Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 18-24, 2015

An interesting mixed bag this week.

How science helped to swing the Canadian election. The Guardian.

Michael Kimmel explains why gender equality is good for everyone, even men. TED Talks.

Shirley Cheechoo makes Brock University history. The Brock News.

Why blacks have Irish last names. Note: It was pointed out to me that there is a difference between indentured servitude and slavery. Something to keep in mind as you read. I’m not looking to be inflammatory.

Care for a road trip? You should try Ireland’s wild Atlantic way. National Geographic.

Eric Barker offers three anger management tips from neuroscience. Time.

Happiness: eight awesome new facts you should know. PsyBlog.

How solitude can change your brain in profound ways. Jane Porter for Fast Company.

i09 presents the creepy world of abandoned asylums.

The teen who hacked into the CIA Director’s email explains how he did it. Wired.

What New Horizons is showing us about Pluto’s moon, Charon. Phys.org.

Jackfruit might be a meat substitute. And yes. It’s a fruit. The Business Insider.

The Issus coleoptratus is the only insect that has biological gears. The Smithsonian.

There are whales alive today that were born before Moby Dick was written. The Smithsonian.

An animal shelter on Kauai allows visitors to take dogs on day trips. This is sweet. The Los Angeles Times.

Florence + the Machine: Delilah.

Sorry to say, but Saturday posts are on hold until NaNoWriMo is over. Then, I’ll start in on the Can-con panel reportage.

In the meantime, look forward to Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday between now and then.

Have a great weekend!

Thoughty Thursday

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 18-24, 2015

Whee! The countdown to Can-con and NaNoWriMo has begun!

I’m all a-squee!

K.M. Weiland answers a reader’s question: How do I keep writing during NaNo when all I want to is watch football?

Katie describes how to make your hero’s self-sacrifice even more heart-breaking.

Jan O’Hara explores those times when dark emotions threaten your writing. Writer Unboxed.

Dan Blank compares copying others and failing vs. forging your own path on Writer Unboxed.

Veronica Sicoe looks at the power of momentum and the three c’s of productivity.

Maya Sapiurka teaches us how to cure writer’s block. Time.

C.S. MacCath gives us a strategy for writing through an emotional block.

Catherine Ryan Howard gives us a virtual tour of her writing space: where the crying happens.

Joanna Penn presents seven things to fix in your first self-edit.

Chuck Sambuchino guest posts on Carly Watters’ blog with seven tips to help you craft your novel’s pitch.

Ruthanne Reid provides a lesson in world building 101. The Write Practice.

Liz Bourke writes about strong female characters and the double standard. Tor.com.

Jamie Gold offers great tips for and examples of writing diversity (without issues).

Noah Charney describes the not-quite end of the book tour. The Atlantic.

George Saunders shares his writing education in The New Yorker.

Was there a real-life Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s life? The Telegraph.

Has sci-fi become a 21st century religion? The Guardian.

Emil Lendof of The Daily Beast introduces us to Brian K. Vaughan, the comic visionary behind Y: The Last Man.

The Jessica Jones trailer:

And the heresy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:

I guess it’s trailer day on Tipsday. Here’s the supercut trailer for The Force Awakens:

Charlie Jane Anders lists 50 science fiction movies that everyone should see at least once. i09.

Grammarly shares 20 jokes for grammar nerds.

BuzzFeed presents 17 rooms for book lovers.

Seven celebrities recite Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” MentalFloss.

Come on back for Thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday

Series discoveries: The fall 2015 season, so far

Since I’m at Can-con next weekend, and doing NaNo after that, I’m doing the fall season series discoveries today, even though not all of the fall offerings have debuted, or resumed.

I’ll have to follow up with another post later in the season . . .

The plan for today is just to go, day by day, starting with Sunday, and run through the shows I’ve watched, offering impressions so far.

‘S’all right?

This is going to be a long one. You have been warned.

Sunday

Once Upon a Time

I’m sticking with OUaT. The Emma as the Dark One story line is interesting, but I find that, as in past seasons, things are taking a while to get going. Also interested to see how the Merida (of Brave) and the King Arthur threads are heading.

In the pre-season special, the actors all praised the show as one in which anyone can have a happy ending. All the characters have both good and bad within them. Everyone has the potential to become a hero or a villain and, I have to admit, it’s interesting to see how that plays out. The message of OUaT is hope.

Sometimes that can come off as saccharine, but there’s nothing else, right now, that I want to watch in the same time slot.

Lost Girl

I mentioned this in my mid-season follies post, not realizing that the final season had already started (September 6). I caught up and am watching things through to their conclusion.

My main complaint is that events seem so scattered. Plot lines are ended because they are inconvenient or not popular. At least that’s the way I read things.

Gods are very powerful fae. Okay. I can live with that. The goddess Iris becoming the Nix (destroyer)? Not so much. It was really a nothing story line because Hades ends up dispatching her. Rather anti-climactically. A classic painting is the key to defeating the gods? Okay. Interesting. But the apparent defeat is not really a defeat at all and Zeus and Hera first reappear, and then choose docile retreat in the face of Hades and his plan of ultimate evil? Weaksauce. Doctor Lauren tests a serum (intended to restore the Morrigan, whom she turned into a human) on herself and becomes a fae mimic? Cool. But then, it proves to be too much for her human physiology and she creates an anti-serum to cure herself before she loses her mind and memory. Again, anti-climactic and weak.

Kenzie’s back. Good. Eric Roberts as Hades, A.K.A. protagonist Bo’s big bad daddy, is also good.

I can see the ultimate outcome, however.

Hades has murdered Bo’s mother and her grandfather, A.K.A. the Blood King, who literally rewrote relations between the fae with his blood, which, when used as ink, has the power to compel any fae. That bit? Also cool.

But, as he dies, Grandpa tells Bo that his blood also flows in her veins.

I’m so confident, I’m willing to write this here and risk embarrassment when things don’t play out as I predict 😛

Currently, Bo appears to have joined Hades and is actively pursuing the end of the world. She’s killing her friends (apparently) and preparing herself for world domination.

My prediction? Bo realizes that her blood has granddaddy’s power to compel and she uses it to defeat Hades, reconcile the dark and light fae, and becomes the new Blood King/Ash.

I’ll let you know if my prediction is accurate. It will be, in part, satisfying if I’m right, but it will also be disappointing. I prefer to be surprised.

Quantico

The writers of Quantico have taken a page from the How to Get Away with Murder book and are telling the story of the first season from two time frames.

Currently, a new FBI agent, Alex Parrish, wakes up in the rubble of Grand Central Station after a terrorist attack has levelled it and killed hundreds. She is accused of the crime and proceeds to seek the truth and the real perpetrator.

In the past, our protagonist and a number of other new recruits struggle through their training at the titular institution.

The story is interesting with a lot of surprising twists and red herrings. All of the main characters have secrets. The cast is diverse, featuring non-white, non-male, non-straight characters.

I’ll continue to watch.

Monday

Blindspot

I’m a little wary of this series because it’s based on a gimmick.

A woman with no memory, but covered in tattoos, is found in a duffel bag in Times Square, and is taken in by the FBI because the name of one of their agents, Kurt Weller, is featured prominently, in ink, on her back.

The FBI decide to call her Jane Doe, but eventually find proof that she’s Taylor Shaw, a childhood friend of Weller’s who disappeared when they were both children. Even that is uncertain as another forensic test indicates that Jane was also born and spent several years in sub-Saharan Africa. Both things cannot be true.

The tattoos all have some kind of significance with terrorist attacks and government corruption. The goal of whoever did this seems to be to trick the FBI into uncovering the corruption in the government. Why not release this information to the press, or to multiple security forces at the same time, or even on the internet? Surely the evil government conspiracy doesn’t have the power to shut down the internet, press, and state and national police forces at the same time?

I’m sure we’ll find out the tortured logic of this very complicated tactic somewhere along the line.

Because none of the tattoos are straightforward. They’re all puzzles that take genius-level intelligence to solve. Conveniently, the FBI have a genius on staff.

The other thing that bugs me is that, while the writers have attempted to maintain some kind of consistency (beyond episode one) in revealing Jane’s backstory, they were very ham-handed in the first episode.

Basically, the reason Jane remembers nothing is that she has been given a mega dose of a drug that causes amnesia. From what they’ve been able to tell, she may never remember who she was or what happened to her.

We generally get unclear snippets as Jane’s fractured memories start to resurface, but at the end of the first episode, there is a final cut scene showing the night that she took the drug. Having voluntarily been tattooed over nearly every inch of her body, she also volunteers to eradicate her memory with this drug.

The man with her resurfaces in episode two, only to be killed in episode three without having yielded any useful information.

I’m willing to see where it goes for a while yet.

Minority Report

The series picks up years after the movie, with no mention of Tom Cruise’s character and some rewriting of the events that led to Pre-Crime’s dissolution.

The three precogs were living on their isolated island, but while Agatha has chosen to stay on the island, Arthur, the older of the twins, has returned to the city and uses his precog talents to make himself a very wealthy man.

Dash, the younger twin, is the one that sees the murders (Agatha experiences them from the perspective of the victim, and Arthur receives names and other factual details). Dash can’t stand to let people do horrible things to each other anymore.

He wants to stop the murders from happening if he can, but, working alone, he can’t seem to figure everything out in time.

So he finds Vega, a police detective, who helps him to solve the crimes he foresees.

Enter Hawkeye, a system that, somewhat like the machine on Person of Interest, but without the AI, gathers information from the wired society and uses it to predict the likelihood of violent action. Dash becomes Vega’s Hawkeye analyst as a kind of cover, and has to continually convince his brother Arthur to help them.

Add to this Agatha’s vision that Vega will somehow be involved in putting all three precogs back in the milk bath in subservience to the police, and we have another futuristic, crime-of-the-week, conspiracy thriller.

Even though Agatha and Arthur seem perfectly accustomed to life in the world, Dash is awkward and naive. I’m not really liking that vibe.

I’m willing to give it a few more episodes.

Castle

I’m sticking with Castle mainly for Nathan Fillion.

They’re trying another stunt to keep viewers’ interest after last year’s near-ending. *rolls eyes*

A few seasons ago, Beckett went to work for the Justice Department. In short order, the writers figured out that the distance relationship would never work for the character or with the fans and reworked the story to get Beckett back to the NYPD. Clumsily done, people.

Then, Castle disappeared for three months on the day he was to marry Beckett. There was some resolution, but it wasn’t satisfactory. He knows he was involved in some big, world-threatening conspiracy, and that he saved and old friend, but it seems that he, too, was given a dose of the amnesia drug (mentioned in Blindspot, above) and he’ll never know, and nor will we, how awesome he was.

Castle and Beckett finally got married and seemed to be negotiating married life fairly well. Things were going too well, I guess. Time to introduce a Shamalanian TWIST!

But first, they gave Beckett some resolution with regard to her mother’s murder, allowing her to finally put away the man responsible, Senator Bracken.

Though he was personna non grata at the police station, Castle started his own detective agency and reinserted himself into investigations, and eventually the precinct.

So now Beckett, having eschewed running for governor, is Captain of the precinct, but three of her former colleagues at the Department of Justice have been killed and a fourth comes to her for assistance.

This opens up the Bracken conspiracy again (greater evil, higher up, even MOAR untouchable), and she leaves Castle because she doesn’t want to put him in danger (wha?). She knows he’ll put himself into danger regardless. It’s a ridiculous excuse for drama.

Castle continues to use the detective agency—and now his daughter, Alexis, is working with him—to interfere with Beckett’s cases in some attempt to “win her back.” He knows full-well she loves him and she’s told him point blank that while she’s working on this conspiracy theory, she’d going to stay away from him for his own safety.

It’s a whole bundle of stupid. Contrived stupid at that.

But, like I say: Nathan Fillion.

Tuesday

The Flash

I have two words for you: Earth Two.

Yup, they’ve gone and done it, introduced Jay Garrick, the Flash from Earth Two. The resolution to last year’s finale seems to be that the fabric between the realities has been torn.

And we’ve already been shown that Harrison Wells is somehow living in Earth Two and ready to cross back over to torment Barry Allen further.

Meh.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Daisy (I liked Skye so much better) is trying to save the inhumans cropping up all over the place because the catalyst was released into the ocean.

A new government agency is trying to capture them for study.

The monolith transported Simmons to another world, far across the galaxy, and when the team retrieves her, she says she has to go back, but, of course, won’t say why.

Hunter wants Ward dead crazy-bad.

May is initially MIA, but then joins Hunter.

It’s still early days.

Limitless

Another new show featuring our favourite police organization, the FBI.

A listless slacker, Brian Finch, is introduced to the drug NZT, which allows him to take full advantage of his intelligence and memories. He comes to the attention of the FBI who decide to take him on as a consultant.

Once he starts using NZT, Senator Eddie Morra (from the movie, reprised by Bradley Cooper), shows up and offers him a deal. See, NZT has this nasty habit of killing the people who use it in a terrible and painful way. Morra has an injection, though, that will allow Finch to use NZT indefinitely, so long as he gets a periodic booster.

Finch agrees to the devil’s deal without reading the fine print. Morra’s people (not Morra himself, of course) threaten Finch’s father, and if Finch tells anyone about his deal with Morra, everyone he loves will be killed.

Finch tries to reconnect with an old flame, but Morra’s people again put an end to that, and Finch is told to steal FBI files, which he tries to fake, then ends up delivering.

He’s in a tough place. I guess the series is about how he at first survives, and then how he gets out of that place.

It’s another gimmick-based series, but I’m entertained enough for now.

Wednesday

Arrow

At the end of last season, Oliver Queen leaves Starling City with Felicity Smoak. This season picks up with them living in domestic bliss, but it’s not sitting well—with Felicity, not Oliver. Olie’s actually happy, exchanging recipes with neighbours and dreaming of kidlets and contentment.

Felicity, meanwhile, has been stepping out on him with the rest of the Arrow Corps: Diggle, his sister, Thea, and his former girlfriend and current D.A., Laurel.

When this comes to light, Felicity drags Olie, not kicking and screaming, but stoically sighing, back to the renamed Star City, where the people still clearly need some help.

In the first episode, Damian Darhk murders what’s left of Star City’s leadership while the Hive descends on the rest of the hapless population.

Diggle has a hate on for Olie because to get out of his situation with the League of Assassins in last season, Olie kidnapped Diggle’s wife. Thea, resurrected last season in “the pit” is now becoming a blood-thirsty killer. Laurel, having taken up her dead sister’s mantle as The Canary, is still at odds with her father, and lost without her sister.

So, Laurel convinces Thea to return to Nanda Parbat, where her father, Malcom Merlin, is now R’as al Ghul, to see if anything can be done for her. Of course, she brings her sister’s months-old corpse to drop in the pit.

I think we can all see where this is going. I’m curious to see if Constantine makes an appearance and what role he plays in the continuing cray-cray that is Oliver Queen’s life.

Criminal Minds

This series is an old faithful for me. I still enjoy the human monster-of-the-week stories they come up with.

They can’t seem to keep the team stable, though.

They’ve brought in a new member every season, and then they leave.

Code Black

I watched the first episode and wasn’t impressed.

Thursday

Heroes Reborn

I liked the first season of the original Heroes enough to give this one a chance.

After a terrorist attack on a conference in Odessa, Texas, during which hundreds of evos (evolved humans) and humans lose their lives, including Claire from the original series, evos are blamed and subsequently hunted down.

Renautas, the tech company that bought out Primatech, is using evo powers to enact a plan that will save the world. I’m thinking they want to save the world for humans. They’ve been using Molly Walker’s locater powers to create evo detector glasses for law enforcement. They’re using Hiro Nakamura’s powers to send equipment and supplies into the future.

They’re dallying a bit, but if the payoff is good, I’m willing to wait. I like some of the new evos and their powers.

I liked Miko/Katana girl and am a little sad that she might have been a computer program and her purpose served in releasing Hiro Nakamura from his virtual prison. Teleporter Tommy is cool and fortunately, he’s just gotten past his “refusal of the call” stage of his hero’s journey. We should see some good things developing from his storyline.

Malina, the elemental mistress (as I think of her), seems to be the pivotal figure.

It was Hiro’s powers that ended up causing the story problems that sent the original series off kilter, though. I hope the writers have a solid plan for dealing with them this time.

Unfortunately Hiro has already taken Noah into the past to try to stop the terrorist attack at Odessa from happening.

We’ll see what develops. I’m intrigued for now.

Grey’s Anatomy

This series is another old dependable, and kind of a guilty pleasure.

It’s basically a soap opera set against the backdrop of a hospital.

I was shocked at Dereck’s death, and they usually have some big event or crisis to mark each season, but I wasn’t expecting that.

So this year, they had to bring in the doctor that, as Grey gracelessly said, killed Dereck, to stir things up.

I’m actually watching Heroes Reborn in preference to Grey’s, but catching up by watching the episodes online. I’m doing the same with Minority Report, which is on at the same time as Blindspot, which, for now, grabs my attention more.

How to Get Away with Murder

They’re keeping the same storytelling strategy they used last year, but this year, they’re giving more away much earlier in the season.

This show is full of spoilage. I still want to watch to find out how all the dots are connected, though.

It makes me think and surprises me, even though I know part of the outcome.

It’s tasty.

Friday

Nothing so far for me. So this is my catch up day for Grey’s and Minority Report.

Saturday

Doctor Who

I’m slowly warming up to Capaldi as the new Doctor. He’s loosening up a bit. Though he still has the stylish coat, he’s now wearing it with plaid pants and a hoodie. He plays the electric guitar and has turned in his sonic screwdriver for “wearable” tech in the form of classic Ray-Ban sunglasses.

This season, or series, as they dub it in the UK, seems to be about “old friends.”

Clara’s still hanging on, but I was quite happy to see Missy/The Master’s return. She’s a good character. Psychotic, but goooood.

Davros showed up for an interesting two-parter, and I just finished watching the second of two episodes featuring Maisy Williams. In the first, she was a Viking girl. The Doctor saved her life by giving her nano-technology. She’s technically immortal, though she could be killed. In the second episode, he meets up with her again 800 years later.

Though he left her with another nano-tech cube for her eventual partner, she hasn’t used it yet. She blames the Doctor for making her immortal and then stranding her in the world, alone. He won’t take her with him, though. She blames him for that, too.

At the end of the episode, the Doctor asks her if they’re enemies. She says, no, but as his friend, she’ll be watching out for him. Creepily, she shows up at the school where Clara teaches.

Might be good.

Other stuff

iZombie

We don’t get CW on our cable, so Phil and I are watching season two as is comes out on Shomi.

At the end of the first season, Liv used the only two doses of a potential zombie cure, one to make Blain’s zombie gourmet ambitions more difficult to achieve, and the second to cure her ex-fiancé, Major, after she infected him to keep him from permanently dying when Blain stabbed him.

Then, Liv had to refuse a blood transfusion to her brother, who was caught in the gas explosion that took out Blain’s operation, the Meat Cute.

Oh, and the new potential zombie love of Liv’s life was murdered by Blain just a couple episodes earlier. Her best friend and room mate learned she was a zombie and disappeared.

So, Liv’s family isn’t speaking to her. Major isn’t speaking to her and though she has a new room mate, the woman is a spy (more on that in a bit). Ravi is trying to make up another batch of the cure, but to do that, they have to track down some of the tainted drug that caused the transformation. Liv has to find Blain and convince him to find the stuff for her.

Meanwhile, Major has been recruited by the CEO of Max Rager, the energy drink that is the other critical ingredient in the zombie infection agent and therefore Ravi’s cure.

Because he’s had Liv under surveillance (new roomie), Vaughn du Clark (the CEO) learns that a side effect of Major’s being cured is that he can now sense zombies. Du Clark wants Major to rid Seattle of the zombie menace. Of course, he uses Liv as leverage.

This series is fun. Word play and homage abound. It’s based on a comic, and they use comics in the opening credits as well as to introduce every scene.

It’s all kinds of awesome.

Hemlock Grove

This just came out yesterday on Netflix. It’s the third and final season.

It’s all kinds of messed up.

And Phil and I have only watched two episodes so far.

So that’s your fall television review. Like I said up front, I’ll have to offer up a (much shorter) part two when I’ve seen the rest of the new and returning series.

Now, it’s time for bed (!)

See you on Tipsday 🙂

Series Discoveries

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, October 11-17, 2015

Making up for last week!

Here are 13 reasons we need a change in government up here. Press Progress. And guess what? We got it (!) For better or worse. I hope for better. Really, anything’s got to be better.

Providing safe drinking water on reserves (one of numerous issues First Nations face) is simple. Just do it. The Globe and Mail.

Ken Taylor, the Canadian envoy who hid Americans during Iran Hostage Crisis, died last week. NPR.

Brainpickings has unearthed a rare BBC interview with Carl Jung.

Understanding sleep paralysis. IFLS.

The Psychiatric Times reviews the DSM-5 changes for sleep-wake disorders.

How we might cure Alzheimer’s (TED talks):

IFLS explains why you shouldn’t wear a bra. Your boobs will thank you 🙂

Eight things Michelle Coombs is too old for. The Huffington Post.

Bizarre star may suggest the existence of alien civilisations. BBC.

i09 lists five gruesome murders that inspired spooky ghost stories.

600 year old Henry V warship found in Hampshire river. The Telegraph.

Chivalry isn’t dead. You just don’t know what the fuck it is. Myths retold.

Doctors take women’s pain less seriously. The Atlantic.

Jennifer Lawrence speaks out on wage inequality in Hollywood. Salon.

A male engineering student explains why his female colleagues aren’t his equals. Click-bait title for a fair and thoughtful post. The Huffington Post.

Meg Urry writes about ending sexual harassment in astronomy. We need to do this across not only STEM fields, but all fields. Seriously people. Scientific American.

How California’s largest school district blamed an eighth-grader for her rape. This one made me swear. Copiously. The Atlantic.

Nobody cares how hard you work. 99u.

Ravens can tell if you’re a cheater who can’t be trusted. Corvus corvus rocks my world 🙂 IFLS.

Twin pandas were born last week at the Toronto Metro Zoo. IFLS.

Here’s a Red Panda and a pumpkin 🙂

I hope this will hold you until Saturday when I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the fall season television shows (what I’ve seen so far, at least).

Hang in there. Tomorrow’s Friday.

Now, hie thee to a thoughtery!

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, October 11-17, 2015

Have I told you how much I enjoy sharing all this Writerly Goodness? I LURVES it!

Roz Morris points out that gender is not the only agenda when considering equality in publishing.

Sheila Williams, editor for Asimov’s since 2004, guest posts on the Women in Science Fiction blog.

K.M. Weiland continues her NaNoWriMo prep posts with six tasks you’ll love yourself for checking off your NaNo pre-writing list.

Katie answers one of the most frequent questions to come across her desk: what’s the hardest part of a novel to write?

If your protagonist is always right, readers will hate her (or him). K.M. Weiland.

I lurve Chuck Wendig when he writes posts like this one: go big, go weird, go you, and fuck fear right in the ear.

This. Is. SO. True. And, so sad. The Kubler-Ross model of grief applied to editing and rewriting. Chuck Wendig. Terribleminds.

Last week, K.M. Weiland compared weak plot points to dimpled or hanging chads. This week, David Corbett looks at the Iran nuclear deal as an example of four corner conflict. Writer Unboxed.

Donald Maass writes about the magnanimity of the author on Writer Unboxed.

Porter Anderson looks at Amazon Crossings on Writer Unboxed.

Want to get your book published? Start here. Jane Friedman.

Man Booker Prize winner, Marlon James’s first book was rejected nearly 80 times. Hope for us all, people. The Guardian.

Will the Amazon scandal with phoney authors and fake reviewers result in a resurgence in print book sales? The Memo.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch tackles the latest Author Earnings report (cause she was a little late addressing the last one).

Has Sabaa Tahir written the next Game of Thrones? The Huffington Post.

Helen Marshall (whose short fiction collection Gifts for the one who comes after has been nominated for nearly every applicable award, and won at least one) is interviewed on the This is Horror podcast.

How’s this for book porn?

The earliest documented use of fuck (so far) discovered. The Daily Mail.

Flavorwire showcases a video game based on Murakami’s magical realism.

Wise Ink shares eight infographics every writer needs.

Buzzfeed presents jokes for book nerds.

Maisy Williams made her debut on Doctor Who this past week. It was a good episode. Space.

Emily Asher-Perrin wishes Hollywood would stop doing these five things. Tor.com.

Top up your tank and get writing!

See you Thursday.

Tipsday

Series discoveries: anime edition

This weekend, I’m going to talk about the anime series Phil and I have been watching. Next weekend, I’m going to finally put forward my fall series review, even though some of them won’t have premiered yet (Supergirl) or returned (Grimm) yet.

The reason for this is that over the Hallowe’en weekend, Phil and I will be travelling to Ottawa for Can-con, so I won’t be blogging that weekend, and then, for the month of November, weekend blogging will be deferred in favour of NaNoWriMo (!)

Since I will be once more be working, and travelling for work, during the month of November, I don’t anticipate “winning,” but I certainly hope to improve upon last year’s word count.

So the next two weekends are a countdown to November’s reduced posting schedule. I’ll keep up with curation, but that’s it.

Onto the anime!

Last time, I’d mentioned that Phil and I were enjoying Log Horizon. We were, and then the show suddenly stopped production. With in a week, we learned the reason. The creator of the show was charged with tax evasion.

LH was, at the time, the most popular anime in Japan. Fans were demanding that the show’s creator be allowed to continue producing the show while he waited for his trial date. The creator announced publicly that if there was a way to continue to do so, that he would.

We haven’t seen an episode since.

It was getting to a crisis point in the current story arc. We are disappointed.

We watched the full run of Deadman Wonderland.

Interesting premise. In a society that incarcerates its citizens for the smallest infraction, a young boy finds himself in prison. Before long, he learns that by entering a deadly competition (televised for an elite, high-paying clientele), he can earn a pardon.

Very Hunger Games.

Then, joy of joys, Netflix picked up the licence for Inu Yasha. Just the first two seasons, but we watched it all. Yum.

Phil continues to watch Gintama, and started watching the live action version of Death Note. The live action DN diverged a bit from the anime storyline, but it was popular enough that the second season is in production.

We watched another new show, RWBY. It’s American, and animated a little differently, cell style, but done by computer. RWBY stands for both the colours red, white, blue, and yellow, and for the characters’ names: Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang.

They’re huntresses in an academy and they are training to hunt the Creatures of Grimm, with which the human race is fighting a pitched battle. Huntresses use dust to fuel their magic and fight the Grimm.

There’s a bit of a story around this series, as well. Marty Oum, the creator, died, but someone on the project committed to seeing the work through and the next season will be released next week. After that, who knows?

We’ve continued watching Fairy Tail, which continues to be entertaining. I find it a bit frustrating that we have to wait a whole week for the next episode, though.

We also started watching World Trigger. A world receives extra-dimensional visitors, called Neighbors, who seem bent on conquest. To defend themselves, they adapt the Neighbors’ weapons, called triggers, which can only be used by people who have large stores of a substance called trion, and create an agency called Border. Border agents train to defeat the Neighbors.

The anime focuses on Osamu and his team. Osamu does not have a lot of trion, but he is an amazing strategist. His friend, Yuma, is a Neighbor (if you want the back story, watch the series) and has a lot of combat experience. Chika’s brother (also Osamu’s friend) and best friend were abducted by the Neighbors. She has a lot of trion.

Trion and trigger use also endow some users with side effects. Yuma can tall when someone is lying. Chika can sense the presence of Neighbors. Osamu doesn’t have enough trion to have a side effect.

The threesome is a team and currently in a competition to see who will be chosen to go on away missions into the Neighbor dimensions to rescue their friends and family.

This show is also still in production, but is on hiatus now.

We tried watching Fate Zero, but weren’t keen.

And that’s all I have for you with regard to anime. See, I told you we’d dialled back 😉

Have a great week, and I’ll be back to review the fall season of TV for you. The stuff I watch, anyway 🙂

Series Discoveries

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, October 4-10, 2015

I must have been a little light-headed last week . . .

Last week, Margaret Atwood had her say. This week, Joseph Boyden takes on Stephen Harper. MacLean’s.

A real nation would not let this happen. Why we need to care more about our First Nations. MacLean’s.

The rise of the teaching class: how the learning landscape is changing, by Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.

Arthur B. MacDonald shares the Nobel Prize for his work on neutrinos (done right here in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – SNO)! CBC.

People can do some crazy things when they’re asleep. Psychiatric Times.

Tommy Walker explains why hope is not a valid social media strategy. ConversionXL.

What Dylan Thomas’s seminal poem can teach us about resilience. Forbes.

i09 shares the ten most excellent nicknames in history.

This song was just on Quantico this evening, and there I was, boogying in my seat. Beck – Dreams:

See you Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, October 4-10, 2015

Another wonderful week of Writerly Goodness.

Roz Morris takes a snap-shot from her self-editing masterclass: Do you have a plot, or a premise? I’m currently reading Larry Brooks’s Story Physics, and this is one of his big issues 🙂

K.M. Weiland offers seven ways NaNoWriMo can help you be a better writer all year long.

The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) isn’t just for figuring out who you are. Katie shows how you can use it to analyze your characters. BTW, I’m an INTJ, if you wanted to know.

Katie posted later in the week about ‘the call’ and the questions you want to ask when considering an offer of representation.

It was a good week for Katie: Why weak plot points are like the Bush-Gore vote-counting debacle.

Jordan Rosenfeld and Martha Alderson team up on Writer Unboxed to review master scene types for page-turning plots.

Lisa Cron makes her long-awaited (and triumphant) return to Writer Unboxed with this post. Who knows more about story: writers or The Pentagon?

Catherine Ryan Howard shares her year of amazing productivity. This was the post that got me Muse-Ink last Saturday.

Benjamin Sobieck guest posts on Christine Frazier’s The Better Novel Project to talk about how to write fantasy weapons.

Ben Thompson gives us a two part post in response to the NYT article that reported the faltering of ebook sales in the face of strengthening print sales. Disconfirming ebooks, and Are ebooks declining, or just the publishers?

Kristine Kathryn Rusch takes a look at the latest Author Earnings report.

Jane Friedman shares five observations on the evolution of author business models.

Lachesism. From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

iDiva presents some women science fiction authors you should read.

I’m looking forward to checking out Jessica Jones. Here’s the preview on i09.

Come on back for a short and sweet Thoughty Thursday.

Tipsday

Muse-inks: The dream vs. reality (check)

On my way to London in August, I was listening to the radio when I heard Beck’s “Dreams.” It’s been on my playlist since.

I don’t know if it’s the driving foot-drum or the grunge-y guitar. I love this song.

Dreams have always been a BIG part of my process. I get ideas from them. I percolate writing ideas into concepts through daydreaming. I studied shamanism for a few years wherein the primary mystic delivery system is dream.

Not incidentally, my characters often receive insight from dreams.

I have dreams for my writing career, too. I may have mentioned them a few times on this blog.

Particularly since “winning” NaNoWriMo my first time out in 2013 and subsequently joining the (some would say) cult of word count tracking, I’ve learned that I’m capable of more than I thought in terms of writing productivity.

I share my productivity, or lack thereof, with you each month on my Next chapter updates.

If you look closely, though. I don’t write a heck of a lot.

My daily drafting would probably average about 250-300 words, or around a page. Sometimes I have a good day and I write 500 or a 1000 words, but some days I don’t write at all. I fit it in where I can around work, blogging, television, and the stuff of life like laundry, gardening, family dinners, and housework.

I’d like to think that if I had the opportunity to write “full time” I’d jump at it. But I *know* I wouldn’t be writing for 7.5 hours a day, five days a week. I’d probably write in the afternoons, primarily. I could still get a shit-load of writing done in that time, though.

I think.

A friend of mine shared that she’d written a thousand words in an hour on her current work in progress. That’s impressive. Other authors I follow report similar results, or better. Several of them with much more demanding lives than I have.

Catherine Ryan Howard recently blogged about her year of amazing productivity (watch Tipsday for that post) and I’ve shared a past post by Kameron Hurley, in which she wrote marathon 10k weekends because that was the only time her day job and life allowed her to have uninterrupted writing time.

Can I do that? I honestly don’t know. I’ve never had to.

A couple of other authors I follow (Marie Bilodeau and Jim C. Hines) have recently made the brave leap into full time writing. It takes more dedication than you think it will to make the writing life work.

I’ve been thinking about this again because I’m querying Initiate of Stone right now. If an agent decided to offer me representation at this point, I wouldn’t be able to leave the day job and focus on writing. If my agent was so lucky as to get me a deal contingent on additional novels, I’d have to find a way to bull my way through everything, including my resistance, to get the work done.

Right now, I make the choice to spend Saturday (and sometimes Sunday) mornings with my mom. On my days off, I generally do that, too. It’s not a duty. It’s something I want to do. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking her out shopping. She’s my best bud as well as my mom.

All the social media stuff that backs up during the week falls into the weekend as well. And preparing my weekly curation posts.

I let this happen.

Part of me says this is the way it is. Another part of me says that the day job gives me the excuse/luxury/lack of urgency to be lazy. I don’t need to grind out words to meet a deadline and pay this month’s (or heaven forbid, last month’s) bills.

I’m also thinking about my potential productivity as I head into another NaNoWriMo while I’m working, and travelling for work, during November. My only goal for this year is to beat last year’s 28,355 word effort.

In August, due to my two and a half week trip delivering training, I gave up posting on the weekends. I think I’m going to do that in November, too, even though I’ll have Can-Con sessions to report on. Y’all will just have to be patient 🙂

I continue to discover that I can do more than I think I can when I have the proper motivation.

If nothing else, I’ll try and see what happens.

The dream is still alive despite the reality check.

What about you, dear reader? Will your dreams survive the reality check?

Until next week! *waves*

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 27-Oct 3, 2015

Somber and reflective tonight. I turned on the furnace for the first time this fall. *sob*

T squared is bringing the mixed bag. I was challenged to find some kind of logical organization. I kind of gave up. Sorry, but you never know, it might encourage those creative connections.

We have an election coming up in a couple of weeks. I’ve tried not to post too much political stuff, but this is an important issue in Canada, and one that many people still don’t fully understand. Federal NDP candidate, Tom Mulcair, wants scientists to speak their minds. The Toronto Star.

President Obama challenged the media to compare terrorism-related deaths and gun-related deaths. So, Vox did.

Last weekend, there was a supermoon eclipse, or blood moon. Of course, just at we were getting to the good part, it got cloudy 😦

Here’s my consolation: Gizmodo shares their best images of the supermoon eclipse.

And then, Sudbury got hit by a couple of earthquakes, which I didn’t experience at all. CBC.

The Good News Network reports that deforestation in the Amazon has dropped by 90% in the last ten years.

i09 lists the five scariest cults in modern history.

SciShow looks at the real world of forensics:

Red dresses focus attention on Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women. The Huffington Post.

Other people’s reproductive plans are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. CBC.

Veritasium wonders, is glass a liquid?

Why Neil deGrasse Tyson is the smartest man on television. The Rolling Stone.

Vi Hart on “Happy Birthday” day:

Why self-care is central to Anna Lovind’s creative life. Annapurna Living.

In light of the Amazon expose, IKEA and Facebook are looking at a shorter work week. CNN.

Ask a Mortician takes a look at medieval zombies:

Here’s a fun bit of satire from The New Yorker: Earth endangered by a new strain of fact-resistant humans (!)

Have you been inspired? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments 🙂

See you again on Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday