Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Women should dress like this all the time." (Grading 2013)

I used to do reviews I called "Rum Punch Reviews," after a joke from Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently books, and the idea was not just "hey, the book is good/bad" but to write about how I found the book and what the book made me think of and otherwise just sort of write an essay about how the book related to my life.

That's more or less what this is going to be, and so it'll probably go well beyond most year-end reviews.  Anyway, I left off the other day with about the fifth thing I did, so here we go on with my chronological discussion and grading of everything I did for entertainment in 2013!

January 2013: 

1/6 It's My Life, Tim Myers:

Music made this list only if I either listened to it a lot, or bought the song or album, and actually neither of those applies to this song, so forget that I just said that.  This song was in a Toyota Tundra commercial, before they started using that woman who is easily the most annoying spokesperson since that Horrible "We Did It" AT&T girl.

Honestly, if there is a person I dislike more in the world right now than her

then it would have to be that awful little girl who plays the kid on The League.  

She's the girl whose birthday is being celebrated in that song, and while I hate to make fun of little kids, she's an actress and probably makes a decent amount of money so I guess it's fair game to say that I would rather poke my eyes out with hot metal spikes, and rip my ears off using rusty butter knives, than ever hear her say a single word again.

But Jan from the current Toyota commercials is a close second.  And AT&T girl is a closer third. No, that doesn't make sense, but it doesn't have to. It's 5:47 a.m. right now as I type this.

Enough discussion about that song! I didn't buy it.

Song grade: C
Jan The Spokeswoman Grade: F-
Little girl from "The League: F--

1/7: Seahawks/Redskins NFL playoff game, via Gamecast on ESPN

When I did watch more football, my rule was that I would watch at most one playoff game per weekend, so I tried to pick out the most entertaining games to watch, which is tough to do when you don't know much about the teams. In this case, I'm pretty sure I didn't 'watch' this game but tried to follow it on Gamecast, which was an ESPN thing on the computer, and what I remember about it is it was horrible.  Not the game, the experience.  Maybe it was just my computer, but it was slow, and hard to follow the game via just a stats report.  Plus, NFL and ESPN on their websites have a habit of popping up video that you can't pause, stop or skip, which results in slow-loading for pages, and a bunch of video that I do not want.  Outside of Netflix, I watch very, VERY few videos on the Internet.  And when I do, I want to choose them, not have them slow down everything else I'm trying to do.

Grade: F

Ugly Americans: I'm thinking that this must have been another show suggested after I finished watching something on Netflix. But I don't remember much else about it.  One of the things about doing a year-end review/wrap-up as opposed to instantaneously or at the end of the week or month is it lets you know what really made an impression on you.  Or not, in this case.

Grade: F

The Something Or Something Of Todd Margaret (the final episode): 

Here was a show I started watching a while back and then had to wait for the series (such as it was) to finish up and by the time it did, I felt sort of lost in the story, which ended with (SPOILER ALERT!) some kind of overblown trial and extra-twisty revelation that honestly I don't really recall.  This was one of several things this year that started out strong and finished up weak. (The actual show title as I started writing this post escaped me and I didn't feel like going to look it up.  Having now realized it's The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, I don't feel like going back to correct it.)

Grade: C, unless you count only the first year, in which case: B.

All I Want Is Everything, Jellyfish

Aim & Ignite, fun. (1/7/13)

Kingdom of Your Own, Matthew &The Atlas

I'll Be Your Shelter, The Housemartins.

Just a word to the wise: If you see an ampersand, followed by weird typing, that's not me being a poor editor, it's something that Blogger does if you flip back and forth between the "HTML" tags and the "Compose" tags, which I do when I cut-and-paste HTML into the post, like to put in videos.  I try to catch it, but I don't always.

Anyway, these were four things I bought using an iTunes gift card I got for Xmas last year.

The Jellyfish and Housemartins songs were from way, way back in the 1980s and 1990s. I own both of those albums on cassette tape.  One thing I've long thought is that when you buy something artistic -- book, movie, song, etc., -- you should be buying the rights to it in every format in the future.  I've had to in my life upgrade from cassette tapes to mp3 (I skipped over CDs, for the most part) and from books made of dead trees to ebooks, and it kind of burns me up to have a book that I own in paperback, or a cassette of an album, that I have to pay full price for to get on the latest format.

This is another of my great ideas that Amazon has adopted, by the way: I heard they were starting a thing where if you buy the ebook you get a paperback or something like that, which actually is a less efficient way to go about manufacturing books, and the more people rely on 'real' books the less books there will be available (because the cost of producing physical books and shipping them makes publishing a dicey game and requires them to spend less on indie or small authors) and the more resources we will use unnecessarily, but, by all means, Stephen King, continue to insist that we use more resources for less gain just so people will have a weak semblance of what it was like in the 1950s during your awful childhood.


All I Want Is Everything: A.
Aim & Ignite (full album): B
Mathew & The Atlas (full album): B=
I'll Be Your Shelter: A

1/10/13: "Searching For Slave Leia." This was a short story I listened to on the "Lightspeed" podcast (a podcast of audio sci-fi stories), and my actual note entered with this story was:


I don't recall the plot offhand, which says a lot about the story.  I'm sure I listened to it because of the title, because

Women should dress like this all the time.
if you put "Slave Leia" into something, men will do that thing. If Obamacare had rolled out with Slave Leia announcing it, we'd all be communists by now (instead of having to wait until 2016 when Hillary wins!)

Now, for the story. Here's a link to it on the Lightspeed page, and having skimmed through it again it's a sort of time-travel-y, near-death-experience-y thing about a woman who was apparently inspired by Star Wars to become a director and then almost dies? Whatever. It wasn't very good.

Grade: D+

1/12/13: Django Unchained: This,

on the other hand, was very good, and I can't actually believe I saw this in 2013.  I recall seeing it, but it was so long ago (nearly a year) that it seems like I saw it in the distant past, and I wouldn't have remembered it as part of this year but for this list.

I liked almost everything about this movie, and I'm not some unabashed Quentin Tarantino diehard.  I didn't like Reservoir Dogs hardly at all, and I didn't even see Inglorious Basterds (because I am boycotting Brad Pitt movies because he spent $30,000 on a hamster cage for his terrible kids).  I did love Kill Bill far more than almost everyone I know, and this movie hit the same heights as that one, an over-the-top festival of intricate plots, ultraviolence, and weird jokes.  Plus, it had Leonardo DiCaprio, who has become one of my favorite actors; I almost saw The Great Gatsby just because he was in it (almost, but didn't because (a) Sweetie didn't want to and (b) it was still The Great Gatsby, a book I consider fair-to-middling at best.)

I expect that this movie will become one that I will watch whenever I can, like Kill Bill and a few others (The Dark Knight), never watching the whole thing through but bits and pieces there.  That is meant as a compliment.

Grade: A+

That's it for this installment.  Let me leave you with another list of things I do almost every day: This one is

Top Five Blogs By My Frequency of Visits:
PT DillowayStrange Pegs (by Andrew Leon)
Life Is Good (by Tina Downey)
Laws Of Gravity (by Liz A.)
The Blutonian Death Egg (by Rusty Carl)


Rusty Carl said...

Amazon has their Matchbook program, which you have to sign up for as an author/publisher... but you have to purchase the dead tree edition, then you can get a discounted ebook as well. I still love my paper books so I was thrilled for this, but apparently it isn't be as participated in as I'd like, because they're aren't as many eligible books as their should be.

I have found football to be an all or nothing sort of thing for me, I tend to take years off from the sport and it's like I have so much extra time on my hands I feel like I can do anything. But it's also something my father loves obsessively and it's one of the few things we can share together. So this has been an on year, and I've wasted approximately 1,000,000 hours on football and football related activities. I'm gonna be so happy when the season is over.

I have mixed feelings about Lightspeed, I listen to the podcast too, and find that I don't like many of the stories they put out. But I love the editor, John Joseph Adams, who owns and does everything related to running the mag. I listen to his other podcast, The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy (he's really just a co-host there).

I've read so many of the stories from the mag, and I think, I'll blow him away with this one, and then I submit - because they do pay pro rates, 5 or 6 cents per word, which can mean a few hundred dollars for a short story, and I always get an email from him saying, "sorry, your story just didn't work for me, I'm afraid."

And I'm like, "but did you read the one story you just published, I almost went blind trying to get through it!"

So, I get all upset, pout, quit writing altogether, and watch some football.... then a few days later I'm thinking up a new story that I'm sure he'll like, so I start writing and the whole cycle starts all over again.

I send to him first, also, because he tends to respond in a day or two, unlike Analog or Asimov's that can take months and months to hear back from.

Rusty Carl said...

Damn... a quick read though on that last comment. I'm averaging at least on typo per sentence... I've really got to work on that.

Briane P said...

What's awesome is you had a typo on the number of typos you had. I respect that kind of ethic.

Have you had stuff published anywhere? I never thought about submitting to Lightspeed, but I don't write scifi much, either.

I'm like that with football, too. But this was unexpected this year, given that I was in the fantasy league. Which I should check in on -- I think I might owe someone a gift card.

Andrew Leon said...

On the other hand, Brad Pitt has done a tremendous amount to help New Orleans and the displaced people there. I'm not a fan on N.O. (actually, I've never liked it), but most of the people to suffer long term ill effects of Katrina were poor minorities, so I have respect for the work he's been doing.
Even if I haven't seen Inglorious Bastards.

Rusty Carl said...

Briane - I do make certain to keep my ratio of typos consistent, even while doing corrections.

I have never had anything resembling a 'professional sale'. Despite gajillions of submissions. I've just about given up on them now. I have been told that it takes about 10 years of consistent submitting before you can start expecting sales to pro markets. I've never really tried the smaller places.

Liz A. said...

Dirk Gently! It's been a long time since I read those books. What was that driving thing? That really made an impression on me.