Monday, December 31, 2012

December Reads

Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

So, there are three sisters, the daughters of a Shakespearian scholar, who are psychologically messed up and have messed up lives each in their own way seemingly based on their birth order. That’s pretty much it. No real plot. I suppose there is character development in that the sisters grow up a bit and stop being such whiners. If you are an only child and know absolutely nothing about sibling relationships, then this MIGHT keep your interest. I don’t recommend this book. Not even as an easy read to pass the time. You’re better off organizing your sock drawer.

One good thing: I did enjoy the Shakespeare quotes. I finally understood some of the Bard’s writings.

Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou

This is the continuation of Maya Angelou’s memoirs after I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I had no idea she had written numerous memoirs until recently when I picked up the fourth in the series. They really don’t have to be read in order, but fleeting references to her past in subsequent books whet the appetite for going back and picking up the earlier books.

This one is my favorite. Through all of her books, it’s not about the what or the why, but that life just happens and you keep going, taking what comes, doing the best you can with what you have and what you know and that, sometimes, that’s not a whole lot. I love so much how she’s not bitter and that she doesn’t blame anyone for what she goes through (with the exception of society’s treatment of black people being the reason for certain attitudes or habits, but there’s no tone of malice or martyrdom, but there is a little wicked bite to some of it).There’s no sense of victimization, but also none of that saccharine optimism everything-happens-for-a-reason that puts my teeth on edge.  It may have been more cynical or depressing if she’d written it while she was going through it, but there’s also no I’m-older-now patronizing tone, either.

Throughout the story, she conveys a sense of knowing who she was, what she stood for, and what she wanted even if those things didn’t put her in the best light and even if she betrayed those things for foolish or seemingly noble purposes. If you want to know about moving on and not letting something that you 
experience in your life define who you are and color everything you do, read this RIGHT NOW.

I vaguely remember Fiona Apple thanking Maya Angelou for everything she’s ever written. I would like to thank Ms. Angelou, too.

A few favorite quotes (Really, though, it’s important to pay attention to every word. All of them matter.):

“My natural reticence and habit of restraint prevented me from seeking other satisfaction even if it could be found.”

“I congratulated myself on having absolutely the meanest, coldest, craziest family in the world.”

“If you haven’t been trained at home to their liking, tell them to get to stepping. Stepping. But not on you.”

“There was nothing about me to bind anyone to me in sympathy. No limp, no habit, crossed eyes or attitude of helplessness.”

Singin’ and Swingin’ and Getting’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou

This is the third book of her memoirs. She experiences more in one year than most people do in a lifetime. This is more of a fun read: Her adventures abroad and in show business. The words are still magical, perfectly picked and heavy with meaning.

Currently Reading: Ripping through Tana French’s Faithful Place.  I loved In the Woods and The Likeness and this one is proving to be just as engaging.  I’m also slogging through A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. I mostly have no idea what’s going on and there are way too many characters to keep track of, but reading about the drudgeries of everyday life during wartime wherever/whenever the fuck is pretty interesting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Walking Dead: Made to Suffer

Pleased to meet you/Hope you guess my name/But what's puzzling you/Is the nature of my game – Rolling Stones

Oh, shit. New person. Oh, shit. Whole new group. One of the new group’s members gets a chunk of herself bit off, but they still carry her into an enclosed building with them. That enclosed building is the prison. Tyrese is the new person. I’ve only read the summaries of the comics, so I know he supposed to have a relationship with Rick/Rick’s group. I’m just not sure what it is.

It’s been an intense season, almost like they’re making up for last season, but I’m looking for forward to a midseason break. The intensity and creepiness is a little overwhelming. My nerves are a bit shot. The Governor is so creepy, I can’t even feel sorry for the way he’s dealing with his daughter turning. No sympathy.

Glenn repurposes a walker’s bones for use as a weapon. How “sustainable” of him. At least he and Maggie are in the same room. He and Maggie make a good attempt at an escape, but Maggie hesitates when her gun is on Merle and they’re recaptured. Then Rick and ‘em come through SWAT style (how fucking sexy is Rick being a professional law man again?) and grab the captives.

Glenn spills the beans about Merle once the group reach a place they can regroup. The desire in Daryl’s eyes to reconnect with his brother breaks my heart, but Rick convinces him to stay with the group.

Andrea wants to help with the invasion, but the Governor shuts her down. Gee, I wonder why. Don’t want your girlfriend to know you’re a sociopathic dictator torturing her friends?

Daryl decides to stay behind to provide cover fire. You just know he’s hoping to see Merle. Rick starts hallucinating, thinking he sees Shane. Helpful prisoner gets shot and the ratio of black people to white people remains as the writers wish. *eye roll* My nerves are shot from all of the gunfire and violence. I don’t play videogames or see action movies all that often. I have a very low tolerance for such things. The horror movie commercials in between don’t help much, either.

Tyrese’s group runs into trouble in the prison and Carl rescues them and is the voice of reason. First of all, it’s been long enough that any group should be able to better strategize going into an enclosed building. Secondly, Carl? Carl “Get in the Fucking House” Grimes? I don’t think the former America’s Top Model (Tyrese’s girlfriend/wife/annoying “Lori” of her group) has the acting chops for this show. She’s destroying my suspension of disbelief. I already love Tyrese, though! Good looking and smart. I’ll take it!

Michonne loses the group and makes her way to the Governor’s apartment and finds his freak show secret lair. Unfortunately for him, Michonne decides to put a little reality into his life and ends his walker daughter’s life. He doesn’t take it so well. This whole scene is messed up on so many levels. She manages to stab him in the eye with a piece of the broken glass from his aquariums holding walker heads. Andrea shows up in the nick of time to save his life. If only Michonne had told her what had just happened. She could’ve in less than 15 seconds. Andrea is moved by his love for his walker daughter. What a surprise.

This show is starting to feel like a bad Three’s Company nightmare. Lack of knowledge leading to misunderstandings and mistrust.

Michonne somehow finds the group and Rick is still being a dick to her. I’m not sure why. Daryl is missing. Saw that one coming.

The Governor wasn’t really the governor until now. The eye patch makes the man. Turns out Daryl was captured and is going to be used as a test for Merle. If Daryl dies, I’ll probably stop watching the show. This is a horrible way for Daryl and Merle to meet.

Kevin Smith talks about how The Walking Dead is what happens after a zombie movie is over. I’ve always wanted to see that and feel so curious at the end of those movies, but now I know why a show like this hasn’t been done. It gets a bit tedious. Most people would want to find some place safe, stay put, and keep on living. It would almost be boring. Kind of like if Frontier House had multiple seasons.  Great initial run (I loved that show), but watching someone chop wood or plant seeds over and over would get pretty boring. The forced emotional rollercoasters and cliffhangers are too much for my nerves. This is why I’ve always preferred series that have single standing episodes. Looking forward to the break. Definitely not watching the marathon New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Walking Dead: When the Dead Come Knocking

“This is what makes us girls/We all look for heaven and we put love first/Something that we’d die for/It’s our curse” – Lana Del Rey

Glenn and Maggie are being held captive and interrogated by Merle. I’m glad Glenn toughened before this event came to pass. I’m very concerned for Maggie. T-Dog’s name coming out of Merle’s mouth bothers me more than a lot of other stuff that’s happened on this show. Merle unleashes a walker on Glenn while Glenn is strapped to a chair. What a fucking coward! Glenn manages to free himself and take down the walker. Today, he is a man. The Governor winds up interrogating Maggie. I wish I could kill through the television, but, as much as I hate depictions of misogyny, I’m glad they finally showed how things might go down for women in such a world. All they want to know is where Rick’s group is. Damn, shut up, Maggie! Under the threat of rape, Maggie doesn’t break, but one gun to Glenn’s head and she spills it. She probably did save Glenn’s life and those left behind know about Woodbury and the Governor, thanks to Michonne.

Rick and Carl help Michonne into the prison, but Rick is still in full dictator mode. It sucks that Rick doesn’t know Michonne’s recent past of having her weapon taken away and being held by the Governor. It’s going to be that much harder for her to trust him. Seeing Rick’s emotional reunion with Carol seemed to help, though. Plus, I’m guessing Andrea filled her in on all of them during their travels. That didn’t mean Michonne will trust them on sight. I’ve read a lot of great things about the actress that plays Michonne, but so far she’s only had one expression. It can’t just be the writing. Seriously, so over Michonne’s scowl.

I really wanted Michonne to mention Merle’s name just to see everyone’s reaction. I’m so ready for the Woodbury/Rick’s Group meeting!

So, Rick and some of the gang are going to Woodbury to bring back Glenn and Maggie. Rick briefs Carl on what to do in case he doesn’t come back and says “take care of your sister.” He doesn’t even realize she doesn’t have a name. His own daughter. Not surprising since he only spent half a second acknowledging that his son watched his mother die then put a bullet through her head. Carl names the baby Judith. A bit anticlimactic.

So, Rick, Daryl, and helpful prisoner set out on their quest. Rick acknowledges to Daryl that Daryl has stepped up. The group gets stuck in a cabin, but they get out when Michonne creates walker chum out of the shack’s resident. How come the black guy has to carry everything?

These last two episodes have been boring until the last few moments. My blood is pumping for Rick to enter Woodbury and for Daryl and Merle to meet. My heart is pounding!

It’s strange how the walkers are mostly background now: something to live beside.

The Walking Dead: Hounded

Michonne is running and knows she’s being followed. The Governor sent out his most degenerate henchman, Merle. “Go back” says the “bitergram.” I would do what the woman with katana says to do. They should’ve listened as Michonne devastated the the Governor’s team. Damn, just as I was beginning to like Merle he goes and shoots at Michonne who gets hit in the thigh. Looks like that’s where the femoral artery is, but I guess it missed. Merle isn’t a great leader, but it seems like he’s effective. His newly appointed second, who was previously freaking out and damn near pissing in his pants, is doing some killing and seems really motivated. Turns out he was too motivated and wanted to actually complete the mission instead of lie about it. Merle didn’t have any finesse left in him to convince him otherwise. Bang. Michonne doesn’t know how many people’s wishes she’s fulfilling by whooping on Merle like that. I’m glad Michonne figured out another way to hide from the walkers in plain sight – just cover yourself in their guts.

Merle goes on and comes across Maggie and Glenn on a formula run. He, of course, kidnaps them. Come on, Glenn! You know what Merle is. Shoot to kill. If it weren’t for the baby, none of this would’ve happened. Lori can still annoy from beyond the grave.

The caller on the other end of the line is some woman at some safe place. Awesome. Honestly, this show has enough action and uncertainty without adding extra mystery. I could’ve done without the chick on the phone. This is some boring and annoying “Lost” shit. At the least, it made Rick take a shower, clean up, and come back to the land of the living. However, hope can be the enemy of reality and practical action. Oh, he’s just hallucinating. The horror. The horror. *eye roll*

Andrea is making a place for herself at Woodbury. I don’t care about her at all. I find it wholly unbelievable that she was ever a human rights attorney. I’m going to try to be fair: We all do things, anything, to make ourselves feel better. She’s just fighting the dying of the light and I, too, make poor decisions after drinking whiskey.

Daryl is really growing. He’s becoming a better leader and, weirdly, a father figure. I hope all of that doesn’t go out the window when he meets up with Merle.

This episode was not that great, but when Rick and Michonne locked eyes, it gave me goose bumps. I could feel the power! THE POWER!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Walking Dead: Say the Word

“When you have a chance to kill someone, don’t hesitate.” – Terrorist in Die Hard

The normalcy of the party seems wrong. I didn’t think anything could seem more wrong in that setting until the next scene when the Governor is brushing his walker daughter’s hair. It was shocking for a second, but, after Hershel’s family’s weirdness with keeping their own and their neighbors in the barn just in case a cure was possible, all kinds of crazy seems normal. However, it’s still an abomination. I can’t think of another way to describe it.

Any kiss could be the last. That’s one way to keep the magic alive. I love Maggie and Glenn. It’s the only true thing on the show. It feels so real. I still wouldn’t have let me girl ride off on the back of Daryl’s bike, though, no matter how close I felt to her. When Daryl and Maggie were at the daycare center, my first thought was, if I they show a toddler walker, I quit.

Rick has been ruthless and decisive, but never irresponsible. His character has changed, but this is way out of character. Charging into the prison alone to go on a killing spree . . . yes, anger is one of the stages of grief, but there are safer ways to deal with it. Think of your psychologically damaged son. Someone needs some Ativan, stat! Glenn is one of the best. Putting hands on him isn’t going to win you points with anyone. If killing the walker that ate your wife doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will.

Michonne having her katana back is the only relief I’ve felt while watching this show since the second episode. A girl’s gotta keep her skills sharp! I love how transparent the Governor seems when he’s in Michonne’s presence. His sliminess gets extra shiny. Too bad Michonne guessed wrong about the Governor’s list. I hate this creepy-ass motherfucker. She should’ve killed him. In that world, the living are as a big of a problem as the dead. She shouldn’t think of it as a waste to take a human life. I don’t like seeing that weakness in her.*

First of all, Andrea, the Governor is not your daddy or Michonne’s daddy. He tattles/chides and Andrea plays hall monitor/big sister? I’ve lost all respect for Andrea. I’ve been waiting for Michonne to leave her ass for a while. I would run as fast as I could out of that compound. My first thought would be that the Governor’s people are watching me through binoculars, going to track me, find me, and kill me. Run, Michonne! RUN!

You’ve got to be kidding me. Totally the future of UFC, though. People need entertainment? Put on a Shakespearian play. Hell, turn Star Wars and other movies into plays. Have a salon or something. Jeez.

Was it just me or did this episode fly by? And is it first name Ass, middle name Kicker? Or all the first name “Asskicker”?

*Confession: On The Talking Dead poll, I voted no on killing the prisoners at first sight. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Walking Dead: Killer Within

“Do you know what I touch here?” she said, laying her hands, one upon the other, on her left side.
“Yes, ma’am.”
“What do I touch?”
“Your heart.”

I love how quietly it always starts. I knew this episode was going to be exhausting (in a good, never ending suspenseful way) with that bit of mystery and shocking action in the first few moments.

Good for Glenn and Maggie! Getting laid seems to be the last good thing left in that world. Get as much as you can. Also a good thing: being able-bodied. They should’ve had Hershel up and around sooner rather than later.

Convict whispers, “Come on, dude.” Worst. Pleading. Ever. I was thinking they should put it to a vote, but when they did, the majority voted no. I loved Daryl's position. I would’ve voted yes. I would get bored easily in that situation and would welcome a limited amount of people every once in a great while. Considering they have a pregnant woman and a disabled person, you would think they would want more able-bodied people to fight walkers. The one prisoner ended up being helpful by the end. Of this episode, at least. What was that other prisoner thinking, though? He would be in the same danger by letting walkers roam free in the prison. I guess he didn’t really know the level of danger since he was stuck in the prison for so long, but did he think he was going to stay in that one room forever? Good lesson. Being consumed with revenge makes one stupid. Idiot.

As an independent, educated woman, I’ve learned it’s good to not be so smart all of the time. Or at least not seem so smart all of the time. It’s a good thing Michonne is so closed mouth. It’s her saving grace. Andrea wanting to stay is understandable. People are social creatures and would naturally desire to create a society and have a community, but Michonne is a girl after my own heart and ability to be completely alone. If she prefers to be alone, she should just take off. She’s an anomaly, but would be a more common person in that world, I think. Being hyper-suspicious and preferring your own company is not necessarily a bad thing in that situation.

Andrea, shut the fuck up. Ever heard of “loose lips sink ships”? If I had to choose between rapey Merle, a manipulative leader, and no one at all, I would take no one at all. Yes, Andrea doesn’t know what the Governor really is, but still. You just met the guy. Show a little restraint. (When I read the show’s description “Merle has a request for the Governor” I for sure thought it was a forced night with Andrea. Glad I was wrong.) Is there any world in which white men in power don’t play golf?

What a fucking horror show. You could kind of tell something bad was coming when Rick and Lori had their loving-glance moment. A little schmaltzy, but when the shit went down, I could really feel Rick’s desperate frenzy. He had a nice moment with his wife, then she, (possibly) his unborn baby, and child are all in danger all of a sudden. He could’ve given Bolt a run for his money at that moment. 

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Fuuuuuck noooooooooo! T-Dog! Oh, no. I just can’t. He’s one of my favorites. I don’t write about him much, because the writers never give him anything to do. Anyone but T-Dog, Glenn, Rick, Daryl, and Maggie. They’d better name the town they eventually establish after him. Doglandia. Tadogistan. Beverly Dog. Really, truly, can you feel my heart? It’s broken.

I’m still not comfortable with Carl and guns. Watching his mom give birth, die, then having to prevent her turning didn’t do him any psychological favors, either. I’ve read that’s actually a good way to give birth while standing or in a squatting position. I stand by my preference of having a baby inside of a moving car. I know Lori wasn’t in a position to not have the baby, but a crying baby is possibly the worst thing to have in that world. I would be all for a zero population plan of action for twenty years.

If Carl had not been on the scene when Lori died, I would’ve been happier about her death. It’s still a relief. I feel a little bad for Rick. I thought Lori and the baby would die at the same time. Of course Lori would leave a burden in her place. It’s just like her.

I am going to hear that alarm in my nightmares.

Regarding the preview of next week’s episode: I get it. Rick has lost most of his soul, but it’s overkill to make him go all Colonel Kurtz. 

Most brutal episode so far. How could it just be episode 4? I don't know how much more I can take. I think I need a bye week.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Walking Dead: Walk with Me

Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away . . .

At first it seemed like a dumb idea to seek out a helicopter crash, but then I thought about how the thought of coming across some military personnel might lead to some answers about what happened or a helicopter could be evidence of fan organized and fortified city. Andrea and Michonne did get some valuable information: that everyone is infected. And hot showers!!!

I've read the synopsis of the entire comic book series (I just couldn't help myself!), so I’m not a fan of the Governor and not very excited to see him. Benevolent dictators are still dictators. Curfews. Noise ordinances. Armed “escorts” for visitors. Secret laboratories. He’s good, though. Deliciously charismatic. And knows how to scavenge weapons and is a wicked shot. Atticus Finch would so not be his friend, though. In his defense, if I ruled a colony, I would be wary of bringing a tight-knit group of military guys into it. Military coups happen to popular sitting leaders every day. They probably wouldn't give up their weapons easily and allow for a get-to-know-you period. Still, never trust a man who spends most of the day outside and is still so pale.

MERLE! Merle’s gotten leaner and meaner and funnier. Much better than when we saw him last. Ugh, he’s still the kind of guy that would sit on a backwards chair. *eye roll* Despite Merle’s repulsiveness, there must be some sort of comfort in the familiarty of someone from your past in that type of world.  Andrea doesn't seem all that suspicious. I wish she had been more detailed when describing how Rick went back to get him. If I were Merle, I would be the most pissed off at my little brother for not looking for me until he found me. 

It actually hurt my feelings to know that Michonne was separated from her katana. She seems naked and off balance. Too bad for Michonne that the Governor knows how smart she is. I think Michonne is as close to a human terminator as possible. Stay suspicious, Mich!

I have this sense of dread during every episode and throughout the entire episode. At first I thought it was the dread from sensing a startling moment around the corner, but now I think it’s about realizing that there’s no civility in that world and probably wouldn't be if society did break down. Unless you’re with your family and isolated, it’s going to be rape and murder and tyranny. Writing of rape, I wonder if males watching the show pick up or think about the undercurrent of imminent sexual violence in the show and in such a society.

I felt like I was watching a spin off  Like when Jake guested on Beverly Hills 90210 (original) to usher in Melrose Place and Golden Girls and Empty Nest and Bones and The Finder. During this episode, I realized that I would rather live in an open field or a farmhouse or an RV or anything except for a small town or city. The sense of emptiness gave me the creeps.

Something seemed off the last few episodes, but I couldn't put my finger on it until I had to wake up early Saturday morning to let my dog out: Carol seems strangely happy and free and alive considering her only child recently turned into a walker and was executed by the leader of her group. It just reaffirmed my belief that children are mostly a burden. (Sorry mom and dad.)

Who would you rather have as a leader in a zombie apocalypse?
The Governor

The Governor is actually pretty good unless you want to think your own thoughts and contradict him or are any kind of threat.

Rick is the best choice, but there’s an element missing from his leadership abilities.

Michonne is too much of a lone wolf. I think Andrea is about all of the subjects she would be able to manage and she can barely stand having her.

Daryl is the hotness, but he’s better as a second. He’s actually a great second-in-command.

I supposed I would prefer a committee and eventual parliamentary structure. (I'm still proud to be an American and think that the U.S. system of government is one of the best in the world and that our judicial system is the absolute best.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Walking Dead: Sick

T-Dawg and Daryl are a great security team! It’s a nice, subtle display of how well the group has gelled. Everyone has changed a lot, but I wonder how Daryl will handle Merle’s reappearance.

I have no medical training whatsoever and even I know you need to cauterize the wound. Maybe shoot a few rounds and put the barrel of the gun against the wound? And I’m having a hard to buying that he wouldn’t turn.  Every time anyone left Hershel’s cell, I expected him to turn and bite whoever was left.  What eventually happened was so scary, I jumped and woke up my dog who then gave me the nastiest side-eye. He's not a fan of the zombie genre.

Prisoners are usually the hardened, do-whatever-it-takes, no morals characters in a show. In a post-apocalyptic world, everyone’s a prisoner and has to do whatever it takes to survive. I hope there are more interactions between the group and the prisoners. I’d like to see if they recognize that survival instinct in each other and how they each demonstrate it.*  I would, however, like to thank the prisoners for the first laugh out loud moment I've had watching this show in a long time. They’re violent as hell, but dumber than a box of rocks. They learned the right way to be violent very quickly, though. The group learned something from them, too: violence can be used to end an argument. Kudos to both groups.

Rick admits that killing the prisoners is an option. I’m surprised after everything they've been through, he seems reluctant to even say it out loud. He can’t hate Lori that much if he’s still confiding in her and looking for her approval and support.  FINALLY: “I know I’m a shitty wife and I’m not winning any mother of the year awards.” – Lori Grimes. I also liked her reprimand of Carl for going out by himself. Pure comedy. I’ve been through some bad breakups, but that last scene with Rick and Lori was rough. Despite my feelings about Lori, I think it would be better for them to be together. Having someone’s support that you feel close to could really make the difference. And not just in a post-apocalyptic zombie world.

And so it came to pass, that Rick had to kill another person. Nasty style, too. Another two people if you count the guy he left out in the side yard with the walkers. I’m very impressed with Andrew Lincoln’s ability to show the hardness (borderline tyrannical psychosis) on his face. I’m officially afraid of Rick Grimes. He has earned his dictatorship.

After thoughts:

Why would they kill the prisoner with just a scratch, because he was going to turn, and let Hershel live who was bitten through flesh? I thought blood pumped pretty quickly. Losing Hershel would’ve been devastating. Worse than losing anyone else so far, but it feels like a cheat.

I think that was the least sexy scene involving a woman’s panties since moving pictures were invented.

*Well, that was quick. RIP prisoners.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Walking Dead: Seed

Hello there, the Angel from my nightmare.

Beautiful opener! There are few stories that can be carried off with such little dialogue for such a long period of time. There was There Will be Blood and this.

I didn’t like seeing Carl use a gun. I know it’s an extension of last season when he killed Walker Shane, but that should’ve just been a one- time thing.  I recently watched Terminator 2: Judgment Day with audio commentary by James Cameron. It turns out that despite all of the violence in that movie, John Connor’s interactions with weapons was carefully handled. He never fired or launched anything and it was because James Cameron* wasn’t comfortable with children handling guns.  It’s one thing to protect your father, but to be told, “You and Carl take this tower.”???  At least he’s finally doing what he’s told. Maybe the moral of the story is to give your kid a gun if you want them to listen to you.**   And the hat does look better on him with his hair long.

Now, Carol and guns . . . that’s just great! I like the idea of Carol and Daryl. Toughen her up and soften him up. Speaking of the future father of my children, Daryl finally did something that I didn’t like: He killed an owl! For food!  Due to my many viewings of Thunderheart, I think owls are sacred and omens of something big.  According to “That 70s Show,” crows carry human souls and you’re not supposed to eat them. I would say owls carry otherworldly souls and you shouldn’t even kill them. Or maybe if you eat an owl, you give up a part of your own soul. Daryl quickly redeemed himself with this quip, “While the others go wash their panties, let’s go hunt.” Have sexier words ever been uttered?

I know the powers that be at AMC are cheap bastards, but Lori’s pregnancy belly is awful and ruins my suspension of disbelief. Maybe two less Walker extras and little more money into the fake belly?

I think Sarah Wayne Callies knows how awful her belly looks and has stepped up her acting game to try to distract from it. Or maybe the writers have figured out how to write for her character better. She’s definitely less shrill. She keeps trying, though. Rick is moving trying to move the whole situation forward, physically and psychologically. Now, yes, a Lori and Rick should show each other a little emotional support now and then, but it can wait until they get a few days of being in one place. Until then, zip it, Lori, and march on.

I could totally imagine Rick as a knight, taking over a castle. Good lord, when he smiles, he gives Daryl a run for his money in the “get in my pants” department. Add that to his attitude and interactions with Lori (way to sack up, bro!) Her sleeping with Shane is understandable, but she has to acknowledge how difficult it is for Rick to know she might be carrying someone else’s baby.  He’s the leader and his wife might be carrying someone else’s baby. His loneliness and the weight of all the responsibilities are affecting him. He’s ready for a break.  I’m glad she’s finally acknowledged her part in Shane’s death, but she has a ways to go on being a little less selfish. If her fetus was a Walker and ate her from the inside out, that would be pretty bad. Even I wouldn’t wish that on her.

Well, that’s just wonderful. Armored  zombies. As if those horrifying fast-moving zombies from 28 Days Later weren’t bad enough.  Why don’t you just make them invisible, too?

Michonne! And Andrea! This show would be that much better if Michonne and Andrea became a romantic couple. According to Laurie Holden’s Twitter account, she had thrown out her back killing Walkers and Andrea had the flu.  I can’t wait for Andrea and Michonne to meet up with Rick’s group. Rick will have a proper co-leader.

Hershel's leg . . . no words . . . But can you really stop the infection that way?

This is one of the few shows where I constantly feel dread throughout the whole show, but in a good, suspenseful way. I now live alone and watching The Walking Dead is not the smartest idea, so my plan is to think of Michonne whenever I get scared. Move over Wonder Woman, I have a new role model!

On a personal note: I asked the CEO of my company (he’s an MD and was an OB), “Where’s the best place to give birth during a zombie apocalypse? A moving car? A prison cell? Or an open field?” Turns out he doesn’t watch the show, but he did answer: A moving car, which was my answer. I totally felt validated, especially after a prison cell was the winning answer on “The Talking Dead.” (He kept walking by my office and I kept saying in my head, “dontaskhimdontaskhim” and then I asked him and now everyone at work knows I’m a stone-cold weirdo.)

*The director of some of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen: The Terminator, Aliens, Rambo: First Blood Part II, True Lies, etc.

**Don’t worry. I don’t have kids.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rios v. Alvarado – Junior Welterweight

Was it action packed? Yes. Did fans and boxing analysts nut themselves over it? Yes. Was it a good fight? Yes. Was it a great boxing match? No. Rios has had 400 amateur bouts. It certainly didn’t show. It looks like he decided he knew all he needed to know about boxing after his first couple of fights and stopped developing his skills after that.

A minute into the first round, Rios started to lose control of himself and started brawling. Despite his record, I think this is as good as Rios will ever be. If Alvarado were younger, I would say that he has a future. If he can learn not lower himself to the level of brawlers and work a bit on his defense, I think he could still have some great boxing moments. Also, ain’t no shame in taking a knee and a standing eight count. It’s a more noble defense strategy than Mayweather’s shoulder defense. *eye roll*

Marquez or Pacquiao would dismantle Rios, especially if they catch him on one of his off nights. Rios is a bit inconsistent. That could be attributed to his problems with making weight, but even if has all of that under control, I wouldn’t put up against any high caliber fighters.

Rios did do something that’s not done as much in boxing anymore: He worked the body. He did a great job, early on, of working over Alvarado. It gave him the edge by making Alvarado just a little bit more fatigued as the fight went on.

This fight didn’t rise to the level of Barrera-Morales or Gatti-Ward, but it was the slugfest it was promised to be. I just wish there had been more technical skills displayed.  I would definitely watch a rematch!

Rios did win by TKO as the ref stopped the fight in the 7th round.

Donaire v. Nishioka – Junior Featherweights

“High intensity chess match.” A display of “extreme athleticism.” That’s what most boxing matches should be. This was more of a slightly active chess match than a high intensity one. I do love the lighter weight classes, because when they let those fists fly, it’s beautiful. They remind me of hummingbirds in flight.  This did not happen here.

Nishioka looked tired from the beginning.  Donaire seemed to have some difficulty with Nishioka’s fighting style.* Waiting until the 6th round to start boxing was a little odd for this weight class. I guess Nishioka getting knocked down lit a fire under him. Hey, whatever it takes.**

Donaire won his 29th straight fight over the span of 11 years with a 9th round TKO with a stoppage by the ref.

*This led to the first instance I have experienced where Roy Jones, Jr. had some good advice for a fighter in the ring and that his personal story actually related to the fight. Not quite a miracle, but a cool breeze may have blown in hell.

**Also known as “whatever the fuck it takes.” My favorite “move” from one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long, long time, Win Win

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Boardwalk Empire: Spaghetti and Coffee

Got Yourself a Gun

It looks like prison was hard on Eli, but in a good way. He’s lost his baby fat and his dumbass-ness, too. He’s asking all of the right questions. (How IS  Mickey Doyle still alive?) He’s making better decisions. If I had found out Mickey Doyle was my new boss, I would've kept walking. Good for him. Having Nucky not completely bail him out may have helped him become more capable. 

I don’t know what it says about me that I find Bobby Cannavale more attractive in this role than in any other role.  I swear he’s Anton Chigurh’s grandfather. I can’t stop laughing when he’s in a scene. He’s so great!!! Gyp Rosetti should have his own web series . . . shorts of him at various restaurants ordering food. Or a food critic should use the face he made while eating that spaghetti when he’s not a fan of a meal.


Ugh. Margaret has to go through Owen to give messages to her husband? I guess being a lady isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I think Margaret would be an amazing social services case worker, but she would quickly burn out on people who refuse to take her suggestions. Maybe she’ll regain some of her old dignity taking full advantage of her position with the hospital.

Is Nucky really jealous that his mistress might have other lovers? Your good wife is dead. You’re not going to get your sweet life back by marrying an ambitious gold digger and committing adultery with a showgirl. Being a ruthless gangster isn't going to bring you in contact with “nice” girls, either. No matter how he feels about his wife, now, he still has his duties of a husband to fulfill, which include escorting her to important events.  Weirdly, I want the same thing as Nucky: for everyone to be honest about what they want. I just wish I could fall in love as easily as he does. Or be as manipulative.

I find philosophical bureaucrats endearing. Especially when played by my favorite homosexual vampire from True Blood. It’s a good thing, too, because I have no idea what the money exchange scene was about. I’m not the best with plot. I’m more of a character person.

I wonder if this is the type of guy Chalky would want for his daughter? A spineless professional? Or someone who would kill someone for her? Out of every character on this show, Chalky is the only one I’d love to hear talk about himself. I could listen all day! Uh, oh. A woman who wants to marry someone she actually finds interesting. Good luck with that. As the daughter of the greatest dad in the world, who is a very interesting person in his own right, I can understand it being difficult to settle down with someone you look at and think, “Well, maybe he’ll be an interesting man. Someday.” Of course, there’s interesting and then there’s too interesting. Maybe I’ll marry that nice accountant who really likes Claim Jumper’s.

The best part of the gas station scene is that if anyone came across a closed gas station in the middle of nowhere crowded with such nicely dressed men, they would feel safe. In those days, you would keep driving and risk breaking down and having to spend the night on the side of the road.  

This was the first time that I didn't wish anyone were dead. Note: No scenes with Gillian.

[If anyone could explain the current plots to me, I would really appreciate it. Nucky and that bureaucrat, Nucky and Rothstein, Mickey Doyle and Nucky. I will take that explanation in diagram form.]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Boardwalk Empire: Resolution

'Cause ain't no such things as halfway crooks - Mobb Deep

The theme of the promos for season 3 is “You can’t be half a gangster.” My first reaction was, “who thinks Nucky is anything but ALL gangster?” Then I thought about it some more and realized that he was just a SUPER unethical business man. Until he shot his everything-but-by-blood son.  That’s all I consider him to be now. Just a dirty gangster, married to a trampy shrew.   

I’m a little wary going into the season. Jimmy was the heart of the show for me. His wife was the only woman with depth, especially after Margaret became so brittle. Harrow is all that’s left for me. The only character left that I would hug.  And I’m not a fan of Bobby Cannavale except in Will & Grace and Thomas McCarthy movies. He’s good when he’s goofy and weird. Well, let’s get the show started . . .

Whoa. Goofy, weird, and unhinged is good, too. Welcome to the Boardwalk, Mr. Rosetti. His eyes are great at going from friendly to crazed and twitchy. He’s definitely the twitchiest man in all of the land. He’s also a breath of fresh air. All of these gangsters have forgotten who they are. How dirty they are and what they really do. Rosetti is keeping it real. Mostly really crazy, but still real.  

We meet Nucky in a dirty, abandoned tenement with two psychopaths and a feeb interrogating a liquor thief and ordering his death. There’s no question about what portion of a gangster he is. His outfit is pushing him into pimp territory, too.  The whole scene made me look forward to winter.

Nucky moves with ease from gangster grim reaper to political donor. However, Nucky is slipping if he can get zinged by a political nut tickler. Then he gets zinged by Manny who quickly works out a deal in his favor.

Margaret has really blossomed into a rich man’s wife, gracefully and powerfully walking into a room bustling with servants preparing the house for a party. I love the little insertions of history into the show. Something as small as a radio news bulletin about an aviatrix flying cross country seems to upend everything.  The novelty of a female pilot. The novelty of someone flying from coast to coast. It’s something that wouldn’t impress many now, but the show is able to convey how impressive it once was. The social reactions to it, especially by men, still irritates me. Yeah, shut the fuck up, Phillip. The lady of the house told you to polish the spoons, not flap your gums. The aviatrix situation does seem to be reawakening the steely, independent side of Margaret. I’d love to see that side of her again.

The Artemis Club is a pretty classy name for a whorehouse. “If it weren’t for married men, we’d be out of business.” – Gillian. If she didn’t have such a cruel streak, she would probably be the greatest Madam of all time. I do understand her crazy. Repeatedly raped as a child. A single mother in a time when that was one of the lowest things a woman could be. Her son murdered after he murdered his father and her rapist. Wanting to forget the past and move forward is probably the sanest inclination she’s ever had.

O’Bannion! Capone! In the same room! Love!!! I like when gangsters use words like “encroachment” and do the legal ear hustle. It sounds so playful and threatening at the same time. Unfortunately, it also causes them to forget who they are and, more importantly, who the guy across from them is.  An Irish gangster insults an Italian gangster’s child? O’Bannion is a dead man.  

Every time I think a show can’t make me recoil in sad disgust, I get blindsided. What the hell was wrong with that woman at the hospital? Oh, a miscarriage. Since when has Margaret every asked anyone what was expected of her or what she could do? She got spoiled fast. And I don’t understand her weirdness with the Nucky’s bodyguard. I still don’t understand why they slept together.

There’s no way that Agent Van Alden will last as a door to door salesman. The stress and indignity will make him lose whatever little control he has left. That little Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey moment does not assuage my fears, but his luck with stepping into O’Bannion’s flower market might just save him. I was hoping Van Alden would fully embrace the dark side and become a full on gangster, too. Oh, well. At least he didn’t kill his boss over the misunderstanding. Maybe the deep thoughts exercise works. Try it yourself:

Harrow feels so out of place in this episode. I feel like I’m watching flashbacks whenever he’s in a scene. All of the other characters have are so one note and unsympathetic. The moments with him and little Darmody break my heart.  I hope Harrow kills Gillian.* Even his killing the Butcher to avenge Angela’s death feels odd. She’s been so forgotten by everyone else, even her own son, that it took me a few moments to figure out why he shot Horvitz. I love the character, but he hasn’t moved on like the other characters and I’m worried the writers won’t figure out a seamless way to keep him in the show.

Now, THAT’s a New Year’s Eve party! Art Deco with an Egyptian theme . . . Swoon! Except for the gauche ending. Too obvious. Yes, it was a greedy time. I can glean that bit of social commentary from people being murdered over bottles of booze.  Until the end of the party, I hadn’t noticed the lack of scenes between Margaret and Nucky. Is the quickest way to kill romance marriage? It seems so. Margaret seems to be headed for change. I can’t tell if it will be a change on her own or if she’s going to try to make her marriage better, too. Maybe changing herself will get Nucky interested again. What originally attracted him to her was her independent spirit and strong will. And that her husband beat her and indirectly caused her baby to die. I’m hoping it was more about the spirit and the will. We’ll see . . .  
They should just call this show, “The Psychopath Variety Hour” and this should be the theme song:

*I think HBO holds the record for most television characters I wish were dead. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Visible Darkness by William Styron

[I wasn’t going to review this book as it’s more of an essay, but with the recent suicides of retired football player Junior Seau and The Killers saxophone player Thomas Marth, it’s feels timely.] 

“[I]n the absence of hope we must still struggle to survive, and so we do – by the skin of our teeth.”

Depression is a very lonely, isolating affliction. It’s a difficult thing to share even with someone else that is going through it. Visible Darkness is like a dispatch from someone who is stranded in that desert, a message in a bottle from a ship adrift in that dark and stormy sea. And it’s wonderful.

This book is an expanded essay that appeared in Vanity Fair. It describes in detail what the landscape and journey of depression looks like from the point of view of someone who has been severely depressed and a little bit of how those who have never been afflicted react to those that have.

There are great anecdotes that show the level of confusion that depression creates, which is something I’ve never encountered in any other treatise on depression. Non-sufferers have no idea that there is so much forgetting. One’s short term memory is absolutely shot. Sometimes you have to physically strain to remember something important you did or said just hours before. There’s also confusion in miscalculating socially appropriate responses – how you should conduct yourself and the expectation of others, which can lead to appalling, though not maliciously intended, behavior. 

Styron also describes the pain that is depression. He quotes William James: “It is a positive and active anguish, a sort of psychical neuralgia wholly unknown to normal life.” (The Varieties of Religious Experience) He also describes how his depression would put him into a “trance . .  a condition of helpless stupor in which cognition was replaced by that ‘positive and active anguish.’” There is not only mental anguish, but actual physical pain as well. Beyond the chemical imbalance in the brain, the body undergoes an assault.

He also discusses the indifference expressed by those who have never been depressed towards those who have. He almost begs for some understanding or at least a lack of judgment of those that commit suicide, because “the pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne. . . but to the tragic legion who are compelled to destroy themselves there should be no more reproof attached than to the victims of terminal cancer.”

Depression can be like being weightless in a fog where one’s sound doesn’t even carry. Or like being trapped under a boulder without any hope of rescue. Or in a rioting prison, being jostled around with a knife to your throat. Whatever form it takes, it’s real. If you know someone who’s going through it, try to understand that there exists a horror YOU can’t see or hear or feel, even though it’s in the room with you and inhabiting someone you love.

This is a must read for anyone who has suffered through depression and for anyone who knows someone who has done so. Though it’s a book about depression, it’s not a downer. There are even some cheeky bits that made me giggle, but it’s not flippant.  Just read it. It’ll take you only an hour or so.
[Here’s a quote from the book for my friends EZGZ, The Gos, and Tiny: “One develops fierce attachments. Ludicrous things – my reading glasses, a handkerchief, a certain writing instrument – became the objects of my demented possessiveness.”]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Larry Crowne (2011)

I would start with a description of the story, but there is no story. The characters are one dimensional. I chuckled twice. Maybe. And the fact that it was because of Wilmer Valderrama’s character negates any good will following those chuckles. I thought I would enjoy a drunk, bitchy Julia Roberts, but it wasn’t fun. I’ve heard her be snide and condescending in interviews and that’s fun, but she’s so much smarter in her interviews. This is a movie written by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, directed by Tom Hanks and the best part of the movie was Wilmer Valderrama’s character. Actually, the best part of the movie was my mom’s imitation of Julia Roberts’ laugh. Pretty spot on. Please don’t waste your time on this movie. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This book is an easy read dealing with a difficult topic in a light way. Skeeter, a Southern debutante in 1962 Mississippi, comes home from college and wants more out of life than getting married and being a member of the Junior League. Her friends are all married and, though don’t seem to like it, can’t imagine another life so they try to be the best at what they are, which brings out the worst in them. These friends have maids and it’s 1962 and it’s Mississippi, so the dynamic between them and their maids is mostly racist. Skeeter notices the dynamic, though she doesn’t really address it as racism, (which bothered me the most about this book) and she decides that the dynamic from the point of view of the maids is a story worth telling and sees it as her ticket to becoming a published author and getting out.

There are the usual cringe-worthy moments of false accusations and condescension. There are also a few humorous moments. There’s even a mini-love story involving Skeeter AND a mystery involving Skeeter’s childhood maid. The mini-love story was unnecessary and didn’t really move the story forward or add any depth to Skeeter, but I’m guessing the author thought it was necessary to show Skeeter as a warm blooded woman (and not a total, radical feminist), but still able to stick to her goals.  The revelation in regards to the mystery was so anti-climactic that I thought I had forgotten how to read and wasn’t understanding the actual words.

When the movie came out, I heard some rumblings about it being racist because it was about a white person helping black people. I wouldn’t say it was racist or even whitewashed. The most troubling part was Skeeter’s desire to be different, but not clearly describing from what and not knowing what was happening all around her. Her ignorance was a little jarring and it made her innocence seem feigned. I think that’s what bothered some people. But even that much should’ve been cleared up with one line from Minny: “I just . . . I want things to be better for my kids, but it’s a sorry fact that it’s a white woman doing this.” It’s a light, but not fun read.

I started reading this book after I finished the third book in the Songs of Ice and Fire. I needed a palate cleanser. It was a strange transition, though. Both books set up the chapters with the character’s name it covers and is from the point of view of that character.  I adjusted after the hundredth page. Looking back, I’m pretty sure Tyrion Lannister and Minny would probably get along. As would Cersei and all of the members of the Junior League. And those maids would’ve fit right in at Harrenhal.   

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

24/7 Mayweather/Cotto

First Episode:

"What would the show 24/7 be without me?" – Floyd Mayweather, Jr. 

An actual look at what a boxer does in order to prepare for a boxing match and not a sad display of what one man thinks a rich person is supposed to be. 

Second Episode:

“Adventures in rational discourse are rare . . .” - Narrator of 24/7

And that pretty much sums up Floyd Mayweather, Jr. 

This is pretty accurate, too: 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cabin in the Woods (2012)

I haven’t seen a horror movie in a theater since The Ring (2003). I love horror movies, but I almost never watch them.  The main reason I haven’t seen a horror movie in the theater is because I prefer to watch them with a cute guy and bury my face in his chest when I get scared. Taking my romantic history into consideration, I figured I’m just going to have to get over it or never see a horror movie in a theater ever again.  After seeing Cabin in the Woods, I can say with confidence that I still haven’t seen a horror movie on the big screen since The Ring.

I guess it could be a horror movie even though it’s not scary at all. It’s like a psychological experiment with twist. You have a glimpse of the twist right when the movie starts, then it goes into the usual horror movie plot (cabin in the woods-discovery of something they should’ve left alone-sex-killing off of characters one by one) with the usual characters (sexual blonde-alpha male jock-the good guy-the fool-the non-sexual girl). There’s a good bit of comedy having to do with the twist. I did chuckle a few times. I think the problem was that I was expecting more horror-wise and twist-wise. Not to say I don’t recommend the movie. Definitely hangover theater (movies you watch on a Sunday when recovering from a hangover) theater.   

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Station Agent (2003)

There isn’t anything about this movie that I didn’t like. The barren situation that slowly blossoms into something substantial. Peter Dinklage is wonderful as Fin.  You know what he’s thinking and feeling, at least you think you do, but you still want to know more. There’s the pushy supporting character, Joe (Bobby Cannavale). I’m not really a fan of his, but he’s so fun in this role. He’s just perfect. There’s the intense, but vulnerable Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), who’s in so much turmoil, her pain was unbearable to me. I try to think of a role of hers that I haven’t liked, but I can’t. Cleo (Raven Goodwin), who would’ve been one of my friends if we had been in elementary school together and who I would probably try to befriend now. Michelle Williams and John Slattery also show up to this awesome party.

This is the story of a man, Fin, who loses his best and only friend and starts a new, even more, isolated life away from his teeny, tiny comfort zone. He comes into contact with Joe, a food truck attendant, who forces a friendship on the new guy. Joe is filled with such exuberance that Fin eventually has to give in. There’s Olivia, who is hiding out and has also isolated herself for various and valid reasons. They form this strange and sweet triumvirate. It’s not even that no one else will have them. They just fit and it’s glorious. It made my small heart grow three sizes.

The characters are solid. And I don’t mean that in a 70s kind of way. They all have presence and this sweet, endearing aggressiveness. The story is engaging. I didn’t want the movie to end. I could’ve watched those characters’ lives unfold over the course of several hours.

This whole movie was like watching the end of winter turn into spring and then a beautiful summer sunrise at the end. See this. Now.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Never Let Me Go

This is a story based on Kazuo Ishiguro's novel of the same name. He is also the author of The Remains of the Day, a story which I love in both book and movie form. I love slowly paced movies with little dialogue (see Spider with Ralph Fiennes) and I'm in a somber mood and have enjoyed dark stories as of late, so the stars were aligned for me to love this story.

Too bad I hated it.

It's set in an alternate past in England where people are bred to be organ donors to the point of donating until they die. The main characters are Kathy H. (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield), and Ruth (Keira Knightly). They all attended the same boarding school for donors and the audience is supposed to believe they're friends/become friends. I suppose one could call their relationships with one another friendships, but yikes. Kathy is a sweet and sensitive girl who befriends raging Tommy. Kathy likes Tommy, but Ruth, her best friend, makes him her boyfriend and Tommy just goes along with it for SEVERAL YEARS.

They have to leave the boarding house when they're 18 and wait for their turn to start donating. (Kill me. Writing about this is just as boring as watching it.) They move into a house with other graduates and hang out. And are all weird and intense sometimes and go on walks and Ruth and Tommy have sex and Kathy keeps to herself and lets Ruth be a bitch to her until Kathy decides to apply as caretaker (don't ask) right around the time Ruth and Tommy break up.

They separate for about 10 years and Kathy comes across Ruth who's on her deathbed and who apologizes. They go find Tommy and Ruth dies during her second donation. Kathy and Tommy have a go at it for a short time since he's already donated twice and will probably die with the third. He does. Then Kathy gets notice that she's going to have to start donating soon.

This whole, boring movie is a set up to get to a point that Kathy makes at the very end: Nobody figures it out (life) and fucks up a lot trying to do so and not do so and it doesn't matter if you're a sheltered donor who is killed in your twenties or you live until your nineties.

It's a comforting message, but I didn't need over an hour and a half of not much to get to it.

This story needed either more back story about the situation or more interactions between the characters. I just had a hard time accepting the complacency of the donors. They wear electronic monitoring bracelets, but damn, make a run for it. Even if it was impossible to get away, I would have a good time until my donation notice and then figure out a way to kill myself that wouldn't allow for my parts to be harvested. A big ole "fuck all y'all" to the powers that be.

It didn't help that I kept thinking about Minority Report and kept saying, out loud, "That's the new Spiderman? Really?"

I don't recommend this movie, but I still highly recommend The Remains of the Day, in both mediums. I probably should've read the book first. Live and learn.

Martinez-Macklin 03-17-12

Middleweight Fight for (eye roll) WBC Diamond Middleweight Title

While I wish Martinez were fighting a higher caliber fighter, Macklin is eager and aggressive. Most boxers spend the first round slowly feeling out their opponent. These two are actively trading punches.

So far, halfway into the second round, they seem about equal, with Martinez having an edge by being a little less hesitant. And Martinez gets Macklin with a left, similar to the left that knocked out Williams. Macklin is shaken. Martinez gets two good punches in the second. Macklin still trying to move forward.

Martinez is more focused and it shows in the accuracy of his punches. I just wish he were more serious. Macklin throws a great combo in the fourth. Martinez does not look like the 10-1 favorite. And he gets in a hard left as I wrote that last sentence. Macklin answers with a hard right later on in the fourth.

Macklin gets in several great rights in the fifth, but Martinez goes in hard at the end of the round and the boxers trade punches. Macklin definitely won that round. Either Martinez is reining it in so as to entice the cowardly Mayweather or Macklin is benefitting from the power of St. Patrick’s Day.  Whatever. It’s better than watching a one-sided fight.

Macklin hits Martinez with a right. Martinez’s stumbles and his right glove touches the ground. It’s ruled a knockdown. That’s legit. The middleweights are starting to slow down in the seventh round. Martinez fights hard at the end of the round.

Martinez showing why he’s the favorite a little more in the eighth. Macklin isn’t just taking it, though. Martinez is hitting HARD.  Damn Irish chin! You gotta give it up to the Irish. They can take a punch, literally and figuratively.

I’m surprised by the lack of combinations. Even counterpunchers throw combos. Macklin has a disturbing blank look on his face, but his body is still reacting. Martinez makes the Irishman wobble, but can’t drop him.

The fighters are going at it. Macklin looks spent and like he’s going on with sheer force of will. Martinez has great head movement. Macklin isn’t moving side to side enough. Martinez finally knocks (back and then) down Macklin with a perfect straight left to the chin. Standing eight count for Macklin. Martinez knocks him down with another left, this time to the jaw, at the bell. Another standing eight. Macklin’s corner throws in the towel. Man, I love middleweights: stamina AND heavy hands!

I enjoy Martinez. I think he’s a classy and skilled fighter. But I can’t stand the hands down fighting stance. It annoys me to no end. Much credit to Macklin. His punch stats and performance were impressive. I think he could have a future on American television. I’d watch him on Boxing After Dark.

On a personal Irish note: I did see old Irish favorite, John Duddy, fight in Madison Square Garden on February 21, 2009. He was on an undercard for Cotto-Jennings/Pavlik-Rubio. That was the night I met Bert Randolph Sugar!

[I wrote this review last week and I remember thinking about what a great night it was at Madison Square Garden and meeting the great Bert Sugar. I was saddened when I heard news of his passing yesterday. I'm so glad I was able to meet him when I did and where I did. One of my fondest memories. He will be missed!]

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Walking Dead: Beside the Dying Fire

Oooooh. There’s that helicopter again. And that’s what set the herd of walkers on their quest to Hershel’s farm. Note to self: in case of a zombie apocalypse, chain link and barbed wire > wood.
Everyone back at the farm is worried about the group out to find Randall and Andrea wants to go looking for them. Lori says no, because if Randall came back, Andrea would be needed. Validation that you are the resident badass. Way to go Andrea! Darryl makes an observation that hints at Shane’s motives. I doubt the rest of the idiots picked up on it.

Rick is saved from confessing his ACT OF SELF-DEFENSE to Carl by the walker herd. How are the walkers already near the barn? I must not understand the layout of the farm.

“This is my farm. I’ll die here.” – Hershel Um, did I miss something? Is Hershel’s farm named the S.S. Titantic? I DON’T THINK SO!

Are the cheap fire effects and complete disregard for chemistry a throwback to old school zombie movies?
Some of the group gets into separate cars (and sexy Darryl on his motorcycle) and start acting like they’re at a carnival shoot out booth. What a waste of ammo! They can’t get all of the walkers and shooting some isn’t a deterrent. It’s not like they kill ten and the other 200 are like, “Oh, gee, we could die. Let’s turn around, guys.” *shaking my head*

“What should I do?!” – Lori, in response to not being able to find Carl in the house. Be a better mother, you worthless shrew!

Jimmy is an idiot. Once he felt Rick and Carl jump on top of the RV, he should’ve started driving. Or Rick should’ve done two taps on the windshield or something. I would say that it’s poor planning, but it’s just no planning.

Hershel looks awesome! The doctor becomes the assassin! Carol remains worthless, of course. Maybe she was running to what she thought was laundry that needed folding. Andrea saves her only to be left behind. Man, would I be pissed! After all I had done for the group and they ditch me. And Carol gets a ride on the back of Darryl’s bike. There is something horribly wrong with the universe.

I love that Maggie and Glenn are in the same car. It’s so couple-y!

I really, truly, madly, deeply thought that Hershel was going to get it. My heart was slowly starting to break as the walker approached. I didn’t like Hershel for the longest and I almost wrote him off when he took that jaunt to the bar in town. I may have hated the man who went into that bar, but I loved the man who came out. But poor Hershel. His illusionary utopia went up in flames.

I can’t imagine any viewers having ill will towards Rick for putting down Shane, but I think if you save a doctor’s life, you get a pass if you kill an asshole.

This is what every girl dreams of . . . hearing I love you with zombie smears on the window behind your head and what looks like a bloody head print behind your boyfriend’s. And all kinds of blood on the windshield. The ROMANCE! Glenn finally telling Maggie he loves her. Despite the circumstances, it was great, because it did steady her. She was on the verge of becoming seriously untethered.

Meeting up at the last place a group remembers being together is an excellent idea at Magic Mountain, Disneyland, Raging Waters, and during the zombie apocalypse. In this group’s case, it has to be the last safe place they were together: Sophia’s rendezvous spot. Well, I guess it wasn’t the last safe place, but it was the last place they were together before the barn. Man, seems like a million years ago. 

Hahahahaha! Oh, Hershel. Hey, maybe he’s right. Maybe Christ’s promise to resurrect the dead was really about zombies. Hmmmmm??? Bible class would’ve been a lot more interesting.

Lori is with Beth and T-Dawg. She wants to go back to the Sophia rendezvous point. T-Dawg doesn’t. She threatens to jump out of the car if he doesn’t go back. T-Dawg, KICK HER OUT OF THE CAR AND SPEED OFF! Do it!

Rick is about to leave the spot then Darryl and Carol roll up, then Maggie and Glenn and T-Dawg and Beth and blech. Rick admits that Shane is gone without saying how. The group wants to look for Andrea, but Rick says no and they go on their way. Rough.

On a personal note, Andrea’s predicament is why I’ll be adding miles to my runs. You never know when you’ll need the endurance. And I believe that speed and agility will be more useful than strength. Especially if it’s those damn 28 Days Later f*%@ers.

Running out of gas??? From the beginning, there should’ve been full gas cans in every car. Couldn’t they all fit in Maggie’s car? Sit on some laps, people. I agree that they shouldn’t split up, but they’re not on high ground. They’re as close to sitting ducks as can get. 

Darryl tells about how Randall wasn’t bit and had still turned. Rick reveals what the doctor told him back at the CDC. That everyone is infected and turns when they die (not of a head wound). People are all butt hurt about it. So? He’s right. How does it make a difference? How does this change their reality? I would be grossed out by the new knowledge, but would forgive the guy for keeping it to himself.

Rick walks off and Lori follows him. She gets all cozy and wifey and supportive about his decision to keep the universal infection a secret. Then Rick confesses to killing Shane IN SELF-DEFENSE. Lori pulls away in utter disgust. Are you f*%@ing kidding me??? I hate this effin beyotch!!! She practically goads Rick into killing Shane. Then gets Shane all riled up. If anyone’s hands are bloody, it’s hers. In The Talking Dead, the executive producer says that she’s upset because she feels like it’s her fault, but that’s not what I get from her reaction. Pulling away from Rick when he reaches out to comfort her and that look of contempt she gives him. Even if it is just because Carl had to kill a walker he knew, IT’S HER FAULT FOR NOT KEEPING A BETTER EYE ON HER SON! I hope she’s torn in half by walkers. Even if I have to wait ten seasons, it’ll be worth it.

Oh, hello, Michonne. Thank you for saving Andrea’s life. I’m looking forward to YOUR badassery next season.

All of a sudden, Carol decides to have an opinion about how the group should function and what type of man/leader she wants. Shut up, Carol. Does she want to be the new Shane? It’s the end times. I don’t want a man of honor. I want a man of action. The thing is, people can do whatever they want. Maggie can say, “I’m leaving, who’s coming with?” Carol would go. Glenn, too. Hershel and her sister would probably go, too. That’s not a bad group. Go on. Don’t let a zombie bite your ass on the way out.

Rick confesses to killing Shane to the group. He maybe should’ve been a bit clearer about the circumstances and Darryl could’ve jumped in, but at the least, the old ways have finally died. It’s about time for a Ricktatorship.

Oh, my. What’s that in the near distance? Is that a prison? THE prison? Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun. I think we all need a break, because things are about to get serious! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Passage by Justin Cronin

In a nutshell: Like Stephen King’s The Stand with vampires.
I swear this is a pretty good read. It just takes a while to get there.  The initial individual stories are a bit disjointed, but the reader winds up with a clear picture of how the end of the civilization comes about.  

There’s an expedition in Ecuador. They’re looking for the fountain of youth? A virus? (I didn’t remember by the end.) The government gets involved. There’s a criminal. Then there are some feds. Then some more criminals. Then a young mom. Then nuns. Then nuns with a little girl. Then the feds with the little girl. Once the story seemingly comes together, the reader is transported 100 years into the future to a new story. Then it’s great for a while.

The descendants of a group of survivors have created a world and lives for themselves. There are old feuds, love triangles, and even hopes and dreams. Considering the number of pages, it’s disappointing that some of the characters weren’t more developed. Some of them realize that they can’t stay within the walls forever and a group set out on a quest: to find more survivors; to find the source of a radio beacon; to discover the world outside of their walls. They find all that they desired and more.
I don’t mind some characters being killed off, but not almost all of them. And don’t create extensive backgrounds that seem to be leading somewhere if they just lead to nothing. I prefer books that deal with character development rather than plot. Apocalyptic stories tend to center around the dynamics within the group of survivors. There wasn’t a whole lot of that here. Justin Cronin spends too much time with the set up. Though there are multiple points of view in this story, the reader only gets to know one character in depth.  This book is supposed to be part of a trilogy. The second book comes out in October. I’ll probably read it. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Walking Dead: Better Angels

Shane, Andrea, T-Dawg, and Darryl in a truck . . . I would watch a spin-off of that group on their own, trying to make it in the zombie world.

I disagree with everything Rick said in his eulogy. Just because somebody died, doesn’t mean you have to live your life they wanted to live theirs. That’s just tyranny from beyond the grave.

Rick re-takes the leadership role and makes some great initial decisions.  He even includes everyone, though he’s still na├»ve when it comes to Shane. Asking Andrea to babysit Shane is like asking Rihanna to babysit Chris Brown.  I do love Andrea’s sass, though.  Feisty! People might start shaking off the molasses now that they have defined duties and some sort of schedule.

I don’t like Lori opening up to Shane. She doesn’t need to talk to Shane at all. If she feels like expressing her thoughts, she needs to talk to Rick. What the hell kind of wife is she?
[I love the Mad Men promo with The Walking Dead theme.]

I would brave The Walking Dead world for some face time with Darryl. Yum.

I now involuntarily tune out interactions between Rick and Shane. I have to strain to hear them, but, even when I do, it sounds like gibberish. Two guys spewing bs. I don’t  even care. I prefer Shane and Rick just beating the hell out of each other.

Wow. The talk that Rick gave Carl would’ve been so great without the Lifetime movie of the week piano soundtrack. Silence is golden, AMC.

So, Shane is pretty good at coming up with plans. Too bad he uses his power for evil rather than good. Randall’s right. Shane would “fit in good” with a bunch of rapists. Hmmmm, I guess Shane doesn’t know about everyone being infected with the virus and turning into walkers when they die.

Oh my Daryl is so smart! I really like Glen and Daryl together are quite the team, though I find it hard to believe that one walker could get the upper hand for even a moment against them. I’m going to chalk it up to Randal being fresh.

Beautiful cinematography in the Rick/Shane showdown scene. (Is it called that for television, too?) Holy smokes! I did not see that coming!!! I thought Darryl and Glen would find Rick and Shane, see what’s happening, and then one of them would put Shane down. It doesn’t make sense for Rick to care so much about killing Shane. Rick killed Sophia and Shane was just as sick as she was, just in a different way. In relation to Rick, Shane was an attempted murderer and Rick had a right to defend himself with equal force. And, finally, Carl makes himself useful. [Note: In the comics, Carl kills Shane outright when Rick and Shane are arguing.]

Looking forward to the next episode. Bummed that it’s the season finale! I won’t have any shows to watch until True Blood and Boardwalk Empire start. Ack! Mad Men is interesting, but I don’t get sucked into it the same way.

The Walking Dead: Judge, Jury, Executioner

Daryl seems to be a believer in the John Yoo definition of torture, as in it’s not torture if you’re trying to get certain information. Daryl does get information. Turns out that the marauder, Randall, was part of a group of about 30. They have a lot of weapons and don’t mind raping teenage girls in front of their father.

Rick decides they need to get rid of Randall. Dale, of course, disagrees and spews about humanity, blah, blah, blah . . . Hey, it’s a shoot first, ask questions later world.  Deal with it. Then Dale runs to Andrea and asks for help. He convinces her to guard Randall to prevent Shane from just killing him. She doesn’t think Dale is right, though. Then why? (Andrea was a civil rights lawyer?! I guess I missed that along the way.)

I can’t believe anyone buys Shane’s bs. His is so patently manipulative.  Then he warns Carl against the prisoner being manipulative. Sounded like he was talking about himself.

Oh, my gosh! I cannot take anymore of Dale’s proselytizing. So over it!!! Um, Dale? Civilization IS over. Carol’s still a sap. Carl is turning into a sociopath, which might actually be useful. He seemed to snap Carol out of herself for a moment. And how is Carl just allowed to wander off? What a dumb *$@%.

Beth is still like a depressed invalid in bed. I thought she chose to live? Hershel and Glenn have a nice heart to heart and Hershel gave Glenn his blessing about being with Maggie. Nice! I can’t help but be wary. Every nice gesture in this show has a suicidal undertone for me.  

Man, this group loves to talk, talk, talk. They could just put the prisoner on trial. Andrea could guide them. He could be charged with conspiracy to commit murder. The people he was with tried to kill Hershel, Glenn, and Rick. He was a part of that group. He could also be charged with murder. His friends died while they were committing a felony. Or something like that. It’s hard to think that there are laws in that world. Mores, sure. Personal ethics, yeah. But not a set of laws.  If they want to kill the prisoner, they should have a firing squad of whoever agrees with it. One shot each.

Okay, now I feel kind of bad about hating Dale so much. Not really. It's just the expected sentiment. They should’ve told him they didn’t kill the prisoner. Something nice for the end. And they should’ve gone for a shot to the side of the head. Not something so in his face. It was so sweet of Daryl to step in for Rick. After all, Rick shouldered the burden of killing Sophia when she came out of the barn.