... What.

Jun. 17th, 2016 04:41 am
ladybug_archive: (nancy_peter)
So Wal-Mart has a new, paperback-bound set of the first three Nancy Drew Diaries books. I haven't ever tried them because I've heard that they're not as dark/heavy as the original series was and I'm not in the mood to see the series kiddie-fied in a series that isn't even the one marketed towards very young children. But I couldn't resist a peek. For a minute it actually didn't sound too bad; they even described Bess and George's luggage tastes pretty accurately: Bess was fashionable and George was sporty.

But then it got weird. George got worried about her laptop and Smartphone and hurried to dig them out of her duffel bag. Bess got annoyed and commented that they would be on a cruise with beautiful scenery and there wouldn't be a lot of time to look at cute kitty videos on YouTube. George retorted that they might need the technology to help Nancy research something.

Um. Their personalities like, totally flipped. George looking up cute kitty videos? That is a sarcastic crack the likes of which George herself would make. I can kind of see Bess excited about beautiful scenery, but it still doesn't seem right. I just can't feature her saying that to George, or George being more interested in technology than the outdoors.

There was also an odd part where some college guy is interested in Bess and she doesn't react. Nancy is thinking that Bess doesn't fall for just anyone. In the original series, though, she kind of did. She was always crushing on every cute guy that came along. Now in this case, maybe it's not such a bad thing to have this Bess be different from the original series. But it's still a little jarring, especially combined with the other incident. This also sounds more like George.

I dealt with the George character basically being Bess in the TV series, but somehow I'm not crazy about seeing their personalities flipped in the books. One more reason why I'm not too keen on this new series. Why can't they just make it like the original series, save for being in first person? Sigh. There's a reason why the original series is the one that lasted for decades, while the other attempts faded away within a few years.
ladybug_archive: (snakes)
One thing I forgot to mention in the prior entry was the interesting and difficult balance between wanting time to move along to match real-time and yet not wanting to actively depict the characters growing older. On the one hand, I've watched ages standing still over the passage of time in several series I've been involved with, from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Detective Conan and The Baby-Sitters Club and I am totally okay with it and even like it. But when it comes to my own stuff, I don't know if I can make myself be that illogical. In this case I'm not discussing time period problems; I have absolutely no issues whatsoever in taking a series set in the 1960s and setting it in the present-day instead, if in my estimation it really isn't a period piece and could easily happen in any modern time period. I'm discussing the passage of years regardless of actual time period. Like, in books written over, say, two years, you have books set in all months and seasons, yet the characters perpetually remain a certain age in the narration. It's the best way to do things if you really don't want/need your characters to age, as those series really don't since aging the characters is not important and doing so might even hurt the stories' charm. But when you have a developing timeline like I do with my Ginger and Lou fics and the passage of time has been mentioned up to a certain point, there's really no way to logically make the ages stand still.

The problem is that I picked up the stories using Christopher and Luke's real-life ages at the time of The Queen of Peru: Ginger is 47 and Lou is 41. (It's one of the only times I've left the characters the same ages as the actors instead of trying to make them a little younger.) Technically speaking, since time does pass and characters grow and change in these stories, Ginger should be 50 and Lou 44 by now. And yet I picked those earlier, particular ages for them and those were the ages I wanted them to be, like if I was making profiles for them and such. So because I can't come to a decision, ever since their ages would have technically changed from 47 and 41, I haven't made any specific mention of their ages in the stories. I've brought up Lou's 25th class reunion and I've mentioned that now they've known each other for over twenty years, but I haven't outright given their ages anymore. I suppose that unless I change my mind about being okay with upping their ages in the narrative, that's the best compromise I can come up with.

Musings.

Jun. 3rd, 2016 07:47 pm
ladybug_archive: (twilightsparkle)
So a couple of weeks ago I finally solved my dilemma about the Amazon books. I really wanted to get a manga in the order, but I couldn't figure out how to make everything come out to exactly the cost of the gift card. I really felt I couldn't pay any cash with that order, so finally I had to set the manga idea aside and I got the two Pony-related books and two Nancy Drews.

The package was delayed because of weather problems and other such things. I was worried it might show up waterlogged. Thankfully it didn't, but whoever packed things couldn't do a good job. The one paperback in the order, the Pony U.N.C.L.E. parody, showed up completely dog-eared on one corner. Half the pages in the book were also bent at that corner! WTH? I don't know whether it was packed stupidly and happened then or if the book was damaged to begin with. I was absolutely furious. I'm still not sure what to do about it. Returning and replacing things online is such a pain, and that was probably the book I was looking forward to the most, so I hated to think of waiting even longer to get to read it. But I don't like always having to settle for damaged merchandise when I order paperback stuff from Amazon, either. I really chewed them out when I bought comics from them and they were packaged really stupidly and all showed up bent. I wonder if Barnes and Noble packs things better. They also have the free shipping with $25 of books deal. The problem there is that I don't have B&N gift cards, so I'd have to pay cash.

(Oh, I miss Borders so much. I was actually in the area where it used to be a couple of days ago and I spent some time just staring out the window at its location across the street. They were so much better than B&N. They actually had discounts in general and coupons for more than 15% off. And they generally had a bigger selection of stuff, except Nancy Drews, but now B&N's selection of those is lame too.)

I ended up reading the book last night. Of course it was a quick read and meant for kids, so it didn't get too deep, but I was intrigued that it touched, albeit briefly, on Bon Bon being weary and wanting to leave the secret agent stuff behind and have a peaceful life now. I would kind of like to expand on that in a fic sometime. And it ended happy, with her and Lyra still in the organization but being able to stay in Ponyville when not on missions. Also, the secret agent place was in New York (well, their New York) and it was accessed through a fridge in a pizza parlor. LOL.

The Equestria Girls book was really interesting. It takes place after the third movie and a large part of the plot is the human Twilight trying to befriend the girls from her old school. At first I was puzzled that it only focused on Sunny Flare, Sour Sweet, and Sugarcoat. But then I realized that the other girls, Lemon Zest and Indigo Zap, were already pretty nice people and probably didn't need any serious help turning their lives around. Lemon Zest is seriously adorable, definitely among the most normal of the girls at Crystal Prep, and so is Indigo Zap, basically. The other three are all kind of dysfunctional in various ways.

I don't think the author really captured the girls' personalities well, though. Sunny Flare was depicted as the nastiest of the bunch and the one most unkind to Twilight and worried about her turning into a monster again. That just doesn't fit to me, because while she was definitely nasty early in the movie, she was the one who called out Principal Cinch for trying to run away, and she looked really horrified and upset when Cinch said she was trying to get away from "that monster" and Sunny Flare should do the same. Sour Sweet was really the nastiest to Twilight in the movie.

Not once did the author do Sour Sweet's trademark of first saying something fake and nice and then following it up immediately with her true feelings, always a burn. She did occasionally do Sugarcoat's trademark of being very blunt, but it seemed more like she gave that trait to Sour Sweet.

I also didn't agree with the author writing that either Sunny Flare or Sour Sweet said they were Twilight's friends (and they were also apparently on her Friends list on Facebook). Not once in the movie did they ever act like they were interested in being her friends; they only interacted with her when circumstances forced them together. Sugarcoat was really the only one of those three who acted like she might be what Twilight considered a friend. And then Lemon Zest was really nice and didn't seem to have anything against Twilight at all. Indigo Zap kind of thought Twilight was an idiot, but she "defended" Twilight when the Canterlot High students started wondering what she was up to, which was kind of cute. (Although she probably only did it because Twilight was a Crystal Prep student, not because she really cared about Twilight personally.)

The author also set it up that Sour Sweet, Sunny Flare, and Sugarcoat were supposedly friends, but weren't happy together. The first two hung out together in the movie and really seemed pretty chummy to me. Sugarcoat, on the other hand, really gave the impression of being a loner.

I did love that Twilight eventually did make friends with them in the book and things ended happy for all of them, instead of them just being portrayed as one-dimensional characters that wouldn't change. But to be honest, I kind of think I could write a better story with that basic plotline that would stick closer to canon regarding personalities. I'll admit that Sunny Flare's personality is the most underdeveloped in the movie, but I don't think it was fleshed out in the book in a manner that fits with what we did see in the movie. Maybe I can try to start writing a story like that and see what happens.

Then last night I started randomly singing Unleash the Magic to myself. It's sung in the movie by Cinch and the Crystal Preppers as they try to tempt Twilight to, well, unleash the magic she's collected in her mystical pendant. I was considering maybe trying to record it and do all the voices. Cinch would be a blast to voice, although I probably wouldn't be able to sound as nasally as she does. But so I got to the line "I understand you have your reservations/it's hard to have a brain as large as yours" and suddenly I wondered if it wasn't just a line of manipulation, but something Cinch personally understood. I finally listened to the commentary track for that movie and they were wondering what her backstory is. Now I'm wondering if she was a smart outcast like Twilight growing up and if in some way, she is a dark version of what Twilight could have become had she remained an outcast. She certainly is smart and calculating and loves knowledge. And even though she seems to be very arrogant and egotistical and is worried above all about her reputation, I'm not entirely sure she was worried for completely selfish reasons. As she told Twilight, it was her reputation, and the school's, that was responsible for everything they had to work with. If the reputation dropped, they might not have all the funding and other things they needed to function properly. So honestly, I could understand her worrying about keeping up appearances to some extent, although of course she took it way too far and her manipulation of Twilight throughout the movie was horrid.

Another thing the commentary track mentioned was that an early draft of the script had Cinch fall through the gaping portal hole created by Twilight when she flipped out and became Midnight Sparkle and Cinch ended up a horrible monster in Equestria. They changed that because it seemed too mean. I agree, honestly. Maybe it would have been poetic justice, especially after how she ostracized Twilight's transformation considering she encouraged her to use the magic, but I wouldn't have wanted her to stay like that permanently or be stuck in Equestria. That's more like what a show like TMNT might do, or maybe even the U.K. Pony comics of the '80's and '90's, but it doesn't fit for something sweet like the current My Little Pony series and movies.

Speaking of TMNT, though, the new movie came out today! Eeeee! And hopefully I'll get to see it next week! I actually really loved the movie two years ago; I thought it was great overall and I loved that there was scarcely anything crude and it was largely absent of swearing. I was very surprised and impressed by that. And to be honest, I really think I liked that movie better than the one called TMNT that came out about nine years ago. (Oh gosh, that long ago? Seriously?) While that movie was cute too, it had some things I didn't like, such as April and Casey living together while not married, and how they made it look like only Raph did something bad during the fight between him and Leo. Honestly, it was kind of interesting how they had Leo finally snap and say something really awful to Raph ("I'm better than you"), but it was spoiled by neither Leo nor the script acknowledging that Leo did something wrong as well as Raph. That was just seriously WTH?

Well, at least that film contributed to my loving Raph more. He scared me as a kid because of his bad temper. That still scares me a bit, but I'm mostly seriously intrigued by him and he's replaced Donny as my second-favorite Turtle.

I still need a Mikey figure. Even though he's my least favorite, I want to have a complete set of Turtles. I just wish the figures weren't so expensive these days. It costs almost $9 for one from any current Turtles line! And that's the cheapest price, since it's Wal-Mart's. I've checked other places before and they've been worse.

(Amusing note: just about each Turtles figure I have is from a different line. My Raph, and my Fugitoid, are from the 1987 TV series. My Leo is from the second movie. My Donny is from a line that looks more like the comics. And my Casey Jones is from the 2003 series. I need an April too. Not having her is sacrilege. And Splinter. Actually, I'd kind of like another Raph too, since my Raph is a space suit Raph and even though I love him dearly, I'd like one that's just normal Raph. But then I'll probably feel guilty to have two Raphs and not two of everyone else. Heh.)

I also want Mikey and Donny plushies. I had thought of getting Build-a-Bear's Mikey, but their new Mikey has a different face than the old one, I think. The old one was just cute, but this one's expression is seriously obnoxious. And then with Donny, I always planned to get him from the same line as my Leo, since I'm not crazy about Nickelodeon's redesign of Donny and it's less obvious with those big pillow plushies. But I didn't want Mikey from that line too, since they all have the same expression and that's kind of WTH. That was why I got Build-a-Bear Raph instead of pillow Raph.

And then I was thinking that while the 1960s and 1970s fascinate me, it seems to be the 1980s that I have some serious nostaglia for. Which is funny because I don't even remember the 1980s. By the time I was old enough to remember much, it was 1990. But so many things I loved from my childhood are from the 1980s to begin with: Ponies, Mario, TMNT, DuckTales, Gummi Bears, Pound Puppies, Care Bears, Garfield (well, he started in the late 1970s, but he sure got popular in the 1980s), Baby-Sitters Club, Alf, the latter two Star Wars original trilogy movies.... Most of my paper dolls had 1980s fashions. We had a couple of huge catalogs, a Sears Wish Book and a J.C. Penney's equivalent, both from the 1980s, that I just adored looking at again and again. And when I go to antique malls, it's the 1980s toys that send me into serious nostalgia trips. Sometimes I remember happy times of playing with 1980s toys with friends in the 1990s. When I see shows from the 1980s, especially family or kids' shows like Punky Brewster or the Pony or Care Bear cartoons, the nostalgia continues even though I never saw those when they originally aired. There's just something innocent and sweet and fun and cheesy about that decade. Then there's things that started in the 1990s: TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, Sonic.... I love those too. And I'm trying to remember when Trolls got a resurgence of popularity, the 1980s or the 1990s. I think the 1990s, but they've existed since the 1960s. Gomer even had a pink-haired one in his foot locker, which Sergeant Carter threw a fit about. ROTFLOL. ("A Troll doll is a non-regulation item!") But I just don't seem to be nostalgic about the 1990s like I am about the 1980s. Weird. I almost wonder if that's because I actually don't remember the 1980s and so it carries a sense of mystery and the ability to place it on a pedestal, whereas I remember the 1990s very well and it just doesn't hold the nostalgia/pedestal factor. I don't think there's one decade I remember that I feel nostalgic about, really. I get nostalgic over experiences and shows, but not decades as a whole.
ladybug_archive: (twilightsparkle)
So most people may remember that I am not a fan of the Pony fiction books in general. I'm very picky about characterization and I think they fall short. But I do like the Equestria Girls books that have original stories rather than just being novelizations of the movies and shorts. I have the first of those kind and a second has just come out. I went to add it to my Wish List and discovered that in the main line of Pony chapter books, one was recently released called Lyra, Bon Bon and the Mares from S.M.I.L.E.

You know, I don't even like Lyra and Bon Bon now that they have canon characterization and it's obnoxious. But the one thing I did like from their episode 100 characterization was making Bon Bon a secret agent, and now there's a whole book about spies and secret agents and friendship squee and the title is totally a Man from U.N.C.L.E. parody! Bon Bon is drafted into her secret agency again, and instead of exposing Lyra to a memory wipe because she knows too much, Bon Bon pleads for her to be allowed into the agency too. She is, and the plot mostly follows them on their first mission. Eventually they have an argument because Bon Bon feels like Lyra is so excited about the new job that she's more focused on that than on Bon Bon, but it gets patched up and they fight the bad guys and hopefully Lyra is going to stay in the agency.

I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK!

... Lovely.

May. 8th, 2016 05:11 pm
ladybug_archive: (ginger_lou)
So I've been thinking a lot about Mike Trevino lately, as evidenced partially by the long post I did on Tumblr this past week. He's figured a lot into some of my recent Ginger and Lou pieces. It's been very interesting developing Mike and Ginger's interaction throughout the past three years and actually getting them to a place where they actually like each other and are comfortable being around each other. They don't confide in each other and probably never will, but Ginger finally apologized to Mike for the shooting (whereas previously he had only apologized to Lou).

I've thought off and on for years that I should probably make a Mike plushie to go with my Ginger and Lou plushies, but sewing is such a pain that I've always put it off. I decided I should really do it, so I used a coupon on Friday to get another pre-stuffed doll at Jo-Ann's for half-off and am planning to start work on the plushie this week, since I have materials for ears, hair, and pants already here. I'm already trying to start by finding a good picture of 1970's Joe E. Tata that I can use as a guide in making the expression, which I practice many times on paper before actually applying to the plushie.

On that, I'm running into some trouble, as it seems like most of his 1970's characters don't have much to smile about. I can't use a more recent picture as a guide. And the only 1970's shots I've got of him, save one, are side views. I'm going to need to get out everything I have with him guest-starring and study it for possible shots. If I don't draw the expression from an actual picture of the person, it never looks as accurate.

I finally solved my Amazon problem by waiting for another gift card that was just about ready to come and then using all of that plus a little cash to get the complete Cannon boxset. I waffled a bit on whether to really do that, since I'd end up having to pay a little more cash than before and I'd been hesitant to add that much cash. But the price was right and Cannon is a show we love in general and not just when darlings guest-star, so it seemed like a very wise investment. I don't have a lot of episodes recorded compared to how many there actually were, and I don't know if the ones I have might be cut. Some of them look like they might be. Crystal encouraged me to get the boxset and last Saturday I finally did, with no regrets. It came yesterday and Mom was thrilled. We watched a couple of episodes, including Don Knight's and the second one with Joe E. Tata.

Joe had a pretty big part, unlike a lot of the times when I see him. He appeared to work for an old man who did a lot of crooked things but had never been caught at it. I say "appeared" because he really seemed to be so much more than just an assistant. They'd been together for years; Cannon mentioned a drug operation that both Joe's character and the old man were involved in eight years ago. He spoke as though they were more like equals or partners in the operation, although I admit that could have just been my interpretation. But there was much more as evidence; it seemed like they lived in the same house, either that or Joe's character Higgins was just over there all the time. And when the nutcase in the episode sets a bomb in the old man's car and he's seriously hurt, Higgins is extremely distraught. He goes to the hospital and is there for hours waiting to hear if he'll be alright. Of course, an assistant or other employee could be that devoted to their boss, but all in all, I got the vibe that maybe even if he technically was an assistant, the relationship was more like a surrogate son and father or extremely close friends. We actually never learn the old man's final fate, but I like to think that he did pull through since Higgins would be so sad if he didn't.

In thinking about it in the hours since, I determined that there are two basic criteria that need to be met, in general, if I'm going to be intrigued by antagonist characters to the point of wanting to write about them. #1, For them to show some indication of caring about someone, and/or #2, That there is some indication that redemption is possible.

Of the two, #2 is the more important reason for me. That could manifest in several ways, including reason #1, or by them doing something decent, or even just by the idea that they will be going to prison and maybe they can be rehabilitated. In this case, while #1 is definitely present, there didn't seem to be any indication that either Higgins or the old man would be or could be interested in changing the way they handled life, so despite being curious and interested in their interaction, I seriously doubt I would write about them.

In the past I somehow got so intrigued by Gin and Vodka that I ended up being willing to write about them performing their jobs as assassins, although the stories were more about them as characters than about what they were doing. But I am still appalled that I did that. That just isn't me. More recently, when writing about Ecks and Wye, I did have to touch on their canonical jobs a bit, but mostly the stories were about them running for their lives after canonically betraying the organization and trying to start over and go straight. I still had to write Wye as having some darker views than I am generally comfortable with writing, but I tried not to touch on that as much and I did have him finally determine, at least, that the organization with which he had been affiliated did do things worse than most governments.

Sometimes I don't intend to get intrigued by a character and I end up doing it anyway because of what I'm writing about them to flesh them out. That was what happened with both Sephiroths (especially KH Sephiroth) and Snakes Tolliver. It also happened with Baby Face Morales. I had honestly originally intended that he would be the dark foil and counterpart to Micky and nothing more. I wrote The Return of Baby Face Morales with that idea in mind and I did not have the character show any redeeming qualities at all, that I recall. But then when I wrote the sequel and had to have Baby Face work with the good guys and later when I wanted him and Tony to patch things up, I got myself intrigued by the idea of him being more of an anti-hero and also developing his interaction with Tony. That was how and why I ended up changing how I wrote for him and started diving into his past and trying to flesh out possibilities of what could have made him such an angry and dark person. Some of it probably went into sob story territory and I might not follow that exact backstory now. I seriously doubt that I'd write about him at all anymore, really, both since his and Tony's story is probably as a standstill and since he really is a dark character and not one I'm that comfortable writing for anymore. If I were to do anything with those characters again, it would probably be to finish that hanging story about them and the Monkees held captive by mad scientists, and/or to keep writing that crossover with Kolchak. Tony Ferano would be the main character in the latter. I toyed a little bit in my last burst of Monkees stories about Tony and whatever goodness he still has in him. If I were to write about him again, I might further that angle and have him finally break away from Baby Face and try to get his life back in some semblance of order again. Even though I'm probably not comfortable writing for Baby Face, I have to admit that I do still love Tony. Jimmy Murphy's portrayal of him was classic.

Of course, Ginger is really quite a dark character too, so it's possible that in the future I will also not want to write about him anymore, either. But in his case, there was that actual chemistry I sensed between him and Lou (which could have been chemistry between the actors) and that is really what set the whole intrigue off. The fact of that chemistry combined with their interaction in general just fascinated me for some reason and led to me being unable to stop writing about them. And in their case, they really are trying to go straight after their stint in prison (something Baby Face would likely never do), so it's not uncomfortable writing about them. So I really hope that I will never feel differently about that, especially now that I've learned some more information that might possibly put a different spin on the elephant in the room of the shooting. I went into that in detail on Tumblr. http://lucky-ladybugs-lovelies.tumblr.com. Of course, as I say there, I will never be fully satisfied on that, but this is the best I can do to handle it. And in my timeline, as I mentioned, Ginger finally has apologized for that.

Bottom line is, I usually really don't want to like or get intrigued by certain characters, but sometimes I do because of those criteria.

Occasionally, I suppose, I can also get fascinated by a character for one other reason: if it feels like they got a bum deal in canon. Dutch Ingram would fall in that category, because the idea that he committed a murder was just shoehorned in, said by Ken Swofford's highly questionable character, and there was no proof it was true. I still don't believe it is, and that is the basis of my Rockford fic featuring him. But if it weren't for feeling like he wasn't the murderer, I doubt I'd write about him. He isn't really the type of character I like either. I don't think just the fact of Christopher playing him would have made me want to write about him, since I don't want to write about every character played by a darling.

And I need to decide what to do about another Amazon gift card I got. There's no chance of any other one coming soon, so with their changed policies I'm thinking maybe I should get a few books with this one. I considered that recent set of Kolchak short stories, which I want to get since I know the author of one of the stories, but I keep hesitating on getting it since I don't know if any of the stories deal with Tony (Vincenzo now and not Ferano, heh) and his and Kolchak's intriguing relationship. I know that in general, the prose stories do not. That collection of 43 short stories I have only has one where Tony really gets to shine, so in a set of 14 stories, there's not much chance Tony will have good screentime. The comics are better than the prose at giving Tony stuff to do, but I don't know if there are any graphic novels out that give him a lot of "screentime" since there are also some comics where he doesn't appear much. If I knew of any I don't have with good Tony content, I would jump to get them.

Other possibilities are Miles Edgeworth manga or Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books or some combination of several things. There are also a couple of new Pony/Equestria Girls books I want, an artbook for the series and a new Equestria Girls novel that will be out a week from ... Monday, I think. I almost always ponder for ages on what to spend gift cards on, since it's a treat I only have several times a year and I want to make sure I get what I really want and what will be meaningful for years to come. Hopefully I'll come to a decision this week.
ladybug_archive: (joe_lew)
This past week I saw the junior novelization of The Force Awakens while grocery shopping. I didn't buy it, but I decided to see how they wrote the critical climatic part. To my surprise, it's different from both the adult novelization and the movie itself....

Spoilers! )
ladybug_archive: (coley_lafe)
So MeTV is doing another round of their silly MeTV Madness this year, where MeTV shows are paired up and voted on by the viewers who use the Internet. I'm really not sure what the point of the thing is. I originally figured it was to determine what was popular so they'd have some idea what to keep/what to toss/what to bring back, but the MeTV Madness results really don't seem to have any bearing on that, so I'm not sure what the point is. Maybe it's just silly fun. Sometimes I wonder, though, if the voting is really completely what the users are saying or if MeTV makes the end result be something they want. I can never forget when 4Kids did that voting thing to get viewers to pick which new show they wanted to see a special preview of, and Tokyo Mew Mew was ahead for most of the voting time, yet suddenly when it was time, they announced that F-Zero had somehow won. Considering it had the least votes all the way along, that was more than a little suspicious.

And I was thinking about politicians being immature and flinging stupid insults back and forth at each other and that got me thinking about that Patty Duke Show episode where Patty and Cathy are running for student body president and start doing the same thing. The students get so sick of it that they end up overwhelmingly voting for the one candidate who wasn't insulting everybody else. But she also didn't have much of a voting pitch; she'd always get up and flatly say, "Vote for me." LOL. But according to Patty, she actually started doing a good job once she was voted in.

Then I started thinking how strange it is that while I remember the series fondly, there are many, many episodes that I either don't like or find tedious to watch. Episodes that I truly, genuinely liked all the way through are actually less in number than the other kind, I believe. So that made me wonder why I bought the first two seasons on DVD years ago. I think it was because I wanted the episodes with that recurring character actor who looked like Autor, Jeff Siggins. Then season 3 changed production areas and the supporting cast was dropped, including him, and season 3 changed the show in other ways and overall I didn't like it as much. But I still recorded the ones I liked best.

The other great thing about The Patty Duke Show is William Schallert. I became very fond of him while watching him in all those episodes. He reached the tier right below the actors I actually crush on, which is for other actors I am very enthusiastic about and can go out of my way to see and get very excited to see when stumbling on them by chance. I don't know if I would have come to like him as much as I do if not for seeing him every night as part of that main cast.

I also think off and on how Cathy is usually remembered for being so demure and sweet, and yet she can actually be pretty nasty too, like in the voting episode and several others. Sometimes I think she can actually be more nasty than Patty, because Patty usually just says things off the top of her head without thinking about it, whereas Cathy seems more likely to plan out at least some of what she says. Sometimes she behaves on impulse too, though, like in the Cleopatra episode. And I suppose she has to behave badly sometimes so she'll be a well-rounded character. But I have to say, it's always painful to see her like that and I don't think I like any of the episodes where it happens. Regardless, though, I do prefer her to Patty, as Patty Duke herself does. But both girls are pretty well-rounded and have good and bad points, which is nice.

That sort of thing is necessary, but while flaws are important, I honestly have trouble writing characters actually acting out/deliberately being vicious and petty and mean. Even if they're prone to such behavior in canon, I just cannot get into that mindset if I'm trying to write them as a protagonist. It's easy if they're an antagonist, but if I want them to be the one the readers are rooting for, I just ... can't seem to make myself do it, which is why canon jerk or villain characters in my hands usually end up not being anywhere as bad as canon portrays (although generally there's an explanation of trying to turn over a new leaf instead of it coming out of the blue, like it did with Hook on Once Upon a Time). It's just not my nature and I can't get into their heads and don't feel comfortable trying if I don't try to soften them/humanize them a bit to make them relatable to me. Some of them I still can't really relate to regardless of my efforts, since of course I have to try to stick to canon information and sometimes that means the character will end up darker than I'm comfortable with no matter what I do. (Usually that means I eventually drop the character, as in the cases of Gin and Vodka and some certain others in other fandoms.) But anyway, yeah, I usually have to fall back on other types of flaws for protagonists than acting out.

Then I started reading one of my locally-written mystery books. I was slightly concerned when I saw the main character described on the back as "quirky", as usually that seems to mean an absent-minded weirdo or someone who can't be serious if their life depends on it. Both character types are fine for people who like them, but they can grate on my nerves very quickly, especially since the latter category often leads to practical jokers and that's a sub-character type I don't care for either. (Which is why I've honestly never been that excited about the Weasley twins from Harry Potter.... Not that I'm that excited about Harry Potter in general, honestly. But despite my feelings, I still felt it was sacrilege to kill off one of the brothers. Gah.) There's a character in the latter category who's in a fairly popular locally-written book and movie adaptation. She says she's an intellectual, but she honestly never acts like it. She pretty much spends the whole book/movie acting like a silly, mischievous, slightly naughty goof and being rather outrageous at times. Although technically, she does get serious when her life depends on it. She dies and the thing ends up heartbreaking after starting so screwy and silly.

But to my relief when I started reading the mystery book, the lead character is a serious, capable person and her quirkiness mostly stems from OCD. I can totally deal with that. And it's rather nice to see an OCD character written seriously; as much as I had fun watching Monk, it always did bother me that he and the other OCD characters who popped up were portrayed as acting so childishly due to their phobias. We're really not all that way!
ladybug_archive: (yamiM_artichoke)
So I learned a few interesting things today.

I already knew this is YGO's 20th anniversary. I found out now that it shares its anniversary with Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?; the manga was first printed on September 30th. (The anime, which I love much more, celebrates its 16th anniversary on April 18th.)

The 20th anniversary celebration movie releases in April. I thought it wasn't coming until July, for some reason. But it's saying that the movie takes place six months after the end of the original manga. For some reason I had thought it took place in anime-verse, but it kind of sounds like it doesn't. If it takes place in manga-verse, then I probably won't consider it canon unless it's really amazing; the anime is my preferred YGO canon, with only the substitution of Duke's manga introduction instead of the anime one. And the more detailed manga conversations between Atem and Thief King Bakura from the Memory World stuff.

And then this summary that Shounen Jump released has me puzzled to the extreme:

In the past Yūgi Yami and Kaiba have clashed many times!! Yami Yūgi, who resides in Yūgi Mutō's body, and Kaiba will have a duel that bets their prides and accepts each other's mutual experience.

Ummmm.... So it takes place after the end of the manga, when Yami Yugi had gone on to the afterlife, but they're still talking about him like he's there? What?

I know it seems strange to think of a YGO anything in the original verse without Yami Yugi around, but he's kind of not supposed to be there now. The whole point of the finale was to show that Yugi can stand on his own and Yami Yugi's destiny lay in finally being able to rest in peace. So right now I am left seriously scratching my head and wondering if something was mistranslated in that summary.

I look forward to April 23rd with great interest. And a bit of trepidation. I don't mind Yami Yugi being back, if there's a logical explanation for it, but I'm not too thrilled at the thought of the film being manga-based. And I wonder what will happen with Duke and Bakura, who have been my favorite YGO characters and story subjects for several years now. (Ironic, since in the past I used to struggle with writing for both of them....)

Also, I finally finished chapter 5 of my Riptide fic. I am thrilled. I think it may be starting to take better shape now; it's leaning towards a combination of The Hardy Boys and The Saint in plot structure, with a dabbling of old adventure quest movies like Mara Maru. Which makes total sense since the Riptide episode that inspired the fic made me think of The Hardy Boys and since there are some really fun Saint episodes set in tropical areas. And since movies like Mara Maru also have some similar plot elements with what I'm doing: ship settings, smuggling, maybe a crook in a white suit....

I finished that Saint book, too, and thoroughly loved it. The TV adaptation of it was kind of a mess; probably not one of the better episodes. It changed drug smuggling to art smuggling, which just wasn't as intense, and it had a bizarre subplot of an old girlfriend of Simon's being manipulated by a hypnotist who was obsessed with her. She couldn't make herself break free of his control, no matter how Simon pleaded, but at the climax she sees the hypnotist about to shoot him and she runs out to try to save him and gets shot herself. The episode ends with Simon holding her as she apparently dies. It was heartbreaking. Even moreso since the girl really was innocent and hadn't ever willingly participated in the hypnotist's crimes.

I'm torn between writing a fic of Simon at her grave after the funeral or saving her life instead. Apparently Simon didn't break it off with her; she left him three years ago. Simon still cared about her, and she him, although I think Simon had really accepted that it was over between them. If I save her, which I certainly lean towards doing because it was just too sad, I'd still have to have them decide not to renew their romance, at least not at that time. But Simon would say he would always be there for her if she needed him. Only that all opens another can of worms in that she would likely be suffering a lot from trauma after finally breaking free of the hypnotist's control, and the road to recovery would be long and I don't think I'd be able to write that kind of fic; I stalled on more than one about recovery from trauma (including the Detective Conan fic Breakdown). I guess I could still just make it a oneshot and have Simon planning to stick around during her recovery and let it end there. Either that or timeskip to when she's better and they talk then and decide at that point not to renew their romance. They really have to decide that, as the episode aired at the end of the second season and even if she didn't die in canon as she seemed to, she certainly isn't around for any of the remaining four seasons.

Anyway, of The Saint episodes I've seen that were based on stories I've read, I wasn't so keen on this one or on the adaptation of The Gentle Ladies, but I like the book version of The Gentle Ladies even less. By contrast, I absolutely loved the adaptation of The Ever-Loving Spouse, in contrast to my thorough dislike of the book version. I believe I squeed over it here around the time I first saw it. Most episodes I have not read the book version of, and in general I imagine I would prefer the TV episode, if I liked either one. And then there's episodes that have no book counterparts, particularly a lot of the color ones. I kind of really love those, as they get into espionage and other exciting spy things like that. Many of the book-based ones are more about running cons, and while it is delicious to see con artists get some of their own medicine back at them, I love spy episodes the best.

I added another wartime-era Saint novel to my Amazon wishlist. I really wouldn't be surprised in the least if that ends up my favorite Saint era. I just love the idea of The Saint as an undercover government agent, especially if he tends to behave as he did in the novel I just finished. In any case, I'm just thrilled to have read a Saint book I really enjoy and that didn't make me uncomfortable in any way, as several of the short stories in The Saint to the Rescue did. I'm glad I didn't give up completely after being disappointed by the short stories. I was certainly tempted to. But I kept wanting to read that one particular book regardless and now I finally have.

And speaking of writing character death fix-it fics, ugh, I also must write one for a Charlie's Angels episode. I was so bummed by the episode in general, as Dan Tanna from Vega$ was in it and I got it in my head that it was a full-blown crossover. So I immediately sent for the disc, as I like Vega$ and I adore Dan Tanna; it's so intriguing that instead of a Las Vegas private eye being a really wild sort, Dan is very morally upright. (Maybe that was to try to make Las Vegas more appealing to conservative 1970s TV viewers?) But then he only has a tiny cameo appearance at the very end of part 2. It was so lame. I wanted to see him and the Angels solve a case together! I suppose the shows airing on different networks was what prevented a real crossover, even though they were both Aaron Spelling shows, but it was still disappointing.

Making it worse, there was an adorable character in the episode played by Scatman Crothers who had a pet cat that he carried everywhere with him. He was the best friend of a character played by Dean Martin and the villain was trying to take away everything that Dean's character loved. That included running down Scatman's character. Gah, it was heartbreaking. The cat jumped out of the way, thank goodness, but then it ran over to him and got on his chest, so worried. And then he survived the car crash, but the crummy villain came in through the window of the hospital that night and gave him a drug that killed him for real. I just hate when a character survives something horrible and you're so happy and relieved, and then they throw in the twist of them dying anyway. That is also lame. And sadistic.

But so anyway, I must figure out some way to save that character, because him dying is just unacceptable. I hate when one half of a great friendship (or for that matter, an enduring romance) is killed off, and it's so sad thinking about not only Dean's character being so sad, but the cat. Gah.
ladybug_archive: (twilightsparkle)
And so after a month we come full-circle. I went to F.Y.E. at the end of January looking for some type of James Bond figure in Roger's image. That wasn't the only reason I was there, and I would have likely gone anyway even if it hadn't been a reason at all, but I was still very upset when I got sick after that excursion and got everybody else in the house sick. I can't prove it came from there, but it must have been either there or Wal-Mart, since I got sick before anybody else and therefore most likely did not pick it up at my aunt's. It had to be a place where I was the only one going around and coming into contact with people. But it was highly aggravating and upsetting that it happened, especially when the shopping was fruitless.

I was upset for weeks feeling like I should have gone to Build-a-Bear instead and got the other doll I wanted. Then I probably wouldn't have got sick/got everybody sick. And I was frustrated that I didn't get to go last week because of the lingering cough problems. Now, however, I'm grateful I didn't make it. Hopefully I'll get another chance for the doll, but meanwhile ...

I finally found a figure online for a decent price. Not one of the 12-inch figures, sadly, but about half that size. I spent days debating whether to get it and trying to see if it really looked enough like Roger to make a purchase worth it. There were four people watching it besides me; it was a Buy It Now listing. I felt a little bad to suddenly pull it out from underneath them, but any of them could have bought it at any time if they had felt so inclined, and apparently they didn't by the time I made up my mind, so no regrets. These figures usually seem to go for much more than I got mine for, so I'm doubly thrilled.

I did immediately feel guilty to purchase something James Bond, since neither Dad nor Mom like that franchise (and I'd be all over it if it wasn't for the bed times; I loved Moonraker except for what amounted to two minutes or less of bed times/implications of bed times ... and I still kind of want to see more films, too ...), but of course it was more for the actor than the character, and my idea was that it could be whatever character I wanted it to be at any given time. I stayed in that more excited mindset and didn't feel any more guilt.

Ohmygoshsquee, it shipped Monday and came this past day! And, as I determined before taking the plunge and purchasing, it does look sufficiently like Roger to be worth it! And it's so nice with fabric clothing.... I adore fabric clothing! It shows real thought and attention went into the crafting, instead of just putting molded clothes on. (Not that some molded clothing can't be amazingly detailed too, of course. But it upsets me that fabric clothing is not really a thing like it used to be.) The card is also very nice, with many pictures of Roger all over it. I have it sitting next to the card from my Oscar Goldman figure so I can see the pictures. The figures themselves are on my desk.

So I have what I set out to find a month ago and I am very pleased.

I've also been reading that Saint book I got with my last Amazon order. I've got to say, I like this one way more than that short story collection I tried a couple of years ago. Even though that was written after this novel, I like Simon's characterization in the novel far more. It's one of the books written around the WWII era, The Saint Sees It Through, and Simon is serious like his television counterpart. I haven't seen one aggravating, dirty-minded crack in here like there was in the short story collection. I also haven't seen any instances of Simon taking the law into his hands more than I find comfortable (no burying bodies in gardens to keep the people involved from going to jail, oy vey). I may want to try some other books from this time period. And if I like them too, I will be highly amused, as of course the WWII era books are largely hated among the book purists. They usually prefer their Saint much more playful and mischievous and naughty, as he is in the earlier books. I prefer him more like the character in the TV show. Which of course immediately makes me a bizarre wild card in the fandom, as I am almost everywhere. Can't break with tradition, after all.

I'm also writing a sci-fi Maverick fic, as of course the fic where Snakes reveals himself to be alive has to include some sci-fi elements. And with encouragement, I'm continuing it to show Snakes taking Beau through the portal to visit the present-day. It's mostly a character study, though, as both Snakes and Beau have issues to work through at this point. It probably won't be more than a two-shot, but who knows.

I am vaguely considering that maybe Beau could be visiting in the Count Manzeppi fic I wanted to write, and that might give me a little more motivation to go ahead with it, but I'm not sure. I was just burned so seriously with The Deadly Codename that I'm honestly afraid to start a new WWW fic. I don't want to be involved in any more drama in that fandom. Beau around would just be one more thing for that person to complain about, should he decide to complain again. I might actually have more luck writing that fic for the Maverick fandom instead. **headdesk.**

In any case, there is the problem that by playing so much in Snakes' past, it kind of turned a few things in my original timeline for him on their heads, as I knew would happen if I kept playing. But I really liked the things I was coming up with and didn't want to let them go. Now I do have to wonder how to re-align things again, since Snakes wasn't supposed to have any friends before going to the present-day and now with the Maverick branch of the timeline he has Beau. I'm trying to rationalize it by him saying that Pinto broke him so much over three years of torture that he wasn't sure Beau really would still care and want to be his friend, since they didn't even really know each other that well. But I'm not sure that's a good enough fix.

There's also the issue that in Airship it's a plot point that Snakes hasn't been back to the past before and goes back only to find Jim and Arte. After I brought in the idea of Snakes and Beau, I knew Snakes wouldn't want to leave Beau hanging, so in the Maverick timeline, the first time he goes back is to find Beau and let him know he's okay. I don't know whether to leave things as they are, apparently two similar but different timelines, to try to reconnect them by explanations from Snakes, or to reconnect them by tweaking some things in the older stories.

Another idea I had was that maybe the time re-set Duke caused in the YGO branch of the timeline screwed a few things up that he hadn't intended on, including Snakes and Beau, and that perhaps when it's said that Snakes didn't have anyone, that's because he doesn't remember Beau with the time re-set. That gets fixed at the end of the story, so if there was any trouble, Snakes remembers the truth now. But that gets sticky too, as it would mean that the original WWW time-travel fics were written with the time re-set in mind and they're Snakes' incorrect memories of how things happened.

Confusion, thy name is time-travel. Confusion, thy name is also retcon.

I've gotta say, I have to sympathize with George Lucas in a situation like this. When you start playing in the past, you find new ways of telling things that you like better than the original way. And then naturally you want to tweak the originals to fit the new ideas. But that's an unpopular thing to do. And I still don't agree with him booting out the original actors for Boba Fett and Anakin Skywalker in the original trilogy DVDs. But still, I can understand why it happened.

What am I gonna do?
ladybug_archive: (persuaders)
So our dryer has been acting up for a while and Dad finally decided that so many things needed fixing, it would be better to get a new dryer. K-Mart had a Kenmore on sale for $299, so on Friday we went and looked at it and decided to get it. Dad then had to return the dryer parts he'd bought, so that took us up near Build-a-Bear and I got the Lalaloopsy doll/plush I wanted, Mittens Fluff N Stuff. I think I will get the other Honey Girls plushies sometime, but I figured they'd be around longer since they're the house brand and not one of the licensed brands that floats in and out. I saw all four Lalaloopsy dolls they've made, and I kind of want Crumbs Sugar Cookie too, so we'll see how that goes in the future.

I also managed to snag both Saint DVD sets and The Persuaders! online. I lost two auctions trying to get the seasons 3 and 4 set and then finally went to a Buy It Now listing that was still cheaper than the going retail price. I've been watching the Saint episodes I missed on MeTV's website and then plan to re-watch the others. And I've been gobbling up The Persuaders!. Oh my gosh, it is seriously adorable, gah. This show is just overflowing with friendship squee! It is paradise. Words cannot fully describe how much I am in love with this series.

I wrote that Saint fic that I had the idea for a year and a half ago. It absolutely flowed and ended up clocking in at 11,400+ words. And I posted it on AO3 in one chunk without checking word count first. Ooops. But some people have looked at it anyway. I hope they liked it. As usual, no one comments on AO3. I've posted 42 things there, and I think only five or less have comments. Part of me doesn't know why I bother. But at least I see people are reading, and sometimes I get Kudos, so that's nice. And there's no Saint category at FF.net. I requested one, but nothing's happened. I also wrote another Persuaders! fic, a follow-up to the angsty Angie ... Angie episode. I want to write a follow-up to Read and Destroy too, and then I want to move on to an amnesia fic. I originally figured Brett as the victim again, but then I decided it should be Danny and we'll see how poor Brett with all his British resolve reacts to that. (I think I'll have some Brett hurt/comfort in the climax, though. And poor Danny will feel horrible about not remembering Brett. Amnesia fics are cliche, but they're so interesting for exploring character reactions. Anyway, The Persuaders! takes some cliches and puts their own spins on them, making them all seem new.)

The Scott plushie I ordered came too, and he is also adorable! Very well-made, as they generally are, and he fits well with Elliott's size. I finally gave up on having the hair I really wanted for Barry and rushed to get him semi-presentable once I knew Scott had shipped. I wanted Barry to be part of the welcoming committee. I got brown fleece at Wal-Mart to do the hair and it doesn't look too bad. Making a ponytail out of that looks a bit odd, but I just decided Screw it, I can't find hair extensions anywhere and they probably wouldn't match the fleece anyway, so I'll just totally wing it. I think when I finish Barry, I want to make a Snakes plushie. I need to make Barry's shirt, tie, suspenders, and hat. I may just stop for a while after the shirt or tie, though.

And then I got around to finding out if I could find any Ivanhoe episodes. I could, and watched one. My reaction during it was basically, "... Oh my gosh. Soft, thick, fluffy hair. I didn't know he grew it that thick back then. Help." Mixed in with, "... Such a lovely voice to listen to. Help." And, "This character is awesome! Help." Also mixed in with amused/embarrassed giggling due to my shameless fangirling and thinking, "Oh brother, I am acting ridiculous. I shouldn't be fangirling over him." And, "Oh dear, wouldn't it be amusing if I end up saying offline what I'm watching and why I've got the giggles." And the American distributor was Screen Gems. I'm trying to remember if Antenna TV has ever aired this series. If they haven't, I wonder if they'd consider it. It would make a nice addition to their oldies block for children on weekends. (If they still do that....)

If I watch a few more episodes, I think I'll be ready to brave Mom's copy of Ivanhoe the book, which she gave to me. I want to read it (I loved the 1952 movie), but I'm worried the old language will go over my head. I don't read many classics because the language often confuses me. But now I have an indelible image of Ivanhoe looking like Roger Moore. I already got out the book and skimmed around in it today.

I also want to see the film The King's Thief. It's part of the Warner Archive collection. I'm trying to remember if my sister might have given us a VHS copy among some stuff she recorded, but I kind of think I'd remember a swashbuckler. Most of what she gave us is musicals, which I'm not so into. I think I remember everything she gave that was something else. It sounds like Roger has some good screentime and that he survives the film, so I'd probably be willing to spring for the DVD. It sounds like a pretty fun movie in general. And of course, everything is always better with a darling or two.

It also occurred to me that there is probably a figure of him as James Bond and I should have it, since so few darlings have figures of them. I thought maybe there'd be a little four-inch figure or something. Instead I only find listings for 12-inch figures, and there's one I particularly like that could perhaps double as a Simon Templar figure, but I can't seem to find it for less than $60. Oyyyy.... I cannot spend that much on a figure!

Sometimes I still want to bash my head against the desk for including him among my darlings. But I have accepted that that's the way it's going to be. He certainly has his faults, but there are lots of good things about him too, and I try to focus on that.

AUUUUUGH!

Jan. 12th, 2016 03:23 pm
ladybug_archive: (yamiM_artichoke)
Uggggh. I absolutely abhor computer scammers, identity thieves, and the like. I'm pretty sure at least one person wondered why I felt so bitter about them and was unhappy that I couldn't really warm up to a character of hers that seemed to have that sort of dubious occupation. But when you've actually experienced a crime yourself, at least for me, it makes it very difficult to feel any kind of sympathy towards such criminals, even fictional ones.

I know there are a lot of fictional characters I like that I doubt I'd excuse in real-life; somehow being fictional, they're detached from reality and it's easier to see all sides of their heart and soul, unlike in real-life. But on the other hand, there are a lot of fictional characters I just can't bring myself to like or feel sympathy for. Sometimes it may not seem to make sense regarding the ones in that category, but to be honest, I think most people have those fine lines where one particular character is liked but another that may seem the similar on the surface is disliked. Perhaps it's a matter of the characters' attitudes, at least sometimes. I just can never like Pegasus, for instance, because of the specific mocking, joking attitude he takes to everyone's misery. But on the other hand, I am intrigued by Yami Bakura. They both steal souls, but their personalities are not the same and I am far more bothered by Pegasus's personality under the circumstances than I am by Yami Bakura's.

Anyway. So. Back to the computer criminals. Years ago some crumb stole my dad's credit card number and bought a bunch of stuff with it. I was always afraid it was my fault, because it happened shortly after I used it (with Dad's permission) on Sega's website to buy the Knuckles plushie. I worried Sega's store hadn't been secure enough and that's how the number was taken. Thankfully, my dad didn't have to honor those purchases; the company believed him about the card number being stolen. But regardless, because of that experience I've been specifically bitter against computer criminals ever since.

Now yesterday, my dad got taken in by a computer scammer. He seems to be the type that deliberately puts junk on your computer and then pretends to just be finding it and says he can get rid of it for a high price. This crumb claimed he was from the computer company and even gave some of Dad's personal information to try to prove it! He messed up the computer and Dad couldn't even get in last night. Thankfully, Dad has managed to put the computer back in order now, and hopefully he's going to be able to find a way to report the creep. But this only deepens my bitter feelings towards computer criminals.

I wish I'd known about the phone call from the creep right when it happened; I would have been immediately suspicious and told him not to let the guy have remote computer access until he proved without a doubt he was from the computer company. It made no sense to me that a legit party would randomly call, since Dad hadn't even called the computer company. And sure enough, when he did call them after talking to the guy, they told him that the guy was a fraud. I'm relieved that the computer seems to be back to normal now; I certainly hope it can stay that way. (It wasn't my computer, by the way, but the newest one Dad uses. It's never really worked right because it's had a lot of trouble with viruses and computer creeps and the like.)

But so yeah. Computer criminals are something I just can't seem to not be bitter towards. Before the incidents where we experienced the crimes, I think I was just neutral, didn't really understand the damage they cause, and might not have been bothered by fictional computer scammers. But after the first incident in 2001 and this new incident too, uggggh, I cannot stand them.

Somehow I think Simon Templar would feel the same way. And now, even though it would probably make the few fanficcers stand on their heads and scream Foul for plopping him in the obvious present-day, I want to write a fic where he brings down some computer criminals. That would feel so delicious to me. I love how Simon champions the rights of those who are being hurt by the greed and evil of criminals. And I have to admit, I do sort of swoon thinking of him as a knight in figurative shining armor, rescuing the girls of the week (re: me) and whoever else is in distress. That is, of course, how the author of the original books intended for him to be viewed, and that was captured perfectly in the television series.

Do I agree with all of Simon's methods? No, I do not, even in the toned-down television version that I far prefer over the books. But I do love that he's devoted his whole life to catching criminals and protecting the innocent from them.

Also, I am absolutely ecstatic to learn that the big boxset is not the only in-print release of The Saint! They're also doing double-season sets, and those are reasonably priced! I can get them! SQUEEEEE. There's one out now and the next releases next week!

And as a closing note, I was reading a review of one of the few Saint books I'm interested in. People have long wondered if the TV Saint is working at least sometimes for a secret organization and not just always on his own; some episodes hint at that. Now in this book, the reviewer says Simon says he is part of such a thing and even stranger, that at the end the organization is identified as U.N.C.L.E. (A curious trick, since the book was written in 1947!) I'd have to read the book to know how accurate that assessment is, but regardless, I am certainly intrigued. And I'm probably going to have a terrible time not imagining that Simon is with the London office of U.N.C.L.E. now.
ladybug_archive: (persuaders)
Help, I've got a crush on Roger Moore that will not be denied. Nevermind that his good guy characters usually always have many of the same elements about them and hence he doesn't fully slip into parts the way character actors do. I guess in one way, that kind of makes me love him even more, as I then figure the characters are probably much the same as the real person and I love the characters.

I dug up those four episodes of The Alaskans, gobbled them up, and want more. And since I still don't have The Persuaders! DVD set, I just watched two more of those on YouTube. And I need more. Both of those shows are hilarious and adorable. I wish they'd run longer, I wish Roger had played Beau Maverick longer, and I wish The Saint box set wasn't so expensive.

What do you want to bet that I will wear down enough to actually watch some certain James Bond movies? I have never desired to see a James Bond movie in my life, but a couple of times this past year I've been tempted by the Roger Moore DVD sets Wal-Mart has had. If they still have those, I may just decide I need them in my life.

I also apparently need to watch an old 1950s version of Ivanhoe. Wheeeee.

Someday I may take pictures from my DVD of The Last Time I Saw Paris. His character in that is a jerk and a creep and I don't like him, but focusing on the actor and not the character, he is so young and cute and the quality of the DVD is pretty good even though it's one of those dollar DVDs.

Originally Mom gave that to me when we bought it years ago because Micky Dolenz's dad is in it. That is awesome too. I wasn't expecting to ever have another reason to squee over having it. When I was looking it over and saw Roger's name on the case, I immediately set about arranging a time to watch the movie. Naturally I plugged the reason as being to see Micky's dad, and I don't think Mom realized I had a second reason too. Which is just as well, since as mentioned, Roger's character in that is not a nice guy.

I still kind of want to read his autobiography too. Normally I don't like reading those, as I can very easily end up disillusioned. It took me years to decide I was ready to read Micky's very colorful book. But I think (I hope) I already know about the skeletons falling out of Roger's closet, so perhaps I wouldn't end up with too many unwelcome surprises there. And he is, I believe, the only person I crush on whose book I don't have. Most of them haven't written books; the ones who have, I have their books (Micky and Richard). I can't find the book at the library or at Barnes and Noble; thus, the only way I can read it is either by Inter-Library Loan or by buying it on Amazon without being able to skim through it first. I suppose Amazon may have a few preview pictures, at least. I don't like to not be able to examine it all the way through before buying, but the latter would give me some secrecy; getting it through the library loan thing would likely mean Dad might become aware of it since he would probably take the call about it arriving, and um, yeah, I think I'd rather not go that route.

That's because there's still that slight uncomfortable problem that I don't think either Mom or Dad like him. Mom used to, but then was displeased by that movie where his character seduces a missionary. (I doubt I'd be too thrilled with that one myself, although when I looked it up, his character didn't sound quite as bad as Mom was saying. He did offer to marry the girl and Mom hadn't remembered that he did.) I've sort of tried to hide my crush on him and acted blase one time when I showed her Vendetta for the Saint and she wondered if I would end up adding him to my list of guys. (He was definitely already on the list at the time.) But if she isn't aware it's there now, she will be soon. I don't think she placed him when I showed her some clips from The Alaskans (they mostly focused on other characters, the screen was small, and the picture was a little fuzzy), but I have to show her some of this hilarious Persuaders! episode I watched and she'll place him then and most likely connect the dots between him and Silky Harris.

Ah well. I accepted months ago that I am crushing on him, instead of vainly struggling against it. I've definitely been happier since accepting that fact.

And I wanna go write a hurt/comforty and angsty Persuaders! fic.... Help....
ladybug_archive: (twilightsparkle)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I do not have any interest in these types of books. I fail to see the appeal of a book series in which humanity has become so evil that they pit children against each other and force them to kill each other off. Just ... what? On the one hand, I'll admit that I find the thought of groups rising up against such evil and triumphing to be very cool. But I don't want to wade through all the horrible things to see the victory. It's just too depressing to imagine things ever becoming like any of the dystopian worlds.

To be honest, though, I've never read many young adult books. It was almost always either children's books or adult books, rarely the thing in between. So I don't know that I'm really a good judge of that level.

I think the few young adult books I've read were almost always part of a series. I read a lot of Hardy Boys Casefiles and Nancy Drew Files, both of which I believe were (and should be) classed as young adult instead of children's fare. I liked those, but I like the children's versions of those series better. The Casefiles/Files got pretty dark sometimes and the Files' more overt focus on romance could be annoying. Also, sometimes there were only three suspects. So uncreative. I prefer a wider range of suspects.

Then I read the book version of That Darn Cat!, called Undercover Cat, and the two sequels. I liked the first sequel better than the first book. I didn't like the second sequel much at all. Either way, though, I wasn't that crazy about these books and preferred the original 1965 Disney film. (I hated the 1997 remake and thought it was one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. The only good thing was the cat.)

And I read Twilight, but only because it was a gift. It's really not my thing.

I think the only other young adult books I've read were by local authors. I liked those much better.

I suppose my favorite young adult books, aside from the local ones, would be the Hardy Boys Casefiles (minus the really dark/graphic installments). But as I said, I'd rather have the children's series versions. So in the end ... I probably never read many young adult books because I didn't much like the topics they seemed to cover and/or how they handled said topics.
ladybug_archive: (faye)
[Error: unknown template qotd]This is a hard question. I suppose the first book is probably my favorite; I love the opening that deals with the Shire and the relationship between Bilbo and Frodo. I love the interaction of Frodo and Gandalf and the forming of the Fellowship of the Ring. And I love that it followed all the characters all the way along, not dividing into two parts to follow separate sets of characters, as the other two do after the Fellowship breaks up. The division is rather irritating, story-wise. I wish he would have alternated chapters following the two groups instead of having one whole half of the books devoted to one group and the other half devoted to the other group.

Frodo has always been my favorite character. I feel for him and his tortured quest and how he becomes so bogged down and changed by it that in the end he feels he can no longer stay in the Shire he loves, the Shire he gave up everything to protect while the majority of the residents don't understand or appreciate his sacrifice and just think he was off foolishly adventuring. It must have been horrible for him, to feel that he was becoming such a burden on Sam with his wife Rosie and that he needed to get away so that Sam could devote all his time to his family.

I must say, though, I honestly prefer the films over the books. The casting is perfect, the scenery absolutely breathtaking, and the music extremely powerful and moving. And for the most part, with the exception of how they changed the Shelob's Lair segment, I feel that every one of the changes actually improved the story and eliminated things unnecessary to the main plot. I also like that they actually gave Arwen something to do. I was stunned at how little she appears in the books (including the appendix where Tolkien shows how she and Aragorn met). And I read the books before I saw the films, I should point out.

Hmm.

May. 13th, 2015 10:01 pm
ladybug_archive: (faye)
Well, this time I actually got some inspiration to write another Once vignette after looking over my previous pieces. It didn't hurt that today's [livejournal.com profile] 31_days prompt was perfect. Thank you, Crystal, for inspiring me to try again. **hugs.**

One thing the horrible state the canon is in has done for me, it's virtually eliminated my shyness over posting my Once vignettes to FF.net. I've worried that I just don't relate to the characters as deeply as some Rumbelle writers do and that hence, my offerings are paltry by comparison to theirs. I still think that. But canon is such a horrible mess that I know I write for them better than the canon is doing. **headdesk.** So I may start posting the pieces on FF.net soon.

One thing that's definitely a stumbling block, however, is that as long they're talking and emotionally bonding everything is fine, I'm great with that and I find it very fascinating and intriguing, but the necessary kissing bores me and I know I don't write that well. I also have no desire to write some of the characters, like Hook, and that will prove problematic since to be IC, he has to be involved in the arc I'm doing. I'm also nervous as to how I'll write Emma when the time comes for her to come in. Henry will probably be fine.

And I finally decided what to do about Amazon. As is what happens sometimes when I just can't decide at all, I did something completely and entirely different from anything thought about.

It started when I saw that the Pony book about Celestia and Luna's early life was discounted to $7.17. Of course, that immediately meant I had to get that. I added Gidget, and then I decided that maybe I'd get the Rarity doll I've longed for, because she's at $11.60 and her price never seems to come down at local stores. I just hope they'll be careful shipping her. I've always been leery of getting dolls from Amazon because I'm afraid they'll be damaged in the sending. I'll get more from them in the future if they do well with her.

I could still get some more stuff (and had to, since the free shipping minimum is $35), so I debated between some Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books I've been wanting. I finally chose one of each, but it was torture, as I wanted many. I decided on a Hardy Boys book set in the Caribbean, as I hoped it might provide inspiration for my Riptide multi-chapter, and a Nancy Drew mystery with an Oriental plot that I don't remember at all even though I know I read it many years ago. (I read all of the yellow hardbacks.)

I definitely think that the next time I buy stuff on Amazon, I'm getting more Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I made quite a good dent in getting a lot of the Nancy Drew books, but I don't have too many Hardy Boys. I'd have more of each if Borders hadn't closed. I was using their coupons to get some of the Hardy Boys books shortly before they closed. Barnes and Noble rarely has decent coupons and they don't have many of those books in stock anymore. Ugh.

Of course, I had to buy them at full price on Amazon, but eh. I got great deals on the other stuff.
ladybug_archive: (joe_lew)
So, looking over a recent email from Amazon, I've discovered there is a genre called Magical Realism. I took one look at that and my immediate thought was, "... Magical ... Realism? Isn't that an oxymoron?"

I suppose the idea is that it uses fantasy settings/characters/etc. to teach real-world lessons, but I am still amused by the genre name. It just sounds so nonsensical.

And I finished a fic yesterday for the intriguing [livejournal.com profile] 31_days prompt "Between the last remaining headstones." I couldn't pass up a chance to do another cemetery fic. I used the real locale Bayside Cemetery as the setting. Its condition is absolutely, utterly appalling and heartbreaking. I've never heard of such widespread desecration of a modern cemetery. It's better than it was a few years ago, thanks to some people who have really tried to work on it and an official clean-up project, but as far as I know, it's still not ideal and it's still very bad off in the deeper places not visible from the road. I also hear it's haunted. Considering its state, that's no surprise. Coffins were broken into and robbed and the bones scattered all over the ground! Worse, I heard of at least one skull being deliberately broken by some intruder who apparently just wanted to make fun of it. I felt like crying when I read that. The dead must be very furious.

Also, I watched Joseph on Quincy, M.E. in The Final Gift episode. He was wonderful and adorable and the main guest-star and the character was a good guy! And there was a May-December romance going on that was going to be happy and I was thinking "Oh man. Lucky, lucky girl." And totally envying the actress who got to be there with him! I was inwardly squealing with glee.

I love whenever I see a May-December romance turn out happy. In 1960s TV, it generally didn't seem to, but by the 1970s, they were doing some great stories at least sometimes. Other than the Joseph one, I can think of two other awesome ones, both of which had Simon. One was an Ironside episode and Simon's character was a bystander. The other was a Marcus Welby, M.D. episode and Simon was involved in the romance. Squeeeee. Oh, and I just remembered one time 1960s TV did a really sweet one: The Lovers episode of One Step Beyond.

Sigh.

Apr. 12th, 2015 06:34 am
ladybug_archive: (schrank_krupke)
So I always look forward to [livejournal.com profile] pleasant_valley's book posts. Even though I don't get much time for reading books (it took me six weeks to get through those Star Wars books, and that was even with me pretty much sticking to only one of the storylines!), I really enjoy reading about what interesting things are out there. It gives me a mental checklist for if there's ever a time when I do have more time for reading again. Plus I just plain like seeing her opinions of the books.

She always asks things like what we've read in the past month. I mentioned the Star Wars books, but I totally forgot to mention something else I tried to start reading recently.

Keyword: tried.

So there's this local author who is fairly successful and well-known. He's written a particular series of books and some other, unrelated books.

One of those latter books I really found fascinating. It involved a rift between time and space and a girl from the present and a young man from the past who can meet when that rift opens. Eventually he and some others from his time period come to the present briefly. The book ends with the main characters separated again, but with the hope that the rift will open again for them.

I know it probably sounds terribly cheesy from that summary, but it was actually really good and I honestly loved the bond between the main characters. Their interaction was beautiful and character-developing for both of them and I seriously rooted for them.

I've had the sequel sitting around here for a while and I finally got around to trying it a couple of weeks ago or so.

I was ... honestly really disappointed.

One of the big draws about the first book was people from the past coming to the present. I find that infinitely more fascinating than people from the present going to the past.

The sequel is mostly all in the past, with the present-day characters going through a rift after they hear of trouble in the past from a poor guy who passed through the barrier to warn them before dying of wounds. Worse, the young man the girl is trying to find so desperately is absent for most of the book. He's been kidnapped, and it takes the majority of the book before they find him.

The two barely get to interact at all. Considering a reunion between them was one of the big things I was looking forward to in a sequel, I definitely found that lacking.

Also, the author decided to cross it over with his long-running series of books. You could tell he was really into that idea and excited to have the characters from the two series interact. I can totally understand that enthusiasm. But it seemed like he focused more attention on the characters he was bringing in rather than the ones who should be carrying the book.

I feel like I don't have much right to complain about that one, considering my own problem of loving episodic oneshot characters so much that they can sometimes gleefully run away with a story and leave the show's actual main characters in the dust. But since I really don't read the guy's other series, I'm not familiar with those characters at all and I'm disappointed to not have more focus on the ones I was reading the book for.

It also leaves things with people still in the past. And the time warps get really, really confusing. They're appearing all over the place, and sometimes the locations they lead to will change. And time is so fluid that in one part they're told that four years have passed, while going through another rift causes it to only be 18 months. At the end, one character ended up at least twenty years into the future! My brain hurts. I really think he went a little too wild with his time warps. And he says that the storyline will continue in any future books he writes in the other series. Sigh.

I want to see the characters get home. I want to see more characters from the past come into the present. I want to see if any of them decide to stay in the present. That was so much more interesting because it's so much less explored! (And because I love our present so much and can hardly stand to think of being stuck in the past without modern-day sanitation and other things....) But if we only get to see the storyline continue in books from the other series, it sounds like they'll probably be staying in the past for a long time and that the focus won't ever be solely on them again. I wonder if the characters I was rooting for will have any better interaction in another book than they did in what was supposed to be their own sequel.

(Also, a minor quibble is the main girl's full name. She's called Kerra, and I try to forget that the dad named her Sakerra because of the Japanese word for cherry blossoms. Ummmm.... Please to be spelling the word correctly if you're using it in such a key way, Sir. It should be Sakura! **headdesk.** I wonder if anyone has ever informed him that it's totally spelled and pronounced wrong.)

Sigh. So yeah. That was a really big disappointment. When I realized how the book was going, I started skimming and skipping around until I found where they finally found the guy. I'm not even sure I'll bother reading the stuff that came in-between. I think I'd rather focus on a little stack of unread books I have by my absolute favorite author, who writes mystery/suspense. There's usually a (clean) romance in the books, too, which sometimes makes me roll my eyes, but I tolerate it because I love the mysteries so much. He was a law enforcement officer for many years, and the books are really accurate on police and legal procedures because of that. I just adore them. I try to get every book of his that comes out. I'm still missing a few, which aggravates me as some of those few are out of print. But I have the majority of them.

ROTFLOL.

Mar. 26th, 2015 09:36 pm
ladybug_archive: (coley_lafe)
An article popped up on Textbroker for The Phantom of the Opera, to describe the book as well as to write about its impact, why it's a classic, etc. I tried to find out some information on the latter so I could take the article. Unfortunately, I have failed so far.

What did happen was that I wound up reading about the horrid musical sequel Love Never Dies. I don't think I've ever read that detailed a summary of it before. The whole thing sounds preposterous, out-of-character for everyone involved, and horribly, horribly cliche and stupid.

But at the moment, I'm giggling all over because the Phantom goes in disguise as someone called Mr. Y. Of all the possible aliases ... why?

**snarks.**

Bah.

Mar. 14th, 2015 04:15 am
ladybug_archive: (schrank)
So this past afternoon I finished the last Legacy of the Force book. I am relieved to not have to worry that I won't get them all finished in time, but I am still very disappointed with how Troy Denning handled the installment. Even more disappointed than before, really.

Naturally the main focus needed to be on the showdown between Han and Leia's kids. But Boba Fett's storyline was important too. Troy didn't do one scene from Boba's or Mirta's or any Mandalorian's POV. He also didn't end things very satisfactorily for them.

Karen had Mirta finally coming to care about her grandfather Boba Fett, even though there were still problems between them. It was stretched out over the three books and was really moving. In Troy's book, Jacen Solo apparently manages to turn Mirta against him again in just a couple of days. And it's just left that way. She's shown speaking derogatorily about him to Jaina Solo and that's it. We don't get to see her talking to him about her new problem with him (thinking he deliberately sent her on a death mission) or how he tries to refute the idea. It definitely isn't true; he's shown throughout Karen's books to come to be genuinely concerned about her safety.

Also, it's just randomly thrown in there that Jacen Solo creates a nano thingie that he sprays into the atmosphere of their planet. It only affects them, as it was made specifically to target their family's DNA, and they won't ever be able to go home because of it. We don't see how they react to this, or what they're going to do, or anything. Just Jaina feeling sad thinking of Mirta not being able to go home.

Honestly, it was really, really lame. In Karen's books, she tried to give every major player some POV scenes. Troy clearly wanted nothing to do with the Mandalorian plotline and only put the barest minimum of stuff concerning it in there because he knew there had to be something.

I do consider the climatic fight between Jaina and Jacen to be part of my storyline canon, but I just don't think I can accept that book as a whole into my canon for that storyline. It doesn't fit Karen's books at all and is very unsatisfying for anyone who was following the Mandalorian plotline.

...

Mar. 13th, 2015 05:35 am
ladybug_archive: (coley_lafe)
So, it happened.

After a little over a week working on these [livejournal.com profile] 31_days prompts, not to mention several weeks before that of fiddling with other assorted, related U.N.C.L.E. fics ...

... I dreamed about those two rascals.

It was a convoluted dream of watching The Odd Man Affair episode, only somehow it had gained a lot more content than it had in actuality and there seemed to be a whole subplot with Ecks and Wye and some assignment they were on. I can't even fully put together what was happening well enough to recount the plot while awake, except I was thinking "... Chrissy has a lot more screentime than I remember," and something about Wye having a daughter and mentioning her to Ecks. And I believe somebody got punched. And they were driving old cars, like, 1940s-ish.

And I was dreaming in black-and-white.

The themes have been interesting to work with. I was having the hardest struggle figuring out what to do with Monday's, "want to pet every monster." It would be fine in a fantasy setting, but how on earth to adapt something like that to reality? And then at last, the plot slowly started coming to me. I wrote a piece where Wye is terrified of the vicious dogs, since he doesn't like being around something with a mind of its own that could turn on him, and Ecks is just calmly sitting with one of them.

That was a day when I went out shopping a bit. I was looking for Pony stuff, mainly, the Octavia doll and any clean G1 Ponies. I went all through both warehouses of the big antique mall, but couldn't find any Ponies except a dirty G3. I would have bought her had she been clean. Sigh. I'm just not up to cleaning dirty toys that I have no idea where they've been or what they've gotten into. More power to people who deal with that sort of thing with ease.

I wish the other branch of that antique mall still existed. There were a lot more 1980s toys in it. Clean ones, too.

So I was pretty exasperated by that shopping trip, all in all, but at least I was pleased with the prompt that day.

Also, I finally got through the three Star Wars: Legacy of the Force books written by Karen Traviss and I went on to the fourth one I had out. I was only doing the Boba Fett ones. And I knew I'd miss Karen as the writer, but I didn't realize just how much. Troy Denning not only clearly didn't like Boba Fett, he apparently disliked him so much that he wasn't willing to make his book fit in with Karen's previous one! Continuity got completely unhinged.

In Karen's third book, Han and Leia's daughter went to Boba Fett for help and he was training her to go against her brother, who'd gone to the dark side. In the process, it was canon within the story that she found that Boba Fett wasn't as horrible as she had always thought he was. And she also found out that the reason why his marriage broke up was a lot different than what she'd thought. But then in Troy's book, Jaina Solo seems to still have as bad an opinion of Boba Fett as she did to begin with. And Boba Fett is very far removed from the reader; there aren't any scenes from his POV so far, like there was with Karen's books. I was surprised when Troy included a paragraph about how being a stormtrooper didn't mean the person was flat-out evil and that they were likely fighting for what they believed was right. He seemed to see in black and white so much, not even following previous book continuity, that it was a real surprise to see him include a shade of gray like that. He also didn't capture Mirta, Boba Fett's granddaughter, with as much fire and personality as she has in the other books. I don't think I'll have too much trouble getting that book finished up by Monday evening, when they all have to go back.

Honestly, I fell so hard in love with Karen's books and how she brought the characters to life that I definitely want to purchase all three of her books from that series, as well as every other Star Wars book she wrote. She did some that I believe take place during the Clone Wars and are about the clones. She brings them to life and gives them personality, instead of just being robotically programmed to obey every order given. You can tell she really got into what she was writing about and she loved the verse she created.

And Venus came, a day before the estimated arrival dates started! She is the right size, thankfully, albeit the right size is slightly smaller than what I remembered from F.Y.E. I remembered the correct size when I first got home, but then I started visualizing her as bigger than that.

I'm a little puzzled as to why I wanted her, because I do not and never have liked chibi-deformed style. But she is really cute and most Sailor Moon plushies are in that style, so unless I want to shell out a lot of money for a Japanese plush with the right proportions, I pretty much have to consent to getting chibi-style. They seem a lot more huggable than those Japanese plushies, so that's always a plus, and Great Eastern plushies' eyes are just gorgeous and so full of life. And the hair is so soooooft....

I still want the giant Sailor Moon plush, too. She would be pretty well aligned with my small Chibiusa plush, which was my original reason for wanting her instead of the small size Sailor Moon. And if GE ever gets around to making Mercury in the large size, I'll definitely have to get her. Jupiter I might get, but I'm not crazy about getting Mars. Still, if I actually ended up getting all the rest, I'd probably feel bad not to get Mars.

There's a small size Pluto out now, too. I wish F.Y.E. would get her, because they would hopefully be a little cheaper than Amazon. I must have Pluto, and I don't know if or when they'll make a big one of her, so I have to get the small one. I just hope I won't have to resort to Amazon, unless their price comes down a bit.

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