- Not much to comment on this year. Personally, there were highs and lows and while the year wasn't great, it could have been worse. Landing the temp job in October was nice. I've really clicked with my co-workers. We're all such big geeks.

- I officially finished 9 knitting projects. By officially, I mean it's a project on my Raverly page. There were a bunch of small items I made for a friend so she could sell them on her website. I probably could have finished more projects, but I got super unmotivated towards the end of the year. As for what's coming next year, I have plans to knit a Newt Scamander scarf for a friend's cosplay. This should be a fun one. He's assembling a pretty bad ass Newt cosplay so I hope the scarf is up to his standards once it's done.

- I also read 69 books this year. Up a whopping 10 books from last year. It helps that I had a lot of free time this year. Looking back on my list, I seemed to have finished a lot of book series. I completed the Russell Quant mystery series, the I Am Number Four series, and the Temeraire series. I'm sad to see Temeraire end, but at the heart of the narrative is a war, so that can't stretch on forever. I'm still holding out for a TV miniseries from Peter Jackson. Russell Quant was a fun and zippy mystery series set in Saskatoon, so that was entertaining reading. Thank god the I Am Number Four series is done. It was kind of a fun read, but the writing and the characters really bugged me. I know, I could have stopped reading at any time, but after you've invested yourself into a few books, you kind of feel this obligation to reach the end.

I didn't start too many new series this year. For some reason, I've kept reading this really dull knitting themed cozy mystery series. The characters are so one note and the action is so forced and the author repeats herself a lot when she's describing things, and on top of that, I don't think she knows how to knit. So why do I keep reading? I guess it's nice to have some fluff to fall back on after you've finished a particularly heavy book. There are also some YA series that I started, but none of them are really worth mentioning.

The last book I read this year was The Well of Lost Plots, book three of the Thursday Next series. These books are so damn imaginative. Thursday spends all of her time in the Book World in this one and Jasper Fforde puts a wonderful spin on how books are created and assembled. It's strange that no one has expressed interest in making the Thursday Next series a TV show or something. Or maybe it would be hard to pull off due to the various rights involved with using well known book characters.

- Things to look forward to in the new year: I don't know, actually. I haven't made any firm plans. It'd be nice to get back to Cardiff before the Doctor Who Experience shuts down.

TV show wise we have Sherlock season four and Doctor Who season ten and The Expanse season two. Sherlock starts tomorrow, The Expanse February 1, and Doctor Who probably some time in April. Ooh, I do believe iZombie is back in March. Yay! Something to look forward to each month.

On the video game front, Mass Effect Andromeda and Red Dead Redemption 2 are coming! Can't wait to revisit these worlds.

- Well, that's that. So long and good riddance, 2016.
- Blargh, it's not a cold anymore. I have a chest infection (with an eye infection on top of that). :-P I thought I was getting better, but my cough started to get worse around Tuesday. I'm on antibiotics now, plus I'm resting at home today, so hopefully this will clear up relatively soon. Persistent little cold bug going around the office. My supervisor said she has a sinus infection.

- One advantage to staying home is you get to watch copious amounts of TV. Space did a week long Star Trek marathon, with each day following a different theme. Monday had episodes all about Q, Tuesday was all time travel episodes, Wednesday was episodes all about the holodeck, Thursday was all about the Borg, and today is alternative realities. Nice way to get a mix of all of the shows in there. Plus, they aired all ten of the "classic" Star Trek movies. "Classic" was how Space billed them; I guess you have to define them separately from the Kelvin timeline movies. God, I love Space. Thank you for providing quality programming during the holidays.

- I saw this article today; I can't believe that Animorphs is 20 years old. I loved that book series when I was a kid. This was still back in the heyday of the book order form, so every time a flyer came out, I always got the latest Animorphs book or books. I was so consistent in my ordering habits, the teacher looking after the forms always knew to expect me. Oh man, good times. Do they still have book order forms in schools?

To the best of my memory, I got into Animorphs because I had won $5 worth through the order form. I can't recall what I had won at school in order to win this, but I do distinctly remember ordering book five (and maybe book six?). $2.50 each; now that's a bargain. It was a little weird starting the series on book five. Marco was talking about stuff from the first four books, like how they had just rescued Ax from the bottom of the ocean. A good way to get hooked, though. You have to go back and read the other books to figure out what's going on.

I haven't read any of the books in ages. I have all of the main books and most of the companion books packed up in a box somewhere. It'd be neat to read them now as an adult. I'm surprised Scholastic hasn't tried to do a revival. Or maybe they did; I vaguely recall seeing some new covers that looked completely different. I guess kids weren't interested. A new TV show would be fun, though. The one that aired ages ago on YTV was okay, but it could have been better. I mean, just look at the new Power Rangers movie. 90s nostalgia is all the rage right now.

- Need to do a year end wrap up post. I have to total up the number of books I read this year.
- [livejournal.com profile] newnumber6 mentioned he was going to re-watch Sliders and that got me wanting to re-watch, too, so I got my hands on the first season. I probably haven't seen any of these episodes since they aired 20 years ago, but I could remember bits and pieces. Some of the CGI is a bit dodgy, but the premise is still a great one. It's a shame that there aren't more TV shows dealing with alternative worlds. The story possibilities are endless. It'd also be cheaper than a time travel show, as travel is regulated to one time period. So you can have an unfamiliar setting, but you can still have familiar landmarks and technology.

If someone decided to reboot Sliders, I actually wouldn't mind, but it would have to be done right. These days, I think a writer/producer would be inclined to add an overall arc and a big mysterious backstory, which is what brought down the show back in the day. I don't care about aliens who can also slide and an Earth Prime and Quinn being from another Earth that wasn't ours and having a secret brother. Keep it simple. The only arc that should matter is whether the characters find their way back home.

- I finally finished book five of The Expanse series. As the the library didn't have the ebook version, I had to read a hard copy and I swear I read slower when the words are on a page rather than a screen. I guess my eyes are more used to reading off of my phone. Thing is, I prefer reading The Expanse books on my phone as the actual books are thick tomes that don't travel very well in a backpack or a purse. But anyway... I'm caught up! Book six lands in November. It's crazy how they can put out a book every year, but since James S.A. Corey is actually two guys, I can see how the work can go faster.

All of The Expanse books are good, but Nemesis Games was really good. For once, the four POVs weren't split between Holden and three new characters. Every member of the Rocinante crew got to tell their portion of the story and it made the plot more compelling since you know these characters and you really worry when any of them are in trouble. I don't know if book six will follow the same formula. It'd be nice if it did, but that means the crew has to be split up again, and I'm not fond of the idea.

The TV show needs to play catch-up, but if the producers don't want to make a book a season, then that's okay, too. It just means more of the plot will make it onto the screen. The series is chock full of things that shouldn't be overlooked.

- Looks like Space will be airing the new Star Trek series next year. Not to brag, but Canada will be the only place where it won't be behind a pay wall. Thank goodness for Canadian content. Now I won't have to watch the show through "alternative means".

- And Star Trek Beyond is out in theatres this weekend. I'm seeing mixed reviews, which is not great, but I'm still going to see it regardless. If I don't see it opening weekend, I'm totally going to get spoiled on the plot at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas and I so don't want that to happen.
- Happy Canada Day! Next year, the country will be 150 years old. That should be fun. I think the government has all sorts of stuff planned for the big 1-5-0.

- I needed something to read on my phone while at work so I decided to download The 100 since it was available and I'm vaguely interested in checking out the show. I was hoping it'd be like the show, with its cool sci fi premise and intense drama, but nope. It was your typical YA angst with a vague sci fi background. The plot is the same - 100 convicted teenaged criminals are sent down to a ruined Earth to see if it's habitable again - but instead of Lord of the Flies with mutated deer, the story focuses entirely on the relationship drama of the four main characters. Ugh. I don't care if so and so broke up with what's his face and what's her name can't date blah blah blah because they're from different tiers of the society. Give me 100 scared teens trying to survive on a post-apocalyptic planet or space station drama because it's falling to pieces. I mean, it's there, but there's not enough of it.

Shame, since the world building is actually quite good. It's clear that Kass Morgan gave everything quite a bit of thought. Like, the birth control law. You have to apply to have children and each family can only have one child and breaking that law is punishable by death. So no one has a sibling on the space station, which is what makes Bellamy an interesting character. He has an illegal younger sister. He has this bond that no one else has. Too bad he's saddled with a stupid romance (and a love triangle at that!). There are different kinds of love, you know. A story about a brother trying to protect his sister on a strange new planet is infinitely more compelling than a guy and a girl angst-ing over whether they should be together.

I think the next book has more sci fi elements, so maybe the rest of the series is less annoying. I'm probably better off watching the show (though I hear the show has made some dumb mistakes, too).

- Finally got around to seeing Finding Dory. I wouldn't say it's better than Finding Nemo, but it's not a tired sequel either. The writers didn't succumb to the urge to rehash old plot points or throw in old characters for no reason (though old characters do show up).

Spoilers for Finding Dory )

I totally didn't realize that most of the upcoming Pixar movies are sequels. There's only one original movie amongst the four that are in production. I don't know what that says about Pixar or Disney.
- So yesterday, I got access to a procurement system at work. The only reason this is noteworthy is because it's the same system I used way back when I first started working for the company about eight years ago. It was so weird being back in it. Nothing has changed. I remember hating the system, but actually, it doesn't seem so bad. It's probably because I have more experience with these things now. It's not that all different from a system I used extensively on a previous project.

- The commute is the only good thing about being back at work. I finished two books, Cibola Burn (book four in The Expanse series) and Needled to Death (book two in a knitting themed cozy mystery series), in about a week and one was like 500 pages long. Okay, so I was sneakily reading both books while at work when I had nothing to do, but still. I enjoyed Cibola Burn more, obviously, since it's not a piece of fluff like the mystery was. I can't wait to read the next book in The Expanse series. My usual complaint about the series is how the narrative is usually split between four POVs and three are usually characters we've never met before so it takes longer for you to care about them, but book five is told from the POVs of the Roci crew, so I'm really eager to see how the writers handle the inner narratives for Alex, Amos, and Naomi.

Knitting mystery was something I downloaded because I knew I would finish Cibola Burn before the end of the week and I needed something to read to bridge the gap to the weekend. I'm not sure I'll keep going with this series. It's, well, boring. The mystery is dull, the characters are either forced or bland, and the dialogue doesn't feel natural at all. Funny, considering this is set in the real world but The Expanse is in the future and the dialogue there totally makes more sense. The only vaguely interesting thing in the mystery is the knitting. The main character's knitting woes are familiar woes if you're a knitter. The only thing I didn't believe was how her second project ever was a sleeveless sweater and her third was a sweater knit in the round. She's a beginner! Who jumps to sweaters and knitting in the round after making one chunky scarf?!? Anyway...

- Finished knitting my second Fourth Doctor scarf commission. I just need to put on the tassels and then block the whole thing. Even unblocked and with no tassels, the thing is about as long as the scarf that I knit for myself. Good thing the recipient is a tall guy. His scarf will probably end up being 13 feet once it's complete.

- I'm ready to take a break from knitting for a bit so I can rest my wrists and fingers and shoulders, but somehow I keep finding projects that I want to make. Like, I was looking at how to knit Osgood's scarf from "The Day of the Doctor". Why do I need another multi-coloured scarf? I don't even have any plans to cosplay as her. My sister also keeps trying to get me into sock knitting; as a birthday gift she got me KnitPick's Time Traveller Felici yarn, which is basically a self-striping sock yarn in the Fourth Doctor's scarf colours (minus brown, probably to avoid copyright infringement or a licensing fee). So it's super tempting to learn how to knit socks. And, I'm trying to knit Jessica's grey infinity scarf from Jessica Jones. Too many projects and not enough hours in the day to do them. ;-)
- So, that's how they ended Castle?

Spoilers for Castle 8x22, "Crossfire" )

It's funny, but I think this is the first time I was glad that a network cancelled a show. How often do you hear that?

- Damn you, The Flash!

Spoilers for The Flash 2x22, "Invincible" )

- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had their finale. After all of the hype...

Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x21 and 3x22, "Absolution" and "Ascension" )

- I finished an awesome book the other day. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. If his name sounds kind of familiar, it's because he's the showrunner/head writer for the Doctor Who spin-off Class. He's the only reason I'm willing to give Class a chance.

Short review for The Rest of Us Just Live Here; no spoilers )

- I also had time to finish the first book in a cozy mystery series (let Wikipedia explain what a cozy mystery is). I usually have no interest in these things since they are absolute fluff, but then I discovered a series that has a knitting theme. A knitting theme! So I had to check it out. Now, I get why cozy mysteries are popular, they're fun and breezy and there's very little violence, but the writing is not great. I had a hard time keeping all of the characters straight because they were so generic. And of course, the main character meets a guy she just can't stand, but darn it if he's handsome and polite and always helping her out. Ugh. I thought the knitting element would be the saving grace, but it's really not. There were knitting patterns at the back, which was kind of cool. I may inflict this series on my book club. I'm sure my friends will enjoy it more.
- My friend, the one I'm knitting the season 16/17 Doctor Who scarf for, recommended a really good book last year and I only got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago. I just finished it and I wish I had read it sooner. It was so good. Jackaby, by William Ritter. It was described to me as Doctor Who meets Sherlock Holmes, and yup, that was a totally accurate summation. Jackaby is a consulting detective who is brilliant and observant but completely oblivious at times, but he is always about helping people. Just imagine a younger Benedict Cumberbatch with the coordination and voice of Eleven. So much of the dialogue sounded like things Eleven would say. I don't know if it's an intended homage by the author or if he was subconsciously channelling Eleven while he was writing, but I had Eleven's voice in my head the entire time. Basically, Jackaby is the love child of Sherlock and the Eleventh Doctor, but he investigates paranormal and supernatural cases.

Jackaby also has an assistant, who very much fills the Companion/Watson role. Abigail writes up the cases and asks the questions and gets into trouble so Jackaby can come up with a solution, but she also humanizes Jackaby. I pretty much pictured Victorian!Clara in the role. You'd think the similarities would stop there, but Jackaby also lives in a house with strange inner dimensions and the land lady type character is like a cross between Mrs. Hudson and the TARDIS.

Heh, it's almost like this book started life as a Sherlock/Doctor Who crossover fic. ;-) I do recommend it, though, if you're a fan of either show. It's not without its flaws, but it is a fun read.

- Rose's wrist warmers from "Doomsday" are done! I finished blocking them last night:

Picture behind the cut )

- So there was that new trailer for Captain America: Civil War and they had a certain someone appear at the end.

Spoilers for the latest Captain America: Civil War trailer )

I also hope that Steve doesn't come out looking like a jerk in the movie. The same goes for Tony. Someone has to be the "bad guy" in the plot, but please don't compromise the integrity of the characters.
- So, The X-Files is finally back. I was a bit young to appreciate the show back when it was in its heyday, but I remember enough that I'm still excited for the revival. The first episode was... I wouldn't call it horrible, but it wasn't great, either. I personally can't remember what the whole conspiracy thing about the alien invasion planned for 2012 was about, so maybe that's why I couldn't get into the episode. There was also a continuity error with David Duchovny's hair that distracted me. The second episode was better. The Monster of the Week plot was always what worked best for the show.

And they acknowledged Mulder and Scully's kid! It's so weird to think that William is now 15. I'm still annoyed that Chris Carter broke up Mulder and Scully for the drama. Bleh. You can still have drama and tension even if two people are in a relationship.

- I have started the Fourth Doctor scarf (season 16/17 length) for my friend. This is a week earlier than I expected. I'm sure the extra time won't make a huge difference, but every bit counts.

- I'm also in the early stages of knitting up Rose's wrist warmers from the end of "Doomsday". I bought the yarn and I just need the right needles. I know it seems silly to tackle another project while working on the Scarf, but I'm more tempted to do a Rose cosplay for the comic book expo rather than a femme!Ten. Her outfit from the end of "Doomsday" is easy to put together and hey, it also includes an knitted item that I have enough talent to make. I get to learn how to do cabling, too, and if for some reason Billie Piper cancels, that's okay. I still end up with something I can wear every day. It's nice that my knitting obsession can lend itself to my fannish obsessions. ;-)

- I don't why I took this book from my book club, but I just finished reading Prom and Prejudice, a modern take on Pride and Prejudice set in a girl's boarding school. Guh, this was the stupidest thing ever. It's a high school AU of Pride and Prejudice that got published! Why?!? It takes the basic plot of the book and then does nothing new with it. At least Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has zombies and Bridget Jones' Diary was well written. This book has the usual YA angst and the main character has no agency whatsoever. Lizzie Bennett muddles her way through the plot and lets Will Darcy initiate any plot developments. If you're going to update a classic, at least make Lizzie more assertive.

The other sad thing about this? This is the fourth book I've read based on Pride and Prejudice (the third being Longbourn, which was also better) and I haven't even read the original yet. I should at least read the source material before reading all of these adaptations.
One last post for the year:

- Finished 59 books this year, one short from last year. Going downtown to visit with my sister and my niece really helped. The best book series I picked up this year was The Expanse series. It's a space opera at its finest. I need to get cracking on book three, but I have so many other books to read from my book club. Second best series I picked up this year was the Thursday Next series. I love the alternative 1985 England that Thursday lives in. Third best series I picked up this year was the Russell Quant series. Russell is a gay P.I. who works in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and he has such breezy and geeky attitude that's fun to read.

Last book I finished this year was Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond. It's written by a local author; one of the book club ladies picked it up at the literary con that's held here every August. It has a fun steampunk setting and a plucky journalist as the main character. The weird thing about the book, though, is that it reads like the second book in a series. There's all this backstory and references to past events, but as far as I can tell, this is the first book. Maybe the author didn't want to do an origin story. There are some witty character names, too. Colonel Muster, Professor Plumb, nods to Clue of course; Windsor "Windy" Jones, professor as Indiana University; a take on Indiana "Indy" Jones; and Hercule Hornblower, a Belgian detective who uses his "little grey cells" to solve crimes but mostly falls asleep; Hercule Poirot, if Poirot was narcoleptic.

- Completed 13 knitting projects. I say that's pretty good, considering I only picked up knitting at the beginning of the year. Best project, hands down, has to be my Fourth Doctor scarf. It wasn't the most complicated project (that honour goes to the Mass Effect scarf I knitted for my sister), but I ended up with something that is so iconic. Plus, thanks to that project, I'm getting paid to knit two more. :-)

My sister keeps bugging me to learn sock knitting, but I don't know when I would get around to that. I want to learn how to read charts and do more colour work first. I also want to knit Amy's scarf and fingerless gloves combo from "The Pandorica Opens". Why do I want to keep knitting scarves? You'd think I would be sick of them by now.

- Got laid off this year, but let's not dwell on that.

- Had a fun vacation cruising around the Mediterranean. Venice was the best port; so much history and culture there. Pompeii was the best excursion, but visiting Trogir is a close second, if only because it was a filming location on Doctor Who.

- The comic book expo was crazy busy and fun this year. Meeting Ming-Na and Hayley Atwell was the best part of the weekend. I don't see the expo getting a lot of big name guests next year. The Canadian dollar is super crappy right now. Though, who knows. The expo team has pulled off huge last minute surprises before so I wouldn't put it past them to do it again.

Things to look forward to next year:
- Cruise around the British Isles in May with Amsterdam and Paris thrown in. Sadly, the cruise is no longer stopping in Wales, which makes me very sad. The port would have been in Northern Wales, presenting me with an opportunity to visit Portmeirion, the filming location of The Prisoner. I may need to head back to Wales in 2017.
- 50th anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas in August. I attended this con a few years ago and the company that runs it really knows their stuff, so this one should be a blast. I expect Paramount and CBS to do a ton of stuff for the anniversary next year. And man, Star Trek Beyond better not suck. This is their last chance to get it right.
- Plus other miscellanea, like superhero movies and TV shows.

As usual, nothing extremely exciting, but there's nothing wrong with that.
- I saw this on io9.com the other day. They introduced a female Captain America in the Spider-Gwen universe and her origins were laid out in the latest issue. What really caught my eye, though, was the fact that on Earth-65, there's a eye patch wearing Peggy Carter that's basically a stand in for Nick Fury. I totally love this idea. This makes Peggy even more bad ass. I really want to read the Spider-Gwen series now, if only to see more of Eye Patch!Peggy. Ooh, maybe this female Cap will get her own series.

- I'm 95% finished on my first ever Jayne hat. It knitted up pretty quick thanks to the fact that it uses bulky yarn. I love bulky yarn. It's not too thick, but it's thick enough that you can knock out projects in a couple of days. I think I have enough yarn left over to make another hat and I would love to make one for myself. The one that was gifted to me is a bit tight; apparently I have a large noggin. We'll see. I'm knitting a few things for Christmas this year and I don't have a lot of time. A Jayne hat for me will probably have to wait until after the holidays.

- I finished reading Armada, the second book by Ernest Cline. He wrote Ready Player One, which I loved, so I thought Armada would be just as good. Sadly, I was disappointed. Armada is okay, but it doesn't have the same spark as Ready Player One. All of the geek references in Ready Player One made sense within the context of the world. In Armada, all of the geek references seemed tacked on, like it was in Cline's contract that he had to have geeky references so he just threw them in wherever. And he actually explains some of the geeky references! Wha? You shouldn't have to do that. Just reference it and the reader can Google is later if it doesn't make sense.

- The big crossover for The Flash and Arrow is at the end of the month. I think I saw a thing saying that Mark Hamill is back as the Trickster for the crossover. That would rock. Mark Hamill and set up for Legends of Tomorrow? Yes please. :-D I'm so excited for Legends of Tomorrow. Both shows have been busy setting everything up. All of the players are in place. Now we just need to meet Rip Hunter. I still can't help but think of him as a time displaced Rory who was recruited to sort out the timelines. Hmm, maybe there's a fic idea in there...
- I can't believe that it's been ten years since Serenity came out. I still remember the heady excitement the day the movie came out. I actually managed to meet up with some of the local Browncoats and it was such fun, sitting in that theatre, waiting for the show to start. We sang "The Hero of Canton" and "The Ballard of Serenity". There's nothing like seeing a movie with a room full of fans. You're all on the same wavelength and you all feel it when the hard moments come. I will never forget the moment when [ten year old spoiler]Wash dies. Everyone was laughing at the "leaf on the wind" joke and then bam! Reaver spike through the window and there's just stunned silence. It's still amazing how the scene can go from such a high moment to a low one.

- It seems very doubtful that we'll get more Firefly on our screens. The best we can do is the Firefly Online game when it comes out. I'd like an animated Firefly series, though. It'd be cheaper and you don't have to worry about the actors aging. It worked for the original Star Trek, so why not Firefly? Most of the cast has done voice over work by now - hell, it seems like most of the DC Animated Universe is made up of Whedon alums - so you know they can deliver the goods.

- I started reading Cinder, the YA book series retelling Cinderella with a cyborg, and it's okay so far. I like the setting, which is futuristic Chinese, but I think I've already figured out the twist in the plot. It also bugs me how there must always been a romance in YA books. Yes, this is Cinderella, so there has to be a prince, but why does Cinder need to fall for him? I'm only half way through the book, so maybe things change down the line, but it gets so boring, seeing her angst over the prince. Oh, I was very pleased to see that the book was written in the third person. So many YA books are written in the first person and it feels so lazy to me.

- Trying to figure out a Halloween costume for this year. I have plenty of cosplays to choose from, I just can't decide which one to do. I kind of want to do something new, which is kind of ridiculous since I don't need to spend more money right now, but I think I could cobble together something from stuff I already own. Like, Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. I have a white, short sleeve dress shirt and black slacks and I can borrow a cricket bat. I would just need a red tie. Easy peasy!

Meme time!

Sep. 14th, 2015 06:52 pm
locker_monster: (Canada)
Haven't done a meme in a while. Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] ladymercury_10:

So what have you been up to? / Major life changes? Same old same old?
Yup, same old, same old. Still employed, which is a tough thing right now since I work in the oil and gas industry and there are layoffs aplenty. My current project is chugging along, but it could go belly up for all I know.

What fandom are you in/do you spend most of your time in?
Doctor Who. No surprise there. I do squee over things, like the Arrowverse and the MCU, but nothing captures my imagination quite like the Whoverse.

Where do you hang out online?
LJ. I can't bring myself to join Twitter or Instragram or tumblr. I''m just not cut out for it.

What are you reading?
I finished the second book in The Expanse series the other day and I picked up a pile of books from my book group. From that pile I started The Art of Racing in the Rain, which I only took because the story is told from a dog's point of view. Yes, I'm a sucker for cute animals. I'm also reading the third volume of the trade paperback of Hawkeye, the one written by Matt Fraction. There's one more volume to go and I think it was just released or will be released soon.

What are you watching?
I started Constantine, but I haven't made much headway on it. I've been super lazy in my summer TV watching. I wanted to get into Dark Matter and Killjoys, but that never happened. That may have to wait for the Christmas holidays. I did catch the first episode of the Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon. Yeah, it's not worth my time. It tries very hard to keep the spirit of the movie, but it doesn't quite get there.

What are you making?
Knitted things, which I cannot disclose at this time. Trying to write some fanfic, too, but it's been a bit of a struggle lately. It's not that I don't have ideas; I'm just having a hard time getting the words down.

What are you squeeing about today?

This is an awesome video on how Vancouver stands in for all of these cities in the world but it rarely gets to play itself. I do believe Continuum is the only show that used Vancouver as Vancouver. Well, Mass Effect 3 set the opening of the game in Vancouver, but that doesn't really count. ;-) Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I can always tell when a show or movie films in Vancouver. It just has this look, you know, even though Vancouver can be made to look like various cities.

If you could rope old fandom friends into a new fandom, it would be...
I don't really have a new fandom to rope people into. I guess it would be The Expanse series. The TV show is coming in December so that will be a nice gateway into the books. The world reminds me a lot of Firefly so hopefully The Expanse TV show can fill that void.
- I've been looking at Jayne hat patterns and I found this awesome breakdown of the hat. This lady picked up on things that I never would have noticed. I also love how she supposes that the hat was the first thing Ma Cobb ever knitted based on the design choices. The thought that Ma Cobb learned to knit just so she could send Jayne something wear to warm during his travels just fills you with a warm fuzzy feeling. :-)

- In an effort to cleanse my brain of Nora Robert's horrible writing, I read the second book in The Expanse series, Caliban's War. A nice, thick tome full of good, well thought-out science fiction. ZOMG, the science in this book. Daniel Abraham, one half of James S.A. Corey, was in the city last month for a literary convention, and I fangirled all about the believable science to him. He and his co-writer go into such details about space travel and gravity and colonization and so many other things. The result is such a rich setting. I can't wait to watch the TV show when it premieres in December.

Oh, and another good thing about the book. All of the chapters are about the same length, so you can get into a good rhythm and just blow through sections without realizing it. I finished the thing in under two weeks.

- Doctor Who is back next week! Cinema showings for "Dark Water" and "Death in Heaven" in 3D are also next week. I'm not sure what to think about these showings. I'm paying money to watch something I've already watched for free, but I still bought a ticket regardless. I guess I just go for the atmosphere. It's always nice to sit in a theatre that's full of other people who love the same things that you do.

But they released the season 9 prologue ahead of the showings! I thought the prologue would be a theatre exclusive, but I guess not. So the only draw now is the fact that the episodes are in 3D.

- And I'll be taking my Four cosplay for a test spin at the showings. It's mostly done so it's good enough for something small like this. My Seven cosplayer also has a really good Four cosplay, so we'll be a 2x4. ;-)
I finally finished that horrible Nora Roberts book. 1/10. Hell, that's being generous. 0/10. I know, I could have put it down and saved myself some trouble, but I hate leaving books half read.

Seriously, though, how did Nora Roberts get published? There are way better fic writers out there. Ugh. This makes me so angry. Why does romance sell so well?!?! Not that this book is sold as a romance. It's a mystery, first, with some romance thrown in, but neither element works. And the mystery is so bland. Oh my god; I think I started to skim the pages towards the end.

I'm sorry, but learn how to write, Nora Roberts. Apologies to any Nora Robert fans out there who may read this, but it's true. Sure, you can argue that having mostly dialogue is a stylistic choice, and as amateur writer myself I know how hard it is to have good description, but if you're going to have lots of dialogue, at least make the dialogue interesting to read. Every conversation in this book felt so rote and horribly unnatural. Yes, this is a book, not real life, but if you want to have believable and relatable characters, they have to sound like actual people and not bad actors in a bad TV show. And the future slang in there. Pure bleh.

The future setting had no redeemable qualities what so ever. It's not the far future, maybe 2050s or something like that, but I still felt like I was reading something set in the present day but with slightly different technology. I think the main problem was that the world building wasn't obvious. This was book #27, so maybe all of the set-up was done near the beginning of the series, but I had no sense of how society changed, or will change, in 40 years. I'm not exactly asking for a lot. Other sci fi writers make an effort. It's like Nora Roberts got a pass because she has all of these best selling romance novels. Yeah, just because you sell a ton of books doesn't mean that what you produce is quality work.

Anyway, that's just my personal opinion and no one has to listen to anything I say. From now on, though, no more books written by people who initially established themselves as romance writers. I'm sticking to writers who know their genres.

(Need some good sci fi or fantasy to clear this fluff from my head...)
- I finally finished watching Daredevil. Yes, I know it's been four months since it premiered, but I was busy with knitting, and then I was gone for three weeks, and then I was embroiled in my Fourth Doctor scarf, so I didn't have any time until now to finish off the season. It's a pretty good show overall, but I'm really not on board with the costume at the end. I much prefer Matt's black ninja look. I know the red one is supposed to be like armour and protect him better, but it doesn't have the same oomph as, say, the Flash's costume on The Flash. Meh, whatever. Matt will be in the shadows a lot, so you won't see the costume in full detail.

- With one superhero show done, I decided to watch another. Constantine was very short lived, but seeing as the character will be making an appearance on Arrow, I thought I would watch the only season to get caught up on who this guy is. So far, I'm getting a The Dresden Files vibe. Guy who does magick helps people and defeats demons and whatnot. It's a shame Constantine wasn't under the CW banner of DC shows. I'm sure it would have done better if people knew it was tied into Arrow and The Flash. At least the character gets one more go. Oh, and the pilot gets bonus points for having Doctor Fate's helmet as an easter egg.

- Facing a geeky dilemma at the moment. The comic book expo up in Edmonton just announced Jenna Coleman as a guest and I would love to go up for the weekend to see her, but the time and money involved would probably be best served on something else (like my vacation next year). But it's a Doctor Who guest! At a much smaller con where line-ups will be shorter! And I actually have a Clara cosplay! So I will have to decide soon since I would need to book transportation and a hotel.

- I don't know how I ended up with the book, but I got stuck with a Nora Roberts mystery from my book group. To be more precise, it's a J.D. Robb mystery, which is Roberts pen name when she's not writing romance or whatnot. Whatever the author's name is, it's still a crappy book. Ugh, I want to stop reading it, but I pride myself on finishing all of the books I pick up from the group. I thought it wouldn't be that bad, even though it's like book #27 in the series, but despite the futuristic setting the writing still sucks. Not that much description and a lot of talking and the dialogue is not engaging at all. I'm going to need some good sci fi or fantasy to clean out my brain once I'm done with this pile of crap.
- Yay, it's a long weekend here in Canada! Thank you needless holiday for Queen Victoria. ;-)

- My book club is all about the books, but occasionally the odd audio book will pass through the group. I'm not a big fan of audio books, and even if I do listen to the rare one here and there, I don't count it towards my book total for the year. You're not reading; you're listening. Despite this, I somehow ended up with an audio book from the meeting. And not just any ol' audio book. An X-Files audio book. And not even an audio book based on one of the original novels; it's an audio book of a novelization of one of the episodes. But here's the real kicker: the book is on cassette tape. Two cassette tapes. It just goes to show you how old the book is (and how old The X-Files is). I still have a working Walkman from my elementary and junior high years, so I popped in the tapes and listened to them while knitting the other day. Suffice it to say, I think I would have been better off just watching the episode. The reading was so bland. On the plus side, my Walkman still worked perfectly. Star Lord would be proud. :-)

- Speaking of listening to stuff while knitting, I've started re-watching Classic Doctor Who episodes so there's something on in the background. I watched all of the surviving episodes during my massive undertaking from 2009-2010, but I skipped over the reconstructions simply because my attention wandered while I was starting at a static image. Now seems like a good time to go back to the reconstructions of the missing episodes. They're just audio with some images, which is perfect for when I'm knitting.

- I've also started thinking about knitting a Fourth Doctor scarf. Not that I need another project right now. I still have to finish off the baby leg warmers and the baby hat I'm knitting for a friend's baby shower and I'm in the early stages of learning how to knit socks. On the other hand, the scarf would be super easy to do; it would just be time consuming. I consulted the great doctorwhoscarf.com and they suggested an excellent site for yarn. The yarn is actually relatively cheap so I wouldn't go broke trying to get enough balls. I'm not entirely sure why I would need a 12 inch scarf, but it would be a good way to learn how to incorporate colour work into my stuff and I would get more used to adding a new ball of yarn. We'll see how my sock knitting goes before I make any decisions.

- And the CW released a trailer for DC's Legends of Tomorrow, the Arrow/Flash spin-off, and it looks awesome:

It also spoils a lot of the pilot. But we get to see Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter and for some reason he's wearing Ten's coat. Honest to goodness, Rip is wearing a long, brown coat that looks a lot like Ten's iconic coat. Big in-joke? Or just a coincidence? This is so going to generate epic crossover fanfics now. I can totally imagine that Rip Hunter is actually Rory, who's now a time travelling adventurer in his own right. :-)
- I'm still between projects at the moment so I've been doing some coverage for an admin who's out sick. It's a lot like being a temp again. The desk and computer aren't yours and nothing is set up for you and no one has any clue about what the admin does. It's only slightly less painful because I'm already an employee so I have my email and I actually know people in the building. A lot of sitting around and doing nothing yesterday. And my god, I hate the cubicles they have in this building. They're so open. :-P Three walls instead of four and two of the walls have glass in them so people can peek in. I'm going to be so happy when I move back into my old building. At least they have proper cubes there.

- Just some thoughts on the latest episode of Agent Carter:

Spoilers for Agent Carter 1x04, "The Blitzkrieg Button" )

The ratings aren't looking too good, though, which makes me sad. Why aren't more people watching this show?!?

- On a slightly related topic, the first trailer for the new Fantastic Four movie was released and it's... so bland. It seems like they're marketing it as a straight up sci-fi movie instead of a superhero movie, which is just bizarre. You'll get more people to the theatre with a superhero movie than a pure science fiction movie. I wasn't that interested in this movie anyway. Also, the Thing has no pants. I kid you not. In the one clear shot of him, albeit from behind, he's not wearing pants or underwear or swimming trunks or anything.

- I wanted to have a fourth point, but I can't think of anything. Um... I finished seven books for the month of January. Working through The Dispossessed right now, but I doubt I will finish it before the end of the week. Read a kind of decent detective novel, but I just felt like it was trying too hard to be gritty and funny at the same time. Also, the author had the tendency to switch tenses in the middle of a chapter and that drove me insane. Stick to one tense, lady! Past or present tense. You can't have both! My book club usually recommends great books, but there's always going to be the occasional stinker.
- I've been reading some fanfic on Archive of Our Own, to pass the time at work, and I thought maybe it might be another place where I could post my own fics. What's everyone's opinion on AO3? Is it a good site?

- I was at a used book store on the weekend and I took the opportunity to track down some of the books mentioned in Among Others. I was only mildly successful, but I did buy one book I did find. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. I've never read any of her stuff before so I'm pretty excited to get into it. Supposedly, Triton, the book I really wanted to find, was written in response to The Dispossessed, so hopefully I can track down Triton at some point to compare the two. These older sci fi books are always interesting to read. The technology may be horribly off, but the concepts are fun. You get a sense of the world as it was in the 1960s and 1970s.

- Project Learn to Knit is progressing... kinda. It took me a few tries to get something started, but now I've started a simple garter stitch scarf as a practice project. My only problem is the knitting. I can sit down and start, but it gets boring after a while so I have to put it down. I've been told that it's easy to knit and watch TV at the same time, but I rather be concentrated on my TV show. At some point, I will need to learn the purl stitch, but I want to finish off the scarf before I do. Incidentally, as I was poking around the Internet to gain tips about knitting, I learned that the Fourth Doctor's scarf consists solely of knit stitches; no purl stitches required. So it is, in theory, really easy to make a Fourth Doctor scarf. You just need lots of yarn and time and patience. This doesn't mean I'm ready to rush out and make a Fourth Doctor scarf for myself. I just love the idea that you only have to learn one stitch to make something that's pretty cool.

- No Agent Carter this week. :-( But Arrow is back on Wednesday! It'll be interesting to see how they resolve the cliffhanger from the fall finale.
Just wanted to do one last post for the year:

- Finished 60 books this year, up from 54 last year. 60! A new record for me. I can thank the commute into work for upping my total over the past two months. The last book, which I finished this morning, was Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Mystery. A detective novel, obviously, and courtesy of my book club. It was all right. It's set in Malaysia and it has an Islamic police detective, so it's a bit different, but the writing style really put me off. The author was really fond of having the "he said" bit in front of the dialogue rather than at the end, so you would have these really long sentences describing how the person is talking before the person actually talked. As a writer, it really distracted me. And the detective doesn't do a whole lot of detecting, either. I also got back into the Outlander series; I'm officially caught up! So now I have to wait for the next book like everyone else. I only read the books because they involve time travel and the historical setting is somewhat interesting, but all of the romance bits are kind of tedious and my god, the characters keep getting into trouble. Yes, I know there wouldn't be much of a plot if everyone was happy, but all of these ridiculous obstacles and problems come up out of nowhere. And the author has added more characters than is required. It's like she's trying to pad the plot so her books end up being these huge bricks. As for any new book series, I didn't really pick up any. There is one, I guess you would call them The Shambling Guides, that sort of caught my interest but it's not like I really love them. The writing isn't exactly the greatest and the action is staged a bit stiffly, but I like the world the author has created. It's one of those "the supernatural is real but the humans don't know it" kind of worlds, but the main character is works as a writer for guide books for the supernatural community, so you get cute little excerpts from the book she's writing in each novel. So if there are more novels in the future, I'll read them, but I won't be eagerly awaiting them.

- While I can thank my new morning commute for the extended reading time, I also read some of these books on my phone, which allowed me to read at work when things were slow or when I was covering reception. I still love reading an actual book, but having ebooks on your phone is pretty handy. No huge tome to carry around and you can store as many books as you want. I'm going to use this to my advantage when I go on my cruise in May; I can carry about some of the tour books and all I need is a skinny piece of plastic and metal.

- Highlight of the year? Hmm... I suppose it was meeting Matt Smith and Karen Gillan at the comic book expo and having Matt tell me that he loved my Old!Amy armour cosplay. :-) Had a grand old time at the comic book expo this year, as always. Can't wait to see the cosplay gang in April.

- Can't think of much else that happened that's worth noting. Marked five years of official employment with my company. Whether I'll be employed in the new year? We'll see... (Stupid falling oil prices). Saw a co-worker finally quit the company after a couple of years of complaining. Can't say I'm sorry to see them go. They were nice enough, but they got on my nerves more often then not.

- Things to look forward to in 2015: a cruise around the Mediterranean in late May. I'll be visiting Italy and Croatia for the most part, so I'll get to see Rome and Venice and Dubrovnik. I can actually visit where they film King's Landing for Game of Thrones and the bits of Croatia that stood in for Venice and rural France in season five of Doctor Who. Okay, there are other things to see, too, but those are the things that will excite me. The local comic book expo will be entering their tenth year of operation, so that will be exciting, too. I hope they pull out all of the stops. And a Sherlock special at some point during the year! I saw the picture of Benedict and Martin dressed up in Victorian duds, so I hope the special is somehow set in the past.

Oh, and Agent Carter starts on Tuesday. Can't wait to see Peggy back in action. :-)

Hope everyone had a good year and here's to 2015.
- I received my five year recognition award at work today. I had completely forgotten that I had reached five years with the company. Okay, technically, I've been with the company for six years, but I was a temp back in 2008 and I didn't officially become salary until 2009. For everyone's five year award they get a watch and it's not a bad watch. It's definitely fancier than the digital watch I have. So it's nice that they still do something, especially now when the market isn't so hot and the company is looking for ways to cut costs.

- Finished another batch of books since my last post about books. Among Others, Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror, and My Real Children. I quite enjoyed Among Others, though the ending was a bit of let down. Take out the magic and fairies from the plot and the book is really just about a girl growing up and trying to navigate life. I think it's going to be the book I bring to my book club's Christmas book exchange. It's not overly fantasy so a non-fantasy reader can still enjoy it. My Real Children is by the same author as Among Others and it was all right. The only sci fi conceit in the book is that a woman remembers living two lives. I always like alternative realities, but aside from that, it's a story about family and growing old. I had issues keeping the two lives straight so maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it as much.

The Doctor Who books were all right. I managed to read all three Twelfth Doctor novels. I think the best of the bunch was The Blood Cell. The Doctor felt the most in character in that one and I didn't mind that the entire plot was told in the first person and from the point of view of the prison governor. Gave it a different spin. The Doctor really gets beat up during the course of the book, so it was odd to see him in that sort of situation, but he breaks out some Venusian aikido at one point, so clearly he can look after himself. :-) I'm working through Doctor Who: Engines of War, the War Doctor novel, and I'm not too sure about it. It has Daleks in it and it's set during the Time War, two things from the show that don't really hold my interest. But I'm only a few chapters in, so I'll give it a few more chapters before I make a judgement.

- My book club is next Saturday so it'll be nice to get a pile of real books to read. It's super convenient having books on my phone, but staring at that tiny screen is straining my eyes.

- Thankfully, all of this reading on the commute leaves me with plenty of time to play video games at home and I need every free minute to finish Dragon Age Inquisition. There's just so much to do; the side quests are practically endless. I'll think to myself, "Oh, I'll just play for half an hour" and then two hours later I'm still running around. A sign of a good game, really. :-)


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