27 January 2014


Sliders: Stud Farm

Just when I thought the second season of Sliders couldn't get any worse . . . Compared to previous episodes, the one I'm looking at today isn't so bad. The plot has some good complications and the satire has some edge--but the acting is horrible and the accents are worse. The most annoying part, which has been the case all season, is the sheer sloppiness with which the director leaves clues. Take the above screenshot of a toy store window display. The main cast get a better view, but it is next to impossible for us "armchair Sliders" to read the same codes.

Or take the following screen shot, which was the best I could do before a character's head popped into view and totally blocked the board . . .

25 January 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 81

Hello again, dear book club members! Are you all still around? =)

We took a break last month in order to read The Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson, which I've finally written about at Reading for Believers: The Death of the World. And so now it's back to business as usual over here! Well, sort of. I still intend to explore that radical idea of Reading Without The Internet, but it will have to wait until I'm done with (or to run in counterpoint to) something else I've been planning for months . . . and thinking about for years. 

There is a popular writer whom I've been putting off reading for the longest time, and now I cordially invite you to help me to choose the novel with which I start . . .

22 January 2014


Reading Diary: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

I looked down at the city. I could see almost everything from here--the East River and the Hudson River carving the shape of Manhattan, the grid of streets, the lights of skyscrapers, the dark stretch of Central Park in the north. Everything looked normal, but something was wrong . . .

"I don't . . . hear anything," Annabeth said.

That was the problem.

Even from this height, I should have heard the noise of the city--millions of people bustling around, thousands of cars and machines--the hum of a huge metropolis . . .

"What did they do?" My voice sounded tight and angry. "What did they do to my city?"

Now I know why so many people went nuts over Harry Potter a few years ago--because I'm going nuts over Percy Jackson right now! Last weekend, I reread The Lightning Thief and then powered through the next four books of the series as if they were made of oxygen and I were drowning. Remember the year when I couldn't finish anything? Well, this seems to be the year when I will be finishing everything!

Apparently, all I need to do is to recreate the conditions of my unexpected long weekend: an illness which kept me from work for an additional two days and a glitch which took out my Internet connection the whole time.

12 January 2014


Sliders: Shooting Gallery

QUESTION: Who are these three men and what do they have in common?
(The answer is not that they are targets in a shooting gallery!)

Now we get to what I already know will be my least favourite Sliders episode EVER. It's so bad that I am tempted to stop writing this blog series altogether. I am also floored to know that it has the same writer as the Sliders episode I love the most. Perhaps he was just having a really bad day. Consider also that so much which is good in writing is often lost during filming or on the cutting room floor. But then we must recall all the problems this show was having behind the scenes, the most notorious of which was John Rhys Davies's discontent with the writing, especially in Season 2. It's actually more likely that the excellent Season 1 episode was a really good day--and not a characteristic one. =( 

11 January 2014


To Start from Scratch or To Stand on Shoulders?

It seems that I've been bitten by the DIY bug. As much as I enjoy those things which require a high degree of specialisation--like, you know . . . books . . . movies . . . TV shows . . . pop music . . . and well, blogging software--I am a bit bothered by the number of commercial products I buy because I take for granted that: a) they were good to have, and b) I could never make them myself. So now I'm getting more critical and more crafty. My "no poo" adventures really got exciting the day I realised that I didn't need to find someone else's perfect recipe if I could make one for myself.

In case you're wondering, I'm currently trying a version of the "rinse only method," with a deep conditioning treatment of honey and aloe vera gel once a week (or whenever I remember it). I've switched apple cider vinegar for distilled white vinegar, diluting it with a "tea" made from dried rosemary and dried sage. I'm also infusing a bottle of vinegar with those herbs, so that I can skip the "tea making" step, but it will take about two more weeks before that potion is ready for testing. And because my scalp has always been on the dry side, I may also start experimenting with lavender soon. But the real turning point was getting a boar bristle brush: that thing is my new BFF.

That's right: homemade rinses and hair masks, but a store-bought brush. The reasons are explained somewhere in the following Three-legged List.  

3 Videos
about Things We Could Never Make Ourselves

05 January 2014


A "Book Boyfriend"

Read about Woods Kerrington and other Book Boyfriends
@ Stuck In Books

It looks as if The Introverted Reader has quietly retired her Character Connection meme. (No official word yet about Shredded Cheddar and the Locus Focus meme. =P) It was while looking for a substitute that I started considering the Book Boyfriend of the Week link up. While it's obviously more limited (and limiting) than Character Connection, that just makes it another sort of challenge. Besides, the character I've been eager to write about for a month is a "boyfriend" of sorts, so this exercise was kind of made to order. 

02 January 2014


Reading Diary: BSC #12 Claudia and the New Girl by Ann M. Martin

It's a new year, so how about a post on new girls and old friends? =) It took me a long while to find today's BSC book for my reading project, but now I see what perfect timing it has turned out to be!

I always think new kids, especially the ones who transfer in the middle of the school year--the middle of the day, for heaven's sake--are pretty interesting.

But this one . . . was more interesting than most. It was her clothes . . . She was wearing a very pretty pink flowered skirt that was full and so long it touched the tops of her shoes--which I soon realised were not shoes, but sort of hiking boots. Her blouse, loose and lacy, was embroidered with pink flowers, and both her wrists were loaded with silver bangle bracelets. Her hair, which was almost as long as my friend Dawn's, was dirty blonde and pulled into a fat braid (which, I might add, was not held in place by a rubber band or anything; it just sort of trailed to an end). But the amazing thing was that because her hair was pulled back, you could see her ears. And she had
three pierced earrings in each ear. They were all silver and all dangly, but none matched.

What is the first thing you notice about a person whom you're meeting for the first time? For the artistic and funky Claudia Kishi, it's clothes. (Please pay no attention to the atrocious cover art.) For the new girl Ashley Wyeth, it's talent. And since Ashley has fashion sense unlike anyone else Claudia has ever seen, while Claudia is the best student in the art class Ashley has joined, it makes sense that they would end up hanging out. 

Ashley certainly isn't the first "new girl" in the Baby-sitters Club series. One of the BSC's founding members, Stacey McGill, has hardly met anyone when Book 1 starts, and Dawn Schafer arrives from California and joins the club in Book 4. Then there's new boy Logan Bruno, who is introduced in Book 10. Let's even count Kristy's move to a new neighbourhood, where she gets to be the new girl for a change, in Book 11. I guess Ann M. Martin really likes the "Stranger rides into town" plot. =P And of course, the strangers who are the most interesting are those who directly affect the BSC.

01 January 2014


The Thirteenth Thing about The Cabin in the Woods

"That moose over there . . ."
What great--if not very subtle--forshadowing!

After I wrote my Twelve Things about The Cabin in the Woods, I started poking around the movie blogosphere to see what other Horror lovers had to say about the film. And I was amazed at the number of people who came to the exact opposite conclusion I did: they thought that the ending, far from being the result of a moral choice, was a function of an incredible lack of morality in the characters. Well, let's explore that a little more, shall we?

Again, if you haven't seen the film yourself, please don't read any further. First watch it yourself, and then come back. I've just given you golden advice, so I hope you take it.