What do we do for Feminist Friday this week?

These days, the minute the Feminist Friday post hits and I see the discussion taking off, I start thinking about the next one. I floated this idea on Sunday:

I believe what I heard, if I understood correctly, is that talking about #yesallwomen for another week is a fine idea, but if we do, we need to talk about what the next step might be, or where to go from here. Which I take to mean how to take these stories and use them to change peoples’ behavior. Correct me if I’m wrong. These late Tuesday posts are about getting stuff straight and figuring out what I need to do next to keep our discussions going.

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I don’t know that I have a lot of wisdom about what to do next. My advice from the very beginning has been to help keep #yesallwomen going for as long as possible, and Diana and I had a conversation on last week’s thread about the importance of documenting those tweets before they evaporate. I’m happy for someone else to post about it, but I’m also willing to try one myself and see what happens.

My other option is to try and push forward on education. The CompGeeks discussion and Brandie’s #yesallwomen post both gave me ideas about that, and I’m confident I can put something together. The blog is otherwise covered for the week.

I can go either way, and I’m open to suggestions. I’ll need to make the decision tomorrow evening at the latest.

One last thing. I’m discussing with Diana the possibility of moving my own Feminist Friday posts to Part Time Monster. That makes sense to me, for a lot of reasons. I’d like to know what the other folks who are supporting these discussions week in and week out would think about that move.

 

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Will’s Summer Reading Recommendations

by William Hohmeister

Friend and fellow contributor Jeremy wrote a summer reading list and I decided to join in. It took me a while to make it, partly because as soon as I try to remember the name of something I like – books, movies, friends – I forget it, but mostly because I spent a lot of time reminiscing about the Pizza Hut summer reading program “Book It!”*

Here is my list of recommendations and books I want to read.

Oddball

Have read:
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, by Box Brown (Link 1). It’s a graphic novel autobiography of Andre Roussimoff, better known as Andre the Giant, or Fezzik, if you like The Princess Fezzik!Bride. On the set of The Princess Bride, Andre supposedly racked up a $40,000 bar tab; that story sets the tone for the (often apocryphal) nature of the stories in the book. Andre is as much legend as real person, but the book does an excellent job of showing all sides – the charismatic wrestler, the incredible giant who seemed beyond belief (especially to me as a kid), and the person who suffered from acromegaly, which turned him into an old man at 40 and then killed him.

Want to read:
The Power of Myth. It’s a series of conversations about mythology with Joseph Campbell at Skywalker Ranch. Essentially everything I like in one place. I have it, but have yet to crack it open (I am a distractible reader).

Stand Alone

Have read:
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson (Link 3). It’s a mostly-true memoir by the Bloggess (Link 4). It’s funny, sad, revealing, and awesome. It also has a picture of a taxidermy mouse wearing a black and red cape and holding a tiny skull on the cover.

Want to read:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. There’s a joke that goes, as soon as you write a paranormal/strange/fantasy story, you’ll find out Neil Gaiman already wrote it. He has written a lot, about some strange, great stuff, and I have never been disappointed by his books.

Series

Have read:
First, I’d like to back Jeremy’s recommendation and say that The Dresden Files is a great book series.

dresden wallpaper

I started with Grave Peril (Link 5) (the third in the series) and have been reading them out of order ever since. When Skin Game finally (finally!) comes out, I intend to pick it up immediately. Also, fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters (Spike) narrates the audiobooks.

Want to read:

This is sort of a cheat, because I have read several of the books in the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald (Link 6), but not nearly as many as I want. No bookstore seems to have them.travismcgee

I learned about MacDonald through Stephen King. King described reading MacDonald’s books while lazing in college, and I thought that sounded pretty good. McGee is part mercenary and part knight-errant, a beach bum with a sense of honor and a moral code. The books do not have an overarching plot; the common tie is the titular character, who can be equally brutal, philosophic, womanizing, and touching. Any book in this series will give you a good read.

Graphic Novel

Have read:
Preacher, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (Link 7). Graphic novel is a fancy word for comic book, but throw your fancy words and uppity literary notions aside. Preacher is not safe for work – probably even to look up on Wikipedia. The story’s about Jesse Custer, Tulip, and Cassidy looking for God – capital G, because he’s a character too. They want to have harsh words with him. The concept is interesting and the story is always compelling, but the heart of the books is the relationships between Jesse, former preacher, Tulip, gunslinger and failed assassin, and Cassidy, vampire. It has plenty of gore, nudity, and profanity, but it also has a guy called Arseface.

Want to read:
Thor, by J. Michael Straczynski (Link 8). I started this years ago, but never finished. I don’t understand comics continuity – too many titles, too many mega-events – but Straczynski got me interested in Thor, and after his run on Spiderman I’ve wanted to pick up more of his stories.

Short Story

Have read:
Instead of a single short story, I recommend signing up for Daily Science-Fiction’s newsletter/daily story. They email you a flash fiction story every day, and the quality is generally high. My most recent favorite involved a velociraptor made up of nanobots taking care of a child during the end of the world.

Want to read:
The End is Nigh edited by John Adams and Hugh Howey. It’s a collection of various authors, with the premise of a setting just before the end of the world – whatever form of apocalypse each writer chose. The End is Now and The End Has Come are set to come out in September, 2014 and March, 2015, respectively.

Blog

Therefore I Geek. (Link 11) They write objective and opinion articles about all things geeky and nerdy. If you want an interesting place to start, try this article on magic (Link 12).

*All nostalgia comes with a grain of salt. I may remember things wrong or  maybe just made something up – I had to ask a friend what the program Pizza Hut ran was called. Everything I write, however, is as true as I remember it.

I was a proud member of Book It as a kid, and so were most of my friends; in fact, it was one of the few things that gave me a chance to talk about books with my friends. Not that they were dumb or hated reading, but I was the reader, generally, of whatever group I was in. I was the child happier to sit in shade at the park with The Chronicles of Narnia than to play baseball.

Harry Dresden image by zmajtolovaj/deviantart

Penny Dreadful: “Demimonde” Review

Dorian’s back, we meet Van Helsing, and Ethan Chandler is fighting his inner darkness. As the fourth episode of the season, this feels like a middle-of-the-season, pulling-together-plots-and-themes episode. It’s a bit puzzling given last week’s almost-intimate focus on Victor Frankenstein and Caliban, but I suppose that Ethan and Dorian do get the most screen time. (Ahem—spoilers below.)

So we open with Dorian, mid-orgy. And for the first time in the show’s history, we don’t see a woman die in the first 15 minutes. We do see Dorian, disenchanted and languishing, bored by the company he keeps. We see him go to the infamous portrait, stopping to brood in front of it, camera cutting away just as we would glimpse it. I have to admit shouting “bitches” at the TV after the cutaway, though in retrospect I’m enjoying the build-up to a reveal.

Cut to Vanessa staring at a church and a creepy little girl named Lucy (at least a passing reference to Stoker’s novel). She and Lucy are talking about heaven, hell, and dead-but-not-dead mothers. Vanessa spots Dorian leaving the church and follows him into a greenhouse. The two get a bit flirty, of course, and there’s lots of witty banter about being beautiful but dangerous. All the best things are, really.

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Back at Malcolm Murray’s place, Victor Frankenstein is busily working on analyzing the blood of the creature with none other than…Van Helsing (David Warner)! Van Helsing is an expert hematologist, and Murray has hired him to analyze the blood of the vampire. It becomes apparent fairly quickly, even for those who (like Victor) don’t know Van Helsing’s background, that he knows what this is about. Murray hasn’t told him this is a vampire, but he knows. One of the rare property’s of the blood is called “Hannah’s Wink”–it’s an anti-coagulant that he named after discovering it, and it’s used to help in the consumption of blood. Glad to see Warner here, and I hope we see more of him as Van Helsing.

Penny Dreadful - Episode 1.06 - What Death Can Join Together - Promotional Photos (10)

Victor then notices Caliban watching through the window, and he goes outside to confront him. Caliban reminds him that making a bride is supposed to be top priority; Victor treats Caliban predictably poorly. And Caliban, predictably, almost snaps Victor’s neck. Kinnear and Treadaway do a remarkable job acting the scene, though, and they’re difficult to look away from.

After a brief scene between Ethan and Brona, in which Brona reveals part of her past (a sad affair, and an honest moment in the show), we return to the Murray home, to the basement and Fenton. Alexander turns in a fabulous performance, truly chilling.The group is ready to perform the transfusion, but Ethan flatly refuses (werewolf?). Fenton screams that they’re monsters, and the camera pans across the company’s face…Again we’re playing who-is-the-monster. As they wait to see if the transfusion will work, Murray and Frankenstein discuss the murder spree (and how the victims weren’t drained of blood–not vampires, then). Ethan overreacts to the conversation, throwing the newspaper into the fire (werewolf?). The transfusion, of course, doesn’t work–I think it’s probably just feeding Fenton–and we get another chilling moment as he reacts to Vanessa.

Penny Dreadful - Episode 1.04 - Demimonde - Promotional Photos (16)

Now we get to The Guiginol again, and it’s a delight of a scene. Ethan has taken Brona, Dorian sits on one side of the balcony and Vanessa sits on the other, Sembene stands just out of sight (can he get more lines, please?), and Caliban runs about backstage, changing sets, creating sound effects, and creating the illusion of the theater. The evening’s first play is “The Transformed Beast”—a slasher play involving a bright full moon and a beloved-turned-werewolf (Ethan?). Caliban looks so joyful while he’s backstage—and I’m still wondering about that Phantom of the Opera connection. The audience’s reactions are fun mirrors to our own as we watch the show, and the backstage look provides a fun bit of metacommentary. I love a play-within-a-play.

At the mansion, Frankenstein and Murray’s conversations are interrupted by noises from upstairs. They find that Fenton has escaped (and he creepily spider-crawls after them in great fashion). His master is in the house, is in Vanessa’s room. But his master is that big scary looking vampire. I don’t think he’s Dracula, or if he is, then I’m not sure Mina is with Dracula. I’ve a difficult time imagining that that creature could spirit her willingly away, and I’m thinking her vampire probably looks somewhat more human. Maybe.

This one, if you've forgotten.

This one, if you’ve forgotten.

During the play’s intermission, Dorian, Vanessa, Brona, and Ethan collide. Brona becomes upset and leaves, and she and Ethan get into a large argument. Brona runs down the street, coughing blood into her handkerchief and looking more like the bride of Frankenstein every moment. Ethan runs into Dorian, and the two go to an underground gambling ring. Ethan looks more and more uncomfortable as a dog is pushed into the ring with a hundred or so rats to kill, men cheering and blood splattering. Ethan moves to the bar, where he’s hassled into a fight.

And in the final moments of the episode, we get another bombshell. Ethan and Dorian go back to Dorian’s home. They patch Ethan’s wounds, and then the two decide to have some absinthe. They talk a bit about art, about Vanessa. We get more close-ups of Hartnett’s knitted brows as we run through flashbacks of his time in London–the good and the gory. And then, suddenly, he’s kissing Dorian. They remove one another’s shirts, and then we end.

God, this show. THIS SHOW! Looks like next week we’ll get some more of Vanessa’s backstory, which is something I’m quite excited to see.