January Status Report: First Goal of 2016 Achieved

woman in labFirst, a big thank you to Warren Ellis for linking to my review of Dead Pig Collector in his newsletter, Orbital Operations. It’s an excellent newsletter that he sends out on Sundays, and reads like the fascinating ramblings and recommendations of your very cool uncle who has done some weird shit in his life. I recommend that you subscribe.

Second, my brain has been almost completely liquefied after a few weeks of shopping my resume around in search of new, more interesting work. I have now found the object of this quest, and am in the process of leaving the employer that I’ve been with for nearly four years. The best new adventures are both exciting and terrifying simultaneously. There may be sleep deprived rants about Python and data science in the coming months.

Third, I’m still volunteering with the marketing team of a fantastic haunted house that raises money for charity. There will be more talk of that later, as we just started ramping up for a city-wide fundraiser known as “I Live Here, I Give Here.” I have to make a newsletter schedule and a powerpoint presentation this weekend for them. And then take my Google Analytics certification test. Wheeee.

All this means that I’m behind in my goal to read three novels a month. Kameron Hurley‘s Mirror Empire has taken up residence in my purse, but I have yet to find an opportunity to crack it open. I did manage to ingest several single issue comics, and Reed has gotten me addicted to the excellent ScyFy show The Expanse. Last week I finished the audio version of Brandon Sanderson‘s The Alloy of Law, right before things got really hectic (review forthcoming).

I have, however, unexpectedly started working on an idea for a weird fiction horror story. So far it’s a slippery thing that shifts around every time I sit down with it, but I think I’ve got the premise finally nailed down. It started out as one of the exercises in Syd Field’s Screenwriting book that I’ve been picking through, and refused to confine itself to a few paragraphs.

This whole month has been an exciting kickoff to 2016. I’ve already achieved one of my major goals for the year, and now I have much needed brain space available to chase down the next goal.

Day Before Thanksgiving Ramble

pumpkin_chop

This is my first year ever to really cook a Thanksgiving dinner, which we’re taking to my boyfriend’s parents’ house tomorrow. We were originally going to have them over, but as our apartment building nightmare isn’t quite over yet, I’m still not comfortable with guests at our place.

This is the result of one of those awkward “I’m a vegetarian and can’t do that thing you do every year, can we please do something else?” moments with Reed’s parents. They traditionally drive out to Salado to eat at the Stage Coach Inn, which cooks a “traditional” meal that basically consists of meat and chicken stock. Thankfully, they’re very accommodating and sweet. And I get to cook, which is almost always happy making.

Having said that, I’l like to point out that cutting up a pumpkin for roasting is a seriously frustrating experience.

Despite that, Phase I of Thanksgiving cooking was completed last night around 2am, against all sense and reason, and Reed now is home from work guarding a fridge full of pumpkin pot pie filling, roasted sweet potatoes and apples, and the supplies for Phase II;  balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, pie crust, and a second round of pumpkin bread.  He’s home from work with our brand new Wii U, and I am so jealous.

The dark chocolate pumpkin bread I baked last night has been nearly half eaten. Word is quickly spreading around the office, especially among departments I used to belong to, that the time has come and the bread is finally here.

cat eating turkeyI’m looking forward to the long weekend. A day with family, an evening with friends, seeing a movie with a dear friend of ours on Friday, and then we’re going to Celtic Christmas at the Texas Renaissance Festival on Sunday. Of course I’ll try not to feel guilty about not spending the extra two days on our big Rearrange the Whole Damn House project. I’m a little nervous that I may cave in and go on a big trip to Ikea on Saturday, as our grand plan requires buying several new bookcases.

Most importantly, I don’t have to look at a single spreadsheet for four whole days!

October is the craziest month every year

October is crazy for us, because we throw a huge, themed, Halloween party every year. Right before things kick into high gear, we vanish for a week into Fantastic Fest in late September.  I’ve been gluing eyes into roses for two weeks now and I think the chemicals are going to my head. I ordered an insane amount of LED candles last night so that we can recreate the devil prison altar from Prince of Darkness. And I joined an all women RPG group that’s playing Fate Core, which I’m not very familiar with. Busy time.

Also, I’m tired of trying to find time to write a really great review post for everything I saw at FF, so here’s a list, ordered by the release date if they have one:

Automata

automata_ver2_xlgSet in the middle of a slow burn Apocalypse, Automata does what good science does; Automata asks “What if…?” and tries to answer that question. Humanity struggling against gradual extinction in the aftermath of a solar storm decades ago that managed to rip through the atmosphere, irradiate chunks of the earth, and knock out most of civilization. Where people survive, a vast army of robots, originally built with the intention of working in the irradiated areas to stop the spread of a growing desert, is an integral part of every level of society. In reference to Isaac Asimov’s original Laws of Robotics, a supposedly uncorruptable set of programs prevent all these robots from ever hurting anyone or advancing themselves into a more independent intelligence.

If you’re into apocalypse films, or great robot science fiction, you need to watch this movie.

Limited U.S. release this weekend, October 10th.

 

Horns

hornsSo good! Based on the dark urban fantasy novel by the wonderful writer Joe Hill, Horns is fun, Horns is creepy, Horns an is absolutely heartwrenching. It’s a beautiful love story told in flashbacks while a young man searches for the real murderer of the girl he loved, while being accused himself. He also starts to transform into a monster after turning his back on God for taking his love away in such a horrible way. Only some people can see him as the monster, and those people find themselves compelled to tell him their deepest, darkest secrets. This helps with his search for the murderer.

Great date night movie. Please do NOT take the kids to see it just because Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) stars in it. It’s rated R for a reason.

It comes out Halloween weekend.

 

John Wick

johnwickGreat action movie. Lots of bullets to the head. Keanu Reeves’ character does not one single time question the nature of reality.  Also, the most incredible story of seeking revenge for a murdered dog, ever.

Comes out October 24th.

 

 


Wyrmwood

wyrmwoodposterThis is seriously the best zombie film I have seen in years. I hope, hope, hope that they can swing a full U.S. release, because everyone needs to see it.  Zombies are a source of fuel that have to be captured and hooked up to vehicles, there is the original story of a full zombie witch queen, and it’s hilarious.

It’s also Australian. Australians make really great zombie movies for some reason.

 

 

From the Dark

From-the-Dark-Conor-McMahon-Still-Trench-558x360A decent horror movie offering from Ireland. Creepy, suspenseful atmosphere, slow reveal of the monster. The protagonist is a tough young woman who just keeps making irrational decisions, some of which are so dumb it can knock you out of the movie.  That’s really its only flaw though.  Accept that she’s really impulsive already, and panicked out of her mind, and you’re in for a good ride.

I’m not sure when or if there will be a U.S. release.

Norway

NorwayTitle-thumb-630xauto-48932Trippy vampire movie from Greece. There’s no real story, just a bunch of bits mashed together that seem genuinely interesting but never actually pay off.  It’s fun stylistically, and I’m glad I saw it, but it’s not really worth seeking out. It may be that I lack the necessary knowledge of Greek pop culture to get it. The whole is based on an 80’s Greek pop song about a vampire, and thinking of it like a music video does make it a little bit better.