Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for January 17, 2015

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,
You can follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

Finished
weddingnightWedding Night by  Sophie Kinsella
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
You read Kinsella when you want fluffy, not terrible hard thinking pieces. But the thing I’ve noticed about her work is that underneath the marshmallow, there tends to be some kind of point in play that resonates with the reader. Wedding Night is no different from Kinsella’s previous books, in that it involves a madcap character who always gets herself into scrapes and how she ends up getting out of them. For that I’m grateful that when I need something that doesn’t require much processing while I read, Kinsella delivers. It’s a fun romp that really is a meditation of what is love. Recommended when you need something to brighten your day or just want to have fun.

Currently Reading

chestnutstreet Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
After finishing Wedding Night, I wanted to continue on with the “doesn’t-require-a-lot-of-brain-power” books and of course I pick Binchy who is anything BUT fluff.
Chestnut Street is a series of vignettes that revolve around, well, Chestnut Street. I tend to love titles that use inanimate objects as a character, and this book is no exception to that love. Even within the humour of the book there are often dark undertones of the human condition we don’t want to think about or even acknowledge. The perfect family but the mother is sleeping with everyone. The grumpy old man whom isn’t really so grumpy as lonely. The girl who lies to her family about her living status so she won’t be shamed. I like that you can dip in and out of the book without having to read it straight through as the, thus far, only connection between all of these characters is the street they either live on or are associated with. Highly recommended.
lifeafterlifeLife After Life by Kate Atkinson
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
Status: In progress
Wow. I started this book nearly two years ago and I haven’t barely made a dent into it. Interestingly, I have been carting it around with me from place to place as the only physical book in my possession with the hopes that I would someday finish it. New goal for January: Finish this fucking book!
 
 
 

Bagged and Boarded

greenlanternET
Emerald Twilight
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
Why is Hal bat shit crazy? What’s going to happen to the Guardians? These questions must be answered!

Watching

Now that I’m settled into my own digs, all of my TV watching is going to be done via apps like HBO GO or Hulu+. I’m just going to touch briefly on the shows I’m on this week since there will be a lot!

  • Banshee My favorite Amish mafia, anonymous anti-hero, Slavic mob influenced TV show is BACK. I am SO. EXCITED. I don’t know anyone other than TSTBEH who watches this show, so please, if you need a show that has fantastic writing, brilliant character depictions, and great plot lines, this is the show for you.
  • House of Lies They’re backkkkk. Kaan and Associates are back and ready for action. TSTBEH wasn’t a huge fan of this show, but I love the gossipy, stabby in the back feel to the plot lines and I have a huge lady crush on Kristen Bell.
  • Episodes Matt LeBlanc parodying Matt LeBlanc. Tamsin Greig. A whole rich cast of supporting characters. Screwing with the establishment. Another great show from SHO and while we wait for Game of Thrones, makes Sundays seems a lot more bearable.
  • Constantine No one seems to know if this show is canceled or not, at least as of late November. I, however, like this show. I adore Matt Ryan in the titular role and I like the weekly artefact/mystery building. It reminds me a lot of the old Friday night show, Friday the 13th, which ran in the late ’80s. I really hope this show gets renewed for another season.
  • Marvel’s Agent Carter Strong female lead? Check. Great clothes? Check. Great lipstick? Check. Kicks major ass without the Cap’n? Check. Has a male sidekick? Check. This show is so much WHY we need more female superheros in leads and less about the mens. This is also one show I will totally sign anything to get renewed as a proper series AND will be buying the DVD.
  • Galavant I am, typically, not a fan of musicals but I do love fairy tales. With that in mind, I was a tad skeptical of this show but ooh boy, am I ever glad I’m wrong. Subtle pop culture references galore, catchy lyrics, absurd yet fun plot line. Timothy Omundson and his magnificent beard! I plowed through the first three episodes in one sitting and I’m hungry for more.
  • The Musketeers The boys are back! Slightly kitschy, a titch of ridiculousness, but 100% fun.
  • The Librarians And of COURSE I’m watching. Wouldn’t you?

Links

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1999

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for August 30, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,
You can follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

Finished
Bagged & Boarded: The Last Musketeer

Watching

  • True Blood
    I can’t speak for the rest of you, but, this season blew big fat goat chunks. The tying up of the story lines, how it ended with so many of the characters, was cliched and overwrought. Thank fuck this show is over.
  • Rectify
    Beautiful, beautiful show. Beautifully written, acted, and directed. If your heart is not having the feels for Daniel Holden every week, something is fucking wrong with you. I cannot wait for season three to start next year.
  • Elementary
    I want to love this show, I do. Jonny Miller is superb and the episodes are compelling, but there is something missing in which I cannot put my finger on. The last five or six episodes have been hanging out on the DVR since May and I have no intention to watch them. With the new fall season to start soon, it seemed appropriate to ditch them and cancel the series.

Weekly watching: Outlander, The Bridge, Project Runway, The Almighty Johnsons, A Place To Call Home, Last Week Tonight with John OliverCosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1999

Bagged & Boarded: The Last Musketeer

thelastmusketeer
The Last Musketeer
by Jason (story & art)
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Length: 48 pages
Release date: January 17, 2008
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Rating: 5/5 stars
I was intrigued enough by Jason’s Athos in America, his collection of shorts, to start reading his back catalog. I am not even remotely disappointed: Martians, duels, strong women, romance, space travel, and much much more. The Last Musketeer may be terse in page size, but it packs a wallop of a story. This is storytelling done right, to the point, entertaining, good character development, and not in the least superfluous in the art. I love how stark and monochromatic the art feels, which does not detect from the story but actually enhances it.
This is highly recommended.

Bagged & Boarded: Bad Houses

badhousesBad Houses
by Sara Ryan (story) and Carla Speed McNeil (art)
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Length: 156 pages
Release date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
tl;dr: An engrossing tale of two people who fall in love, but it’s also a story of healing the past and moving towards the future. So while the book is great, it’s not amazing and that is perhaps its failing. It could have been amazing but it simply did not live up to its potential.
ReviewBad Houses is marketed by Dark House as juvenile fiction but I don’t think that’s accurate. The story contains adult situations that are reads far too sophisticated for juvenilia.
The story is on point and the side stories are fill in the edges. The flashbacks hint at things that are not fleshed out, but that’s okay — the end doesn’t need a pretty bow to necessarily feel complete. You know, feel, and love the characters as if they are a part of your own existing circle of friends. Character development is exquisite and the art is gorgeous. Ryan’s ability to capture the essence of a person in succinct form is a brilliant trait coupled with McNeil’s art makes this a joyous book to hold.
But the more I sit with this story, the more I feel as if something is missing from the tale.  I don’t’ feel satiated when I closed the cover. Sure, I want more of  Anne/Lewis, but there is an element in their story that is missing. If Ryan had explored that more with her writing, let McNeil fill in the art bits, the story would have been perfect. But as such, it isn’t and rates only 3.5/5 stars.

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for July 5, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,
You can follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

Finished

Watching

Weekly watching: True BloodRectifyHalt and Catch Fire, A Place To Call Home, Mr. SloaneLast Week Tonight with John OliverCosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyElementary
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Bagged & Boarded: In Real Life

inreallife In Real Life
by Cory Doctorow (story) and Jen Wang (illustration)
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Length: 196 pages
Release date: October 14, 2014
Rating: 2/5 stars
A digital ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
tl;dr: Teenage Anda is a girl gamer who gets caught up in Coarsegold, her favorite MMO, where she feels invincible, powerful, and wanted — until she meets Raymond, a poor Chinese teen who also loves Corasegold, and discovers things are not all that they seem. Raymond, it turns out, works illegally within the game to make money on the outside to survive. Lines between right and wrong get blurred pretty quick while Anda balances what she thinks can be done and what the reality actually is. The graphic novel is supposed to address class, ethnicity, and gender struggles within a 196 page format and do it well.
It fails. Horribly, horribly fails.
(By the by, as a book with massive subtext about the wrongs of Chinese factory workers, isn’t it just HILARIOUS the graphic novel itself is being printed in China?)
Review: Our story begins on the morning of Anda’s birthday, where our attention is drawn to that Anda’s family have recently moved to a new city and Anda is the new kid in school. She’s looking for a place to fit in, hence why later she gets so into online gaming. One would think as this is addressed in the beginning, the theme of “belonging” would be central to the story, but surprise! It’s not.
(Interestingly, since this was the setup, imagine the surprise to find Anda hanging out with the geek kids playing D&D during lunch times and after school. Either she’s a loner or she’s not. You need to make up your mind.)
Later that same day in one of Anda’s classes, a random speaker shows up whose sole purpose is to recruit people for MMOs. Now I have questions: Why is Liza the Organiza invited to speak to a high school class? What’s her purpose here? Since when do MMO organizers go to classrooms to recruit players? Especially ones under age who do no thave access to credit card accounts to pay for such things. The only connections why this wouldn’t be weird is a few panels back shows Anda programming in Python — so I guess this is one of her computer classes having a random speaker show up for class? I guess?
The Liza the Organiza starts her organizing — she wants to know how many of the girls in the class game and then how many of them game as girls? Which of course, none of the aforementioned girls who raised their hands in admittance of gaming, raise their hands to admit they game as girls. We already know the long, long history of what happens to girls who game as themselves in the gaming world. So Liza the Organiza puts to them a special deal: Come to this MMO she is a part of, game as a girl avatar, and after a three month trial, you can be part of her EREET SPECIAL GIRL FORCES. FUCK YEAH, BOOBS!
Just so we’re clear: You’re going to entice teenage girls who do not feel safe in general in this online space, but they should put themselves in danger ANYWAY so they can join your guild, without addressing any kind of safe space for them? Are you joking?
And this ends the entirety of the discussion of women in gaming and gender disparity in the gaming world in In Real Life.
(And I’m only up to page 26. Between the front matter, Mr. Doctorow’s 6 pageish ramble on the economics of gaming (which he also was thoughtful to discuss what MMO and other acronyms meant), the graphic novel didn’t start until page 16.)
Anda gets into the game, gets bedazzled by the popularity she receives within the MMO world and then meets Raymond. The storyline limps along, dragging the reader to point out white people should stop being saviors to all the other non-white folk because you know, we keep fucking their world up.
The ending, with all the faux tension being built, was kind of anticlimactic. Like, yay? And oh yeah, Liza reappears again for some strange reason to grant her approval on how things turned out. Liza, you were a pointless character. You should have been axed.
In addition to the massive problems with the storyline, apparently First Second couldn’t hire a continuity editor? After Anda has been grounded from using “recreational Internet,” there is a panel with her watching TV with her laptop on her lap when she gets a IM from one of her MMO buddies for a video chat. Next panel shows Anda in the laundry room video chatting and then she’s like, I TOTES HAVE TO GET BACK ON COARSEGOLD.
Does our heroine just log into the game in the privacy of the laundry room? OF COURSE NOT. SHE GOES TO AN INTERNET CAFE. I mean, honestly? How the fuck do you think video chats work? Through ESP? Seriously! This is a big graff — how could this have been missed through the editing process?
I also have additional problems with the book – like for example, Sarge, Anda’s mentor, walks her through the type of players she’s supposed to kill — who are all Asian. “If they don’t speak English, kill them!” Sarge orders. And the avatars of the Asians they are sent out to kill are all drawn like stereotypes of  Asian farm workers. It’s — a bit bizarre considering one of the purported arcs of this book is about whites colonizing anyone not assumed white within the game, so I suppose you could argue this is why all Asians were drawn to be near identical to the other to prove some kind of racist point? (In fact, to kind of build on this, Anda often gets “confused” on who her buddy Raymond is as she searches for him in the game because — the avatars all look alike, If that is not some white people racist bullshit, I don’t know what is.).
And if the borderline racist attitude isn’t enough, the language did not give the impression of a teenagers figuring shit out and the language didn’t sound like something teenagers say. How can a book that is supposed to capture essence of teens yet sound like it written by a 40 year old man who is far on the wrong side of teenage years? Because it was, that’s why!
The only reason why I gave this dreck two stars was Jen Wang’s art is glorious. If anything, at least the book is pretty to look at.
Lastly, let’s take a real look at the economics of this book — based on the glowing reviews on GoodReads AND based on Doctorow’s reputation as a RIGHTING THE WRONGS HELLRAISER, even with all of obvious problems with this book, it’s going to be a big seller. In the end, is anyone really getting the message Doctorow is badly articulating and selling or do we just care we’re supporting someone who makes the noises to CHANGE THE WORLD while writing things that don’t really support that ideology?
 

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 1999

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for June 28, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,
You can follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Reading

Finished
Bagged & Boarded: Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight

Watching

  • True Blood
    The 7th, and final, season of True Blood is upon us, and there is a lot going on. Where the fuck is Eric? Is tara really dead? What is going to happen to Lafayette? Is Sookie and Alcid really “together.” Will Bill ever stop being mopey? Will Jessica find her place in this world. SO MANY QUESTIONS.
  • Orphan Black
    I mainlined this like a fat kid eats cake. We watched the first two episodes last year and couldn’t get into it, but now, now it is glorious. The storytelling is tight, the plotlines are engaging, the story is plausible and draws upon a number of profound questions. And Tatiana Maslany is bloody fantastic, she is. Why hasn’t she won an Emmy or a Golden Globe yet? And Season 2 needs to get its little butt cheeks to Amazon post-haste.
  • The Battle for Stonehenge
    Interesting documentary about the future of Stonehenge now that English Heritage has to make some major changes. It also attempts to answer the question: Who really owns the ‘henge?

Weekly watching: RectifyHalt and Catch Fire, A Place To Call Home, Mr. Sloane, Fargo, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Louie, Penny Dreadful, Cosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyElementary

Links

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1999

Bagged & Boarded: Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight

captainmarvel Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Ríos 
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Rating: 3/5 stars
tl;dr summary: 2012 reboot of Captain Marvel, I really wanted Captain Marvel to be my superhero. Sadly, the convoluted and confusing story lines, dropped plot points, and inconsistent art (within a single artist) turned this hero into a has been.
Review: Captain Marvel is not my superhero.
But I wanted her to be.
After working at a book store for a number of years and then becoming a librarian, superhero graphic novels are the one comic that has always eluded me. The reasons are fairly simple: Derivative storylines, change of artists/writers, inconsistent plots and arcs, layered and cross over stories, and ALL OF THOSE GODDAMN VARIANTS drove me insane when purchasing graphic novels for the bookstore. A few years later when I took up the graphic novel collection at GRCC, I made the concrete decision to not stock superhero for the very same reasons.
Perhaps it is easier buying the trades as opposed to the weeklies, but when there doesn’t seem to be a thread holding some of the storylines together, it still seemed more aggravating than not.
Marvel jumped on the bandwagon when DC announced it was rebooting its entire universe back in 2012. This was the perfect opportunity for those like me frustrated with the previous systems to start getting our feet wet with superhero books. I picked up on Captain Marvel because she’s supposedly a bad ass female, which is totally up my alley.  At the beginning of In Pursuit of Flight, She’s tussling after a big baddie with Captain America who tells her,

You have led the Avengers. You have saved the world. Quit being an adjunct.

ORLY.
After the tussling, we find out Captain Marvel is having an identity crisis. The whole send up of In Pursuit of Flight is Captain Marvel finding herself and forging ahead her future. This sound well and good but then time travel is thrown in, possible evil plot, and some tear jerking moment with one her mentors. The storyline felt uneven and confused. Too much was being thrown against the wall with the hope it would stick while under the guise of sorting out Carol Danver’s new backstory.
Dexter Soy drew the first four chapters while Emma Rios drew the last two. Soy’s version of Captain Marvel (and really any of the other characters) as hyper sexualized. In my notes I mark the roundness and plumpness of Captain Marvel’s ass and then a bit of marginalia that Soy treated Captain America in the same way. The coloring was just oozing with dark, rich royal colors. It made the scenes atmospheric, as if it needed to make up for what was being lost by the words.
Once you get to Emma Rios’ books, the characters that were so overly lush in books 1-4 now look emaciated and overly angular, you almost don’t want to meet any of the characters on the street for fear of being killed by a sharp elbow. But the mood of Rios’ work seems more inline with the story and fits it much better.
At the end of the book there is a four page, tightly written and set back story of Carol Danvers from her origin until this book. And that seemed wholly unnecessary (and often contradictory) to what had happened earlier in this sequence or in the book itself.
There is one more volume in this reboot, THEN THEY REBOOTED IT AGAIN.
That should give you some idea of how much of a hot mess the first reboot was.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2011, 1999

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for June 14, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,
You can follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian

Listening

  • Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Chronicles – Dr. Throne
    She’s the illegitimate daughter of a blue blood, he’s the wealthy son of a upstart. Will their love ever come to fruition? Will the fates continue to thwart their plans at happiness?
  • The Archers
    I found it way easier to just download the weekly omnibus rather than attempt to catch it every day. Will the sheep scab destroy Brookfield? Will Clarrie ever get over her late-life crisis? How are Pat and Tony going to handle the loss of organic status?

Reading

Finished

Watching

Weekly watching: Game of Thrones, A Place To Call Home, Mr. Sloane, Fargo, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Louie, Penny Dreadful, Silicon Valley, Veep, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, Doctor Blake Mysteries, Elementary

Links

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2010, 1999

Bagged & Boarded: Athos in America

athos Athos in America by Jason
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Rating: 4/5 stars
tl;dr summary: Six thinly connected short stories by the master of minimalism. A must read.
Review: This is my first Jason book and it won’t be my last. You would be hard pressed to find another engrossing, and quickly read, collection wrapped up in 200 pages but here we are.
Beautifully drawn, complexly connected, and raw, Jason’s stories illustrate the underbelly of human condition dressed up in anthropomorphic animals. This does not (surprisingly) detract from the stories but make them more strongly felt. The last story, Athos in America (which also names the book), is the prequel of sorts to Jason’s The Last Musketeer, which is also heavily recommended and reviewed.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 1999