On whiplash

I spent all week trying to prevent fourteen-year-old boys from looking at tits.  If you have ever known any fourteen-year-old boys, you may be aware that they rather enjoy looking at tits, and that in fact they tend to prioritize looking at tits over many other human activities, including, for example, math class.

I also had a meeting this week in which one of my students was described by someone who was not kidding as “clinically addicted” to pornography.

Then I had bibimbap for dinner.

Mmm, bibimbap.

And I ate it all.

mmmm, bibimbap

In which I appear

Sorry for the super last-minute notice (because I know y’all work your weekend schedules around what I’m doing), because I just found out about this event yesterday and they managed to fit me in anyway, but:  

I will be at the Read Local Author Fair at the main branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library THIS SATURDAY, from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.  I’ll have all of my books with me except for Searching for Malumba.  It’s a quick event, free to the public– as far as I know, you don’t even have to have a library card– and featuring a couple dozen other local authors in addition to me!  

(In fact, I got added so late, my name’s not even on the list.  I promise I’ll be there, though.)

If you are nearby you are commanded to come.  If you aren’t you are also commanded to come.  So I’ll see ALL OF YOU there, right?  

In which I check in

Got no sleep at all last night, to the point where I called in sick today, and have spent the entire day feeling like roasted hell. So not a whole lot to say right now. Anybody have anything fun to share?

NEXT DAY EDIT:  Can you tell I wrote this on my phone?  The post title has had an autocorrect typo in it for 24 hours and I just noticed.  🙂

Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: #SHERA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER

Y’all.

I had He-Man toys as a kid.  I grew up in the eighties; it was inevitable.  I didn’t really pay a hell of a lot of attention to She-Ra because … well, I was a boy.  And She-Ra was for girls.  I also watched the He-Man cartoon, and I have very detailed memories of being very angry with WGN because at some point or another they chose to commit the cardinal sin of pre-empting an episode of He-Man with a Cubs game.  

I don’t think I ever watched the She-Ra cartoon.  I remember that she said “For the honor of Greyskull” instead of “By the power of Greyskull,” but I think that’s cultural osmosis and not an actual memory.  I could not have told you the names of a single member of her supporting cast prior to this week.

Honestly, I only decided to watch the show because it seemed to be pissing off a bunch of whiny manbaby manchildren, and I like it when those people’s feelings are hurt.  If that makes me a bad person, I can live with it.  

I probably shouldn’t even make this part of the CCPR series, y’all, because I loved every second of this show.  The three of us watched the first two episodes together and we had to force our son to go to bed at his bedtime because he wanted to stay up and watch more.  We watched the other eleven episodes in two big gulps over the next couple of days.  This is absolutely 100% unequivocally the best show I’ve ever done one of these pieces on, and I’m only not calling it my favorite animated series of all time because I feel like the second I hit Publish on this piece I’ll remember what my favorite animated series really is and I’ll feel dumb.

I’m not gonna lie: a large portion of my affection for this show is somewhat political.  I love what this show is as much as how it is what it is.  But before I get into that, I want to be super clear about something: the show is hilarious and touching and action-packed and the voice acting is superb and even before we get into any of the representation issues it’s a great show.  My son loved it so much that he’s created his own characters inspired by the show and he’s been drawing comic books about them and creating statues of them in Minecraft all day.  My son does not love the show because of politics.  My son loves the show because it’s awesome.

To wit: when She-Ra first turns Swift Wind, her horse, into a … pegacorn?  Unisus?  Rainbow horned wing-beast thing, the horse’s reaction to its new wings and horn had all three of us laughing so hard we could barely breathe.  Sea Hawk’s insistence on setting his ships on fire was a running joke that never got any less funny.  The relationship between She-Ra and Catra– an invention of the new series, from my understanding– is complex and heartbreaking, especially for a show where friendship is such an important theme, and it feels real.  Adora’s fish-out-of-water reaction to … well, virtually everything after leaving the Horde is great.  I love even the minor characters, with Mermista, Entrapta and Scorpia being particular favorites. The animation style, which got a lot of unnecessary abuse, is exactly appropriate for the show, and the facial expressions are worthy of The Amazing World of Gumball.  It’s phenomenal, all the way through.

But yeah.  Let’s talk about the cast.  This is what She-Ra’s cast of characters used to look like:

I mean, the two on the outside are both purple…

This is what the cast of the new show looks like:

So straight off the jump we’re in a better place here.  The cast of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is deliberately and intentionally diverse, both in the appearances of the characters and the actual voice cast.  Glimmer is actually kinda chubby, and Spinnerella is flat-out fat,and it’s never once remarked upon by any of the characters.  That’s just what they look like.  It’s heavy on women characters, as a show with the words Princesses of Power might be expected to be, but it’s not just a palette swap with typical cartoons, where the women have less agency and less characterization.  Bow may be the only male of the three principals with Adora and Glimmer, but he’s a solid character on his own right and his relationship with Sea Hawk is hilarious.

(A moment, please, to just appreciate the He-Man style of naming characters.  This show features a sorceress character called Castaspella, mercifully called “Casta” most of the time, and a character who throws nets whose name is Netossa.  And in case “Netossa” is too subtle for you, she actually explains it onscreen.  The character named Perfuma is once represented by some random object while the group is making a plan and she insists on being represented by a perfume bottle.  The names are ridiculous.)

And, oh, guys, it’s so gay.  So very very very very very very very gay.

This show is so gay it makes Queer Eye look like 19 Kids and Counting.

Bow wears a midriff with a heart on it.  At one point he needs to wear a tuxedo for a ball.  His tuxedo has a cummerbund on it.  He tears off the cummerbund so he can continue to rock his abs in his formalwear at the ball.  Which he attends with a girl, but oh my God his reaction when he realizes Sea Hawk is there.

The bad guys are literally wiped away by a giant rainbow wave of love in the final episode.

Spoiler alert, I guess.  I mean, if you didn’t know the good guys win at the end of the season.  You probably coulda guessed.  

Oh, and the goddamn horse ends up being a socialist.

You need to watch this show.  If that means you need to get Netflix, do it.  It’s great.  I can’t wait for the second season.  Neither can my seven-year-old son.  If my recommendation doesn’t work for you, take his.

#Weekendcoffeeshare: Sweatpants Edition

If we were having coffee, you’d either be in my house or witness to just about the first time I’ve left my house since getting home from my dentist appointment on Wednesday.  This, if you’re me, constitutes a certain type of pure bliss, and it has been a lovely, wonderful long weekend, one where I have mostly not been wearing pants and yesterday I did not bother to shower until just before bed.  

Let’s talk geek shit, then, because at the moment it’s what I’ve got.  Again, I haven’t left the house in a few days.

ITEM THE FIRST!  I abandoned a book this morning, R.E. Stearns’ Barbary Station, when it became clear that despite starting off with an absolutely scandalous amount of potential the writing was never going to click for me. This book is about a duo of lesbian engineers who steal a colony ship and present it to a gang of space pirates, hoping that the gift will get them into the gang, because the galactic economy has gone to shit and “find a job with a pirate crew” is, under the circumstances, a sound plan.  They then discover that the pirates living on the station are sort of trapped there, because the AI running the place has gone rogue and has decided Kill All Humans is the right way to deal with things.  

I mean, come on.  I can’t resist a single thing about that premise.  This was bought the second I knew it existed.

One of them is a hacker, and hacking is presented as this drug-induced, hallucinatory metaphor-space, and the idea is fascinating.  In fact, damn near all of the ideas in the book are fascinating.  Everything about it is fascinating.  What it isn’t is good, unfortunately.   The writing is clumsy at best and the book is at least one solid editing pass and a new draft away from being a good read.  I don’t normally like to slag on books I didn’t like here, especially if they didn’t piss me off in an entertaining way, but part of me kind of hopes that someone will read the premise and decide I suck at deciding if things are good and buy the book anyway.  I need R. E. Stearns to sit down with a really good editor for her next book, and then to reissue this one.  Major disappointment.

(I’m not alone in this assessment.  The book currently has the worst overall star average of the nearly 600 books I’ve reviewed on Goodreads– only 3.19/5.  It’s tied with a Chuck Wendig book that was the victim of a prolonged and stupid review bombing.  That’s bad.)

Also, the font the book is written in is borderline unreadable.  I thought I’d get used to it but it was still pushing me out of getting lost in the book before I bailed.  With a better-written story, it might not have mattered, but with a poorly-written one, it was just One More Thing.  

That was unpleasant, so let’s talk about ITEM THE SECOND! which is Red Dead Redemption 2.  I actually took that picture by pointing my camera at my TV, because I got to the top of that mountain and looked off over the edge and thought Jesus, when I started playing video games, I was playing Asteroids, and now this.  Because you can go anywhere you can see in that picture.  

I will have a lot more to say about this game later, believe me, but for right now I just want to bask in how outstandingly beautiful the game is, and how it got me to spend a couple of hours this afternoon not bothering to advance the story at all but just exploring and hunting, which is kind of a ridiculous way to spend your Sunday before going back to work.  There are things I don’t like– the control scheme it starts you with is terrible, and once you fix the terrible control scheme you’re still left with something that will lead to you occasionally firing a gun in a crowded tavern by accident or punching your horse.  Both of those activities are kinda frowned upon.  

I’ve done more geekery this weekend, but the one other thing I wanna talk about is going to get its own post, I think.  So … wanna go hunt moose with me?  Because I kinda want to bag a moose today.  


My Patreon promotion is still running through bedtime tomorrow, or maybe even longer than that if I decide I feel like it.  Subscribe at the $2/month level or above and I’ll send you an autographed, print copy of my newest novel, Click.