Funny how it works out

I should have taken more screenshots, but I didn’t think about it until a few minutes ago.

So my Sim, Reagann Rhee has done crazy things on a whim. She went to a bar hoping to meet a guy and ended up flirting with the bartender the whole time. They dated for a while, but before she could decide whether or not he was The One, he screwed it all up. One day he called her, asking to hang out. She was busy, but I wasn’t really paying attention, so I clicked the button that told him to go ahead and come by. And what does he do? He stomps up to door, hunched-shoulders mad, and yells at her as soon as she comes out to let him in. She tried to calm him down for a bit, but nothing worked. She had to get ready for work, so she asked him to leave. He stomped off, she never called him again.

For a long time, she just worked and tended her garden. I got into a routine. This game is ABSURD in its time management. The day goes by really fast, and a lot of actions and animations take SimHours when they should take only a few SimMinutes.

Then one day, I had her go out to meet someone again, and chose the gym, a place I hadn’t bothered with yet. She met this ridiculously muscular guy outside, and they hit it off. The next day, he walked over and knocked on her door. He did not scream at her. Quite at random, and possibly by accident, I clicked Try for Baby.

All of my sims so far have been super fertile. It’s kind of weird. The next day or so, I got an alert saying she was pregnant. I’d forgotten to get her a pregnancy test. So she asked this guy out on a date and he became her boyfriend officially. She proposed the next day, because well, baby.

She went back to her routine, getting really impressively huge, until I realised that I should probably get them married before the baby was born. Not because of some social thing, but because it might we weird to have a baby around. (I had forgotten that the babies in Sims 4 are basically pointless and require almost no attention) So she called him over to plan the wedding. She went into labour while they were saying their vows.

Luckily, this is the Sims 4. Going into labour just meant that she had contractions while her friends drank Sweet and Zestys and ate BLT and wedding cake (she made the cake). Finally though, that baby has got to come. So she left her new husband with the guests (whom he didn’t know at all) and went into the baby’s room to… well, it’s the Sims 4. She’s going in there to have the most boring birth ever.

Sim 2 Birth

Sims 4 Birth

(forgive how bad the videos are, it’s hard to find decent or short ones)

Still, it’s pretty funny to imagine that my sim ran around trying to plan and celebrate her wedding in that condition. She’s a stronger woman than I am. The coolest thing I managed to do while in labour was sleep.

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Saturday Book Review – Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?

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I feel like the only person ever to read and review this book for its own sake, the movie aside. If I’m not, please direct me to the others who don’t witter on about the movie. Someone said that this is a sequel to the movie. It isn’t. It isn’t a sequel to the first book or the movie. It’s a response to the movie. Think of it as this particular gesture.

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First off, let me say that this is a very good book. It’s hilarious, well-written, and knows when to be subtle. As to its connections to the movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, do not look here if you hold the movie in any way untouchable. It’s as though Gary K Wolf saw the movie, smiled, and then turned around and took the piss as much as he liked in this book. I don’t know if he hated it, but I can tell that the movie was not what he wanted to write, so he simply didn’t.

Many elements of the movie enter in at the beginning, such as Roger’s good relationship with his wife, he apparently isn’t a murderer, and Dolores is with Eddie. But the strong allusions to the film are quickly swept away, replaced or assimilated into the richer world and voice of the original. Dolores leaves Eddie with a note in the liquor bottle–where he’s sure to find it. The first impetus of the plot centres on Jessica’s possible infidelity. Roger’s speech impediment with the letter p is not only picked on more than once, it’s in the title, and even an important plot element at one point.

This appealed to my love of satire and helped ease the annoyance I always feel towards adaptation blindness. But the book is also amazing taken completely on its own.

As mentioned, Roger Rabbit comes to Eddie with another case involving Jessica and their relationship. The Telltale is printing gossip that Jessica Rabbit is romantically involved with Clark Gable. Then Eddie is hired by David Selznick to catch the thief between three suspects: Kirk Enigman, Baby Herman, and Roger Rabbit, all up for the part of Rhett Butler. Eddie also stumbles upon information leading him to believe his other brother Freddy is still alive.

The detective noir aspects are played to eleven, and the dialogue is witty and often hilarious. There are also a number of historical figures, and they can be a lot of fun. For example, Clark Gable and Roger Rabbit have an axiom fight. It’s brilliant. Thus.

Roger pulled himself up where his nose reached Gable’s boutonniere. “For as little as you know about the fair sex, you know even less about adages. What about ‘Absence reopens the springs of love?”

“Out of sight, out of mind.”

“Love does not rust,” Roger  said belligerently. “So there.”

“Old love, cold love.” Gable lit a smoke with a lighter fashioned from a gold molar yanked from the Colossus of Rhodes.

“True love never ages,” shot back Roger.

“New love drives out old.”

Roger folded his arms across his chest. “Love conquers all.”

“Never rely on love or the weather.”

Also, best romantic interest EVER. Even though she comes in pretty late in the book. Apparently Jessica has a sister. Who is six inches tall and awesome.

All of the characters are great really. I still prefer the original Roger Rabbit from Who Censored…, and this one has developed since then. He’s not exactly less naive, but he is less obnoxiously hopeful. His belief in things seems more like faith than desperate optimism. The movie gave Eddie one brother named Teddy, this book gives him another brother named Freddy and a sister named Heddy. Neither of them is a throw-away joke. In fact, although not every named character is important to the plot, they aren’t Kleenex “use once then toss ‘em” characters. The world has a delightful inhabited feel, and it’s usually consistent.

It’s also a good mystery, paced pretty well. Jessica’s supposed affair is not as short a case as it might initially seem, and Selznick’s thief search has far-reaching consequences. People/toons die. Eddie gets beat to hell more than once. The ending might drag a little for some people, but I felt as if it was worth the time taken to tie up all the loose ends. I haven’t read the next book yet, so the tease at a next book may be only that. That is, there is a book after this one, but it mayn’t have the plot suggested in the teaser after the ending.

Friday Book Review – The Pinhoe Egg

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This is the last book in the Chrestomanci series. Although I have read a number of Diana Wynne Jones books, I can’t claim to be an expert.  So far, her series strike me as weirdly disconnected, that is, largely without internal continuity. But then maybe I’m just spoiled by Artemis Fowl and Marvel comics. Chrestomanci and Howl as series differ greatly from book to book, with Chrestomanci the superior when it comes to continuity. For one thing, Cat is a decently major character in the series, and both he and Chrestomanci appear in this book.

However, it appears to be the last one only by dint of having all the others precede it and no others succeeding it. I don’t know if the series disconnect is an awesome change in this age of Effing Everything is a Series and Continuity Porn… or if I prefer my Continuity Porn.

I will say this. Diana Wynne Jones really had a skill for writing feuds. Both Magicians of Caprona and Pinhoe Egg capture the “righteous” anger, blame-wars and fallout. In MoC, the feud itself was an antagonist. It caused a lot of the conflict and made other conflicts worse or hindered the resolution. The book had a clear story goal. In PE, the feud is sporadically mentioned, and most of the conflict is caused by a single person or fear of revealed secrets. It’s rather winding and aimless.

For that reason, the only summary I can give of The Pinhoe Egg is this:

After Gammer, the head of the Pinhoe family, seems to be suddenly struck by dementia , Marianne must deal with all sorts of magical hijincks. The situation is not helped by the fact that none of the adults will believe or help her. Cat… is just sort of on holiday or something. I don’t know why he comes up at all.

There are two protagonists: Marianne to represent the titular Pinhoes, and Cat to help make things Chrestomanci canon. I quite liked Marianne. She’s sympathetic, and when she finds herself helpless to make her family believe her, it’s literally beyond her power and she still never gives up.

I will readily admit that I hated Cat when I read Stealer of Souls. Reading PE just made me realise that I stopped trying to like him back when he set himself on fire. (And if you know the context, then you know that on a scale of 1-10, that was a dumb move.) He’s petty and vague, and I just can’t be arsed.

Maybe it’s because one of the two perspectives has nothing to do for a significant amount of time, but the book suffers from a lack of direction. Things just sort of happen. Cause and effect are in place, but that’s often the extent of the plot. Marianne deals with her awful barmy gammer and Cat sort of faffs about. Then Gammer is realised to be a real threat and maybe Cat’s horse is a unicorn. Or part unicorn. I’m sure it’s said, I just never cared about the zarking horse. 

Maybe it’s because I just read Aunt/Black Maria, but Gammer seems like a Maria expy. I actually thought for a minute about who I would say is worse, but it’s a toss-up. They’re both nasty pieces of work. There’s even a plot to kill/imprison a powerful male magic-user for each of them. Aunt Maria just got the title and more screentime.

I felt like the book never knew quite what it wanted to be. Accordingly, I tended not to care. And although the ending was mostly nice–punishing the bad, rewarding the wronged, DWJ-style–I thought that the condemnation of the “bad” people as religious nutjobs was shoehorned in and a little hateful. The idea that there were magical creatures being kept imprisoned by the Pinhoes comes in very, very late, and before that, no one really even foreshadows a single thing about it. DWJ just inserted a nasty anti-religeuse diatribe because who the heck knows.

I didn’t include that last bit of white text in my review because I didn’t want to get into it on Goodreads. It wasn’t a big deal, and the most damage lay in how out of place the conclusion was.

Inching along

For some reason, almost nothing got done today. Owen had a severed Mummy-need, so I spent a painful amount of time sitting on the floor near him. He was allowed to walk away from me, but if I so much as stood or sat a level higher, he whipped his arms up in the Hold Me position. I tried to wash dishes and he nearly pantsed me pulling on my leg.

When I did get a chance to do something, it was the dishes. There were a lot of them. When I could, I read more of the Pirates book. I had to break it up for the Vesuvius Club though. Dry facts are dry, after all. And Mark Gatiss is one of my favourite people. That is the shortest way to describe how I feel about him.

However, I did have a crisis of like about… er, well into the book. I’m reading it and listening, and it was on disc four or five. The bombshell of the main character’s bisexuality was  both entertaining and welcome news. It’s not historically inaccurate, but since the book was written in 2004, that sort of thing can be written in without fear of being banned. Sort of.

So when a horrible racist caricature of a Chinese man shows up… I died a little inside. The audio version made it even worse. It’s read by Gatiss himself, and he does accents, like you do… and the accent he affects for the Chinese guy is offensive. I kept waiting for the accent to be a ruse on the part of the character, but no. He’s a racist caricature, and he’s also evil. He even runs an opium den.

I may have said before that I can sometimes ignore racism in books that were written when that sort of thing was de rigeur. You certainly don’t have to read it if it bothers you, but you shouldn’t judge the book for it, since that would be like judging a man as a misogynist for having pulled his sister’s hair when they were both children. One of the reasons I say this is because no one will learn anything from it. Vent, sure, but that’s… well, it’s pretty much kicking a corpse, since the author is dead in the cases I’m thinking of.

But this book was written ten years ago. (damn i’m old) And the author is very much alive. The racist depiction and indeed the character himself are not vital, untouchable parts of the book. There is no reason to include this kind of nasty muck in the book. I could have tolerated racist behaviour from the main character, because that would have been (questionable) time setting detail, and he’s already got other unattractive traits.

Sigh. I’m not going to write a review for this book. So far, I haven’t shied away from reviewing a book about which I could not be objective, but that’s because my reviews have been about both the books and my experiences reading them. I don’t want to share my experience reading this book. I don’t have a lot of writers that I really love, but Mark Gatiss is one of them. I like him for his writing more than his acting. The punch of racism is late in the book, brief, and doesn’t seem to affect much after or before.

I don’t want to write a review later, because I don’t want to have to talk about this again, and because I want to keep all the squee parts of my experience to myself. For some reason, my enjoyment of Gatiss’s writing has proven to be a private thing. I don’t even know any other fans.

Too tired to have mood

My reading got immensely held up this weekend. We went to ComiCon rather out of the blue, which was fun. I should have taken my cane. Or some crutches. It was a lot of walking and standing around. They were not prepared for handicapped people from what I saw. I have no idea why this was, maybe the site. Lots of stairs, nowhere to sit.

It reminded me of why I don’t like to read zombie stories anymore. Fiction as a whole is incredibly ableist, but zombie apocalypses just make me think of all the people who wouldn’t survive (including me) because of physical or mental handicaps. But only dark thoughts lie on that road, so let’s change the subject.

That same day, I had to get ingredients and make a couple of cookie cake pies for a family dinner on Sunday. I ended up staying at mum’s after making the pies, and then helping in the kitchen on Sunday. There were a lot of people. I don’t think I even talked to all of them, I was so tired. ^^; Owen stayed the night while Nick and I went back home.

I got the Sims 4. It took me a while to decide if I wanted it or not. And lots of research about Origin and exactly how Orwellian it is. I still don’t like it, but I gave in. The game is not as bad as I was afraid it would be. It’s very very limited, and it seems like it’s missing content. Most reviewers say that it’s the weakest of the four core games, and I think that’s more than fair. Sometimes it actually feels like playing a demo.

Except when it doesn’t. I have a Sim who just doesn’t seem to have enough time in her day to do all of the things. This is a good sign, and I’m still having fun. I needed this.

I crossed quite a few books off my TBR list, and I finally finished reading The Duchess War. The book about Pirates is not written very well, but I’m trying to enjoy it anyway. Sometimes it seems like every single sentence has this structure:

Progressive/Continuous verb phrase, passive noun was something phrase.

It’s starting to really grate on my nerves. I have to stop thinking about it or I’ll DNF the book.

Owen’s asleep, but it’s been that kid of day where he takes three hours to go to sleep, starting at the first “I want a nap” signal. I’ve been thinking about posting a second betterised book review on Saturday or Sunday morning, but I don’t know yet.

Friday Book Review – The Unfinished Clue

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NOTE: This review is slightly edited/enhanced/betterised from the original posted on Goodreads. All reviews from now on will be betterised.

Georgette Heyer is just amazing. Incredibly prolific authors tend to fall into two categories: universally adored, and marvelled at for the work volume but not much else. Like Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer is in the first category.

The first Georgette Heyer book I read was The Talisman Ring, which shot me into severe love with the way her characters spoke to and treated each other.  Seriously, I was on the second page when I had to shove the book at my husband and say, “THIS. THIS.”

THIS

But we’re not here to talk about The Talisman Ring. We’re here about General Thingy and The Unfinished Clue. It’s not as humorous or witty, but it definitely does not lack the Heyer tang.

One thing that Agatha Christie has taught me is that I like mysteries with unpleasant victims. The General is a blustering brat of a man, and though his death isn’t a relief, there was no immediately clear view of just who murdered him. The harried second wife? The emotionally excitable son? The list covered just about everyone.

Including the bizarre Mexican dancer, Lola de Silva. Some context is necessary. I’m half-Hispanic. Third generation American from Mexico on my mum’s side. And I thought this character was equal parts hilarious and obnoxious. She’s so very clearly a British idea of a Mexican, that I thought she was a sort of shout-out to Lola Montez, who was Irish. So I saw no reason at all to be offended.

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How could you not want her in your novel? She is also in Royal Flash.

Sometimes the pace slows down too much, particularly after the murder. That’s always a risk with this style of mystery–house guests accused of murder, real DIs don’t solve mysteries overnight. It didn’t bother me. The book is not overly long, and the slow pace is not a neon sign blinking PADDING PADDING PADDING. And Dinah was funny. I wish there had been a bit more of her, since she’s basically the bright young thing who is smarter than the average bear girl. But I guess there was technically enough. Her romance with Inspector Harding was cute and unobtrusive.

When I first realised how the ending was going to go down, my eyebrow went up, but then (spoiler, highlight to read) they read the confession letter, and I could kind of understand why the murderer committed suicide. The only reason it bothered me was that I have seen it in quite a few mysteries. It has to be done well or I get twitchy. I still don’t know if I think this one was done well or not.

This is only the second Heyer book I have read, and it’s the first murder mystery one, so I can’t really recommend it among the greater body of her work. I liked it, but it’s not one I would gush about like The Talisman Ring. Seriously, go read The Talisman Ring.

Dropping the Gauntlet

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Sailor Avengers Wallpaper Pack by nna on deviantART

This is one of the most well-made, lovely, funny crossovers of thought that I have seen since the vampire that was actually a giant anthropomorphic mosquito. Also, it is nicer to look at, because obviously that second one is really gross.

I issue the challenge that somebody write this. I don’t care if it’s long, short, a poem, or TERRIBLE. Do it!

 

Okay, so today I had to drive up to the University Hospital to get blood drawn (I love every phlebotomist I have ever met) and then buy new baby clothes for the Owen Pants. Which were mostly shirts. I’m so exhausted.