mer: (Disaster (Jayne))
I like this show. It's amusing, and I identify strongly with Phil and Cam. It also makes my husband reliably clutch his gut and guffaw once per episode, usually during a Luke one-liner, and that alone is worth watching the show, because it's funny to watch Dann watch it.

I like the notion that it's trying to illustrate more than the traditional nuclear family as we've seen it: A gay couple! A second marriage! An interracial/cross-cultural families! Loving your stepkids! Adoption!

Some of the things they do right, they do SO right. Example: Jay and Manny's relationship feels very real to me, as a stepmother. It's occasionally awkward, hesitant, over-thought. You want to do your best for this kid that has no reason to love you, so you don't always push things the way you would with your own children--and honestly, that's perhaps for your own betterment.

But the thing that 100% throws me out of it is that I have a hard time identifying with the women, because none of them work outside the home.

Sure, it makes sense that Gloria doesn't work--she's the trophy wife of a semi-retired and successful businessman. Now, just to be clear, her character is much more complex than "trophy wife," but her role is not, at least, not in the domestic sphere. She does cook, but I never see her cleaning (do I?), which means there's help. Which I think they refer to a lot--isn't that who dyed Jay's white robe pink recently? I confess to not being super-attentive to this fact. Anyway, I appreciate that Gloria has other roles, too: immigrant, mother, and bad-ass. I'll table sex object for now, especially since they've both backed off and examined Phil's weird little thing for her, which was seriously the one thing I hated about the show in the first season. All things considered, we know Gloria has worked, and worked hard, in the past; that she came from little; and she is certainly relishing her current role. Fair cop.

But does it make sense for Claire not to have a job? Phil is in real estate, and with the recent crises, it might behoove Claire to go to work. But let's leave the oddities of TV finances aside and consider that Claire is competetive, ambitious, and driven, and her youngest child is 12 or 13. How has she not combusted from being at home all this time? Her recent run at City Council or whatever is very late-arriving from that perspective.

So Gloria makes sense; Claire doesn't. The third stay-at-home parent on the show is not a woman, but let's take a look anyway. Cam seems reasonable in that role--no great sense of drive, and has a child at the age that most supports staying home. One suspects that in the working world, Cam would not be a high earner, where his wages might be a wash with the cost of daycare for their daughter. Where money and temperament align, it makes sense. Still doesn't make sense for Claire, though.

I appreciate that the show might be trying to show three families each with a stay-at-home parent. But let's get real. We have two very lightly-worked fathers on the show, as well. Jay is semi-retired. I think we've seen him at work... once? Twice? And how much do we think Phil really works? Couple hours away from home a day? Maybe four? I'm not saying a real realtor, I'm saying how Phil is portrayed on the show.

Basically, Mitch is the only one we see coming and going from work in a reliable fashion. I actually believe he's gone for 8, 9 hours a day--low for a lawyer, but still.

Taking a peek at the younger generation, we have two female characters who are getting very close to breaking out in the world on their own. Haley and Alex are both expected to go to college and get jobs. It is, in fact, a constant bone of contention with Haley that she might not get into a good college, and then OMG what will she do??? There's a weird upper middle class paranoia about this plotline, wherein it is not acceptable for her to consider something like apprenticing with her dad, since real estate doesn't require college. There's a long tradition of boys being brought into the family business... Does this not occur to anyone because Haley's a girl?

But more to the point, with no role models of working women in her life, why are they beating it into her that she has to go to college, has to use college to get a good job? Why has she never shot back a snarky comment about her mom's usage of her college degree? I'm not saying she would be right to do so, but why wouldn't that occur to her as distinctly hypocritical of her parents--teenagers being so finely tuned to the hypocracy of their elders?

Oh, sure, there are more layers to this. For one thing, they don't want her to waste her potential--she has the ability to do more, if she wanted. They don't want her to feel limited by her choices. They have no faith in her past boyfriend picks to think that they might be good wage earners if she wanted to do the stay-at-home mom route. I get it. It's complicated.

But I have conversations all the time with women Claire's age about working or not working, and it never, ever seems to come up in the show. And you can't say that this show is a comedy, it doesn't address stuff like this, because it does.

But only when it thinks of it.

PS I stand corrected in the comments by [ profile] defectivewookie's wife. Claire had a hospitality-industry job of some sort before kids, and her career ambitions were addressed in an episode. One I totally don't remember, but hey. The upshot is still that it's rarely addressed... and it still feels highly unrealistic to see 3 single-income families wherein budgets don't even seem to come into play, in a show that otherwise does a reasonably good job portraying diversity in modern families.
mer: (Default)
Thirty days of TV? No. But I want to answer, because it's good stuff to do during my breaks from editing, besides reading The Fire in Fiction.

Cut because we care. )


Jun. 28th, 2010 04:23 pm
mer: (Doctor Who - 9 & Rose)
I wish there were a way to grab all of one sort of tag from across one's friendslist.

In other words, I have finally moved on to watching the new season of Doctor Who, and want to know why I should be bonding with Eleven.

Because I'm not bonding. But it seriously took me about eight episodes to bond with Ten (though I stopped wailing about wanting Nine back somewhere around the third ep). And by the end, I loved Ten as much as I loved Nine (if not much more, but hey). I'm hoping that happens here, too...

Anyway, if you feel passionately about Eleven (either direction), and want me to understand why, if you drop me a comment with your Who tags, I'll loff you forever. Or at least a good long while.
mer: (Default)
The new Scrubs has really grown on me, and it's in large part due to the character of Cole, who I thought I hated at first, but then does stuff like this:

(play from 1:58 to about 2:30. Just about the best 32 seconds of my week, at one point.)

Oh, it's still problematic--what's with replacing all your diverse cast with skinny blonde chicks?--but once they got Braff hustled off to retirement, it got loads better. Strangely enough.

It's not the same show, but. Re-see above clip!
mer: (Books (carriage steps))
-Where did I put that page of notes on Victorian madness and insane asylums? REALLY. It's been days since I started looking for it.

-Is it necessary to point out random connections when I talk to people on the phone? "Hey, my name is Merrie, too!" or (today, on the phone with an ILL staff member at Northern Illinois University) "Do you know [ profile] rarelylynne? Because I do!"

-Am I overdrying my skin by taking too hot showers, or is it okay because I used that stinky, oily body scrub from Aveda that was in my Christmas stocking?

-Don't put that stinky, oily body rub in your Christmas stocking next year.

-Possibly also, stuffing your own stocking isn't really that fun, but I don't want to miss out on the cool Sharpies I buy for everyone else. Conundrum!

-Here's a page of notes on what constitutes a "proper English education": dress, conversational subjects, musical instruments, singing, dancing, speaking French. Possibly also: needlework, the getting up of fine linen and ironing. In addition to that, Jane Eyre was able to teach history, geography, and the use of a globe, plus grammar and writing. On my notescrap, I have also written "maybe arithmetic" but I don't know where I got that from. Most of the rest of the information came from Understanding Jane Eyre: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents. Which I need to check out from the library again. Because I did not take adequate enough notes on insane asylums.

-The Herbalist's Apprentice, as a spoken phrase, is occasionally too easy to trip over. You have to jump in, and elide the sibilants or die trying.

-I am rereading some of Anne McCaffrey's romances with a more critical eye to the gender politics. And I wanted to wash myself. And I was actually doing the re-reading in the bathtub, so you see how bad that is. (FOR EXAMPLE: "He clipped one warm, strong-fingered hand under my elbow, and I have never been omre conscious of a square inch of my own flesh than that moment. As if he sensed my reaction, he removed his hand and gave me a quick searching look. 'It's a cup of coffee, Miss Dunn, not an invitation to rape!'" UHM, DUDE, DID YOU JUST CASUALLY BRING UP RAPE (as in you-and-me-time) WHILE TRYING TO INVITE ME FOR COFFEE? This conversation is OVER.)

-On the other hand, I thought this book was just lovely when I was younger, and thus I have faith that The Kids These Days are going to come through the Twilight-era just fine.

-I *seriously* could not love Cougar Town and Community more. Cougar Town *is* Scrubs, reborn without daydreams and internal monologue. The cast interactions have gelled so fantastically that it reads like a sitcom that's been on the air for years. Community is a bit more self-aware and absurd, but it's very emotionally truthful. Between those two shows and Castle, I could get by with watching only shows that start with the letter C, if I had to. (But I would be sad to miss Tabatha's Salon Takeover, which is mine and Kayla's new thing, because we love competent women who make people cry.)

-HEY! I just found my old collection of fortune cookies. (My current ones are: "Adventure can be real happiness" and "Use your instincts now." My old collection includes "Education is the movement from darkness to light." (I wrote beneath that one: "So is phototropism."))

-And THAT is a picture of the Bronte parsonage in snow. *grab* Need that for my Jane Elliott collage.

-I purchased STORY by Robert McKee on, and started listening to it today. And promptly turned it off, after screaming obscenities at it. Mr. McKee says that because we are all horrible, cynical people with eroded values who live and breathe by the code of relativism, that there has been an erosion of story. We can't get good stories from Hollywood because we don't have the morals to appreciate story. We can't tell good stories because we can't impart the values that people need to know.


Did I mention I was SCREAMING obscenities at my radio after this? Because, between Unitarian Universalism, anthropology, and a particular preference for the protection of civil liberties, I am, yes, deeply relativist in my moral world view. Cultural relativism, mainly--as long as it doesn't impede on individual human rights. Informed consent, mutual consent, and consent in general--as long as there's that, people should be allowed do what they need to do, and I should not be allowed to stop them. To me, that is the core of my value system, and my ethics system. (I think library-ness comes in there, too--the ALA Code of Ethics comes in there, too; I haven't worked in libraries for 15 years without that stuff seeping in.)

I promise you, my being what I believe to be a reasonable human being does NOT impede my ability to deal in story. Either to hear it or to tell it.


-Anger aside, I am going to a) start cleaning the basement tomorrow; b) buy a new heat register at the hardware store so we can stop baking our plants on the plant stand; c) schedule a massage.

-And d) finish finishing my damn book

-I got more and more anxious while thinking about going back to my new doctor, the one who was so terribly dismissive of my heel pain, and on top of that, when I asked to have a pelvic exam, basically said, "Why would you want one of those?" Like, dude. You're a doctor. AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE TELLING ME TO GET ONE? And also, she didn't care about any of my other bloodwork, even though my good cholesterol is too low, and other things. All she cared about was my vitamin D. So anyway, I got a recommendation from the fabulous [ profile] redmomoko, and I'm going to go see her doctor. But not until May. Because that's how far out they're scheduling her. WHATEVER. NEW DOCTOR, YAY. Old doctor? NOT A GOCTOR! (tip of the hat to [ profile] porphyrin and [ profile] mrissa and Robin, there.)
mer: (Alice in Wonderland)
Public Domain Curator at Anthology Builder

Okay, Nancy Fulda announced this yesterday, so I will share it here now, too: I'm the new (and first) Public Domain Curator for Anthology Builder.

I've loved Anthology Builder since the moment I first heard of the concept, and have been happily shuttling my stories over there in exchange for the glee of building custom anthologies (and, of course, for my share of the 10%(ish) author royalties that get split amongst each anthology's authors).

I'll be selecting public domain works to include on the site, and building anthologies, and generally having a good old time over there. And if there's an older story you've been hoping to find on the site, do let me know--I suspect Nancy will build me a suggestion form some day, but until then, I still have email and whatnot.

Have I finally found a hobby?

On a more mundane plane, I got my birthday present from my husband last night, which is a pretty sweet little photo scanner that also does negative and slide scanning. So, all my pre-digital photographic adventures will be coming to a Flickr account near you... slowly, of course. I scanned three strips o' negative last night, and only uploaded three pictures of Poitiers. I'm... pondering color correction and things like that. From a less useful angle, I'm also pondering the interesting textures from film that seem missing from digital--am I crazy? Am I sane? Who knows. And finally, I'm pondering the awesomeness that will be the uploading of all my college photography efforts. Oh, my secret artsyfartsyness, you will soon be revealed to all.

The question after THAT, of course, is... what if I did make my own dark room and develop my own negatives again? I could (theoretically) avoid the expenses of paper and enlargers by skipping that and just developing film to scan, and thus live in some crazy hybrid film/digital world. I'm not sure what the value would be, but I do keep saying that I need a hobby. This would actually be less expensive than replacing my film SLRs with digital, and I could explore that texture stuff I've been pondering. And plus... Ansel Adams wrote a whole damn book about negatives. There's something there. ;)

Novel rewrite

I'm having some very circular thoughts. There is a tiny but important piece of story logic that is missing from my novel, and my agent has offered suggestions--good ones--to nudge me into the right direction, and she's certainly right that I need to address it, but my brain is just running full-tilt around the mulberry bush and never finding the damn weasel.

If this were my dayjob, I'd send Outlook invites to a meeting and make people brainstorm with me on large pieces of paper.

Are writers allowed to do that?

Actually, I sort of think I need to ask [ profile] iuliamentis and [ profile] vidensadastra to read the book and then get them very drunk and see what comes out of them. Unfortunately, they're not coming to Penguicon. Hrm. I may be jaunting off to Chicago sooner than I thought... Of course, the workshop is coming fast, and maybe I can pick the workshoppers' brains hard while I'm there.

The rest of the rewrite, I can handle easily. Most of it is very minor stuff that I have figured out how to solve with a sentence dropped in here, a paragraph there. There is one largeish (10,000 words) section that needs a thorough rewrite, pretty much ground up. But not bad, overall.

Agent hunt

I'm supposed to be done with agent hunting, right? And I technically am. Except that, while my first three queries yielded me an offer of representation--they also yielded two rejections. And hey, my response to my first rejection was to send out six more queries! And I've since gotten two rejections, and two requests for partials. And one of the partial requests came in the snail, and I have to snail back my regrets letter. And who knows what the last two responses will be? Anyway. I'm not done, in other words.

When I am fully, finally done--is there anyone out there agent-hunting (or about to be) who would find it useful for me to perform a post-mortem on the hunt? Or is that just... annoying?

Being Erica

Am I the only person watching this show? I really love it. I know it's already aired in Canada, and it's being aired on the semi-obscure Soap Network in the US, but for serious, it's a good show, it passes the Bechdel test all over the place, and to me, it reads like an excellent take down of chick lit. You have a quirky heroine who actually accepts that her choices have led her to where she is, and instead of Bridget Jonesing her way through life, tries to come to terms with her past, owns and apologizes for her mistakes, and otherwise recognizes that one's 30s are actually a pretty good time to grow the hell up. (Not that I don't love Bridget Jones; I'm just very weary of all that has come after it. Bigly weary.) Plus, there's a time travel component. Which is always going to sell me.

So. Yes? Am I the only one watching?
mer: (Default)
I'm tired, in a sort of dizzy way, which is probably because of the many stupid things I did today, like drinking Diet Pepsi after 7pm and not eating at all until about 4pm (except for three dried cherries) (which is something I have NOT done in years) and taking a super-long nap between 1 and 4. I also took two of the cats to the vet today, but that was loads earlier. Verdict: Mordred has gained a pound and a half. The other three cats have each lost half a pound this year. (whispering) I think I know where their pounds went.

Mordred, the big stupid baby, peed himself in the carrier. *sigh* Still, less stressful than Merlin removing several of his claws in frantic attempts to escape. I think, maybe we should consider a cloth carrier for Merlin. Definitely not for Pee-paws.

Anyway, I'm not in the mood to read, and certainly not to write, so I will inflict you with reports on my recent media consumptions.

First, Bones had a circus episode in which Booth and Brennan went undercover as a knife-throwing duo who called each other Wanda and Buck for half the episode, and then switched to being Russians. It was like crackfic. The very next episode was Hockey!Booth, and all I could think was tell me [ profile] dsudis knows about this. I haven't seen much of Bones this year because of our epic DVR/satellite failures, but I must also say, fake-OC-Ryan-lab-assistant makes me happy. And he plays hockey with Booth. I hope he becomes the Zak replacement.

Second, I watched the recent Wuthering Heights on Masterpiece... Oh, hey! This actually hasn't been released in the UK yet. Must be the first recent adaptation that hasn't been. Anyway, I've only read the book once, and it was years ago, but I thought that the adaptation did an excellent job sorting it all out. The framing story tenant-dude is gone, but that's absolutely no matter.

Everyone in the cast looked terribly familiar, but when I went through IMDB, I couldn't see why, except in two or three cases.

Heathcliff was well-characterized; I never saw why Cathy loved him in the book, but I could see it here. The actor who played him, Tom Hardy, looked grotesque and unattractive as Old Heathcliff, but as hopeful young Heathcliff, he actually sort of appealed to me. Impressive. And he was rough and rude and just as evil-yet-attractive as Heathcliff should be, and managed to be horrible and yet comprehensible and occasionally even sympathetic. (Sort of.) And Cathy and Catherine, and indeed, all the female characters, I thought, were very well=played, and well-written. Including Isabella, who has come across as a cipher in other productions, and maybe also the book.

Third: Dear Lost: I love you. Let us never fight again.

Fourth: Blades of Glory. Dann and I laughed stupid amounts. You did your job. But the universe/production companies involved need to stop forcing Will Ferrel's torso on me. It's not funny anymore. I keep just trying to figure out why he has an indentation on his right side, too high to be an appendectomy scar, and being vaguely annoyed that it's this joke again.

Finally, in terms of other media consumption, I've been listening to the audiobook of Breaking Dawn, since I kept being unable to open the book. And... it's not nearly as horrible as I've been led to believe from the hysteria. And yet, it's not... good. The foreshadowing and authorial intrusion is terribly heavy-handed. How can one, in good conscience, have your main character reassure the romantic rival that "this may all seem bad now, but I bet it's going to turn out good, and this is all happening for a reason--just stick around!" --almost literally what's said. Yikes.

If this were an epic piece of fanfiction, people would love it. There are callbacks and callbacks and callbacks to the previous books. And there is absolutely no new ground being broken, not in any meaningful way: I mean, there *is* the midichlorian move, when Carlisle starts counting everyone's chromosomes (humans have 23 pairs, vamps have... Oh, whatever. It's stupid). Anyway, the reason I say it's like fic is because there's lots of wedging things in to fit previous canon, and very little going on that makes this feel like it is its own book. Oh, Jacqueline Carey, you were so right when you said it's dangerous to give fans what they think they want.

That said, I think the backlash has been unduly harsh. No one reacted this badly when God Emperor of Dune came out. And I couldn't even get a hundred pages through that.

Hey, I think the caffeine wore off. I can go to bed. Yay!
mer: (Default)
...but why couldn't 9 show up and hang out with 10? Why couldn't we have a mini-season called Doctors Who and there could be squeeing and awesomeness for six glorious episodes? And bring Cap'n Jack, too. Just for funsies. Man. 9, 10, and Jack. That would be the BEST party.

There's probably some dumb paradox law that Timelords have to obey, but if I were 9 or 10, I'd say, fie on thee, rules, I'm the LAST effing Timelord, and I want to hang with myself, because myself is awesome.

More dumb questions as I think of them.

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