P. Pufferfish revisits old friends and meets potential new ones

ravenkingcover***This post contains major spoilers for The Raven King and some minor, non-plot related ones for Star Trek Beyond. Proceed with caution! 

Let’s start with yesterday night. I had a lot to say yesterday night, but TWC chose to misbehave right when I turned on my computer, not letting me load any pages, and I was too annoyed to post on my phone. I’d never had any real problems with TWC up until about two months ago, when it started slowing down and then outright shutting off once or twice. It’s like a darling child who suddenly started acting up in her late teens/in young adulthood. Sort of like me. My parents must be so disgruntled.

Two nights before this, I finished The Raven King. I wanted to gush about it then, but it was 3 AM, so I went to bed and now all I can think of to say is “A++!!!” Seriously. I spent the last twenty pages going HOW WILL SHE CONCLUDE THINGS IN JUST 20 PAGES?! But she managed it, even though there were a few loose ends with the supporting cast that I would’ve liked to see tied up. Also… the subject of Ronan’s mom. This was my only problem with the book, the fact that Ronan, who is such a fucking mama’s boy, completely forgot that his mom was living inside the corrupted magical forest that was being eaten faster and faster every minute, the place where all the action was taking place! Well… I don’t think he actually forgot, but it was strange that he didn’t immediately freak out about the danger she was in the moment it was evident that shit was going down. Then again, even if he did freak out, there wasn’t much he could do about it, since she has to stay in Cabeswater in order to stay awake. I guess he could have driven her to a safe location, let her sleep through the action, and then driven her back afterwards. Though Cabeswater became just another ordinary forest in the end. So she would’ve been stuck in a coma again until he finally got around to building Cabeswater II (which it’s implied he will in future, which makes me wonder if Mme. Stiefvater might be up for writing a sequel series, perhaps with a different cast of characters, w/ cameos from this cast, someday?), but that’s better than what happened to her in the end, imo. Does this make me love the series any less? NAY. It remains in my list of top 10 books (I’ve taken to listing entire series as one book, because the individual books in a series sometimes blur together into one book for me).

Yesterday, I made quite a bit of progress in both The Golden Compass audiobook and Alice Isn’t Dead. I checked the box to see which version of the audiobook I have, and it’s the one “narrated by Phillip Pullman and cast”, which should be this one (conveniently the first option on Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Compass-Dark-Materials-Book/dp/B0000W6SPE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470282999&sr=8-1&keywords=the+golden+compass+audiobook I especially like the voice actress for Serafina Pekkala, though Lyra herself is pretty good as well. I mentioned before that I disliked Lyra when I was her age, but now that I’m an old hag, I appreciate her ingenuity and resourcefulness. She makes several mistakes that made me scream in frustration, but overall, she is remarkably composed for a little girl. I know I would’ve probably been in so much shit if I were in her place, even as a “grown-up”.

I am considering spending what I consider to be a shit-ton of money on a t-shirt with the Alice Isn’t Dead icon in front. The only thing stopping me is that I can’t decide between orange and black, colors that I look equally hideous in (everyone looks good in black, my ass). Maybe they’ll come out with more colors if I wait. But yeah, the fact that I, the person who goes shopping maybe twice in a year (and one of those times is always for socks and/or underwear, in packs, from Wal-mart or Target or Costco), am about to spend money on an Alice Isn’t Dead shirt tells you how much I am enjoying this podcast. Like Night Vale, there are some very strange supernatural moments, but unlike Night Vale, there is SOME logic to this. There were also some moments that were genuinely emotional, where you can feel how much the narrator misses her wife. I’m a sucker for adventure/suspense/sci-fi/fantasy/mystery stories that are capable of evoking real emotions in me as I’m reading/listening to them. My normally cold, unfeeling heart likes to be moved!

But anyways, back to yesterday night. I met up with a close friend after work/dinner to see Star Trek Beyond. This is the first time I haven’t seen one of the new Trek films on premiere night. We also had to sit in the front section and crane our necks a bit, which is what we get for coming right on time on discount night (we weren’t aware it was discount night and still don’t know if this is going to be a weekly thing). The good thing is that she had a buy one-get one free coupon, so we didn’t feel so bad about our shitty seats. And once we got into it, we forgot about the awkward angle. AND BOY, DID WE GET INTO IT. I liked the first two J.J. films, but after my premiere night excitement over them had died down, I always ended up feeling that they were more entertaining than genuinely good. There was a very reboot-y feel to them. Not so with this one! I don’t know if it’s because they chose to introduce new species and a completely new storyline that this installment succeeded the way it did, but I felt that it was a new Star Trek film that was made for a Trekkie/Trekker audience and not just to fit a mainstream, Hollywood mold. Yes, it was big and bold and full of action scenes, but there were little moments in there that paid homage to TOS, the show, while still belonging to this alternate universe timeline. It also had the feel of a Trek film like The Motion Picture, partly in the way some of the scenes were filmed.

In addition, I feel the need to comment on some more fandom-centric things, such as the introduction of the new character, Jayla. My friend and I, who both grew up watching Trek (it’s the only franchise I own shirts for), were so nervous about an original character, especially an original female character, being brought in, ’cause heaven knows they always fuck that up somehow, but she was AWESOME. Her backstory was all right, she was interesting, she was incredibly skillful and useful, and above all, she wasn’t annoying or extraneous! She fit right in as part of the already existing ensemble cast, and everyone knows I love good ensemble casts!

As a faithful K/S shipper, I’m still meh about Spock/Uhura, although I do see how they would work as a couple (it helps that I love Uhura). I just wish it weren’t so! Kirk and Spock have so much chemistry together! As soon as they stepped into the turbolift together, the air felt charged! I really think they should have made Kirk bisexual if they were going to switch up a main character’s sexual orientation instead of making Sulu gay with an existing partner and daughter. It’s sweet, but I want to see Sulu picking up chicks in his chivalrous, dramatic manner and making them swoon! Seeing him settled down as a family man this early on feels like part of his character has been altered. It’ll take some getting used to. I also focused a lot on Chekov whenever he was on-screen, because this is the last time I’ll see Anton Yelchin in this role! It’s so sad what happened to him. I’ll never get over it. I’ll bring it up all the time in the future, when I’m forcing my nieces/nephews to watch the Trek series/movies with me.

The best thing about Beyond being good is that it reaffirms my undying belief that Trek will live on for the enjoyment and benefit of a new generation. Most of the people my friend and I met when we were at the convention in Vegas last year were older than us, although many did bring their children. Everyone we met was cool, but I hope that the continuance of Trek as a mainstream franchise, in the form of the upcoming Discovery, will mean that I have many more people to fangirl with over the next few years, including those in my own age group, which is apparently the majority age group at the Star Wars conventions.


P. Pufferfish works another day

What happened today: Arrived early to work (shock of the century). Boss was nowhere to be seen. Turns out she’s out interviewing potential new employees. If only she could’ve been out last week, when I ran in 6 minutes late due to unexpected traffic. Still not sure if she saw me (she probably did), and I’m already at my max number of tardies for the year, so this time next week, I might be out of a job. I did apply for another job last night (not just because I think I’m going to be fired) that I really want, so I hope I get an interview. Sibling and coworkers think I’m being overdramatic as usual. Perhaps. I like to be as negative as possible when it comes to my own life in order to avoid being blindsided. I do love my current job (location, coworkers, boss, everything), and being fired would make things very inconvenient, so deities, please let me stay. *Clasps hands*

crytoheavenOver the weekend, I finished Cry To Heaven, a lesser-known novel by Anne Rice that I found randomly on a list somewhere. Boy, was it something different! As a (very open-minded) fan of The Vampire Chronicles, I thought I was ready for anything Anne Rice threw at me. Sex? Gay sex? Promiscuity? Obsession? Bring it on! Was still bewildered as fuck by some of the scenes in the book. The first fourth of it was pretty calm, pretty interesting. Two boys, Guido and Tonio, “narrate” the story (it uses 3rd-person POV). Guido is a castrato, sold into the life by his family. He does very well for himself up until he hits puberty, when his voice changes and his chances of becoming a world-famous singer vanish. Tonio is the heir to the wealthy, powerful Treschi family of Venice. His mom is decades younger than his dad. She’s a gifted musician/singer, but she suffers from depression and spends most of her time sleeping, drinking, and neglecting Tonio (unhappy mothers– seems to be a thing with Anne Rice’s books). The only time she hangs out with him is when they’re practicing music, which he also excels at. In fact, the only escape these two have from their isolation and misery is music. Teenaged Tonio starts roaming the city with some musician friends, singing for the masses and sleeping with a barmaid. He starts to really garner attention and this is where all the trouble starts! The reveals in the earlier parts of the book are predictable and Guido is all scowly while Tonio is understandably timid and unbearably dutiful/dull, and thus, I wasn’t super into the story until the second chunk of it, when the two characters actually meet (it was a predictable meeting with a predictable outcome, but that’s when the story starts getting better). I won’t say anymore about the plot, other than that I liked seeing believable character development and growth on the part of Tonio. He changes as a result of his experiences, but he still remains essentially himself. As usual, Anne Rice does an excellent job of bringing the world of singers/performers/musicians/artists to life. The protagonists and many of the supporting cast are linked together by their passion for their work, whether it’s songwriting, singing, or painting (I have an addictive personality, and I totally get it), and for one another (this, I don’t get as much, because like Lestat, Tonio falls in love every other chapter or something).

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads because I liked it (I’m also an easy grader), especially the middle chunk of it. I also have to add that I downloaded the ebook from my library/workplace’s Overdrive collection, which gave me more incentive to read faster, since it forces you to renew/return the book after one week. Speaking of the library,

during my commute today, I continued listening to The Golden Compass audiobook I borrowed. I’m 2/3 of the way through, and it’s so much better this time around! The audiobook cast is also great. I originally read this trilogy for class years ago. I was the same age as Lyra then, and I thought she was sullen, obnoxious, and disrespectful. Listening to it again in my twenties, I think she’s hilarious. She’s quick-witted and gutsy, way more capable than I was when I was her age. I’ve  recently “reread” several books I read as a child/teenager, and it’s fascinating how one’s perspective/opinion changes with age. I’m definitely going to get the rest of the trilogy on audiobook.

During dinner, I ate leftover mostocioli and drank a glass of Sterling Vintner merlot, 2013 (delicious). Then I ate some lemon thin Oreos and continued drinking the merlot (not so delicious– can you ever pair Oreos with wine?). I also finished watching ChristopherOdd’s walkthrough for We Happy Few on Youtube. It’s an early access version, so it cuts off abruptly, but his walkthrough, and SplatterCatGaming’s, have provided me and the sib with our (sometimes laugh-out-loud) dinnertime entertainment for the past week. We’re considering buying the game when it comes out.

After dinner, I took my customary nighttime walk while listening to ep. 1 of Alice Isn’t Dead (a new-ish podcast from the Night Vale people). It was brilliant! The episodes are narrated by a female truck driver (I have never seen a female truck driver in my life, so this is a big deal here) who is delivering deodorant and searching for her missing wife, Alice. It starts out pretty normal. She’s driving on the interstate. She thinks about her wife. She goes to a diner. She sees a monstrous-looking fellow diner. She watches the monstrous-looking fellow diner eat someone in the parking lot and drives away in fear. It’s crazy, and I’m into it already! I saw (did not read) an article this morning about getting more people to read with serialized fiction. Looks like we’re going back in time by a couple hundred years. Wasn’t Count of Monte Cristo released in chunks in a weekly publication? And with the new podcast obsession, it’s like radio plays never left. Am I complaining? Nope. I am thrilled. I love storytelling through different mediums (the way Overwatch is doing with their game/trailers/comics).

Right now, I’m going to go back to The Raven King. I actually pre-ordered the book, but didn’t get it until halfway through finals week, so I put off reading it “until after finals”. Then my typical “can’t let go of fictional characters” mindset (see Downton Abbey, which I finally finished two weeks ago after much internal strife) kicked in and I ended up not picking it up again until 3 AM on Saturday night. I read through most of Sunday, but ended up going out with a friend, so I still have about 80 pages left to go. But do I want to finish? Not really. Maggie Stiefvater created such amazing characters! Where will I ever find such amazing YA characters again?

I’ll keep you posted here.