Season 11: Episode 2: “This”

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Ok, so now we’re cooking with gas. Seriously, this episode gives me what I want from The X-Files.

And by that I mean, Mulder and Scully flirting, Skinner being exasperated and The Lone Gunmen. We start strong with The Ramones “California Sun” playing intercut with a statick-y message from Langley, and then a bunch of people invade Mulder’s cabin, and Scully kicks a table over and they kill two of the invaders.

Turns out these guys are Russian ops, maybe? Skinner’s pretty vague about it, but the three of them have some tense conversations about how the world has changed. Trying to figure out what happened, leads Mulder and Scully to the graves of The Gunmen and to Deep Throat. (DUDE!)

They find a microchip, which leads them to a professor, who it turns out was Langly’s girlfriend? And they wind up learning that there was an experimental computer afterlife, that they both volunteered for so that they could live together eternally. (Awww.)

AND it turns out that the program is run by Erica Price, which is what Barbara Hershey’s character is named, apparently. She offers Mulder a spot in the after life, if he kills CSM. I really don’t think Mulder needs that much motivation to kill CSM, but you know, whatever.

Also, it turns out computer heaven is hella boring, (though sounds kinda nice, with daily Ramones concerts and an ever losing Patriots team.) and they’re mining the minds of all the folks there for nefarious purposes.

But, more importantly so much flirting! Flirting on the couch. Flirting in diners. Flirting on a bus. A reference to handcuffs! OMG! Flirt away Scully and Mulder, make all of our dreams come true!

Oh also the crash computer heaven but it turns out that there’s a back up and one of the creepy Russian assassins is totally there.

Overall, a way better episode than last week. (NOT HARD) It reminded me of those glorious season 6 episodes of weirdness that I loved so much when I watched the show before. And honestly? The show can do a lot worse than just floating on Duchovney and Anderson’s chemistry, which is so incredible.

Also, someone get Skinner a stiff drink, that man deserves it.

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Prince Eric & The Others

Welcome to Year 2…and meet The Phanians. Be sure to check out the picture of them on my facebook!

The Marina Chronicle

I’ll try my best to describe the three men who were standing in front of us.

Prince Eric was in the center. He’s dark skinned, darker even than my father, and smaller than I expected. He’s only an inch or two taller than myself! He has dark hair that’s cropped short against his head. He was wearing a uniform, I assumed from the Phanian Navy. It even featured wheel embroidery on it. He was smiling, though he looked a bit uneasy.

Next to him, on each side, were two other men.

The first was younger, maybe about my age. He looked a great deal like my father, brown skinned, with his head shaved and wide curious black eyes. I learned later that this was Queen Elana’s younger brother, Raymond, so my father’s cousin then. Something about Sir Raymond makes me feel uneasy, something I can’t quite name. It’s obvious he…

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The Road to Infinity: I am Iron Man

Iron Man

So, I’m rewatching all of the MCU movies. Some one them, I will be watching for the first time since I saw them in theaters. Some of them, I have watched a zillion times.

Iron Man, is one I’ve watched a zillion times. Everytime, I am reminded of why this is the movie that launched an empire.

It’s really, really solid. The script is good, the performances are excellent, and the effects still look a lot better than a lot of what you see in most superhero movies. (They are also used quite sparingly.)

And Good God, is Robert Downey Jr. excellent in this movie. He’s just astounding. Over the course of 20 films, he’s given a mix of good to phenomenal performances as Tony Stark, but this original one is the phenomenal one.

Also, I will never, ever let anyone say a bad word about Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, or generally as an actress. (Gwyneth Paltrow as an insufferable internet personality, sure, fire away! SHE has time to do Yoga everyday AND raise her children!) She’s such a bright spot in every scene she’s in and she really does look like she’s having a ball.

And this movie has a social conscious that I always forget about. I don’t just mean, Tony’s realization that he’s complicit in a cycle of violence that will ultimately lead to the creation of The Avengers, the signing of the Sokovia Accords and his mentorship of Peter Parker, but I mean the scene on the roof.

While at a benefit Tony and Pepper have a romantic moment, and she is immediately uncomfortable. When he tries to brush it off she insists that they discuss it, that the power differential between them (he’s her boss!) makes where it was heading inappropriate. And, this is the important part, Tony backs off. Granted, he finds out that his mentor is trying to take away his company (and murder him) but still, he backs off, until they can have a real conversation about it.

I love Tony and Pepper.

Anyway, I also think that people don’t give Jon Favreau enough credit. Iron Man moves well, manages to stay small enough and big enough in the right places and somehow, hits every note perfectly. The impact of these decisions cannot be overstated, as they shaped the other 19 movies substantially. (Though even in The Incredible Hulk, made the same year, things are ramped up a bit…)

Overall, I was wary about diving back into the MCU, I don’t know how all of the movies are going to hold up. (I am SUPER  nervous about watching Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World again, because OMG…) But I’m glad to know that Iron Man holds up and knowing how this story winds up going is an excellent beginning.

Plus, you guys, Phil Coulson, showing up for the first time, so unassuming at first and then such a complete and total badass.

We’re here to talk about “The Avengers Initiative.” Let’s get moving!

The X-Files: Season 11: Episode 1: “My Struggle III”

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Guys, I know I’m not really qualified to complan about not having new X-Files content, for any amount of time, since I never waited over a decade for any of it. BUT because of the weirdly compressed way I watched the show. (0 to everything in less than 4 months) it left a really weird hole in my life when I was done with it.

Which is why I’m glad it’s back even though, this tweet I posted as the episode ended last night, basically sums up my feelings:

Because seriously do you want to know we didn’t need for this show to be compelling? The implication the The Smoking Man raped Scully and got her pregnant with William, rather than you know, a consensual sexual encounter between two adults who cared deeply for one another but could never make it work doing the deed.

I also didn’t need Jeffrey Spender to come back, like at all. If we’re going to be resurrecting characters with grey area motivations when it comes to our heroes, couldn’t we bring Krycheck back? (#TeamKrycheck! #SpenderIsTheWorst!)

Anyway, the episode. So it turns out “My Struggle II” was mostly a hallucination, or something? Who even goddamn knows with this stupid show, and dumb stupidness? I sound like I’m being dismissive but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Scully is now in the hospital, getting seizures that may or may not be visions psychically sent to her by William.

The Smoking Man, meanwhile, is preparing, with the help of Agent Reyes, to unleash his alien plague and restart the human race with him, Scully, Reyes and Skinner, I think? Not Mulder though, for reasoning of I believe, “fuck that guy!”

Mulder, meanwhile is running around, hunting The Smoking Man, and instead finding all kinds of other, NON smoking man members of The Syndicate, (including Barbara Hershey!!! HEEYYYY!) and refusing to believe anything anyone tells him and yelling about it. (Mulder, at least is acting like himself.)

Anyway, Scully decides they all just need to go back to work, because she is a goddamn boss.

Oh, also Einstein and Miller were there. Because, whatever.

Look, I enjoyed the episode, but it definitely fell into some of the biggest traps of stupidness that The X-Files often falls into, but at least everyone was acting like themselves.

Except Reyes, I still don’t understand what’s going on with her, or how her psychic ability somehow got passed to Scully.

Eh. There are more episodes. We’ll see.

Or you know…probably not…because there is no truth you guys, if there’s anything I learned that the intravenous drip of X-Files I was on in 2015 & 2016, it’s that.

The Ship

Guys, it’s the end of Year One! (Season 1, pretty much, not a literal year!) We’re onto a new chapter next week!

The Marina Chronicle

The ball was incredibly magical. I danced with more men than I could count, most of them provenance heirs. And William. And Tristan.

I even convinced Papa to come and watch a bit, although I drank far too much wine and had to go to bed before Annalise.

Which wound up for the best as it was the middle of the night when Elodie shook me awake.

“What is it?” I asked. She looked at me. “Elodie, I don’t understand?”

“A ship arrived,” she whispered. I nodded. “I didn’t want to wake The Queen, but, well,” I swallowed and nodded.

“Is it him?” I asked.

“We don’t know,” she said softly, “we do know that it’s here, and it’s flying a Phanian flag.” I nodded and got out of bed, pulling a dressing gown on.

“Elodie, please go wake General Martin and Countess Olivia and my father,” I said softly…

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30 Books in 2018: #1 The Kingkiller Chronicles Book 1: The Name of The Wind

Hi all!

I’m doing the Goodreads challenge for 2018, and I’ve committed to 30 books. I’d have done more, but since my 2018 reading project is an epic novel every month and those generally take a while to read, I figured adding 2 more books per month, attached to that 12 was a good way to still challenge myself.

As a way to keep myself honest (and keep some updates going here! Hooray!) I figured that I’d write up a bit about my thoughts on each book.

First up! The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which is the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles, which I first got wind of because there’s a TV show in development (or was? I dunno) that has Lin-Manuel Miranda attached to write the music. Since I am at a point in my cultural consumption where if someone said, “Hey! Lin-Manuel Miranda is walking off that cliff,” I’d do it, here we are!

As for the book…I liked it a lot. It’s beautifully written, full of lovely passages and interesting turns of phrase, and it’s even a different take on epic fantasy, focusing on a storyteller who works his way to become a magician and eventually (I would assume) a hero, and a killer of kings? (He has not yet killed a king, but I imagine it must happen at some point in the story…)

I generally liked the protagonist, Kvothe, and while it appears a large portion of the story will revolve around his love of a woman named Denna, I’m not as interested in that portion of the story. Which is really unusual for me, as you all know, I often focus on the love story of a thing, sometimes to the detriment of noticing other things about it.

And it’s for a really simple reason, because the story is told from Kvothe’s perspective, and he’s idealized her, I find myself rolling my eyes a lot. But there was one passage in particular that really, really bugged me.

There’s a lot of talk, as it’s the first book and Kvothe is in his teens for the main action, about how he doesn’t understand women. Which is fine, he doesn’t, and frankly, most of the women he encounters, besides Denna get treated as full people. (Not always the case in genre fiction penned by men about men.) But there’s one passage where another one of Denna’s lovers and Kvothe discuss the way she lives her life. There’s no judgement there (the fact that she’s not a virgin nor is anyone trying to “save a fallen woman” is also refreshing) and they discuss that other women hate her because she’s not like other women.

My eyes nearly got stuck in the back of my head.

If there were ever a narrative short cut for isolating a female character I’ve hated more than “she’s not like other girls,” I can’t think of it.

That is not, in my experience, how female relationships work. Women, as a whole, tend to only be set against each other like that when men pit them that way. Left to our own devices, we’ll circle the wagons and protect one another, even when we don’t particularly get along. (Why do you think so many women loved Big Little Lies so much. That was like, the entire point of that book and show!)

But other than this tiny annoyance, I really liked the book and I look forward to book 2, which I will be reading when I finish War And Peace, which is the first epic I’m tackling.

I like Kvothe, I particularly like the framing device of him telling his life story, with his mysterious faerie companion, Bast, and a character known as Chronicler. And Rothfuss is clearly a very good writer, I can put up with some little bits of casual misogyny for a good turn of phrase. (Seriously, Sorkin in my favorite writer.) (I also realize this makes me part of the problem)

And if there are many more nuggets in this series as good as the one below, I’ll be fine:

The three boys, one dark, one light, and one—for lack of a better word—fiery, do not notice the night. Perhaps some part of them does, but they are young, and drunk, and busy knowing deep in their hearts that they will never grow old or die.

That’s really beautiful. Just, stunningly constructed.

Time To Get Personal: Let’s Talk About 2017

I feel like 2017 needs to be subtitles, “the year I undid a bunch of work I’d done the year before.”

But that isn’t totally fair because I had some pretty big wins. But I want to start with the not so great stuff.

My day job fell apart, which lead to things here sort of falling apart too. This is because it was taking every scrap of my will and sanity to keep from falling off a cliff into the toxic sludge of that place. And just when I thought it was just me, I was quickly validated by several other coworkers. (One of whom took extended medical leave just to tend to the mental health issues brought on by the stress of this place. Seriously, it was nightmare) In the end, it turned out they were getting ready to sell the company and the stress and tension of that was trickling down to everyone.

Because of that stress I stopped dieting, I stopped running and I drank wayyy too much. So a lot of the progress I’d made in 2016 and the first half of 2017 went down the tubes. My weight is up, my habits are bad, I’m gonna do my best to repair that damage now, but oof, it’s been rough.

In addition to that, Mary moved to Colorado. This is awesome for her. I’m so so proud of my little sister, but I miss her all the time, and I never realized how much I rely on her for just like, helping me keep my life in perspective. And I decided not to do a show, so for the first time since I was fourteen I wasn’t in a theater all summer. Both of these things would be fine on their own, but in addition to the job stress and put together, it left me feeling unmoored.

Luckily, I recognized what was going on and began a job search in earnest in September and by Thanksgiving I was someplace new, which is lower stress, higher pay, and most of all, my boss does not appear to be a psychopath who calls me stupid when I ask questions and then when I try to figure things out on my own yells at me for doing things wrong. (It was really really bad, you guys).  I also knew enough to get into therapy, and practice basic self care, but it was really really hard.

So, aside from that, let’s talk about the good things:

I ran my half marathon! And I’ve decided to train for a full. (I haven’t chosen yet, it may be Disney, or I may do another destination city…) This will be a tremendous commitment, but I’m ready for it!

I moved out of my parents’ place and into my own. I love my apartment, and frankly, during the really rough moments with work, it was really great to be able to go home to a place that was mine and sit quietly, or cry, or huddle up and watch Gossip Girl without worrying how this would effect my family. Or call in for a mental health day without it also causing my mom to spiral into anxiety. We feed each other’s dysfunction that way. This move has been GREAT for our relationship.

I kept my resolution to be more social (AND HOW). Even if my weekends were sometimes more solitary than I’d originally planned, I did something with friends pretty much every week this year. MAJOR Shout outs to Katie, Aless and Crystan, but not forgetting Juli and Chrissy, for whom lack of proximity forces less interaction. I should note that getting in the habit of being social also helped my mental health A LOT. When on any given evening Aless will text and say, “I’m coming to your place tonight” I’ve gotta keep the place clean, or Crystan pointing out that we have tickets for something means that regular bathing is a necessity. And, I really missed Katie. Adulthood makes maintaining friendships from when you were younger hard, but as our friendship prepares for it’s Sweet 16 (We’ve now been friends for over 50% of our lives. It’s terrifying. We’re old.) I’m so glad we’ve managed to spend a bunch of time together. And a bonus of all of our hanging out, I discovered how much I love $9 wine, and as I understand it, she discovered a love of Jarlsberg. HUZZAH!

And, I’m keeping this very vague…I liked liked someone for the first time in a while, and they liked me back. We’re still not sure where it’s going, but it’s good, and even if it’s just friendship, I’m glad my depression didn’t stamp out that part of myself.

So, 2018 personal resolutions:

Start running again. 4 days a week. No excuses.

NO DRINKING ON WEEKNIGHTS AT MY HOUSE. Period. End of sentence. If I’m in my apartment, and I have work the next day, NYET. Even when out, limited to 1 glass of wine.

Seriously cook once a week. Crock Pot dumps and “reheat type” cooking more often, but my Uncles gave me a cook book for Christmas and I want to experiment with my kitchen a bit.

Take dating seriously. Seriously. This means apps and websites and speed dating and all kinds of nightmares that I hate, but with my mental health in check and no more “I live with my parents” as an excuse, I want to get into this. Having gotten into the habit of being more social last year, I think this is a good extension of that.