Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crash Course!

Thanks to The Mary Sue blog, I learned about Crash Course!  a series on YouTube that teaches about world history, literature, and science.

ETA: today, they started a course about US history

I watched the video about Emily Dickinson as highlighted at The Mary Sue, then Chinese History, and now I'm starting at the beginning of the World History course.  Each video includes animation and the on-camera narrator is John Green.  I've read his book Will Grayson, Will Grayson which I recommend.  It's about teen boys and their travails about love, identity, and sexual oriention.  There are 2 boys named Will Grayson in neighboring towns.  One is straight, one is gay, and both are connected by another boy named Tiny.  Who is not tiny, of course.

Anyway. Each video is about 10 minutes, which is about how long it takes my baby to drink a 4 oz bottle.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Lost Girl and October Daye

What do these things have in common?  They're TV shows and a book series about monsters, the supernatural and fairies.  Or the Fae, as they call it in Lost Girl.  October Daye is a half-human, half-fairy private detective who works for both humans and fairies.

I started reading the October (Toby) Daye books because of this post by the author, Seanan McGuire, called Things I will not do to my characters. Ever. Basically, she swears that she will never subject her female characters to sexual assault. How revolutionary is that?

I've been buying her books and downloading them onto my e-reader, one right after the other, pretty much every 3 or 4 days.  Plenty of bad enough things (being turned into a fish, losing family, being beaten, being shot, losing their home and protector, dying, etc.) happen to Toby and other characters in the course of their investigations that sexual assault is not necessary to increase the drama and tension.

What prompted this post was me trying to think about Once Upon a Time. The set up is interesting, strong female characters abound, the central quests are dramatic.  Heck, Jane Espenson from the Whedon coterie (not sure if that's the right term) works on it! However, something prevents me from being as into it as I would like.

Then contrast OUAT with Grimm. Again, I like the set up (I like police procedures), the central quest is dramatic. However, there are very, very few female characters and many episodes will go by before 2 of the female characters will interact, let alone meet the Bechdel Test. And yet, I find myself enjoying Grimm more. Perhaps it's the police procedural thing. Or the Monster of the Week format.

It brings to mind Revenge vs. Scandal, 2 nighttime soaps I'm watching.  I like Scandal more because it's got the Client of the Week, plus it's got a political setting, which I like. Revenge used to have the Takedown of the Week, but since it's moved away from that, it's not as interesting for me anymore. Both have overarching conspiracies, but I'm enjoying Scandal's more.  Maybe, again, I enjoy politics more than business scheming, or whatever the Initiative on Revenge is doing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Lizzie Bennett Diaries

I just discovered this webseries ( It updates Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" to current day USA.  Lizzie is now a grad student in communications and the story is presented as her video blog.  Jane works in fashion, Lydia is an underage partier.  There is no Kitty and Mary.  Bingley is now Bing Lee, a rich medical student.  Charlotte Lucas is Charlotte Lu a videographer, and Mr. Collins is trying to break into the video business with the backing of a venture capitalist.  

I've only gotten up to episode 30, where Jane and Lizzie are staying with Bing and Caroline Lee and Darcy while the Bennett house is being remodeled for sale.  So far, I've only seen on camera Lizzie, Charlotte, Jane, Lydia, Caroline, Bing, and Collins (at VidCon). 

It's a clever, charming and entertaining series.  I'm an Austen fan, though not as much as my sister, and it's fun picking out the references to the book, to the BBC miniseries with Collin Firth, and even to "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."

Each episode is about 5 minutes long, which makes it easy to watch an episode or two whenever I have time. 

Ah, time.  What a concept. On the one hand, I have to keep an eye on the baby at all times, since she's crawling now and getting into plants, grabbing at stuff, putting who-knows-what in  her mouth.  On the other hand, she can also play with her toys by herself, so I don't have to entertain/teach/interact with her all the time.  For example, right now, she's sitting on the floor next to me...and a lot of potted plants. 

I'm going to try to blog more often.  Maybe try the 15 minute lightening blogging that Mason-Dixon Knitting is doing. We'll see how that goes.