Wednesday, November 25, 2015

This year, among other things, I am thankful for making lists.

Not in honor of yet another holiday, yet another list of randomness because although I do not blog well, I am apparently a perfectly competent list-maker. (Maybe I should put that on my CV, right under "Feels no compulsion to correct people's grammar, though gets a definite eye-twitch when 'your' is confused with 'you're' and vice versa.")

  1. Jessica Jones, people. Jessica Jones. I'm assuming not everyone has had the time to binge-watch accordingly, so this'll be a spoiler-free zone for now.
  2. On an entirely related note: David Tennant, people. David Tennant. I now have to binge-watch some Time-lord's Greatest Hits.
  3. If you haven't read Rainbow Rowell's Carry On, please do. Like now, if possible.
  4. Back to Jessica for a minute - does the show's massive success mean we have a chance of getting more female-headlined content? It could happen right? No one will say it's an exception to the rule rather than the beginning of a potentially new and exciting trend? Right? Right??
  5. Speaking of female superheroes - Supergirl. The bad first: not loving the show. I like it, it's cute and it has potential, but it's not quite gelling. I get that they have a lot of issues to deal with - Kara's awkward backstory, why she and Superman don't do the obvious thing and work together, trying to establish Kara as a superhero in her own right as opposed to a weaker spin-off, etc. But they need to make the weekly stories more interesting because so far there's no compelling mystery driving the series forward. Fortunately there's the massive good of Melissa Benoist who's simply adorable. It's nice seeing a superhero who's psyched about their powers. I am not pessimistic, however. The Flash had a weak start, as did SHIELD, but they ended up becoming two of my favorite shows.
  6. Parallel reading update: if you follow me on Pinterest (and just read item #3), you know I recently finished Carry On and a charming French novella by Antoine Laurain called The Red Notebook. So now I've moved on to Alexander McCall Smith's modern retelling of Emma and Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. I'm not very far into either book, but they both seem promising.
  7. To answer your pertinent but unasked question about the fate of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I haven't gotten any farther. I've shelved it for now, but plan on getting back to it. I feel like I haven't been in the right mood to tackle it.
  8. I finally managed to see the classic Theodora Goes Wild with Irene Dunne and Melvyn Douglas and it's pretty much the best thing she ever did. Douglas will always be Count Leon d'Algout to me, but his work in this is priceless.
  9. Now that I think about it, I really don't get much sleep.
  10. Is it time to eat yet? Oh, wait it's still not tomorrow.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Randomness Sort of in Honor of Halloween But Not Really

A list of randomness without formal preamble, because it's Halloween and a movie marathon and so much candy awaits.

  1. This list has nothing to do with Halloween.
  2. I'm reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and am stuck somewhere after page 200. I like it, I do. It's clever and well-constructed and for some reason I'm just not enjoying it. I've been warned though that it's not easy to read but ultimately worth it, so I'm going to forge ahead valiantly.
  3. My favorite TV shows are killing it this season. Yay!
  4. I'm about to start writing a new novella (novel maybe? I don't know yet) so emotionally I'm a mixture of excitement and panic. The initial idea made it through the brainstorming process with ease, which is always good sign, but now comes the more challenging (migraine-inducing) synopsis-writing stage where things can still fall apart. If I get through this, it'll really just be a question of how many hours I can spend each day hammering out the first draft. And after that it's virtually walk through the park. A hair-splitting, nit-picking, questioning-the-existence-of-every-single-word walk through the park.
  5. In terms of parallel reading (because that's a thing I manage to do now) I am, unsurprisingly, breezing right through Percy Jackson Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard. It's mostly charming and there are some brilliant spots here and there, especially when Rick Riordan doesn't skirt around the less family-friendly parts of Norse mythology. I find it odd that he insisted on placing it within the same fictional universe as Percy Jackson. I don't see how there could be so many gods and demi-gods running around with overlapping powers and jurisdiction. But I guess it's on par with anything Marvel or DC have going.
  6. I have not watched the new Star Wars trailer. I am not going to. I am going to be as spoiler- and speculation-free as possible. This method worked brilliantly with Age of Ultron.
  7. My movie marathon will not consist of traditional Halloween movies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dystopia, Hogwarts, and Other Exotic Destinations

Warning: this post contains some criticism of Harry Potter. For the record: in one of my ideal fanfic crossovers, Hermione Granger ranks #3 in my list of perfect Doctor's companions.

Second Warning: this post also contains criticism of The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen is not included in my list of ideal Doctor's companions, but I openly admit she would beat me at arm-wrestling.

About a month ago there was an article on Cracked about 5 Things Movie Dystopias Always Get Wrong about Dictatorships which I meant to write a little response to but then I think I had to make dinner or pick a new show to binge-watch so I simply filed it away for later use.

Basically, I agree with most of Mark Hill's points that a government wouldn't purposely divide its oppressed subjects into specialized factions that compete against each other (as opposed to uniting them against an outside threat, etc.), allow the rich to flaunt their wealth shamelessly regardless of the obvious social unrest it encourages, and that these elitist totalitarian regimes are always somehow miraculously race- and gender-blind.

Hill's focus of course is on the dystopian landscape of current young adult fiction - The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner - but what struck me is how, despite the Sci-Fi setting, they're really following in the footsteps of Harry Potter.

The Adventures of the Boy with the Lightning Bolt Scar, his Nice Guy Best Friend and Hermione the Awesome* has become the Lord of the Rings of its genre - not only in the sense that it has a dedicated (occasionally crazy) fanbase that debates what's canon and not-canon and finds significance in even the most meaningless details, is a global cultural phenomenon - but also in the sense that it's an amalgamation of familiar literary narratives and elements off-set by the originality of a new fictional universe.

Another time - some snowy night in darkest winter - I'll write a lengthy post about the similarities between Rings and Harry as a literary phenomenon (or I'll just google whoever already probably covered that in depth and will include the appropriate link), the relevant point is that, given the massive success of Potter, all subsequent series looking to gain similar success have copied the stronger and weaker aspects of the Potter Saga.

The Sorting Hat is the most obvious example of weakness in the Potter-verse. It's bewitching to think there's a contraption that can identify your best quality and then group you with other like-minded people. Until you stop to think that lots of qualities are important and prioritizing them into Bravery (Gryffindor), Cleverness (Ravenclaw), Loyalty (Hufflepuff), and Ambition (?? Slytherin) is counterproductive. Also, the fact that 99.9% of Slytherin House are depicted as narrow-minded greedy racists is enough to testify that maybe "sorting" isn't the best fundamental policy for education. Granted, Dumbledor tells Harry in one of the later novels that the founder of Slytherin admired a lot of qualities that Harry exhibits - ambition, resourcefulness, cunning (btw, how is that different from Ravenclaw?), shows that Slytherin doesn't necessarily have to be a collection of entitled mean-spirited brats - but you do have to wonder whether anyone at a Hogwartzs faculty meeting has questioned the negative affect of the school's social environment.

From there it's not a big jump to the districts of Panem or the even more obvious factions of Divergent, the runners and so on in The Maze Runner. There are lots of other similarities - the unlikely hero/ine who turns out to be special/chosen/essentially-perfect-for-the-role-of-savior, raised in adverse circumstances, struggling against many other enemies in their ultimate goal to defeat the main villain, and I could go on and on. The reason, however, that they fail ultimately in their portrayal of dystopias is because they're not interested in political commentary. At heart, they're focused on the struggle of the teenage hero or heroine to define his or her identity in the face of society's expectations.

What initially made Katniss Everdeen an intriguing character was that she had no interest in standing for anything or being a hero. She wanted one thing: to survive. And if she had to fake being in love with her co-star to the delight of her insane fans, she'd do it. A circumstance which I thought was pertinent criticism of the way teenage girls (teenagers in general really) are pressured into having romantic relationships in order to appear normal and socially well-adjusted. As a whole, despite some overkill with hybrid clones, the entire narrative seemed like a straightforward critique of consumerism, celebrity and popular culture - and how we might be only a few tiny steps away from pitting children against each other in mortal combat for the sake of entertainment. The dystopian society was the backdrop which allowed the events to unfold, not the central focus, so it worked.

But in the sequels Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the focus shifted to political commentary (totalitarianism? lack of basic civil rights? class discrimination and warfare?) and like other dystopias such as those featured in Equilibrium, Logan's Run, and (sorry) The Giver, they make less sense the more you think about them. The more you consider the day-to-day details of such societies, the less credibility they have.

Likewise, when Harry Potter veers into some kind of attempt at social commentary through Dobby the (so sorry) annoying house elf, you can almost hear the gears grinding for the sake of added educational value. You really have to ask yourself why they couldn't just have smart people (or alternatively magical creatures) who use magic to complete all the chores? Or why goblins are necessarily greedy untrustworthy creatures who have somehow shoehorned themselves into controlling all the money in the Potter-sphere? Maybe there are little elves and goblins who are forcibly sorted into vocations whatever their personalities, except instead of enjoying diversity, it reads like:

Elves - Cooking, Cleaning, Handiwork, Plumbing
Goblins - Mortgages, Investments, Foreign Currency, Accounting

Now there's a real spin-off opportunity for you: an elf arrives at Hogwarts after seven years of the finest training at Elf Cooking and Obsequious Groveling School to discover he/she is the chosen one.

*I read somewhere that was the originally intended title but it didn't come off in the focus group or something. Citation needed, etc.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I Spent the Day with Superman

So I finally got around to watching Man of Steel. Yeah, I know - how very 2013 of me. But I've finally reconciled myself to the fact that I'm going to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Trying to Make Marvel Cry, and I figure I should show up prepared.

Basically, I think it was an interesting take on Superman's origin story. That is, approaching it like it's sci-fi, and how we as a species would deal with an actual alien among us. That we would probably run screaming in terror because we are tiny fragile humans who aren't very good at seeing past our tiny fragile human outlook. (Criticism? Whatever.) I'm not saying there aren't people who'd be terrified of a flying laser-shooting super-strengthed individual.

But seriously. Throughout the movie most of the people act as if he's a creepy tentacled space monster (no offense to tentacles or space monsters) when Superman looks and sounds as if he's the spokesmodel for a luxury brand. People give Henry Cavill a lot of credit for his hard-earned super-physique (and they should because wow), but he also nailed the American accent.

I'm sure this has been asked elsewhere but I am too lazy to google this morning, so what I'm wondering is, does the fictional universe Superman inhabits not have comic books or super heroes? Is that why they see Superman and do not know how to process what they're seeing? Given what pop culture looks like right now, I think the world would be incredibly chill about real life super heroes. Ask any Whovian - about 95%  of your brain knows that the Doctor is fictional, but the other 5% keeps waiting to hear the sound of the TARDIS. (Percentages may vary among Whovians.)

So after all that gloom and doom, I did what any sane person would do and cued up Superman from 1978. (I think I really just needed to hear the theme.) It's overlong in general, takes way too much time to set up the main plot, and it's inevitably dated, but Christopher Reeve is note perfect. And here's the thing - when Superman shows up out of nowhere and saves Lois from plummeting to her death, citizens cheer. And then cheer some more. And shed tears of awe and gratitude. Does that mean we're more cynical than people in the seventies? I doubt it. Only our clothing and haircuts are different. (Relatively.)

Then I did what very few sane individuals would do and cued up the 2006 remake (sequel?) and noted that the citizens of the world do indeed cheer Superman because he's an adorable alien that represents the American ideal, not a broody rage monster whose adopted father suggested it was better to let innocent people die than dare reveal his earth-shattering identity.

I guess it's simply a continuation of the flawed logic of Nolan's Batman trilogy - that Batman is compromised morally for operating outside the law even though the criminals he takes down are unequivocally evil (not, well-I-guess-you-have-to-look-at-it-from-their-point-of-view-because-they-kinda-have-a-point bad guys) and the movie goes out of its way to establish the justice system as being broken. It's the same logic that says it's not okay to shoot the arch-villain mastermind - he/she must go to prison and serve his/her time as an example to other aspiring evildoers - but countless henchman are acceptable collateral damage.

It's not that I think those aren't questions worth asking, but the recent DC movies don't seem to handle it as well as their TV counterparts. Admittedly, there's plenty of camp and self-awareness to go around in Arrow and The Flash, but they seem to be better at dealing with why they do what they do, what lines are they allowed to cross, and what price they pay for crossing them. Maybe it's because they allow their heroes to experience satisfaction over doing good deeds, not just brood over the moral quandaries they face. (I'm so ready for League of Legends, by the way. Not just because they have a time-lord of sorts.)

So what do you think? Think Supes and Batsy can work it out? Let's hope so. Maybe that means Wonderwoman will get her own movie.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sorry, but it very well might suck to be you.

Are you a white heterosexual male?


Sucks to be you then.

Catherine Nichols over at Jezebel reports that after setting up a masculine nom de plume, she discovered that her male alter-ego was much more successful at drumming up interest in her novel.
Total data: George sent out 50 queries, and had his manuscript requested 17 times. He is eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book. Fully a third of the agents who saw his query wanted to see more, where my numbers never did shift from one in 25.
Generally speaking, it didn't come as a shock that sexism exists in publishing (or anywhere). Women's rights have come a long way but we're obvious;y still fighting for basic things like respect and equality. So I don't want to sound naive when I say that the result of Nichols' experiment caught me by surprise.

And then there's the article by Manohla Dargis in the NYT about the film industry's stunning lack of diversity in terms of gender and race during the last seven years.
A lot of the information in the report isn’t new, even if it remains newsworthy. Among other things, the findings are a blunt reminder that female-driven blockbusters like “The Hunger Games” and African-American dramas like “Selma” remain exceptions in a largely homogeneous field. Art may be a mirror of life, but it is often a badly distorted one in mainstream American cinema.
Look, I know human beings are strange creatures with odd quirks and subtle and not-so-subtle prejudices that get crammed into their brain-pans the first second they blink their eyes open on existence. This makes it difficult or outright impossible to combat said prejudices later in life. That's a given.

But come on already! Why would you look at a book and go, "Ugh, a woman wrote that? It can't be any good. Oh no! Is her skin color different??  Dear god save us all from iniquity!" I don't even look to see who the author is until after I've read the book. From my perspective, the publishers can leave it totally blank and then when you've completed the book, you can send in a code to tell you who wrote it. Don't tell me that's impractical. I'm just trying to make a point about this bullshit.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sci-fi Reading Statistics

Apparently I am on some strange posting (and linking) binge. To whit: i09's list of 10 Books You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Really Read Them). The statistical breakdown is as follows:

Titles I've actually heard of: 7/10
Titles I've actually read: 1/10
Titles that were already on my reading list: 4/10

So I'm giving myself an average score of 4/10. If I were truly nitpicking, I'd argue that I deserve an extra point for actually reading Frank Herbert's Dune, but then I remember that I've never read 1984 and decide to shut up. I never pretend to have read it, but still. I shall keep my eyes fixed on the ground in humility, etc., until that fault has been remedied.

That being said, I don't think I'm ever going to read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. I may buy it and keep it on the shelf just to freak people out though.

Monday, July 27, 2015

No Haiku for You (or Me or Anyone Lately)

Just dropping in to mention that the charming intellectuals over at Wisecrack agree with my reading of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. Sparky Sweets breaks it down over here.

Since I'm taking the trouble to link things, a couple weeks ago this happened. (You're welcome.)

And now, poetry. Sort of.

No Haiku for You (or Me or Anyone Lately)
haikuless clueless
once at least two every week
will my groove return?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

Yes, I too devoured Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, but no, my golden childhood memories have not been shattered into tiny fragments.

Oh, uhh, here be spoilers. Beware. Blah blah blah.

If I understand the situation correctly, Watchman is not the sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird, but rather one of its early drafts. And I don't think it should be read as a sequel even if it supposedly takes place about twenty years after Mockingbird. I have several beautifully thought out reasons for that.

One. Several sentences from Mockingbird are used verbatim, which shows that they survived the transition from manuscript to manuscript. At the same time, there are a number of inconsistencies regarding characters like Aunt Alexandra, Uncle Jack, Dill, Finch's landing, which shows that they got reworked in later drafts (especially in Uncle Jack's case).

Two. The Tom Robinson case is mentioned briefly as an aside, but without being specifically named, and its outcome is changed to an acquittal.

Three. Boo Radley does not exist.

Let's all take half a moment to digest that.

Four. The best parts are without a doubt the flashbacks to Scout's childhood, which is in keeping with the story that the editor read the early draft and suggested that Lee should focus on telling young Scout's narrative, rather than Jean Louise's disillusionment as an adult.

Five. Atticus is a racist. The weakest part of the book comes toward the end where Jean Louise has a showdown with her Perfect Father and they basically just fence with racial ideology in stilted dialogue that could have been lifted from any random civil rights debate pamphlet. It's obvious Lee is trying to make a complex point about racial relations but it gets lost in what turns out to be Atticus's elaborate plan to get Jean Louise to stop idolizing him. If that sounds as if it doesn't make much sense, it's because it doesn't.

I know a lot of readers have taken this aspect rather hard, but I don't see why they should. This was obviously a narrative thread that Lee later rejected when she reworked the draft into Mockingbird, and we shouldn't act as if the Real Atticus Finch was revealed to us in his True Racist Form. The Atticus of Mockingbird is much more nuanced, much more human than the one depicted in Watchman.

For me, the absolute worst part was reading, quite casually, in the first chapter or two, that the young Jem Finch simply dropped dead one day walking down the street. My eyes quickly glazed over reading Scout's epic confrontation with Atticus, but that half sentence killing Jem keeps circling around and around in my brain without mercy.

Six. The narrative isn't especially coherent. Various threads lead nowhere and turn into stand-alone vignettes, which have charm, but don't always contribute to the whole. Mockingbird is a masterful combination of coming-of-age, slice-of-life, and social commentary. Watchman has potential. The humor is there. The heart and soul. The keen observations. I think it's a testament to the fact that a rough draft needs to be mined for its best features, and we need to be skilled enough to turn all those raw emotions and ideas into something more.

I'm sorry Go Set a Watchman is getting marketed as a book in its own right rather than as a companion piece to Mockingbird. Seems pretty misleading. Now if they discover some early draft of Pride and Prejudice, I will freak the hell out.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Superheroes, Reading, and Other Notes Concerning Existence

Right off, I would like to take a moment to bask in the glow of having addicted introduced a friend to Doctor Who. I now get texts at random hours with frantic exclamations and burning questions that I can only answer with a sigh, a knowing smile, and, of course, "Shh. Spoilers." I invite you to bask with me. Another Whovian in the world is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

For the first time since graduating, I'm reading two fictional texts alternately. I've finally gotten around to reading The Maze Runner and it's creeping me out to the extent where I can't read it before I go to sleep. But I can't possibly go to bed without reading so I got over my dislike of, what I like to call (and which probably isn't a good name but who cares) "overlapping reading," and now I'm breezing through Eleanor & Park at an alarming rate. I know those two books are, like, so a couple years ago, but I can't help it if I can't keep up. I'd suck as any kind of cultural critic because I'd be writing reviews of things that (gasp) aren't trending right now.

Speaking of that which is currently trending, there's been a lot of doom and gloom grumbling about the Marvel/DC arms race (a.k.a. The Battle for our Hearts, Souls, and Wallets) and how it will inevitably lead to the demise of movies, TV, comics, storytelling, and possibly all pop culture as we know it. (Sorry, I'm too lazy to link.) Whether the hyper-expansion of each universe's franchise will suddenly collapse under the weight of its own complexity, thereby creating a singularity which pulls all of existence in after it (is that what a singularity does? I'm not especially sciencey), leaving nothing but a howling void, or we all simply grow bored with superhero narratives and move on, I'm surprised at all the complaining.

Okay, not totally surprised. This is the internet, and that's what it's for - cat pictures and endless nitpicking. This deluge of superhero stories isn't without its flaws - like crushing non-superhero-therefore-non-blockbusters at the box office and creating a market where investors only become interested in funding mega-hits. Or the fact that a female superhero with her own franchise is some kind of crazy pipe dream we crazy dreamers distract ourselves with in the wee small hours of the morning when dawn is still too far away for us to forget our deepest fears and anxieties.

Side note: yes, I know Supergirl is arriving this fall, and that's cool, but allow me to nitpick - as the name says, she's a girl, not a woman. And Captain Marvel isn't a reality yet. Honestly, I don't even know who she is (I'm actually not well-versed in actual comics), but I'm hoping it's an actual grown woman who gets as much fanatical attention to detail and mature themes as Batman gets - not some excuse for a pin-up version of a superhero. All things considered, I'm starting to think of Agent Peggy Carter as a miracle. But remember, she's filler for when Coulson & Co. are on vacation, and for a while it looked like she wasn't going to get a second season.

What I meant to say was, bring on the superheroes. We'll love the good and trash the bad. Pop culture and the universe in general will not implode and collapse in on itself. (Seriously? Is that what it does?)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Writer's Block and The Middleman

The only thing worse than writer's block is being ready to start another project without having any idea what that project should be. I have several possibilities but for some reason I can't get excited enough about any of them. I hate that every time I finish something big, I get the nasty feeling I'm never going to write anything again. It's not probable, but still.

Also, adding to the list of future haiku marathons: Javier Grillo-Marxuach's The Middleman. It deserves some kind of special award for pure geeky deliciousness. And then another award for sheer quotability. So if you haven't seen it, I firmly but respectfully suggest that you amend your ignorance at the nearest opportunity, barring of course any life-threatening or world-ending extra-terrestrial, supernatural or supervillain-related occurrences. ( crawl!!)

Monday, March 23, 2015


So apparently I've written a novel. Novella, technically, since it's only 150 pages. (I guess I'd need to break 200 to qualify as a novel.) So I guess that makes me a novella-ist. Wait, I'm googling that to see if it's already a thing.


Okay, novella-ist is not an actual thing, and I'd probably have to write more than one to qualify anyway. Then maybe I'm a just a screenwriter who's also written a novella? When you think about it, if a narrative is too long to be a short story and too short to be a novel, that makes it the Goldilocks of narratives. Wait, there's a haiku in there.


some tales are too long
others too short mine's just right
hey is that a bear?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Caro Emerald

old-fashioned siren
hearken to her retro call
want. new. album. now.

In other news, I too have seen Bird Man and have marveled. It raises a lot of questions, but at the moment I can't decide whether they intended to give Black Swan a respectful nod or a blistering critique. Likewise Big Hero Six - in the sense of having seen it and marveled. As far I know, they don't reference Black Swan. More importantly, I need someone to make San Fransokyo an actual thing. Baymax I assume will eventually be a thing, but the San Fransokyo part also needs to happen. You know, for the sake of world peace and the like.

If you don't follow me on Pinterest (that beautiful time-swallower I am enamored with), then you need to know I've finished Fangirl, have acquired other works in Rainbow Rowell's oeuvre and have mentally added her to the List of Authors to Whom I Owe a Batch of Cookies. But first I have to finish The Martian, which isn't my usual fare, but several people I know and trust have attested to its brilliance. So that's another book down and about a thousand to go. Yay progress!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rocks, Lines, and Delusions

Every once in a while it is brought to my attention that I've been living under a rock. The rock is constructed out of a highly affordable eco-friendly metaphor, but that's beside the point. From time to time, I emerge out from under said rock, blink into the daylight, and gaze around at the world. Recently, I was watching the pilot for Agent Carter (back to her in a minute) and somewhere in the first few minutes I started to hear some vintagey goodness on the soundtrack. So click click click in my browser's search bar and in a couple seconds I discover that it's not vintage at all but a sparkly new kind called Caro Emerald. Then it turns out that her records already went platinum, so it's not as if I just stumbled upon this secret little indie treasure. I've never actually done that, really, but when you run into someone talented whose records have long gone platinum, you're suddenly confronted with the existence of that charming rock. So yes, it's where I live, but it's much groovier thanks to Miss E.

Before returning to Agent Carter, some backstory. I always seem to be drawing these idiotic lines in the sand. Years ago it was no more Rings. No more Pirates. No more Matrixes (Matrices?). No more Men, be they X, Spider or Bat. In short no more (freaking) franchises. I was studying so nothing existed outside of my course syllabus anyway. Pop Culture existed somewhere out there, but it was of no concern to me. Not a great way to live, but academia can do that to you.

Years later a friend asked offhandedly, "You're in on the Marvel thing, right?"
"The what thing?"
"You know, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor?"

Sigh. I gave up on franchises long ago. Life is so blessedly simple now. The friend insisted they were fun, though, and I got handed a stack of DVDs that I couldn't refuse without causing a scene. Now it's not as if I think the super hero series (or genre) is faultless, but in terms of popcorn-worthy entertainment, I give them a lot of credit.

But then Agents of SHIELD comes out and the line is drawn again. This is absurd. Ultron isn't going to be out in forever. I don't care if The Winter Soldier is out in the summer. The first Cap movie wasn't that great. And I'm sorry but no. I'm respecting the line! And so should you! So another friend (she doesn't waste time drawing lines) just looked at me with a pained expression and pleaded, "But... Coulson! Coulson!" So I watch - because I'm such a good friend of course. You can't let someone cope with the feelings from their new favorite TV show all by themselves.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Repeat scene. (Only this time it's, "Shut up. We're going.")

This isn't merely relegated to super heroes. Oh the line drawn before True Blood. (No more vampires, damnit! My heart can only contain Angel and Spike.) The one drawn before The Vampire Diaries. (I mean it, I tell you! What is this teen angst vampire thing?? I'm not in high school!) The Originals. (Why do I even...? Please tell me. Never mind. Don't bother.)

Then we get to Agent Carter and there I go drawing that line again. Yet I know I'm going to step right over it the minute the show premieres. It's probably for the same reason that I need to walk around with one of those t-shirts that says "I'm not to be trusted alone in a bookstore with a credit card." So all that's to say I watched the first few episodes and I'm basically loving it. Loving the period setting, loving the kick-ass female lead (thought not entirely loving her throwing punches like a super soldier), loving the presence of Victor from Dollhouse, and just loving the fact that there's a shiny new TV show to watch. What with that, Miss E, and a couple thousand books I'm supposed to read eventually, life under the rock is pretty good.