Sunday, December 7, 2014

What It Is – week ending 7 December [2014]

With apologies to Dave the Thune.

Every day.  1000 words.  That’s the goal.

With the coming holidays, and other responsibilities, my writing has tapered off a bit this week.  When last we met, I had written roughly 290,000 words for the year, with 231,000 of those being “new” first drafts.  At this point, I have reached 295,325 words with 236,475 “new” words.  I will easily pass my goal of 300,000 words for the year, but life is conspiring against the daily goal. 

All of this writing is paying off.  I got a huge email this week.  A crime anthology I wanted badly to be a part of will be publishing the latest story I submitted to them.  It still feels a bit surreal, and I plan on going into a bit more detail when publication gets closer, so I’ll keep it vague a while longer.  But, for now, I’M IN!

Finished re-reading the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil run.  It is still enjoyable, but upon this subsequent reading, some cracks in the foundation revealed themselves to me.  Nothing to heinous that it ruined the experience for me, but enough so that it trickled down the list of “favorites” a bit, which also reaffirmed my affection for my favorite DD run of all-time (Born Again, excepted) from Ann Nocenti & John Romita, Jr.  I plan on writing more about both of these runs, so we’ll leave it at that, for now.  Look for the Bendis/Maleeve piece soon, and the Nocenti/JRJr piece far down the line. 

Comic Geek Speak has also been reading and discussing Daredevil this year on their podcast.  The most recent episode dealt with the “[Frank] Miller era.”  This 2 ½ hour discussion really got me excited to go back and re-read my Miller Visionaries trades, and I’ve almost completed the first one of these, which includes all the work written by Roger McKenzie, with a fill-in by David Michelinie.  And they are pretty great, even better than the first time I read these a few years back.  I think at that point the hype surrounding this run of stories was too much to live up to, especially considering hos stellar “Born Again” is, which the CGS guys did not get to with this one.  That book, they will be tackling issue by issue, it sounds like, and that is something I cannot wait to hear.

Watched the second Hobbit film, “The Desolation of Smaug.”  This one, even more than the first, diverges far away from the source text, in order to make it more exciting for the audience.  I suppose that’s smart – different mediums and all – and I know that my middle son said he really enjoyed this one.  But, for me, I am unable to divorce this movie from my childhood experience with the book, and with every new obstacle that need not be there, I shake my head.  *sigh*  Which means my objections should be taken with some sense of skepticism

It feels like a cookie cutter script due to this, rather than consequences growing from choices made by the characters.  We never get a chance to know these characters, because they are always on the run, battling some new obstacle, and doing it with a grace and facility that rings untrue (let the elves have their grace with their lithe bodies, but give the dwarves a different fighting style, please).  And the romance between Tauriel and Kili.  Ugh. 

That said, Smaug was magnificent (see what I did there?)  I enjoyed the scenes with the dragon immensely, even those that trailed far from the path of the book.  I felt a sense of dread for Bilbo (and, come on, Martin Freeman is wonderful as the hobbit, though it feels much like he’s playing “himself” or at least a character very similar to Sherlock’s Watson), and the hubris of Smaug was defined well, though not as expertly as in the book as there were moments where it felt like he should have just roasted the dwarves, quite easily, but that would have been the end of the film with no third film to come.  And I am anxious to see what comes in the final film, for no other reason than where it ends with Smaug.  So, despite its flaws the film did its work.  We’ll see how “The Battle of Five Armies” turns out.

Started the FX show, The Americans.  Only halfway through the pilot, but it’s pretty awesome thus far.  1981.  Russian spies in America.  Their new neighbor is a counterintelligence FBI agent.  Let the fun begin.  And, come on, how did the writer of Speed (Graham Yost) manage to get this and Justified onto the small screen?  Doesn’t matter, because it feels like he’s got two certifiable great shows on his hands.

In the Mouth of Dorkness – the great, and frequently updated blog, from friends Matt & Brad – is now a weeklypodcast, with the able assistance of newest dork, Darren Smith.  The initial ‘cast is almost two hours long, but it didn’t feel like it.  These guys sounded comfortable behind the mics – they should, having been talking all things dork for some years before ever starting the blog – and there was none of those uncomfortable pauses or bits of dead air one might expect from newer podcasters.  They discussed the new Star Wars teaser trailer along with some current films, and then went into their “Fistful of Influences,” their top 5 films that have formed the film fans they all are.  It was fun and insightful and well worth listening to if you enjoy film, especially genre film – though they do cover the gamut with regard to eras, genres, filmmakers, etc. leaving no stone unturned, or some other treacly cliché.  Fun stuff.  Check it out.

And look for my own "Fistful of Influences - movies" in a day or so.

As always, check out my friends – Brad& Matt and Don McMillan for their own weekly recaps on things comic-y and geeky, and we'll see what's what in seven.  


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