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01 March 2017 @ 01:57 pm

Picoreview: Logan: worth going to in the middle of the night, which I did. :)

(I had to, see, or I wasn’t gonna get to see it until THURSDAY, and that would be just AWFUL. So I got a 10:30pm ticket for last night (I guess they can get away with it because it ends on opening day that way), and took a nap yesterday evening, thus ensuring I didn’t WANT to get up and go to a movie, but I’d bought the ticket and so up I got and off I went to a full movie theatre with a couple hundred guys and a dozen women in it.)

Logan is easily the best Wolverine movie there’s been, and probably the best X-Men movie (comparing it to X2 is a comparison of apples and oranges, so I won’t). It’s not as fun a romp as Days of Future Past, but it also doesn’t fall apart at the seams if you think about it at all. And, of course, it’s not supposed to be a romp. Its vibe, as billed, *is* more of a Western than anything else, although it’s definitely in that rare category of Superhero Westerns. :)

Anyway, I don’t want to spoil ANY of it, so all I’m going to say is that Jackman and Stewart were great and Dafne Keen is FREAKING AMAZING and if she is not given the part of Wolverine/X23 in future films it will be a friggin’ *travesty*.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

28 February 2017 @ 10:03 pm

If you’ll recall, I confessed to many indulgences last week, some of which were foods I know don’t agree with my digestive system and which I expected to pay for having eaten.

I paid in spades tonight, not only in the expected manner (ie, a gas attack), but, because it came upon me immediately after dinner, in way of expelling the incredibly good seafood fettucini my husband had so kindly made for me because I love it and don’t get to have it often.

It was not as good coming up as it had been going down, although all its components were easily distinguishable both on my palate and in the bucket.

This was a greater penalty than I had intended to pay for my popcorn and egg salad, and I am contemplating the possibility that popcorn is Just Not Worth It. (But dammit, I like it so much. *sigh*)

Anyway, gastronomical distress aside, I may have turned a corner in the sugar wars. It’s been a few days now since I’ve been able to dig up any interest in, say, cookies. I consider them and I’m just like “eh, nah,” which at…what, like 23 days into this? Is about right, given they say rewiring habits doesn’t start to settle in until you’ve been doing the new practice at least 3 weeks.

Oh, and despite last week’s indulgences, I was down about half a pound on weigh-in day, which, given that the above gastronomical distress was no doubt in place and building at the time, felt pretty successful.

Anyway, I’m having a cup of hot tea to rehydrate & ward off the chills from this evening’s adventure, and going to bed.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

26 February 2017 @ 08:43 pm

Tonight marks three weeks of this sugar wars bullshit and I feel that it’s all bullshit and pointless and annoying and why should I be doing this and screw it all anyway.

Despite that, I had oatmeal and tea for my evening snack instead of cookies and milk, so apparently I haven’t actually given up on myself. Tomorrow (or Tuesday, or possibly Thursday, given how much popcorn I’ve eaten recently & what it tends to do to my digestive system) is weigh-in day. Perhaps I’ll be rewarded for my persistence, although the past week was pretty loose on the whole stricture of the thing and I got very little exercise, so who knows. OTOH I’ve kept counting calories, which is at least as hard for me to do consistently as staying off mother-frelling sugar.

Anyway, IDK. I’ve gone and made some bold food purchases, like dried blueberries for my oatmeal (I may someday work up to fresh ones, but this is not that day. I just don’t like them very much.) and SABLE grapes which I’ve never tried, and…a couple other things I can’t remember right now. Oh, cherries. I like cherries. (Especially Brach’s chocolate cove…wait…)

The truth is I’m not really at a stage of trying to Improve My Diet beyond cutting most sugar, because one thing at a freaking time. What I need to do in the relatively near future is start pre-filling my food log, because I am very, very lazy and if my food log says “10 cherries” or “2 small oranges” I’m actually more likely to eat those things when I’m hungry than find something else and have to change what I put in ahead of time. But again, one thing at a time, so if I don’t get around to doing that for another couple weeks, whatever. That’s fine. I can be increasingly (or more to the point, decreasingly) awesome later. :p

Ted’s going to make me more potato-leek soup tomorrow. He made some last week and it was so good I coulda cried. So good.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

24 February 2017 @ 09:38 pm

and they were GOOD.

I semi-invented a chocolate chip peanut butter cookie recipe that’s almost pretty decent. Well, I mean, it is decent. It’s not quite what I’m going for, not yet, so I’ll have to give it another go, but not for a while. I actually feel (tonight, at least, god knows tomorrow is another day) that the craving, which was as much for the baking process as the eating cookies, has been satisfied. Baking makes me feel better.

I also managed to walk 14K steps today, which didn’t negate the cookie indulgence but at least provided some balance. And I caught a Chansey! :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

24 February 2017 @ 08:57 pm

Saw my PT yesterday. My PT is lovely. We geeked out over being eager to see Logan. :) Anyway, I was (and am) feeling pretty emotionally wrecked, and asked her to take it a little easy on me.

Sure, she said. It must be the weather, she said; her first three clients that morning had cried, she said. Gawd.

Anyway, she did take it easy on me, and said, post-work, that I was really a lot looser overall and that she was totally justified in going easier on me. That was kind of unexpected, really, but nice to hear. And there were places, especially on my hips, where she was still definitely doing enough work to get the FLIBBA FLUBBA WUBBA muscle shudder (which my massage therapist friend E tells me is technially “fasciculation” or something like that, not FLIBBA FLUBBA WUBBA) going, but without nearly the level of OH GOD BREATHE THROUGH IT that previous sessions have held. So that’s probably good.

I’ve got one more next week and then I’m out of money on my magic gift certificate card, so we’ll see after that. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

23 February 2017 @ 09:47 pm

It’s amazing how a couple of weeks of eating, if not exactly decently, at least non-sugarly, has flattened my enthusiasm for eating poorly. I ate many things I shouldn’t have today, one of which I actually regretted in straight up “no, I shouldn’t have eaten that,” way and one of which I thought was going to be a lot better than it was (a ham and egg crepe, which sounds good, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t.).

I also have a significantly smaller appetite than I did 2.5 weeks ago. So this is probably doing some good.

Still sucks, though.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

22 February 2017 @ 04:34 pm

I’m pretty sure I’ve gone over to the dark side. I’m looking at my TBR shelf and thinking “the only way I’m going to read half of these is if I get the ebook.” My last…several…book purchases have been e-books, with the exception of one that’s on its way that wasn’t available to me in e-book (and which I have the first book in print and signed), and I’ve replaced a few with e-books at this point. And there are several more on this list that, realistically, if I’m gonna read them, it’ll be by replacing them in e-format.

I’m starting, honestly, to have the horrible feeling that my TBR shelf is more of a Never TBR Shelf. I’m finding that if I don’t read something pretty much immediately on purchase, it goes on the shelf and becomes…well, something of a burden, at this stage. And the lovely thing about the e-books is I can put together a wishlist and go buy something from it when I have a moment to read, and then bam, I’m reading it and all is copacetic. Furthermore, if there’s a sequel available, I then tend to buy them up on e-book and read them while my enthusiasm is still hot. So…yeah. I think I’ve gone to the dark side.

Last year the goal was to read all the books on the TBR shelf and anything left at the end of the year was going to the used bookstore unread, but last year sucked and I’m not holding myself to that line. I may give it another go this year, especially as I’m starting to realize an awful lot of the books on these shelves aren’t actually *mine*. I should, frankly, be able to get through the 20 or so fiction books on my physical shelf without straining myself too much this year.

The non-fiction shelf needs some active effort as well as updating. I suspect there, as well, that e-books would be read more quickly, but I’d…have to really change my habits to buy history books in e-format, so I’ll just try to work with what I’ve got right now. (Mneh. I see I could replace Ben Wilson’s DECENCY & DISORDER with an e-book, which is…extremely tempting, because a significant part of the reason I haven’t continued reading that is it’s a big fat book with small leding and margins which makes it physically difficult to read. And that’s not just because my eyes are getting older, as I’ve had the book for several years now and it’s only in the past year my focus point has changed! It’s just not a well designed book….)

I need to make a graphic novels list, too, just to remind myself there’s stuff I haven’t yet read.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

21 February 2017 @ 08:46 pm

All I want out of life is a plate of chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.

I don’t even *like* chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. I find them a perpetual disappointment. But I desperately want some.

This isn’t getting any easier. It’s not actually that it’s hard, it’s that it makes me grumpy, at least in part because I find baking soothing and these troubled times we’re living in require some real fucking soothment. But I’ve met me, and if I bake cookies, there’s no way I’ll stop eating at two. So, fuck.

I’ve lost another couple pounds, which, rather than being an inspiration, is more of a “WELL SEE THIS ISN’T THAT GODDAMN HARD I COULD JUST HAVE SOME GODDAMN COOKIES IT’D BE FINE” and it makes me cranky to know that isn’t true.

(Sorry, I’m in a terrible mood. The government’s a time bomb and I hate the world right now and I want some goddamn cookies.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

21 February 2017 @ 04:11 pm

I *have* others of Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s books (one may even be signed), but I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of them because my TBR shelf is a disaster, and then the book club I nominally go to here was reading THE TIGER & THE WOLF so I got it and started it and no that’s not true

I played it cagey, ladies and gentlemen. I used the preview option on my Kobo and got THAT, and it suggested I had like 80 pages of preview to read and I was like “awesome” and I got to like page 39 and SUDDENLY THERE WAS NO MORE BOOK

well, THAT was awful, so I immediately bought the book and read the rest of it!

Honestly, by page 40 I was already in despair over the intelligence and originality of the worldbuilding, and by page 100 I’d concluded I should probably never try to write anything epic again because I was just never going to come up with something as cool and well constructed and fresh as this and I needed a pit with a pony to console myself.

In Tchaikovsky’s world, true people have animal forms and souls as well as their human forms and souls. Maniye, daughter of the Tiger *and* the Wolf, is supposed to choose between her two animal souls, while Asmander, conflicted son of another tribe, comes to ask the Wolf clan for assistance from their legendary warriors. Hijinks, to summarize wildly, ensue.

The plot is, I’m afraid, literally circular. There are a lot of chases around the top of the world where the Wolf tribe rules. There are a lot of captures and escapes. And on one level that’s all that happens, and I admit by the third or forth iteration I had grown a little weary of it. There were Big Plot Twists that I predicted very early compared to their eventual reveals, although I’m not certain they were so much Obviously Telegraphed as I’m just pretty good at figuring those out.

But despite those flaws, the book really did keep me going. I was drawn into the relationships, which grew increasingly complex as the book went on. As is not uncommon in epic fantasy (for me, at least), the secondary characters were my favourites, but I was absolutely invested in Maniye’s journey, which I thought was a really solid coming of age story. In fact, I found out htree days after finishing THE TIGER AND THE WOLF that its sequel, THE BEAR AND THE SERPENT, was coming out this month, and I promptly went and broke my Very Important Unbreakable Rule about not buying e-books that cost more than €9.99, because, uh, I wanted the next book, and that Very Important Unbreakable Rule only applies when I want it to. :)

(I have no idea what the book club thought of the book, though, because although I finished it in time, there was a political rally in Dublin the night of the book club, and since I was in Dublin that day, anyway, well… :))

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

20 February 2017 @ 04:34 pm

Picoreview: Triple xXx / Return of Xander Cage: daft but fun.

I went to Return of Xander Cage a couple weeks ago and sort of squinted at it, because I hadn’t seen Triple xXx for years but my vague feeling was that it had been an spy/action flick that lived within the bounds of extreme possibility, in much the same way that The Fast and the Furious was faintly realistic, but Xander Cage was like skipping from FF1 directly to FF6, dispensing with the build-up and just moving from vaguely realistic to total absurdity.

Well, I just rewatched Triple xXx and I am totally correct.

xXx is the better movie for a handful of reasons, including the fact that it’s not constantly trying to shoehorn callbacks to itself in it. I mean, yes, I wanted to see Xander’s ridiculous fur coat again, but not on a rich girl’s London rooftop, which is neither cold nor absurd enough to excuse that excessive coat. (The entire London scene, in fact, would have been better excised.)

Xander Cage also suffers badly from an interminable “getting the gang back together” sequence, which is particularly dire since we have, of course, never seen any of the gang before so they all have to be established. It goes on for roughly 3 hours, and is only forgiveable because it introduces Ruby Rose, who is unearthly hot. xXx‘s annoying geek boy, about whom I had entirely forgotten, is replaced by an equally annoying geek girl, which is one of the many things I give the movie credit for: its gender parity is pretty good.

I literally do not remember the plot of Xander Cage. To be fair, I’m not sure I remembered the plot of xXx, either, but it had at least been several years since I’d last seen xXx and it’s been three weeks since I’ve seen Xander Cage. Oh, wait, now that I’m typing this I’ve developed a vague recollection of the plot, but obviously it didn’t make a great impression. It was the same kind of thing as xXx, now that it’s coming back to me, except ratcheted up to 9. (I’d say 11, but it’s made over $300m worldwide on an $85m budget and I expect there’ll be another one, so I need to give it some room to turn the absurdity up another few notches.)

I did think, more than once, that unlike xXx, Xander Cage had an overt political agenda. xXx is anti-establishment in that the hero’s basically a criminal, but Xander Cage was more out there saying it’s our duty to question our governments and not to obey unjust laws. If it was still in the theatres I’d go see it again before posting this to make sure I’m remembering that right, but I’m pretty sure I am. It was…not a message I expected from an explosions and extreme stunts popcorn flick.

Anyway, I liked Xander Cage pretty well, but it really was too much of a mess trying to (re)establish itself as a F&F type movie. Having gotten it all set up, though, hopefully another one wouldn’t have those problems. (Of course, I felt that way about the new Ghostbusters, too, and that appears to be going a big shiny nowhere, so meh.)

And on the third hand apparently Vin Diesel spent an entire Xander Cage promo interview making a Brazillian reporter horribly uncomfortable by doing what he probably thought was charming, over-the-top flirting and which she…did not…so I’m pretty disappointed in him. This is the first time (that I’ve heard of, at least) he’s done something like this, and I hope like hell he’s recognized he was not behaving well and learned that it’s only fun if everybody is enjoying themselves, because I don’t want to have to stop going to his movies.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)