Category Archives: science fiction

Dear Tom, Arrival will probably win a boat-load of awards.

Blech. Blech. A thousand times Blech.

You know how after you watch an interesting film you think about it long afterwards? Discuss it maybe?

I couldn’t stop thinking about Arrival because it annoyed the living shite out of me.

For oh-so-many damn reasons.

In order to avoid spoilers I shall force myself not to list said damn reasons.

(Yes, I got it. I got it within the first few scenes. It was not too smart for me. Which reminds me of Lucifer’s mother, Charlotte -Tricia Helfer- in the most recent episode, Homewrecker – “Oh. She thinks she’s smart.”)

Blech. Ugh. Blech. (Not Tricia Helfer. I adore her!)

Now I’m flashing on Star Trek IV. Ack! At least Spock- Leonard Nimoy- had his usual deadpan comedic timing in that campy-monstrosity! And he got to wear a watch cap.

That’s about all, good buddy. Peace out.

XOXO! Julia

P.S. The trailer is way better than the film. Someone should have stopped me right there. On the other hand- Bring on Season Two of Stranger Things!!!

 

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Dear Tom, et. al, An Update.

Still recovering from knee surgery. Unfortunately in addition to nerve damage my body is reacting to the metal and cement used in the knee with resulting severe inflammation and swelling. Sets my recovery back months, as in I am now, at nearly 9 weeks, where I should have been at 3-4 weeks.

On the bright side I was cleared to drive this week. Yay! No longer trapped in my house so I’m a little less stir crazy. You really don’t want to know how stir crazy I had become!

On the less bright side walking around a grocery store is about my limit for the day. So sad!

It’s a good thing I’ve had the Olympics to watch, despite NBC’s pathetic (and I do mean pathetic) coverage.

I’m also watching Fearless on Netflix. I decided to download free Netflix for 30 days so I can watch Fearless and Stranger Things. Fearless is an 8-part documentary about the PBR (bull riding) and Stranger Things is unusual horror, as in I can handle it horror- thoughtful horror- as opposed to creepy nightmarish uncanny valley horror.

So, it’s back to icing, elevating, and… oh… Jake taught himself to fetch my cane! Such a cutie pie!

XOXO! Julia

Dear Tom, I am loving my birdies!

I get so much pleasure from watching and feeding my birds, hours and hours – despite the occasional hawk. But of course I love hawks as well and want to be one in my next life- not anywhere near a wind farm though. Wind farms are deadly to raptors.

Here’s the list of birds in my backyard:

Towhees.

Spotted Towhees.

Mockingbirds.

White Crowned Sparrows.

Golden Crowned Sparrows.

Savannah Sparrows.

Fox Sparrows.

Hooded Junkos.

Dark-eyed Junkos.

Western Scrub Jays.

Blue Birds.

Robins.

Cassin’s Finches.

House Finches.

White-breasted Nuthatches.

Goldfinches.

Bewick’s Wrens.

Cedar Waxwings.

Olive-sided Flycatchers.

Red-eyed Vireos.

Warbling Vireos.

Mourning Doves.

Bullock’s Orioles.

Anna’s Hummingbirds.

Black Phoebes.

Oak Titmouses (Titmice?).

Evening Grosbeak.

Mountain Chickadees.

Chestnut-backed Chickadees.

It’s so much fun because they know me and they know Jake and we are both allowed to get very close to them. In fact, they love having Jake about because the redtail hawk won’t bother them when he’s outside.

Things are a bit better. As I await surgery to repair my hip– gotta get that repaired before I can get the knee surgery– I joined a health club, and I’ve been swimming and rowing every day. I’ve had to decrease my hiking to two miles a day, four days a week. That’s about as much as I can do and I’m still pretty slow. Tomorrow I hope to visit a sports medicine physical therapist. If there is a way to avoid hip surgery I’d just as soon find it, but a torn labrum does not heal. It can only be sort of fixed. Regardless, I did get two batches of lemon curd made yesterday. Yay! Already gave most of it away. And I’ve frozen the juice for two more batches. Of course the tree is still loaded with lemons. Want to come help me harvest? 🙂

Perhaps I’ll get around to photos one of these days.

Needless to say, 2016 isn’t looking quite as bleak as it was just a week ago. Of course don’t ask the poor hubby – he’s the one responsible for insane Jake’s exercise now! He might have a different opinion of 2016, especially since his team, the Minnesota Vikings, lost today. He’s a Minnesota native.

(I’ll whisper this secret down a deep well at midnight- While I found Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to be marginally entertaining, I also found it to be pretty much a disappointment. My son and I had a long discussion about it today. Sometimes a discussion can make a less interesting movie more interesting. He liked the movie, but then he’s been a big Star Wars fan since he was a baby. Me? I expected better, although when one considers the three horrendous prequels, The Force Awakens was genius.)

Oh! The PBR is back! Gotta love those bulls! I’ll give you a little taste. I know most of you aren’t as blood thirsty as I am. (Big Airtime fan here):

Love you, Tom. Miss you! XOXO! Julia

 

 

Dear Tom, I don’t see the point…

2015 has been exhausting, both for me, personally, and for our nation and our world. I’m plumb tuckered out.

I’m tired of blogging – an exercise which I suspect means little these days.

I’m tired of the publishing wars. Legacy publishing versus indie publishing versus far too many authors I know who are now poor as church mice, homeless even- authors who once upon a time, as in three or four years ago, made bundles of money.

Now me, I’ve never made bundles so I’ve never spent bundles. As they say– don’t give up the day job. Oh, a couple years ago, 2010-1013, the world was a much different (and more hopeful) place. I made a bunch. I sold lots of books. The life of writing was good and I felt inspired to write more and more and more.

These days, not so much. In fact, I find myself less and less interested in engaging the market, i.e., readers, and I have little interest in promotion. To be honest, I find it hard to muster the energy. Attempts to engage, attempts to promote, don’t sell books anyway. So engagement, just like blogging, is another exercise in futility.

But what about that pot of gold, you ask? What about that lightening strike? The newly discovered land? Well, I ain’t holding my breath. Never have.

You know, I’ve read those books – the strike it rich quick books – those books that have caught fire, those six-figure signings, and except for the very first book in the Hunger Games series, those six-figure books bored me to tears. Whatever it was about those books that caught fire did not ignite the fires within me. Couldn’t even make it through the first five pages of a couple of them.

BORING…

More and more I find myself buying nonfiction and re-reading my old favorites in the fiction genre.

But do I plan to quit altogether? Quit writing? Huh. Good question. Maybe. I’m working on a short story as we speak. I have a re-release scheduled for February or March. I have a number of books in the queue. Maybe I’ll finish them, maybe I won’t.

Regardless, I am convinced I’ll be appreciated after I’m dead. My stuff is good. Someday someone will realize it.

In the meantime:

I’m busy with family and friends. I’m traveling. I’ve got bushels and bushels of lemons to juice for lemon curd. I have to figure out how to halter break my steer, Hank. All in all, while my appreciation and affection for the beauty in life continues to grow, my attachment to the publishing world diminishes.

And I’m okay with that.

I miss you. 2015 was a sucky year for you and your family. They lost you. I lost you, my dear dear friend.

I look forward to 2016. The number fifteen has always bothered me in any case. I think it’s a bad luck number. 2015 has been proof of that for so many people.

Anyway, I’m tired– was up the entire night with a sick dog. No, not a kid although I did have a couple kids home– a sick dog. When I say the entire night I mean exactly that, the entire night. Oscar slept through the whole thing. But then that’s typical for Oscar. He sleeps the sleep of the dead. I wake if a neighbor three doors down drops a pin. Onto plush carpet.

The best blog around? The one worth reading? Marylin’s – Things I Want to Tell My Mother. Her recent post is frame-worthy: The Gift of Words. Go read it, you’ll love it.

All right, Tom, maybe I’ll re-watch the genius Big Bang episode (The Opening Night Excitation) and go to bed!

I love you, Tom. Here’s to the approaching New Year.

XOXO! Julia

 

 

#OrphanBlack — The sublime and the ridiculous.

It happened with TWD. It happened to Vikings. It’s happening over at GOT. Now Orphan Black has succumbed to the same eating itself from the inside prion disease— It’s come down with a bad case of the dreaded I can no longer suspend disbelief and enough already with the gratuitous violence.

Hear me out. Be patient. I’m making an effort to shape my many random thoughts into a coherent whole.

Orphan Black’s first season was to die for. It was astonishingly good. It was so good I am still of the opinion it was the best thing that’s ever existed in the world of television. Orphan Black, was, in a word, sublime.

Season two was less good. There were some low lows, as in the throwaway episode involving Tony, the transgender clone (who might be useful right about now even though he reminded me far too much of Sarah sporting a glued-on sparse beard and some fake junk in the shorts). Nevertheless, Season two had its redeeming moments, its highs, if you will, in particular the evolution of the Hendrix family, and the bittersweet tragicomic golden respite of a finale.

Season three has sorely tested my resolve.

Ask me why.

Why?

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t yet watched Episode 9, Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow, be warned. I will be discussing Episode 9 as well as events from previous episodes.

twins

Let us talk twins. Monoamniotic twins are identical twins who share the same amniotic sac within the uterus. Typically they share a single placenta and a single umbilical cord. This is a serious situation that can result in the death of one or both babies. This is rare. In most cases even identical twins have separate amniotic sacs. Fraternal twins have separate amniotic sacs. Fraternal twins develop from two eggs. Identical twins develop from one egg which splits into two zygotes.

Therefore, dear writers of Orphan Black, before I move on to the other issues let me say this– while I realize the show is science fiction, it remained, more or less, within the realm of the possible. And that is critical for good science fiction, that it remain within the realm of the possible not matter how impossible.

However, this fantastic tale, that Siobahn’s mother absorbed her male (fraternal) twin has crossed a bridge too far.

Two reasons: A. If a fraternal twin, or a twin in a separate amniotic sac, is absorbed by anyone, it is absorbed by the mother and it would not change her chromosomal make up. B. A fraternal male twin would not have shared an amniotic sac with his sister in the first place.

A more believable scenario, albeit not commonplace, would have been to claim Siobahn’s mother is a rare and genetically precious true hermaphrodite. A true human hermaphrodite is made of both XX and XY chromosomes. Viola! Problem solved! (Or even more exciting, declare she is a sequential hermaphrodite – a child born one sex who can later become another. Like a fish or a snail.) Oh, and that kitchen? It was the same kitchen used in the Professor Duncan scenes.

But even more disturbing is the fact that the writers decided to make Siobahn’s mother our source material, a move which calls into question Siobahn’s role in, well, in everything.

I’m not a happy camper.

The series has overloaded the proverbial Clone Car this season.

clown car

Who has a bathtub in her living room and why does it seem to move from place to place?

Once upon a time Cosima made crazy science. Now she mopes around like a lovesick 1960’s adolescent pining after Ricky Nelson while Scott is forced to do the heavy lifting. Don’t get me wrong, I love Scott and I especially love his interactions with Cosima, but if anyone has a prion disease of the brain, it’s Cosima. If anyone is in urgent need of one of Dr. Coady’s stress tests, it’s Cosima. Her brain has been on hiatus all season long.

Why did Delphine break up with her in the first place? I never understood the justification. I decided it was nothing more than a plot device. Had to be. What better way to keep an eye on your subject than as her lover?

Why does Sarah insist upon playing amateur sleuth, aka, Nancy Drew, without the roadster? Backup, girl… and that doesn’t include Felix who thinks backup means standing in the middle of the street in full view of every bad guy from Castor to Pollux to Dyad to the Prolethians to the… Enough of this Sarah stands alone trope. The cheese is so overripe it stinks to high heaven. Sarah gets herself into one scrape after another. Not funny scrapes. This is serious business, fending off people determined to kill you, yet you keep doing it. The following is attributed to Albert Einstein: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (Except he probably didn’t really say it. Appropriate quote all the same.)

art

How about you give Art a call once in a while? I love the Art/Sarah/Beth chemistry. The show is missing it. The show suffers from a distinct lack of Art.

How did Gracie learn about The Island of Dr. Moreau? For the life of me I cannot recall a single scene when Gracie saw the book, overheard a conversation about the book, knew the book existed… Before the clones decided to go all in on this only Kira, Cosima, and Scott knew about the existence of the book. Then I believe Sarah was informed about the book, and last but not least, Rachel discovered Scott had the book. It was only later, after Scott was threatened and the book stolen that Gracie might have had the opportunity to learn of the book and its significance. Therefore Gracie as traitor makes no sense.

Mark

And by the way, what a terrible misuse of Mark. A far better and more interesting use of the Mark character would have been to align him with Project Leda.

The Death of Paul. Was this really necessary? Yeah, sure, you gave him a heroic sendoff. Whoop-dee-doo. The Paul character morphed into a much more complicated, if slightly less appealing, character than he was in the beginning, while Sarah’s other love interest, Cal, remains a cypher. Dear writers, the show would be better if you’d kept Paul in the mix instead of blowing him to pieces. Besides, just like the writers of TWD did, you pulled A Shane. You took a great character, you assassinated his character, then you killed him off. Not. Cool. It’s easier to redeem a character in death than it is to write his redemption. Dear writers, you took the easy road. You’ve been doing that a lot lately. Stop it. The characters deserve better.

VILLAINS. Here’s where you’ve really jumped the Indominus Rex. A cartoon villain is boring. A villain, like a hero, must have an Achilles heel. Your villains have none. They see all, know all, are all powerful. Between the villains of Dyad, Castor, and the Prolethians, it seems the only people in the dark are the members of the Clone Club. C’mon. You can do better.

Ferdinand

And now a word about the gratuitous graphic violence. Was it really necessary to beat Terrance to death? That scene was over the top graphic, pretty much unwatchable. How about this? What if, just sayin’ now, what if our villains had made a smart move… waited for Terrance to give Mrs. S. the information then followed her to the Castor original? No? Too complicated? And by the way- how do Castor and Dyad manage to co-opt every single contact Sarah and Mrs. S. make? Are they magical mind readers? Can they instantly transport themselves on their claw feet like the supernatural bathtub?

It makes no sense. In the beginning Dyad and Castor and the Prolethians knew nothing about the existence of Sarah Manning but now they know every single thing about her. And if they know every single thing about her and about Mrs. S., it stands to reason that both Dyad and Castor should have at least suspected the derivation of the original source material.

Plot holes. Sorry. Gaping plot holes.

P.S. By the way, if you’re trying to avoid attention from murderous cutthroats, don’t upload your profile and your picture onto a dating app, Cosima, AND don’t get up and sing in a pub, Mrs. S. Gratuitous scene, that. Yes, I know the actress can sing. I get it. But in Episode 9 we see nothing more than a few cutaway shots of Mrs. S. onstage. She sings a couple of lines. Well, we hear her sing a few words, and nothing more. It would have been better to let her sing her way through the credits. I say it was gratuitous because Mrs. S., Sarah, and Felix were specifically trying to stay under everyone’s radar. Like Tony’s random appearance, it was a way to showcase the actress’s talent without furthering the storyline.

P.P.S. Was it really necessary to Botwinize Alison? Seriously? Nancy Botwin she ain’t. And even Weeds lost its mojo after a few seasons. A few funny scenes with Donnie and Alison, but not necessary, although…

If you hadn’t gone all Botwin on our asses we wouldn’t have been treated to Helena behaving in oh-so-delicious Helena fashion, taking matters into her own hands, protecting her new family and her precious babies.

Helena

Sublime this season: Helena. Helena and Donnie. Crystal. (Waste of a great new character and I could say more but I won’t.) Rachel. Pity you didn’t take the opportunity to make Rachel an honorary member of Clone Club. With a nice bit of writing she could have made a deliciously evil twin.

Dear writers, step it up or Season Four will be a no-go for me.