Adios and vaya con dios

Some live journals get deleted (why?) or just fade away, but since I'm never here anymore and not likely to be making many/any more posts, I thought I'd give this one a proper send-off.

First, apologies to all of you since, in every case, I haven't been leaving comments on entries in a very long time. I've been checking in a couple of times a month but actually saying anything just takes too much effort, as life has been one giant never-ending catastrophe. ("what does he mean by that?" dear hypothetical reader asks. "Extend one of the final destination movies over a period of months or years," I answer. "Eventually, you get worn down and things catch up to you.")

So, since I'm unlikely to have the energy for this place again any time soon, I leave anyone who still sees these entries on their friends page with the following links to good bye songs (sorry, can't remember how to embed, and, again, lack the energy):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy9_lfjQopU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybv5iqKeR74

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiyCkSOF1pc
  • Current Music
    Waves, Sleeper Agent

Non-spoilery review of last night's Game of Thrones finale

While there were a few good scenes (and one REALLY well done sequence that was incredibly moving; if you saw it you know what I mean because it sort of stood out against the rest) and I liked the final disposition of at least one of the characters . . .

That was really, really BAD. If you care about logic or logical consistency or if you want things to make sense or your moralizing arguments to make sense, that was flat out inept.

One of the speeches one of the characters gave in an effort to be persuasive was actually offensive.

The length of time it took people to traverse distances continued to be nonsensical.

In sum, one more time: the people writing this show have great careers. My screenwriting career came and went with nary a splash. While one could muse on the injustice off the universe, one must wonder if I'm much worse than these people, and should off myself on the spot because there would just be no point in continuing. I mean wow. (yes, I know, I can think of lots of good things that I liked and never went anywhere by other people, and yes these people MOSTLY did a good job adapting the story when they still had the original source material to work with, with several GLARING exceptions, BUT STILL!!!)

(Note to Star Wars fans: I believe these people get to turn their original plotting and dialog skills to your franchise next! I haven't been deeply invested since the original three, but if I still cared, I would be miserable if this info is accurate)

Dracarys!

Major spoilers for the last two eps of Game of Thrones. Read onward at your own risk.

[Spoiler (click to open)]Starting w/the ep before last, well, we wondered what had happened to Ghost. Now we know. Somehow, he survived. (so did, somehow, a fair chunk of Dothraki, last seen disappearing never to be heard from again while charging blind into the night snow against a supernatural army that put out all their torches; what, they ran off and came back after the battle was over?*) And no one bothered to tend his wounds, and Jon spent almost no time with Ghost before sending him off north of the wall, and didn't even give him a hug goodbye, just a long distance nod. This show is clearly NOT written by animal lovers, or even people who have any bond w/animals whatsoever. (if you now tell me they run an animal rescue, honestly, I won't believe you, but if they do, clearly, they ain't people who bond w/their animals, and if the claim love it's very much from afar and probably a false claim)**

We also found out the second dragon survived, only to die during an ambush because Dany still has learned nothing about protecting her dragons and while some people on her side have some strategic abilities, she ignores them all in favor of self-defeating paranoia, and it never occurs to ANYONE that Cersei might know they're coming and have a surprise waiting. Ye gods.***

THAT SAID . . . wow, for all my complaining about Dany, Varys actually manages to get me back on her side. And now on to the main event . . .

Okay, I'm actually offended on Dany's behalf. Varys again managed to push me further into her camp. And yes, I know that I said she had been showing signs of Targaryan instability, and she had been annoying the crap out of me, and we forget how young she is and she had all sorts of reasons to be annoyed by the aftermath in King's Landing, even if some of it was her fault (she did, after all, sidetrack herself from her main war to help out with the battle against the white walkers and the zombie army, she lost one of her dragons/children AND her most trusted advisor and one of her two best friends up there, before losing her other best friend in the aftermath of the ambush previous episode, during a peace parley, and for all this, no one was really thanking her a whole lot, it was all about Jon, and weirdly, not that much about Arya either, tho granted some of that was because she was avoiding talking to most people). But her suddenly being at say, level 3 of the mental illness/ power madness/ paranoi problematic, and suddenly ramping all the way up to a 10, instead of just being pissed off and taking it out on the ones responsible . . . and I get that Jon rejecting her due to their newfound closeness of kinship was merely the final straw on an already breaking back, but still . . . errr, I am annoyed on her behalf. To have everything won far more easily than she or anyone had any right to expect, and then to lose it and go around burning civilians and allies indiscriminately (and with a far more sustained assault than she gave to the keep w/Cersei and the Mountain in it, the people responsible for Missandei's beheading) . . . I am annoyed. I get there's a logical explanation, but I don't care for how it went down.

Re: the battle--no one thought to tell anyone that Arya and the hound were going in to take out Cersei, which could make the whole war thing unnecessary? Bad enough that Arya and Gregor didn't till the last second, but this failed to get relayed up the chain of command? WTF?

And then, Drogon dodges all the scorpion weapons which are suddenly wielded with AMAZING inefficiency on top of Drogon's/Dany's better avoidance abilities while flying, but wow that was easy. And yes, it was impressive. And yes, I was cheering (tho very annoyed that Euron jumped off his ship before it exploded in flames the destruction of the Iron Fleet and the walls of King's Landing. I was in agreement that the human shield tactic shouldn't be allowed to work. But... it didn't work, they weren't a shield, SHE HAD WON, so she burns them anyway instead of going after Cersei? THIS MAKES NO SENSE (yes I know she lost it, and she has clear symptoms of the family madness, BUT STILL)

And I have to go. Will write more on this post later. TTFN

*I loved the end of ep 3, but I frequently have major issues w/the writing of this show. I even frequently think the fact that these showrunners have jobs, as do the people who write The 100, while my screenwriting career came and went long ago, is a sign that I am a worthless human being and should off myself, that's how many issues I have w/the writing, tho the comparison to the writing on The 100 is what they should really be worried about. And yes, I know, the actually did a decent job initially, with adaption, for the most part, and adapting is a separate issue, and they're not completely incompetent and it was only when they left behind the source material and were left to their own devices that they started to suck and by that point we were all sufficiently invested that they could get away w/a lot of problems, but still . . .

**see previous comment about major issues w/writing of this show
***see previous comments about issues w/writing of this show

The Battle of Winterfell

Obviously, major Game of Thrones Spoilers. So hopefully I get this cut right! And if I do, don't click if you don't want to know yet!!!

[Spoiler (click to open)]After all these years, and all the times I nearly died, I am very, very glad I lived long enough to see this episode.

"What do we say when we meet the Lord of Death?"
"Not today."

If anyone cares, there will be episode discussion after the my-favorite-character discussion.

Without further ado,

GO ARYA!!!!

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!!!!!

For anyone who doesn't know, Arya has been my favorite character since the first chapters of the first book, long before the television show A Game of Thrones was even contemplated and long before I knew anyone who might read this (hell, before I even had a live journal.

Watching her kill the Night King was a nice payoff. Especially since I thought John or one of the dragons or Bran was going to do kill him, if anyone did, and even more especially since Arya was one of the people I thought most likely to die going in (yeah, I know, she's Paris's favorite character too & she's threatened to leave GRRM if he ever kills Arya, but GRRM isn't writing the TV series, as is sometimes painfully obvious. And after all she's been through during the years, she deserves it. So yay!

My thinking throughout the series was either "dragonglass" or "dragonfire" was going to do in the Others/White Walkers, and Dany got first shot w/the dragonfire, but you could tell from the way they set the scene up this wasn't going to work. And it didn't.

Then John was moving towards the Night King and my SO thought he was going to take him down but I was all like "He's good but I don't think he's good enough; the only ones who might be able to beat the NK in a straight duel are Arya, Brienne, the Hound and maybe Jaime if he can suddenly fight like he used to when he had both hands plus they all know how to fight dirty if they have to" and we argued this until all the newly resurrected dead made it a moot point.

(it should be pointed out that I called it way early, that the only way the NK was going to lose, given the Dany/Jon/best minds of Westeros WORST BATTLE STRATEGY EVER, was if he made the constantly repeated Dany mistake of getting overconfident and putting himself in harm's way before the fight was over. And yup. That is what happened. Tho not before Dany could nearly get another of her dragons killed coz she still thinks they are invulnerable in all circumstances, despite repeatedly being proven wrong,and maybe her & Jon did get one killed coz they absolutely suck at teamwork)

And then I thought my joke for the past week about "we get to see everyone die this episode and it's going to be ALL. UP. TO. CERSEI" was actually going to come true. My SO was convinced Bran was going to pull some bit of magic off at the last instant. I thought probably but didn't have a clue what and was really thinking ALL. UP. TO. CERSEI. was going to be a thing.

Let's just say it's a good thing we didn't wait on Bran, whose "bait" plan turned out to be really horribly executed by all the master strategists.

But after a whole episode where not only all her fighting training but also all her stealth & sneak training paid off in spectacular fashion, my girl Arya came through in the end.

Bye bye, night king. Go Arya.

Other good things: Except for Beric (finally for final), Jorah & Lady Mormont (a bad night for the bear clan, though both went out heroically, and honestly, since Dany was never going to marry him I can't imagine a better ending for Jorah than to successfully defend his lady love and living until the battle was over so he knew he pulled it off), I'm not sure if any of my favorites died. Pleasant surprise. Anyone know what happened to Tormund? He might've died. I can't tell Gendry and Pod apart most of the time, so I'm not sure if one or both made it through.

The ep, as a whole, was really cool, despite the mind-bogglingly stupid strategy & tactics (or complete lack thereof) by whoever was in charge. So many great scenes.

The bad:

What happened to Ghost? It made no sense that he was part of that cavalry charge. Speaking of . . .


WORST BATTLE STRATEGY EVER. Let's examine this: (1) put most of your best fighters outside the wall, at night, giving up your best advantage against the zombie army.

(2) Put Bran, as bait, in the Godswood, which I think is INSIDE the walls? Where he can only be bait if you are decimated. At the very least, he was bait far from the actual fighting till his side was already decimated, so wherever the
Godswood is, this strategy failed.

(3) Instead of waiting for the sun to come up so you won't be fighting the undead in the dark where they are stronger and you can't see, YOU START THE FIGHT IN THE DARK, to help maximize the time you will be at a disadvantage.

(4) You send your entire cavalry force charging out into the darkness, where neither rider nor horse can see any obstacles that might be set up to stop a cavalry charge.

(5) You support said cavalry charge by catapulting flaming balls into the darkness in the general direction of your cavalry, hoping they cause more damage to the enemy than your side even though you can't see the enemy at all and catapults aren't that precise.

More bad: Why were Jon and Dany completely lacking in teamwork? Why was the night king better at flying his dragon than Dany was at flying hers? Why did Dany set her dragon down on the ground in the middle of a pack of armed killer zombies, who predictably climbed all over the dragon? For someone who says "these are my children", she repeatedly takes damned bad care of her dragons.

Thoughts on future: My preference for a throne, any throne, is Sansa. She seems to get the whole rulership gig and "how to run things" vastly better than anyone else. Make it happen, showrunners!

Will the Hound or Arya or the duo kill Gregor?

Will Arya or Dany or Jon or one of her siblings kill Cersei?

I don't care who kills the Greyjoy jerkboy as long as someone does.

I don't care who gets the Iron Throne as long as Sansa gets Winterfell and Arya survives the whole thing. (also Drogon & all remaining wolves, ideally)

Poor Bran, always.

Jaime and Brienne are so going to be a couple if they both live. Yay.

Someone should maybe, like, try to burn it down?

Haunting of Hill House. We started, by accident, with episode 9, and actually thought it was the first episode. We were quite impressed.

Imagine our surprise when, upon starting ep 2 immediately thereafter, my wife realized she had accidentally put up ep 9 first. (so we saw ep 1 second, which is where we are now)

Amazingly enough, it actually works really, really well this way. I think we saw it in the right order.

Very much looking forward to the second/third.

Now to sleep, perchance to dream . . .

Comet, satellite, asteroid, meteor, rocket?

What was in the Southern California sky tonight? We took the dogs out for a walk at just the right time . . . (I think it would have been about 4:25 am, give or take ten minutes)

If a shooting star, it was hella bright. If a rocket, it was already in the atmosphere and moving horizontal. If a satellite moving through the atmosphere, I think it was too low and burnt up.

Google produced nothing except meteor showers, and again, wow, that was hella bright. Lit up the night sky for a bit.

A Tale of Two Series, or, These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends (sometimes)

A couple of weeks late, but both Westworld and Handmaid's Tale wrapped up their second seasons. (my last discussion of tv shows also included 13 Reasons Why, s2 of which wrapped up earlier, as in, we binge watched, and was great and I highly recommend it and I meant to write about it at the time but oh well; go watch it's good)

Things they have in common: Both prestige dramas with a ton of Emmy and other nominations. Both artistic events with something to say about all sorts of things. Both dystopias of a sort, though in both cases many of the characters think they are in their personal utopia, however horrifying that makes them as human beings or sentient entities of any sort (this is less true of s2 of Westworld, which was basically dealing w/the fallout/aftermatch/continuation of the climax of s1.

And the beginning of s2 of each started a bit slow for many viewers tastes. Here is where the similarities end. Slow for Westworld meant jumps around in time and temporarily moving away from the violent ends to the violent delights. (since several of you haven't seen these shows, and several of you are all that left on lj to read at this point, I shall not discuss in much detail) Slow for Handmaid's Tale meant my wife frequently had to wake me up. (that is not hyperbole)

I had faith in the writers of Westworld that the new areas of exploration in Westworld would all have a point. They did. The show used its beginnings and its past to build to a brilliant crescendo, and my pantheon of "all time best tv shows" has a new member sharing the top. It was Twin Peaks, then BtVS, then The Wire, then Breaking Bad. And now, after two seasons, Westworld firmly established itself as one of best shows ever. The latter 3 have the advantage of consistency, so I'd put them ahead of Twin Peaks and Buffy. Absolutely brilliant, if you watch TV or film at all, you should watch this. Seriously.

Handmaid's Tale. Ummmm. Well. It is well acted. It is, taken one piece at a time, well written and directed. Collapse )

Live if you want to, die if you like or, the Synchronicity of YouTube

One person just retuned to post YouTube vids, another just posted about a life changing experience watching YouTube vids.

So, here are three things that YouTube unexpectedly gave me over the past few weeks, from the "WTF?? This really exists? Yes, but, whyhowwhy?"

(that would be the trailer for the movie horror movie "Handjob Cabin", which is EXACTLY what it sounds like, and which I shall not link to coz I need to go back to bed and I'm tired, but which trailer is kind of funny in a WTF???? This really exists?" kind of way)(synopsis for those really wondering: couples vacation in a cabin that is, alas, haunted by the ghost of a woman who fell out the window and died whilst giving a handjob, and thus feels the need to torture and kill everyone who spends the night in the cabin via the same method, and I don't mean falling out the window; and yes, as far as I can tell, this is not a joke trailer but a real trailer for a real movie that came out in 2015)

to

"Wow, wtf is it w/YouTube makingthe weird stuff show up lately? WhyMe? Tho hey, at least she is cute and not untalented, albeit the song is a wee bit repetitive"

(a music video called "Smoke Weed, Eat Pussy" by someone named Angela, iirc, and yes I'm still too lazy to look it back up, and the title composes the bulk of the lyrics, but, it's actually not that bad, tho a wee tiny bit repetitive in describing what she does all day, every day)

(and no, I had not been searching/viewing things which should have led these things to suddenly show up on my phone)

to

"WTF? Again? No really AGAIN? Wait ... this is good. Holy fuck, this is amazing!" followed by obsessive watching/listening to different versions of this song and a cajillion other songs by same band that the movie version was a cover of, plus watching a lot of scenes from this movie that I had previously ignored the existence of except to think "what a stupid title" and "how did that get made?" Someone obviously did a lousy job of publicizing that movie. From the absurd to the sublime; YouTube absolutely got it right w/my tastes and this one

That would be this (and my wtf came from the name of the band)(also, wow, too bad they never made a Dazzler movie; Brie Larson would have clearly been perfect for this, given her singing ability)(tho also, wow, Metric!!! Metric is awesome!!! Help I'm Alive is also getting repeated obsessive listening in addition to both their and the movie version of this song)(I'm still unsure of whether the movie is that great or not, tho all the female leads seem pretty amazing)(also, in one of the versions w/the opening mantra, missing from this one, alas, the perfect song to contact someone who's been missing)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6-EfveplnA

Recent television watched

Yeah, my titles are sometimes boring...

13 Reasons Why, s2: Was worried before s1 about whether they'd do the book justice. Was worried before s2 that they'd have a loss of quality from s1. After 2 eps, so far, so good. Tho OMG I'd forgotten how ANGRY I get at some of the characters watching this. OMG I want to jump in the screen into the show and kill them. Not as much as in s1 yet but there are moments . . . ::visualizes blood splatter and body parts scattered::
(if you don't know, 13 Reasons Why is about a high school girl's suicide and it's aftermath; the first season more or less followed the novel and was about 50/50 aftermath/flashbacks centered on a series of tapes she left behind; the novel was haunting & devastating; s1 the series was equally well done but less devastating, possibly because I'd already been through it once)

Handmaids Tale, s2: Yes, it's well done, even very well done (albeit would not have been in contention for my Emmy vote if I had one)(and albeit s2 has plot holes s1 didn't) but OMG this is painful to watch. And it's sooooo frustrating. Just watching episode after episode of grueling misery . . . So many scenes where prisoners could turn on their captors via greater numbers, even if it meant badness for them later on. I mean, how much worse can it get? Especially for the ones already punished for "disobedience" for whom "how much worse" has already happened (you see more of these in s2)(yes, I realize it really is that easy to control people in real life, even uber violent criminals, which these women and their helpers are not, and that is probably part of the point, and I likewise realize the firepower differential awaiting even should they leave a few of the evildoers in blood and bits). I keep wanting June (or someone, anyone) to go all Takeshi Kovacs on the powers that be (if you are wondering what that is talking about and don't mind minor spoilers for Altered Carbon, get on YouTube and search "This Wicked Tongue Altered Carbon." Or, just listen to This Wicked Tongue by PJ Harvey because it's a great song.

Altered Carbon: Speaking of Takeshi Kovacs (and novel adaptations), I was very pleased with the Altered Carbon screen version. A lot of changes, some of them highly annoying, some of them arguably improvements (not all, but some), and the story has changed significantly and some of the main thematic points have changed (minimizing a key one, which tics me off, and adding a stupid motivation) BUT . . . it's very well done, and didn't ruin the novel, and still very enjoyable television. I'd still recommend reading the book first, but isn't necessary.

Westworld: Something of a slow start, but they are weaving a lot of elements into something that I think will eventually be a huge payoff. Still an extremely well done, thought provoking show, albeit not quite living up to the first season yet.

The 100: Not a slow start at all. The first ep of the new season was not-so-great, but it picked up nicely after that. Not remotely as ambitious or well-crafted as the shows listed above but a surprising amount of fun ever since started.

Infinity War Ending Spoiler Because I Can

Baby Groot kills Thanos.

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No, I haven't seen Infinity War yet and don't know the actual ending. I'm going to go way out on a limb and assume what I said above is NOT what happens, especially since Baby Groot is presumably no longer "Baby" anymore, so this is not really a spoiler post.

Stay off YouTube, btw, if you want to avoid REAL spoilers (or possibly real spoilers)

I have been reliably spoiled for exactly two things, neither of which I shall inflict on others (both apparently happen fairly early; one of the spoilers was thanks to YouTube putting spoiler vids in my feed and it's SO consistent that I figure it is true; the other was from people who saw the film discussing it where I could overhear. I don't mind being spoiled for this because it is something that would/will/does annoy the heck out of me, so maybe knowing in advance will diminish my EXTREME annoyance when I actually see it. The YouTube bit was a character death that I would rather not have known about, but since 5,000 people put up "------'s Death Scene" vids and it makes sense w/other things I know, I'm going to assume it is accurate w/out having clicked on the vids in question.

Several NICE people have put up ending spoilers, but fortunately these contradict each other and can't all be right. Possibly NONE of the spoiler titles are right. I know the ending to the original infinity gauntlet story because I read it when it first came out waaaaaay back when, but the screenwriters have already said that character is not going to be in either this movie or the next, so safe to say it will be a different ending.

If your reaction to this entire post is, "He comes out of hibernation to discuss non-spoilers and spoilers to a movie he hasn't seen, WTF?" that is a very sensible reaction.

If your primary thought is "Who? What? Huh?" then I congratulate you on your immunity to pop culture. That is not a bad thing.

Baby Groot really does kill Thanos.