purplecat: A pile of hardback books (General:Books)
Reading: The Regiment - The Real Story of the SAS as recommended yonks ago by [personal profile] fififolle. I'm not, in general, that much interested by the military but do keep having to write them in stories. I've only just finished the first chapter on the Iranian Embassy siege.

Listening: The Writers' Room have been wrong about a lot of things recently. I've just finished listening to them being wrong about Ian Stuart Black, before that they were very, very wrong about Stephen Gallagher and before that a little bit wrong about Douglas Adams.

Watching: We ran out of Netflix available Killjoys, fortunately the second series of The Expanse turned up to fill the gap.
purplecat: A pile of hardback books (General:Books)
Reading: I finally finished Crime and Punishement which was interesting but very monologuey. I've moved on to Unshapely Things by Marc del Franco, which seems quite good but I have a feeling I've exhausted my patience for wizards in garrets brooding about their tragic pasts.

Listening: I just listened to the first of the David Tennant and Catherine Tate Big Finish audios which I enjoyed more than I expected to - although they paired Donna up with another London temp and I actually, on audio, found them quite hard to tell apart.

Watching: A mixture of Wallander, Killjoys, Yuri on Ice and classic Doctor Who. We're doing quite well for choice of viewing options at the moment.
purplecat: A pile of hardback books (General:Books)
Reading: Still Crime and Punishment. I have reached part 2. I'm finding Raskolnikov, the protagonist, somewhat irritating though, unlike Anna Karenina, I assume this is deliberate and much of the book is intended to be a study of poor decision making, its causes and effects.

Listening: I've come late to The Ood Cast, currently in a fore-shortened form as "The Ood One Out". It is a little self-satisfied, but it is interesting to hear a fan podcast where most of the participants are professionals and so mingle skits and songs with episode discussion. I don't think I shall go back and listen to the back catalog, as I have with some other podcasts, but I've been happy enough to listen along to the Oods reactions to the latest season.

Watching: B. is away again and G. and I do not currently have a watching project. So there hasn't been a lot of watching this week.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Still Crime and Punishment which should be no surprise. However I had anticipated being further in than Chapter 5 by this point.

Listening: Stuff you Missed in History Class on William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman. So far he's invented a lie detector and is investigating women's emotional responses to bondage - suddenly Wonder Woman's lasso takes on a whole new dimension. He appears to have been both a feminist of sorts* and a polygamist. The former of which is, I gather, very evident in the early Wonder Woman comics (particularly his belief that the world would be a better place if run by women) the latter somewhat less so.

Watching: We have discovered Stanger Things. Very reminiscent of E.T. (it opens with a D&D game, is set in the 1980s and much of it is short from a child height viewpoint (a characteristic of E.T. according to B.))

*neither of his partners got suitable credit for their, in some cases considerable, input into his work.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Crime and Punishment - I've just finished chapter 2. This could take a while.

Listening: Of late, I've been frustrated by podcasters' apparent inability to check basic facts. There was the episode of Doctor Who:The Writer's Room in which one of the hosts discussed the trial of James II by parliament (comparing it to the trial of the War Lord in The War Games). Then there was the episode of Podcast Detected on the theme of "What we've learned about the UK by playing Zombies! Run!" which, among other things, discussed the extensive network of government run CCTV cameras that monitor our fields and country roads and the lack of swearing among members of our armed forces.

Watching: Almost exclusively Doctor Who of various forms. Need to find something to vary the diet.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: Moved on from James Tiptree (though I liked the later stories in the collection more than I liked a lot of the ones in the middle) to a very battered copy of The Steerswoman which I'm enjoying a whole lot more despite the fact that generic fantasy settings (or at least generic with a twist, on the assumption that the picture on the cover is a spoiler for a twist) are not really my thing.

Listening: Slowly listening my way through A History of the World in 100 Objects. It isn't quite what I was expecting (though I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting). I think, as it has moved into recorded history, I was expecting a more linked narrative to emerge, rather than it to maintain it's focus on brief snapshots of time. I'm also not terribly enamoured on the random commentary by contemporary people with, on occasion, only tangential relevance to the object or the history. Overall though, it's a Radio 4 program that definitely benefits from being listened to in order some time after the fact (which, I have discovered, many don't - or at least don't really work from me in that context).

Watching: Almost exclusively watching new and old Doctor Who at the moment. B. and G. are watching Attack on Titan but I find it a little blood-thirsty for my taste so have generally been absenting myself.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Still labouring my way through Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. I've had this problem with single author anthologies before that, no matter how good the individual stories, their similarity gradually makes each one seem more of a chore to get through. I gave up half way through a Jeeves and Wooster anthology for this reason. I am, at least, through the novellas now and back into a run of shorter stories.

Listening: Just finished listening to The Writers' Room podcast on Chris Boucher. I am not at all sure Boucher is pronounced the way they are pronouncing it (Bow as in "he took a bow") but I'm not entirely sure it's pronounced the way I've always pronounced it (Boo). Other than that, I've agreed with most of what they've said ("Robots of Death" is the strongest of his three stories and "Image of the Fendahl" the weakest - there are some plot oddities, particularly in Fendahl and Robots isn't really a Whodunnit much as it apes the form. It is odd that Boucher goes from an interest in AI and Robots in his first two stories to something much more traditionally in the gothic horror model in his last).

Watching: This week it has been most new Doctor Who (Oxygen) and old Doctor Who (Planet of the Daleks).
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: Her Smoke Rises up Forever, a collection of James Tiptree Jr short stories. It must be said, while I appreciate the prose I'm finding a lot of them quite dated and weirdly gender essentialist (which may just be dated attitudes made more obvious since so many of them have female protagonists or are specifically about male violence against women). It's also kind of depressing that in the vast majority of them the main protagonist dies at the end.

Listening: The [community profile] otpodcast episode on Fusion AUs. The podcast was recommended to me by [personal profile] dunderklumpen and it gets definite points for being a mostly interesting discussion of fanfic. But I do get a bit of a disconnect every time they refer to shows from the 1990s as "really old" fandoms.

Watching: We've abruptly come to the end of seasons1 of both Killjoys and The Expanse on Netflix. So we're back with Doctor Who and The Avengers.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Plantagenet England by Michael Prestwich. A weighty tome which briefly touches upon the works of Robert Burnell who may be (but let's face it, probably actually isn't) an ancestor of mine. I'm about 200 pages into its 600 and Burnell has already come and gone. Still it's interesting in a recall my school history but get more detail and analysis kind of way.

Listening: The Verity Podcast is, as is so often the case, currently at the top of my Podcast playlist. But I feel I say "Verity Podcast" most weeks. The Zombies! Run! podcast has reanimated itself and I listened to that but while I like Zombies! Run! I'm not sure I'm really fannish about it enough to really appreciate the podcast.

Watching: The Child has become a Voltron: Legendary Defender fan so we have watched through the whole thing with her. I feel a bit old, I'm not convinced it is as great as all that and I never saw the original Volton as a child and so don't have any particular feeling of nostalgia about it. It's not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not feeling the "it's soo great!" love that Child has.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time by Michael Benton. This was recommended as part of The Primeval Writer's Bookshelf on [livejournal.com profile] primeval_denial. I'm only two chapters in so at the moment it's mostly doing a quick history of paleontology.

Listening: I listened to an episode of Doctor Who: The Writer's Room which I discovered via The Doctor Who bookclub. The idea is to look at the writing on Doctor Who. This particular episode was on Terry Nation and was focusing on his two non-Dalek stories. Although the writing was discussed it was a lot closer to a more generic episode discussion than I expected. Still, I've downloaded the next and we shall see.

Watching: We watched Persuasion last night on the grounds it was Valentine's Day. I had forgotten (or not noticed) how often this story involves two characters involved in some interaction which is causing other characters to map the outcome onto their own thoughts about their own affairs. This made the experience a little exhausting since G. kept needing all the nuances explained to her.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Back to End of the World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood. This continues to be an intriguing mixture of mystery novel and end-of-the-time surreality though I'm concerned by [livejournal.com profile] a_cubed assertion that ultimately it all fails to gel. Still, enjoying it so far.

Listenining I've minorly injured my leg which has put a hold on my running listening. The last thing I listened to was a slightly defensive history of African Art on "Stuff you missed in history" - I felt this would have worked better with a) an actual focus on the history of African Art and/or and explicit acknowledgement that more African voices would have been valuable.

Watching: Doctor Who, Mindwarp. Hmm.... more on this anon.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: I'm still not caught up with the fanfic, but I've made a good dent in it and I think it's about time I got back to End of the World Blues. I've got a trip to the US at the end of March which should also help me keep on top of it!!

Listening: On [personal profile] dunderklumpen's suggestion I listened to an episode of The Nerdist in which they interviewed Mark Hamil. I must admit I was a little dubious about long celebrity interviews (this was almost an hour and a half) but I actually really enjoyed it. A gentle trip through the collectibles culture of the 1960s, 1970s and beyond followed by some good-natured reminisces about Star Wars and a few Harrison Ford impressions.

Watching: Mostly Futurama. I must lobby for more Avengers.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: Still fanfic, though I also managed the latest issue of DWM. The fanfic is now up to December 29th so I've got past the Christmas Day yuletide fanfic dump!!!

Listening: Just finished the Verity Podcast on Martha's leaving story. Started listening to an episode of Varvet International but, as a generic interview show, it didn't really grab me so I've skipped forward to the next episode of the Dr Who Book Club

Watching: Futuram and Avengers (UK) with the family, the latest Randomizer offering (The Invasion) with B.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: Still Yuletide fic downloaded on Christmas day, if you will credit it - though there has also been a lack of reading time this week.

Listening: The usual mix of podcasts. I'm beginning to think Stuff you Missed in History is a bit too fact heavy and discussion/interpretation light to really appeal to me, though I liked a recent episode on the History of Beer. I was amused that The Doctor Who Book Club really didn't like The Pit (which has always been a byword for a terrible Who novel but I recall mostly being a bit 'meh' about rather than actively disliking). Even so the podcast didn't manage to score it less than 2/10. Verity Podcast continues to maintain a high standard, though I think they rate Freema Agyeman more highly as an actress than I do.

Watching: The Avengers Season 4 is playing well with the unwashed masses (though this may be because I've variously only had one of them to watch with rather than both - I think their combined forces would tend more towards Futurama).
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: Still catching up on fanfic. Currently reading stuff downloaded on Christmas Day - so that will be the Yuletide fics that caught my eye based on fandom and summary - I've not yet got to anything that appeared in a rec post.

Listening: No more Zombies! Run! This is a mixed blessing. I've more time for listening to podcasts, but I'd say the the Verity Podcast remains the only one I'm actively enthusiastic about.

Watching: B. bought a complete Futurama boxset and I bought an The Avengers, Season 4 boxset. G v. enthusiastic about Futurama but B. is away so I'm making her watch The Avengers.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Mostly fanfic at the moment. There is such a slew of challenges and events around Christmas that I get horribly back-logged. I've just finished all the [livejournal.com profile] public_call stories and am about to start on the [livejournal.com profile] primeval_denial secret santas. Then there is a vast pile of yuletide stories to read.

Listening: I finished season 5 of Zombies! Run! on Monday and season 6 won't arrive until April, though I am beginning to think their universe is becoming a little over-complex - they have a lot of maybe cures and possibly immune people around.

Watching: We've been watching some extremely faithful adaptations of the Tintin comics on Netflix. Obviously these retain both the strengths and weaknesses of the originals, but the art remains generally charming (give or take some, in retrospect, unfortunate choices about how to portray certain ethnicities) and the stories, if somewhat meandering, are at least pacey and full of excitement.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: End of the World Blues by Jon Courtney Grimwood. I thought I had a handle on this - crime and passion in Japanese with maybe super-powered incidental characters but its just taken a left turn into a castle at the end of time so, who knows what will happen next? Well written but I suspect it may turn out to be a little grim, over all, for my tastes.

Listening: Listened to Welcome to Night Vale's Sandstorm episodes which were, as [personal profile] isis has mentioned, very good. But I think that's me done with Night Vale. They seem like a good place to step off.

Watching: Watched The Imitation Game last night which was an oddly frustrating experience. I know just enough about Turing's time at Bletchley to recognise that while the basic events were present and correct, they were being dramatised almost to the point of falsehood, but didn't have the knowledge to specifically critique what was being presented. However the framing device in which Turing relates the details of his war work to a cop as part of playing an imitation game is both laughably unlikely and makes no sense at all in the context of Turing's actual imitation game - I'm sure on the page it looked like a clever device, but the problem is only works at the most superficial level and the film is trying to be better than that.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson - only two chapters in but so far and interesting if moderately standard mildly post-apocalyptic urban setting and a somewhat irritating patois spoke by the characters. Finished Red Seas under Red Skies which can indeed be pretty much summed up as good but not as good as The Lies of Locke Lamora

Listening: Just started listening to the first part of Sandstorm in Welcome to Night Vale. I'm told this two-parter is good, but I think it will have to be pretty stunning to persuade me to continue listening afterwards. I feel Welcome to Night Vale is a nice idea but mostly delivering more of the same.

Watching: Power of the Daleks (birthday present).
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: Still Red Seas under Red Skies. It's been a busy few weeks with a fair amount of rushing around and reading tends to suffer in those circumstances.

Listening: Stuff you Missed in History Class episode on the history of American Cakes. It is slightly off-putting to realise I've no real idea what any of these cakes are. I'm still sticking with the podcast because I like the idea of it in a vague way but so far the topics haven't really grabbed me and this one definitely assumes context I don't have. I also find the adverts slightly off-putting as well (though, you know, I've nothing in principle against the idea of podcasts making money).

Watching: At the weekend I got halfway through The Five Doctors with G who wanted some Who that would cheer her up but hadn't realised quite how long a classic Who story would be.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: Red Seas under Red Skies - I'd been avoiding this book because I loved its predecessor, The Lies of Locke Lamorra and had been told the sequel wasn't as good. I told my sister this when she gave me this book for Christmas and she said something to the effect of "yes, but it's still a good book". So far, yeah, it's good but not as good as lies. And, note, I've now caught up in my to read pile with books I was given last Christmas and it's not even this Christmas yet!.

Listening: I tried out a bunch of new podcasts of which the only one that has stuck is Stuff you Missed in History. This one's current status is "I'll listen to a couple more episodes and see". It's quirky and interesting but a lot more obviously commercial and slick than most of the podcasts I listen to, and I'm not sure how high my tolerance is for what seem to be, essentially, random historical anecdotes.

Watching: The Space Pirates for the Randomizer. So far this is proving more watchable than anticipated.

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