As procrastination goes, writing a rambling blog post about all the stuff you’ve been doing instead of writing your difficult new novel, kind of takes the custard cream, but I recognise that and kind of don’t care, so here goes…
First of all I’ve been binge watching Comic Book Men on Amazon. I’ve just finished watching all the five seasons (74 episodes) currently available in the UK on this streaming service and have found the series entertaining, information and at times heart warming. Also if it wasn’t for this show I wouldn’t have known about Yoga Hosers or Tusk. Okay, I would’ve realised there was a hole in my Kevin Smith movie watching at some point in the future but not as quickly as I did.
I also took the time to watch An Evening With Kevin Smith 2 and Jay and Silent Bob Grow Old: Teabagging in the UK – both also available, at a price, on Amazon. Kevin Smith doesn’t feature that heavily in Comic Book Men (just linking segments together and signing off in their podcast ‘studio’) but obviously since he owns the comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, where the show is filmed, it’s obvious that without him I wouldn’t have been able to ‘waste’ about 25 hours watching the show.
Also on Amazon I finally finished watching Season 2 of American Gods. To be honest I felt it was a bit patchy and rather too meandering at times. Also lead actor Ricky Whittle didn’t really get to do all that much when you think about it. Sure there’s some good individual performances from the supporting actors, but did it really amount to much in the end? Not so much. I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan, but if it doesn’t pick up in Season 3, I might have to ditch it off the same way I ditched of Preacher.
On Netflix, Siggy and I are slowly working our way through Season 2 of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, perhaps slower than we should because it’s not grabbing us quite as much as Season 1 did, and also maybe because we agreed that when we were done we would try out Season 2 of The OA, which we found rather frustrating in terms of pacing. We’ve heard Season 2 is a lot different, so here’s hoping it’s different in a good way and won’t turn out to be like S2 of American Gods.
We of course have also started watching the new season of Black Mirror and I will be writing individual posts for each of the three episodes. You can read my post about episode one here. We’ve also spotted the Amazon Original long-overdue television adaptation of Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites (how could we not, given the big ad campaign here in the UK on terrestrial TV) and so that might trump The OA to top of the list for our next viewing.
On ‘normal’ TV (whatever that is these days) Siggy and I enjoyed watching The Eurovision Song Contest (how can you not) and to give Graham Norton his due he’s just as funny as Terry Wogan was with his quipping narration. We’re also currently watching the brilliant vampire sitcom What We Do in the Shadows which has been adapted as a TV show from the film. There’s been some change in line up with Kayvan Novak (Fonejacker), Matt Berry (Toast of London, The IT Crowd) and Natasia Demetriou (probably best known in the UK for her appearances as a stand up comedian on panel shows, but probably the best of the new three imo) taking the lead roles and the location has changed from New Zealand to the US. I didn’t find the movie that funny in retrospect but I think the central premise has transferred really well to the episodic TV show format.
In terms of gaming I completed a story mode run through of Lego Jurassic Park, although it hasn’t grabbed my interest enough for me to want to play through again in free play mode – I know that’s where the fun is supposed to be, but unlike the Harry Potter and Star Wars lego games I’m not that interested in this iteration. I just wish they’d do a Doctor Who Lego game – I’d be on that in a flash and stay on it for hours.
I also played some more Star Wars Battlefront II (mainly heroes versus villains) and downloaded the truly awful pool game 3D Billiards for about £3 (I should’ve known better). The fact that it was so bad prompted me to look for a better alternative and I found Pure Pool at a reasonable price in a ‘snooker bundle’.
I haven’t played the snooker version yet, but have spent a lot of time playing 8 and 9 ball pool in the career mode. I have to agree with many other reviewers that this is the most realistic pool simulation game I have ever played on any console. It’s also very addictive. I found myself logging on in the morning before work just to try and get a few games under my belt before driving in.
Book-wise I have been trying to enjoy Asimov’s Foundation series. Deciding to read the series in the order in which they were published, I have read Foundation and Foundation and Empire and while it is amazing the things Asimov has imagined and the parallels I can draw to other sci-fi writing and films (not least Star Wars) I have found it rather hard going. It is rather disjointed and at times reads like a series of conversations between characters rather than there being any described action as such.
I’m a little disappointed so far, given that it won the Hugo Award award for best all-time series and it has been recommended to me by so many people. I know that without it Iain M Banks most likely wouldn’t have written his Culture series and that a lack of repeat characters means that Banks’ books probably wouldn’t qualify for the award, but I much prefer them to Foundation so far.
Actually it’s not all doom and gloom on the writing front, after my little update in my last post I did have somewhat of a minor breakthrough in terms of plotting and I think I have 90% of the story planned out okay now and about 80% of it drafted out. Again it’s as if my subconscious came to the rescue and an idea just popped into my head. that said I did consciously sit down with a pen in my hand and blank note paper in front of me and try and think it through, so it’s not all waiting to be bombarded with cosmic particles of inspiration. In fact I realise that some of what I thought of as new ideas actually are just revised versions of ideas I had some time ago when I was reading Helter Skelter.