A Mid-Summer Night’s Streaming

This past week I took a break from watching movies I’d requested through my local library (see my previous post about dumping my Netflix DVD subscription) and switched to streaming two new (to us) science fiction series via Amazon Prime.

My favorite thing about streaming a series is not having to wait a week between episodes, especially when you are coming late to the party.  I do occasionally binge watch, but usually no more than four (4) episodes at once.  I have limited myself to two (2) episodes a night of The Man in the High Castle with a solo sandwiched between allowing me to complete five (5) episodes this week.  And I must say I am hooked.

It’s been years since I read PKD’s novel but even with my vague recollections I’m riveted by this production.  I’ve pulled out my ebook edition to reread, but that won’t prevent me from continuing on with the rest of season one.  There’s a reason PKD has so many adaptations.  If you haven’t read anything by him, I highly recommend him.

The second series we started watching this week was Humans (stylized with an upside down A).  I decided to watch this series based on an article I read months ago that stated if you really want to experience a robot rebellion, try Humans instead of or in addition to Westworld.  I very much enjoyed Westworld, especially the cinematography, production quality, story and acting, which sets a very high bar for Humans to meet.  

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Posted in Alternate History, Movies and Television Shows, Science Fiction, Seasons, Summer | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A Dozen Years of DVD Home Delivery Ends

I am one step closer to cutting the cord.  Last month, after nearly a dozen years of DVD home delivery, I switched to a streaming-only Netflix account.  I joined Netflix in November 2005, before streaming was available, originally opting to have three DVDs available at once at home.  Back then, I joined because I really hated due dates, especially from the then very popular home video rental giant BlockBuster.  Where is BlockBuster now?  (Hint:  Netflix bought them)

I searched through my email archive to see the milestones in my Netflix account changes.  I added Blu-Ray discs as a preferred format in 2008 and I believe the “instant watch” or streaming plan became available in 2009.  In 2011, I changed from three to two DVDs at home at once, not wanting to give-up my ‘life-line’ to non-streaming movies and television shows.

Last month, my attitude changed because a couple of series I wanted to watch were not available via streaming nor physical media from Netflix or my local library.  Specifically, The Man in the High Castle, only available through Amazon Prime, and The Handmaid’s Tale, only available through HuluContinue reading

Posted in Family, Movies and Television Shows, Musings, Services | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

How an independent bookstore took on anti-feminist trolls and won | Books | The Guardian

https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2017/jun/27/how-an-independent-bookstore-took-on-anti-feminist-trolls-and-won

Great article to read first thing in the morning.  Solidarity in the feminist trenches with wit and humor. 

 It this statement by the author under attack which rang especially true for me:

Speaking of the difficulties feminists face when trying to get their message across, Ford said: “It’s tedious and exhausting to deal with a daily onslaught of abuse and paranoia from angry men and their terrified cohorts. It’s impossible to have logical conversations with them because they don’t care about facts, only about how they feel about those facts.”

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Summer Reading for the Young at Heart

Summer reading programs at all my local libraries are in full swing this first week of June.  Nearly all the libraries have great programs, activities and prizes for both kids and adults and this year’s theme is “Build a Better World” (see links below for libraries shown here).

Kansas City Area Summer Reading Programs

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Posted in Books, Fiction, Musings, Non-Fiction, Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beginning My Deep Dive Into Tolkien

A dear friend of mine sent me off on a wonderful Tolkien tangent last week when she replied to my Podcast Pickup post and directed me to the Prancing Pony Podcast.  I quickly scanned the last half dozen posted episodes and settled on #038, also entitled “I Will Choose Free Will” – which immediately gave me a Rush earworm.  Not one to be daunted by a nearly two hour podcast (we are dealing with ‘epic’ fantasy here), I gave a listen to the ongoing discussion of The Silmarillion, specifically Chapter 21 and Túrin Turambar.  I pulled out my ebook edition and quickly skimmed Chapter 21 to remind myself of the story.  I really enjoyed the insights and the banter of the hosts.  It took me several days to completely listen to the episode, but by the end I was hooked and a plan began to form in my mind.

I have read The Silmarillion at least three times, possibly four.  My first attempt occurred in high school, followed by a reread during college.  I probably pulled it out for a third reread in the 90s, but with two young kids, I doubt I succeeded a complete journey.  The most recent rereading took a different tack wherein I switched to an audiobook edition, the one read by Martin Shaw.  I adore English voice actors so I had no trouble listening to the entire book twice, in 2010 and again in early 2013.

Having been impressed with the podcast above, my plan now is to begin at the beginning, to rewind back to episode #001, “In Defense of Fantasy” originally released in February 2016.  I’ve requested the recommended reading from my local library (the biography by Carpenter and Tree and Leaf by Tolkien).  I already own the ebook editions of Tolkien’s letters.

I am not going to rush this journey.  The road goes ever on, as any Tolkien fan knows.  I will indulge myself as the fancy takes me, betwixt and between my other reading and listening projects.  I will consider this an ongoing and long running blog posting series and please remember that “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Posted in Books, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Podcast Pickup

The stars have aligned recently in my personal universe allowing me to enjoy audio podcasts once again.  Years ago, I used to listen to them via my laptop, a web site or perhaps my Palm Pilot (yeah, remember those)?  I never owned an iPod but my children had a couple.  I liked the concept, but for the most part I preferred listening to audiobooks (and still do for the most part).

I’m a Patreon supporter of an author (Kameron Hurley), who recently started producing podcasts on a monthly basis.  Rather than download yet another application to my smartphone, I decided to use an existing installed app to listen to her podcasts.  I downloaded the audio file and placed it in my audiobooks folder so that my Smart Audiobook Player app would pick it up automatically.  It found the new file and I was able to listen to it through my Bluetooth headset and through my new car’s stereo system while commuting. I’ve listened to both episodes and enjoyed them both (although I do warn you that profanity is prolific).  I even submitted a question for a future podcast to her.  Kameron has made the podcasts available to everyone via her website at this URL:  http://www.kameronhurley.com/podcast/

This listening experience reminded me that there are other podcasts to be discovered.  I did some searches for best podcasts of the last couple of years for science fiction and fantasy.  I found two that seemed to fit my bill:  Sword and Laser and Wired’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (GGG).  I subscribed to both of them and downloaded the most recent episodes to my Google Music app.

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Posted in Authoring, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Musings, New Releases, Publishing, Reading, Reviewing, Reviews, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Zen for the Ages

My uncle recently read and reviewed the late Robert Pirsig’s seminal Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I’ve added this book to my ever growing list of philosophy-related to-be-read pile.  For more of Ron’s insightful review, please proceed to his blog via the link below:

Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig Five Stars “We are all of us very arrogant and conceited about running down other people’s ghosts but just as ignorant and barbaric and superstitious about our own.” I wish I read this book forty years ago. Instead […]

via Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig (Five Stars) — As a Matter of Fancy

Posted in 5 Star, Books, Musings, Non-Fiction, Philosophy/Religion, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment