Random Thoughts!

Black WidowI have to admit that I’m a bit excited to see the new Captain America movie. I enjoyed the first one and also really enjoyed The Avengers. I like Chris Evans as an actor (his performance in the underrated Push stands out in my memory). Also, it’ll be nice to see Scarlett Johansson get a bigger role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And I’m loving the rumors about the retro-70’s conspiracy feel to the story. Also she looks fantastic with retro-70’s straight hair. And twin pistols. And a catsuit.

Ahem.

Paul Williams is a very cool guy. I’d forgotten how much of his music was bubbling under my childhood memories — particularly The Muppet Movie and Bugsy Malone soundtracks. And his duet with Chris Hardwick on a recent episode of The Nerdist was utterly charming and surprisingly moving.

Sometime soon I’ll take the time to enumerate exactly why I feel the “Hannibal Lecter” novels by Thomas Harris novels go from brilliant (Red Dragon) to awful (Hannibal) — likewise, the movie adaptations which are — apart from a few standout performances from Brian Cox and Scott Glenn — utterly dismal.

 

But until then . . . suffice it to say that, so far, the first season of Hannibal has done much to rescue the characters that I think were so poorly served in the latter books and (all of the) movies (yes, even Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs).

I can’t recommend it, because it really strays over into the distasteful and outright disgusting a bit more than you’d expect on television, even these days. But apart from the oddly jarring, eye-rolling bad line or two of dialogue, the show is much better written, shot, and acted than most television I’ve seen lately — particularly in the horror/suspense category.

jb3hfkThat being said, American Horror story is utter bullshit. I tried Season One last year but gave up after three episodes because it was bullshit. I tried Season two as well because the idea of a show that changes story lines each season was intriguing and reminded me of my favorite old anthology shows like The Twilight Zone. But Season Two also turned out to be bullshit and I gave up after three episodes. I don’t expect to even bother with Season Three once it hits Netflix. Because I have no doubt that it too will be bullshit.

I don’t badmouth things very often. So take that for what it’s worth. And I’d apologize for the vulgarity but, well, when confronted with such bullshititude words fail me.

76perkins_headI have yet to bring myself to try Bates Motel. I’ve just been hurt too many times before. And the fact that they brought it into the modern era irritates me. I don’t think anything will erase Tony Perkins from my mind.

(“Well, a boy’s best friend is his mother.”)

It was only out of a sense obligation that I decided to finish off Dexter once the last few seasons hit Netflix. Having never read any of the books, I’m on the fence as to how I feel about the character. I don’t particularly care for the literary inversion in which a truly despicable evil character is made into the hero (again, one of my major criticisms with how the character of Hannibal Lecter evolved over the course of the books and films). Despite their best efforts to make Dexter sympathetic or, at least, honorable, I can’t bring myself to root for him.

But Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, and Desmond Harrington have become the reasons I watch the show now. Their solid work as actors and the gradually-revealed depth of their characters is why I want to see how it ends.

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I suspect a similar reason might be behind why all of my “beta-testers” didn’t seem to have a lot to say about The Red Boy (yes, it’s still in “coming soon” status) apart from that it was too sad or hopeless (neither of which I agree with, but I can’t fault them for their reaction).

One person hated it so much that they refused to finish it. Again, I see that as a valid response to a book but I have to keep reminding myself that, on the other side of the scale, another reader seemed to really love it. So that’s okay.

It wasn’t an easy story to write and I suspect that the generally negative reaction is probably why I’ve had so much trouble getting the final manuscript ready for publication.

Also, I’m recording the audiobook as well, which is proving to be a challenge. I’m out of practice at reading my own work and my time has been taken up with lots of extra work and a general sense of the blues that has, truth be told, dipped more than once into outright depression.

Last year was hard, this year has been hard so far. Sometimes all I feel like I’m doing is treading water, hoping to feel some firmer ground under my feet.

antsAnd finally, one last random thought…

Since second-hand smoke has become a target for eradication in our society, can we please move on to banishing the Tyranny of the Scented Candle? I’d also like to request a ban all perfumes, colognes, and scented hair and skin products from the workplace. Some days, it’s literally nauseating to sit through a meeting.