Author Archive for A P

03
Oct
18

Sue Grafton…Dead? I Am Late to Z Funeral.

***

I am, by far, a lousy reader and never thought I’d give any author enough of my time to read more than three of their books.  And, if I say or ask anything that’s published on some website, obviously I haven’t sought that out and read it, either.  I’m not even doing a good job of looking over my notes from the books.  I just want to write something quick and heartfelt.  But, like Kinsey, I have habits that are hard to break and am complicated.  😀

P Is for Pitiful Reading.

But, I’ve been keeping this under a thin blanket.  I read 20 books in Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series, from A Is for Alibi to T Is for Trespass.

A Is for Accomplishment.

And, I would have continued reading had my life not been rocked back in 2015 by a stupid injury which sent me spiraling down a pathway into writing one of my own books about the scary medical experience (with a bit of exaggeration/imagination).

Now, I just heard the white-wine and quarter-pounder-with-cheese obsessed author passed away last December, shortly before the new year dawned.  And, she finished book Y but not Z??  THAT’S…

H Is for HORRIBLE!!

She wrote so long and so many books, shooting for 26 in a series (which I am sure–without looking is dwarfed by some of the more famous authors who seem to be so full of words they write books in their sleep and showers….practically vomiting hardcovers daily)…and she fails to complete the last book in the series.  [Did she anticipate her own death that she wrote an accompanying book about Kinsey before finishing the series?]

And, she had so many resources at her disposal.  How many cops, lawyers and insurance people worked with her on this series?  Plenty.  She had access to case files–which I am sure she borrowed a lot from for various books–and obviously did a lot of hitting the road to get all the necessary details right.  [If anything was inaccurate, how would I know, anyway?]  I wish I had a fraction of that support for and assistance with my books.

A close contact got me to read that series, as she has gotten me to read another by another deceased author who had some “friend of the family” or “super fan” take over writing stories about the characters.  [Which, after reading one book in the series, does NOT seem fit for “young adults” other than the difficulty level of the reading.]  And, I will be surprised if no one takes up the task of writing that last book to complete the series.  If no one will/does, I’d even be interested in contributing to the book.  But, I don’t want to write it solo.

I’ve got the title all picked out.  And, it’s a hoot.

Z Is for Zinfandel.

Perfection.  Right?  It’s the story of Kinsey finally thinking about cashing in her P.I. chips and settling down (though she perpetually claimed she could not be that sort of person and had to just settle for sleeping around with guys oozing machismo, like that vice cop and that “Rob” guy (based on another detective series author) who couldn’t get out of a lousy marriage).  She might just settle for retiring her present car, putting that tired old dress she kept in her car into mothballs or giving up a particular diet item/habit.  But, she will go down fighting with a big box of white wine right by her side.   It could just be a break from all the chasing, lying and violence and having Kinsey relax with her guilty pleasures, reminiscing about past cases/years.   Or, maybe an elderly Kinsey busts one more creep, proving old age didn’t slow her down enough not to bring the jerk to justice.  [Can you imagine this old white-haired lady flipping over some burglar and securing him before calling the cops, including the descendant(s) of that guy she hated contacting (whose name slips my mind).]

Come on, people!  No way that series ends one letter away from 26.  [But, knowing my luck, it’s already in the works and decided.]  Can I help anyone work on this last chapter?

At any rate, Sue?  You had me at L Is for Lawless.

[I’ve been just a tad infatuated with your Kinsey Millhone and her lady friend (at the insurance place who wore those very 80s outfits and hooked up with that shorter doctor guy)…at the same time I was bothered by some of Kinsey’s decisions.  And, yeah, the white wine thing realllllly got on my nerves.  I’m also itching to try a number of items on Rosie’s rotating menu, sample some of Henry’s baked goods and send his paranoid brother somewhere far away.]

Without further ado and any other foul habits…

S Is for Suspenseful.

U Is for Ugh!  Not another white wine fix or QP binge!

E Is for Erotic, Mildly.

G Is for Gal Pal Power!

R Is for Racing Heartbeat to the End of Each Book.

A Is for A Slow Burn.

F Is for Fierce Fighting Female.  [Not foxglove and all those digitalis cases.]

T Is for Thanks for Writing Something That Made Me Want to Take Notes.  [I really had to backtrack to find the source of the “death cap” mushrooms.]

O Is for One Sassy Little Pistol (and All of Her Guns).

N Is for No Way I Am Reading the Rest of the Series Without Z.  [But, I’ll hang onto my notes and memories as long as I can.]

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31
Aug
18

To All the Friendly Faces I’ve Written Before…

*****

If I sent you an email in the past few months, there’s a foul (that means likely) chance you have not replied.  And, for others who’ve written in recent weeks, even a week or two without hearing from you leaves me wondering what has happened.  I may be having one of my sad puppy phases.  But, I’m reaching out to say write back, soon…again.

My mailbox seems to only be filling with “junk mail” from people and places I barely know if I know them, at all.  I didn’t “sign on for that.”  I came to find and keep friends.

Why bother writing this here?  Maybe this is a message in a bottle, a thoughtful wish cast into the internet sky.  Leave it at that.  Know I am thinking of you and wait for your minds to connect with mine (again).

21
Aug
18

Conditional Friendships, Lousy Incentives and Switching to Find Fleeting Happiness

****

You have two people who want to be your friend. One cannot guarantee they will remain your friend if you do anything to upset the friendship. The other says you can make one big mistake and be forgiven without any change to the friendship. The second person sounds pretty reassuring; right? But, what happens if you do anything to upset the friendship after that first big mistake?

What’s the news flash here? No; it’s not about not being perfect. It’s about “changing rates” of support. When all someone can offer is a temporary incentive, is befriending that source worth the investment? You wouldn’t want someone to give you a contract of conditions to be their friend or, even more impacting, their lover. Why would you want to gamble with something like insurance?

I’ll give you another scenario.

You want to pay someone to do a job for you. Person A wants to do the job at a consistent rate per day, and, if they’re really nice, they will let you know that rate up front. Person B will cut the price in half the first day but says nothing about what the job will cost you the following days. Person B is hoping to snag your attention with the first part of their offer before slipping the hidden consequence under your rug. And, to make matters more complicated and/or interesting, both person A and person B suggest “switching” who works for you at some unclear point during the time required. Switching also comes with an incentive similar to the one offered by person B. However, though no penalty is discussed for switching, the effort will likely wreak havoc on your workspace, rob you of privacy and put financial information at risk.

Does this sound like a game you want to play? If not, why the frhekhtehtlwbwe are we subjecting ourselves to this crap in all things financially binding? Why do we have so many ads pressing us to “switch service plans” and dodge “contracts” when it seems just about every source is selling the same garbage? Hubba, hubba, hubba…who do you trust? And, if the answer is no one…or if you play the switching game that’s presented to you…how exhausting this life is. It’s barely living. It’s running a hamster wheel before dying in a heating duct.

Wake up, people! How do we disconnect and stay connected? Start thinking and get out of the doldrums, all you Milos out there. [I’m telling myself, as well.]

20
Jul
18

Cherish Your Anonymity

*****

With so many suffering heavy punishment for speaking their minds via modern technology, it’s ever more vital we who do not “tweet” with our actual names spelled out on a glowing screen applaud and celebrate our “anonymity.”  We cowardly souls who bravely don costumes and vent as we feel fit when technology works with us; we should be comforted and celebrated.

It seems like every day in the news someone is getting grilled for something “offensive.”  We have squads of LGBT and feminism police officers, hordes of body-celebrating (instead of shaming) and various other armies going to war with the most sensitive of mining equipment capable of picking up the slightest blip of questionable commentary, increasingly adjusting the high standard of moral conduct until everyone who isn’t a violated woman or LGBT-type person will be guilty of offense and thereby open to verbal, mental and physical assault by the so-called victims.  So far, we without publicized names have been safe of retaliation.

I can’t speak for every offense case, but I would not be surprised if some offenses deemed fit for court or the loss of a job turned out to be misinterpreted.  After all, kids on a playground can cry wolf and have a teacher call a parent simply because the tattle-tale had a sweet face or stronger voice than the supposed offender.  And, who is to say some of these offensive voiced bits aren’t said at times when the speakers are not in the best of moods or right minds?  I know I don’t subscribe to alcohol or recreational drugs.  But, others do.  And, just because shit comes out of one’s mouth three years ago on a bad day does not mean that person is anti-gay or a chauvinistic maniac.

And, what if someone is a tad gay-phobic or unclear on the nature of that lifestyle?  Is every inappropriate remark worthy of jail time or a giant fine?  Are we catering to lawyers so they can put their hideous faces and names on every item advertised on local TV?  I don’t want to see so many lawyer ads.  I don’t want those people thinking they run the place just because they are getting old and think investing in a little advertising everywhere makes them immortal.  You TV lawyers have really become annoying!  And, I will not likely support you or any cause/company with your name on it because you are (annoying).

But, I’m getting off-subject, now.  Ehem.

You really have to mind your words and be sure you don’t touch another living soul lest you be accused of inappropriately fondling someone.  A pat on the back could be deemed the grabbing of a breast (on your back, apparently).  A sociable kiss on the cheek might be viewed as unwanted intimacy of the worst kind unless you can certify you are from a nation that does this socially as a part of their native culture.  Parents who kiss their kids on the lips?  You’re likely next on the chopping block.

One wonders if “social media” isn’t a mousetrap.  It lures people out of hiding to voice every little thing to come into their tiny brains…only to get them in trouble?  Snap!  You’re dead and out with the banana peels you slipped on coming in here.

But, I suppose, being anonymous DOES have it’s setbacks.  I mean, people are less trusting of random or fake names…unless you learn to share a sense of creativity and/or humor and can spell correctly (which so many cannot).  [Stop trying to speak English if you cannot use a dictionary.  I don’t use Spanish words I don’t know how to spell.]  You can’t really be a shopkeeper with a fake name, can you?…unless it’s a brand name.  But, even then, you have to be accountable for that shop with a real name/some form of ID.   People who use their real names seem to be taken more seriously because they seem fearless and, well, real, genuine.

[Yet, in this shady world of face-less interaction–unless you use some service like Skype which seems already forgotten these days–how do you determine a real face you see is that person’s real face?  And, how many “faceless” internet users stalk those “real” people, taking advantage of the exposed while remaining randomly generated user names, often with long barcode-like numbers attached, giving me the impression they are “bots” or some call center staff members in a building dominated by Middle-Eastern folks by the dozens?]

It seems astounding that more celebrities don’t use fake online names/accounts.  But, maybe they do, and all we know are the ones we hear about in the news when some mosquito with a microphone or phone-camera is stalking these people.

Once upon a time, people kept personal thoughts on parchment scrolls they had to carry with them wherever they went.  If anyone else read them, it was because the author read, lost or donated the scrolls.  Many years later, people kept notebook-style journals, especially teenage girls, who would lament brothers and parents violating their privacy.  Now, we have computers of various capacities and sizes.  And, instead of a PC journal like the one Doogie Howser, M.D. kept, so many turn to blogs and these accursed “tweeting” type accounts, putting everything “out there” for the world to see and LIKE and shallowly evaluate from afar…from anonymous spaces.

In short, those of you who have not put your real selves out for all to see, ye who do not YouTube your boob lube and hash-tag your new ‘do rag and personal mag’ (magazine), blippity blobbity blah!….  My blood pressure spiked just then and tangled my tongue-fingers.  Or, is it my finger-tongue?  Anyway.  Those of you, like me, who create unique identities for themselves online for whatever reason, embrace and applaud your anonymity, today.  And, count your blessings.  Because you could be somewhere down the list of those moral-criminal-hunting Elmer Fudds and receive severe punishment for the slightest misunderstanding or careless outburst on your worst day.  But, for now, you’re Joe Cool and free to be loose with those journalistic lips.

[We should start a holiday.  But, no one seems to follow me on those thoughts any better than I follow others.  So, I guess I’m limited to suggesting and waiting for some trendsetter to print up all the hoopla and manufacture all the swag.]

Happy Anonymity Day(s)!

12
Jul
18

Ant Man and the Wasp, Movie Review

***

Paul Rudd reprises his role as Scott Lang (aka the new Ant Man), the mild-mannered, I’m-okay-with-trying-anything thief-turned-hero, bringing along the lovely Evangeline Lilly, aka Hope van Dyne, daughter of Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne (the “original” Ant-Man and Wasp), as someone better and more fierce than the average sidekick in…wait for it…Ant-Man and the Wasp.  [So original.]  Taking place after his incarceration in Captain America:  Civil War, the sequel to the origin story introduces Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster, a “former” colleague of Hank Pym’s who has some “super” history of his own and a…wait for it…”foster child” nicknamed Ghost, another victim of malfunctioning technology beyond human comprehension who suffers pain from phasing between dimensions.  The focus of the story is divided between saving Hank’s wife (Janet) from a very exclusive universe (like the tiniest nightclub overrun with blobs and parasites) and dealing with a “ghost” haplessly tied to the odd family’s tree, who could spoil everything if she doesn’t control her temper.

Anyone who has seen a trailer or commercial already has a clue to this Ghost being some kind of enemy to the heroes.  But, I’m here to tell you this film’s villain element is a tad weak by comparison to other Marvel hero films.  In fact, that is the one and only aspect that disappoints me.  I think Ghost–which reminds me of another comic book character by that name with a darker story–is more of a sub-plot than a villain.  And, where there was suggestion of another villain, that character or army never came.

[The first Ant Man film had a far better enemy (though he reminded me SO much of the Iron Monger in the first Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man film).  There were touches of Hydra and other villainy probing the plot.  Yet, a lack of details made the whole a big foggy.  At least, the transitions from the first Ant Man to Civil War to this sequel sort of come into clarity, and the cast didn’t radically change.]

However, the film is saved by its staples.  Rudd is, once more, the sappy sweetheart and goofball, this time under government watch for a set number of years, counting down to his final day.  His character builds one awesome playhouse for his daughter.  Evangeline Lilly kicks more butt than necessary, racking up some serious “girl power” votes, LIKES or whatever you want to use to promote “women empowerment,” including turning an otherwise male character into a girl.  [SO much gender swapping, these days.]  I think she kicks more butt in this film than she did in the Hobbit story.  Michael Pena (Luis) is a riot with his unique story-telling skills.  [I think it would be a wild bonus feature ride to have an entire 30+ minute short film (if not a 1+ hr feature film) of him telling a reaaaaally long story that encompasses the rest of the cast explaining something either entirely unimportant or vital to the Marvel universe.]

Newcomer to the cast, Michelle Pfeiffer makes an enchanting Janet van Dyne, though she’s nothing like the Wasp I expected to see.  [Granted, she has aged quite a bit and become “something more.”]  Walter Goggins makes a very interesting and sinister impression as a shady businessman with contacts left unknown.  [I smell a Hydra.]

There is plenty of material here for a few films.  It just doesn’t get adequately put to use.  It’s like looking in a warehouse full of goodies you can see being turned into something bigger/better but letting the bright ideas drift to the back of your brain.  Instead, you just go along for the ride, get pumped to fight, endure a little pent up pain and frustration and laugh at a number of sight gags.

Hidden somewhere in the warehouse is some explanation for why Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne were not adequately featured in the company of Captain America.  At least, I think their heroics are from his original wartime.  If they are technically the original Avengers, where is that story?  The new Marvel universe has sort of thrown characters out of sync.  Why are Iron Man and Hulk decidedly modern compared to Ant-Man?  Isn’t it just as strange having a suit from the nineteen-teens or nineteen-forties sit around til some new guy, who happens to be a reforming thief, is given permission to take it?

Maybe if we give the aging Hank Pym a memory pill he will fill us in on all of the missing pieces.

I give Ant Man and the Wasp 3.5 stars out of 5.  It has 4+ stars of comedy, even if some is a tad corny and/or senseless.  It has 4+ stars of butt-kicking action and dangerous situations.  But, the glossy blur of technological mumbo jumbo and lackluster crisis/villain element waters down an otherwise epic adventure.  Like any movie with sight gags and related special effects, it’s probably more thrilling on the big screen.  But, you can plunk on the couch and let the time tick off your house arrest anklet while rolling with laughter.

And, don’t forget Stan Lee, true believers.  He makes a rather Excelsior! cameo, this time, claiming he is paying for something after enjoying the ’60s.  I think he’s referring to selling out to Disney.  But, that’s just between you and me.

 

12
Jul
18

How Many LIKES Does It Take to Get…

****

…someone to actually respond to something I write and/or request?

I doubt any owl or turtle can help solve this one.

But, I am dying to know what good it does to LIKE a request post and never follow up with input.  Is that the equivalent of “I’ll get back to ya” in all things LIKE-able?  Wherever you can LIKE something, there good intentions sit ineffectively.

What am I talking about (if you don’t already understand or see what posts of mine fit this description)?  I’ve posted inquiries and minor “contests” which might get one response if I am lucky.

So, go ahead and LIKE this post when you see/read it.  Add it to your bulletin board like one more autumn leaf waiting to fall among the clutter.   It’s only worth a fraction of a something to the host site that accepts your “clicks” like currency.  And, who doesn’t want to make this place richer while not making a dime?




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