Monday, July 30, 2007

media sensations

The news from my tax guy last Friday was non-shocking, which is reassuring. Actually, he thinks that the amount I have to pay in self-employment taxes might be almost equaled by the refund I’ll get from taxes withheld from the payroll checks I get. That’d be nice. At any rate, I’m well prepared to pay what I owe, so there we are.

It may only be the end of July, but the squirrels in my yard are acting like fall is already here. They scurried around all weekend picking up crabapples to nibble and store. Some are even bold enough to come up onto the deck while the cats and I sit here. Too bad I never remember to bring my camera outside.

Yesterday was a blissful day of media gluttony. I spent most of the day in my hammock finishing Harry Potter. (Summary: Selflessness trumps selfishness.) I enjoyed Mrs. Weasley opening up a can of wizarding whup-ass there at the end. I also appreciated Neville’s role in the finale. He’s certainly come a long way.

However, I spent the entire book wondering where the hell Snape was, and I’m really disappointed he didn’t get more ink this time around. And although it would have made the book big enough to qualify for its own zip code, I wish the action had cut back and forth between Harry & Co. and Dumbledore’s Army back at Hogwarts, or at least that we could have heard via correspondence what they were up to. It would have helped the pacing. But I do understand the need for Our Hero to feel as isolated as possible.

Other things that annoyed me:

  • Harry Potter and the Endless Camping Trip. A pacing issue. The only reason they had to camp and ponder so damn long was so a whole school year would pass in this book like it did in all the other books. That was too contrived.
  • Hermione Granger and the Ceaseless Flow of Tears, which I mentioned the other day.
  • Hermione Granger and Her Largely Expository Function. Every series these days seems to have a Spock/Data/ubergeek character that conveniently supplies vital information at just the right time. (See also Gus in Psych, Marco in The 4400, Willow in Buffy, the Lone Gunmen in The X-Files, etc.) I know such devices are necessary in order to move the plot along, but I’d like to see them made just a wee bit less slamming obvious. Could the main characters maybe do their own homework once in a while?
  • J.K. Rowling and the Tarnishing of Dumbledore. I saw no point in making this grand hero out to be so flawed; posthumously done, it amounts to speaking ill of the dead, not unlike Rita Skeeter does. The “nobody’s perfect” lesson got driven home in countless other ways. Why not leave Harry’s idol intact? Why can’t we imagine there really are people around who are as steadily good as Dumbledore seemed?
  • J.K. Rowling and the Offstage Demises. Almost all the big character deaths happen offstage, as it were — we’re told of them after the fact rather than shown them happening. Whatever happened to "show, don't tell"? This story is meant to Bravely and Honestly Depict the Horrors of War. But there wasn’t room in this novel for multiple points of view. And maybe if Harry — and his young readers — had had to personally witness each of the deaths, it would have been just too traumatic. But the offstage tragedies are too convenient, too. I picture the author sitting at her keyboard, halfway through a bottle of merlot, mumbling, “How can I make this even harder on Harry? . . . Ah, the hell with it, another friend bites the dust.”

Good book and good series, definitely. But I was very tired by the end.

Later I caught up on some video goodies as well.

Geek points of interest:

  • The building used as the 4400 Center in The 4400 and as MadaCorp HQ in Kyle XY is the same building — the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia. Both series are set in Seattle but filmed in Vancouver.
  • Kyle XY bad guy Ballantine is played by actor Conrad Coates, who also plays badass warlock Morgan in The Dresden Files.
  • Nicolas Lea, best known as Krycheck from The X-Files, appears as another dickwad of dubious allegiance in Kyle XY.
  • Actress Chelan Simmons, who plays lovable slut Hillary on Kyle XY, also appeared on Psych as a homicidal sorority girl.
  • This week’s Psych included a reference to “spontaneous psychic krav maga.” The martial arts geek in me laughed out loud at that. Also at Shawn’s technique.
  • Peter Krause plays a lead character both in The Lost Room and Six Feet Under. Coincidentally, I’ve got the former on hand right now and the latter coming in a few days.

Apparently I watch way too much TV, even though I don’t have cable.

Which reminds me, I might go see The Simpsons Movie today, just cuz I can.

I really need to clean house and go to the grocery store. Why am I still typing?



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