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Short stories, strippers and cookies

This week’s been fun. This week I have been –

Watching: Once Upon A Time

If I could be a fairy-tale character in this programme, I’d be someone who grants wishes in exchange for the things my heart most desires. Then I would demand The Evil Queen’s red, red lipstick, and the forest-y wallpaper the clever set designers used in her house (pic below). I’d also claim Emma Swann’s knee high, lace-up boots and her cool, yellow VW Beetle. Sheriff Graham’s beard (above) and Irish accent are also very pleasing, but I don’t think they’d suit me.

Reading: Creating Short Fiction, by Damon Knight.

Partly because it’s supposed to be amazing, partly because I want to try writing short stories once this novel is done, mostly because I am jealous of Emma who’s been selected to attend Clarion this summer. Not heard of Clarion? It’s a very cool, very prestigious writer’s workshop in San Diego with a ridiculously impressive lineage of tutors and students. Here’s the blurb –

Established in 1968, the Clarion Writers’ Workshop is the oldest workshop of its kind and is widely recognized as a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of fantasy and science fiction.

Damon Knight was one of Clarion’s co-founders, and so far the book is as good as I’d heard – very readable, with advice that works for stories of all length, not only short ones. Congrats Emma – I’m sure you’ll have a blast, and I look forward to reading the stories that come out of the workshops.

Laughing at: Jo’s letter’s to Hunger Games characters. I think the one to Finnick is my favourite, or maybe it’s her note to Rue? Read them and giggle.

Magic Mike 2012 Steven Soderbergh Channing Tatum Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer William Levy

Waiting Impatiently For: Magic Mike to be released. Steven Soderbergh directs a film about male strippers, featuring Joe Mangienello (a familiar face round here) and the gentlemen pictured above. Jaw-droppingly exciting news, yes? No word yet on a David Holmes soundtrack but that would make me even more excited. It’s not til July though. boo!

I haven’t seen Haywire yet (though I own and love the soundtrack), but that’s out on DVD next month so perhaps it will sate me in the meantime. Don’t think it has any strippers in it, though.

Gorging on Dark Chocolate & Sour Cherry Cookies. Mmm, yes. If I really was that wish-granting character from a fairytale, I’d demand a pack of these as payment as well. Every day.

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AdventThanksgiving: Finally, someone attractive in True Blood

true blood werewolf joe manganiello

So strong he can lift a man with each elbow

My Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea.

Sorry Eric fans, but the blond Nord never really did it for me. And I tried to like Bill but he’s just too blah for this Bowley. Jason Stackhouse? No thanks. He’ll always be Vinnie from Home & Away to me, forever overshadowed by Travis Nash. Ah, Travis…

Anyway, finally Season 3 provided a guy I could lust after. It’s not essential for my viewing pleasure, and I prefer the first two seasons in many ways, but having someone hunky to look forward to is good business sense and I’m glad the casting director finally gave me what I wanted. It’s easier to overlook patchy storylines or shambolic pacing when the sexy werewolf man might smoulder onto the screen any minute.

joe manganiello true blood werewolf

"It's a were thing. We run hot."

Not into guys? Despair not. If ladies were my thing I doubt I’d dig Sookie (too annoying; would look better than me in hot pants: not much with the book learnin’), but I could easily see myself as Evan Rachel Wood’s thrall, lounging around her Gatsby villa, playing board games and trying not to get blood on the chaise-lounge. Sookie’s cousin Hadley had the right idea there.

evan rachel-wood alexander starsgard sophie vampire queen eric northman true blood

Put it away, Eric, Sophies the one for me. '20s summer house style trumps dark 80s fang bar

 

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Advent Thanksgiving: Six reasons to love The Fades

fades montage armedbasterds tumblr

brilliant fades montage from armedbasterds tumblr

My Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea.

1. Buy Local

It was on the BBC and it was British. Not that I like programmes less when they are imports, but I do like them more when they are ‘local’ because then I get to be proud, and I get all the references (I forgave all of Torchwood’s dodgier moments when it was filmed in my hometown, because there was always a chance I’d see my mum in the background).

I was guilty of not expecting much of this because it was British, though – I’m not in the habit of associating the BBC with quality supernatural drama, regardless of Doctor Who. I gave The Fades a try because most of my Twitter stream kept mentioning it, and my Best Friend With Reliable Taste saw it and thought it would be my thing. He was right. Everyone was right. The Fades was a beautiful, clever, scary series, and when the DVD comes out I’m going to buy it and watch it all over again. Now that they’ve impressed me, I do hope the BBC capitalises on my good will and rolls out some new stuff that isn’t bollocks next year, too.

chris skins fades joseph dempsie2. Chris From Skins resurrected.

Albeit as an evil people eating thing. I still haven’t forgiven Skins for, um, for what is too spoilery to mention. And I hid behind my hands whenever the camera panned over to the underground zombie-egg sacs. But if someone had to climb out of a squirming zombie egg sac and eat people, I’m glad it was ChrisFromSkins. I’d missed him.

nardini fades daniella3. Anna from This Life

“The truth is, all this, it’s simple. Either the world will end, or we’ll stop him, or something stronger will come along that can…”

Daniella Nardini! As a gun toting priest with supernatural healing powers, who sicks up moths. Miles would not have approved.

4. Fade Into You

I like the concept of the fades, as a very urban spirit-zombie cross, skulking around roofs and desolate car parks. This pic is Spooky Natalie, the ghost girl who follows Paul around, either trying to befriend him or trying to kill him. It’s hard to be sure. Her disjointed, walk-0f-the-dead shuffle isn’t far removed from the slouching of living teens or nonchalant models, which is kinda charming.

I’m more comfy with charming than ‘argh! What was that!’ terrifying, or ‘zombie egg sac!’ gross, which there was also a lot of. Some bits I didn’t look at the screen for. I’m glad they were there, happy for the people who like that kind of stuff and don’t get much of it on tv – I’m a wuss, that’s all.

jay fades sophie wu

5. Jay. Swoon.

I have such a girl-crush on Jay. No wonder Paul’s in love with her. Check out his geek-romance confession (thanks to Bleeding Cool for the transcript)

Paul: Me and Mac discussed who our ideal girl was the other days. We decided Queen Amidala crossed with Marion Ravenwood, Princess Airwin, Ororo Monroe or Storm as she’s commonly known, George Lucas

Jay: George Lucas?

Paul: Well the sex wouldn’t be up to much but the pillow talk would be amazing. We also had Alan Moore on the list but we decided his beard too big. Anyway, my point, is, was, is, when we were discussing our female mashup, there was only one girl on… in, my mind. You.

Jay: I’m quite drunk.

Paul: And I say this because should I ever disappear I’d want you to know. I’d want you to know, and now you do.

Jay: Come on, let’s go find somewhere private.

Paul: Private… why?

Jay: Private is a euphemism. I’m making a euphemism. I don’t know who Alan Moore is and you don’t know what going somewhere private means., I guess that makes us somewhat even.

Paul: You don’t know who Alan Moore is?

6. The pop culture references

Paul: Would you say everything you’ve ever learnt about was from films, Mac?

Mac: No. Television been doing some important work for me recently. And then there’s the whole complicated – nay, thorny – issue of internet pornography…

The Alan Moore conversation is just one of the pop culture references that Paul and Mac’s dialogue is loaded with. Every one of them made me grin, especially the mention of Susan Cooper in episode one. I re-read The Dark Is Rising this year, and my love for her is still strong.

Paul: I’m thinkin’ Pratchett. If I could get anyone to write my life story… Pratchett.

Mac: Hey, you’re walking very quickly…

Paul: No, okay. Um, a mix. Pratchett’s wit, definitely. Alan Moore’s soul, and um… Susan Cooper’s plotting.

Mac: Clive Lewis’ heroism, and Tolkien’s slightly twisted sexuality.

Paul: Tolkien had a twisted sexuality?

Mac: The Eye of Mordor. The man was clearly petrified of vaginas.

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Advent Thanksgiving: Lost Girl

lost girl tv show

My Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea..

I’m going to kick off with ‘Lost Girl‘. The first series ended last Thursday (in the UK), which means I have nothing to watch tonight. Pout. Missing a tv programme is a sure sign it’s doing something right.

The show is not without flaws. It is very light, and there are often gaps or contradictions in the narrative. Characters and plotlines get dropped without notice or explanation, and even at its climax, last week’s season finale, there was hardly any tension. But I don’t care. It’s actually a welcome change to watch something that doesn’t wrench my heart and/or guts every week. Buffy broke my heart every few episodes, I rarely got through an episode of Walking Dead‘s first season without weeping, and Lost chewed me up and spat me out with no regard for my sanity. Even Eureka, previously my go-to tv for soft sci-fi storylines, stressed me out this season. Whereas Lost Girl just makes me happy.

What’s that? There’s something weird happening, beyond human ken? Does something appear to be eating people? Worry not. Let Bo, slinky succubus turned P.I., help you out. I’m sure that her wise-cracking, uber-kohled sidekick Kenzi will assist, and if they get in trouble her brooding, sexy-as-hell werewolf policeman lover is sure to help them out. 45 minutes later, case solved, all is well in fae-land, and I am struck down once more with raging lust for Dyson, the aforementioned werewolf-policeman.Though I dismissed him during the pilot as a dull Chris Martin look-alike named after a vacuum cleaner, I have since developed Strong Feelings for Mr Holden-Ried and would like him to call me. Or even just show up at my door unannounced, I’d be cool with that. Please.

dyson lost girl kris holden-ried

I'm sorry I said you looked like Chris Martin. Please call me.

Women more your thing? You’re spoiled for choice. Lost Girl has a slew of strong, interesting female characters.Lauren, Bo’s other love interest, has made a lot of LGBT viewers happy by providing a f/f storyline that rivals that of Bo and Dyson, and I predict more of that after the way Season 1 ended. Bo herself is an alright character, naive and selfish but kickass and likeable enough. The main star, though, is Kenzi. She’s Bo’s side kick and the funniest non-Whedon character I’ve seen in a while. Most episodes find an excuse to put her in a ridiculous outfit, kinda like Alias did with Sydney, and every episode gives her the best lines.

Kenzi Ksenia Solo Lost Girl

Kenzi

I haven’t yet praised the Siren, who’s a whistling black guy rather than a slutty mermaid, or how most of the stories start in the pub, like a Fae version of Eastenders. I could go on. I won’t. I have to go play Skyrim now (a post in itself, coming later this month). Here are two youtube videos for you instead – a great mashup of highlights from the first season, and Kenzi at a speed dating event quoting Ludacris. Enjoy.

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