Green and bronze

I’m discovering I’m actually kind of liking Arrow. I was expecting a less obnoxious Batman[1] who beat up fewer poor people and was somewhat better adjusted. And I got that. But I’m getting more, as well.

There’s a sensibility to it that feels deeply rooted in the pulps–Doc Savage with more (and darker) character development, Remo Williams with less camp. The protagonist is not a hero. The protagonist is a vigilante with some very strict rules. I am reminded of Eric Burns’ brilliant description of the old pulp vigilantes, which I may be stuck quoting until the end of time because really, he nailed it:

I need horror turned against evil instead of for evil. I need psychology and mystery blended. I need the supernatural with a veneer of exotic science to handwave it away.

That is so why I’m watching this.

I think the show really clicked for me when Queen’s chasing down the Royal Flush gang and tries to get the guard to not pull the trigger because he wants to see them hurt as little as possible; that episode really came across as explicit acknowledgment that someone who isn’t a good guy can have a good effect. That you can tell stories about someone who isn’t a good guy, that they are doing that. (There are a lot of shows that do this. House of Cards springs to mind. House of Cards, like Pet Semetary, suffers from the “practically all our characters are assholes” curse. This does not make it a bad show, but it certainly makes it a less cheering one to watch.)

I don’t think Queen’s a good guy, not yet. I think he believes at least one good thing (“don’t kill people”), but primarily he’s driven to stop bad guys, and as Huntress so pointedly illustrates, those are not the same things. I think he can become a good guy if he listens to the characters who have a broader moral sense of how to behave and takes time to develop something more than the compulsion to fulfil his father’s quest; I am not sure he will do this.

And I am really enjoying the non-Queen characters. Diggle, who is willing to call Oliver on so much of his BS. Felicity Smoak, with Oracle-like research powers and an inability to actually get the right words out. Quentin Lance (weirds me out every time I see him for looking like such a perfect blend of the Weasel from Lost Room and Boyd Crowder from Justified), because dammit, you need a smart honest cop and it’s a relief to have a foil for the protagonist who isn’t a bad guy. Laurel Lance and Tommy Merlyn and their (admittedly completely unoriginal but nonetheless charming) crusading idealism and well-intentioned stumbling towards adulthood. Even Moira Queen, who is presented completely honestly as being both a criminal conspirator responsible for multiple murders and unquestionably devoted to her family. (I want to see what’s going to happen when those two drives are brought into sharper conflict.)

I even like a couple of the recurring locales–the diner where Diggle’s sister-in-law works, the rustbelt crumble of the abandoned Queen industrial factory. (Admittedly, diners and decaying industrial locales are an easy sell for me.) And the colour-coding of the scenes is not subtle, but it sure is pretty.

It’s not Leverage. I don’t love the characters and I don’t turn to this show when I want comfort watching. But it’s entertaining, and new, and I like the idea of a flawed protagonist who’s got a finite arc to him. So I watch.

[1] My opinion of Batman varies based on the iteration, but I can at the very least say that I have really not been a fan of the recent movies.

The year is 1876…

…but the history is not our own.


Deadlands is alternate history–a steampunk horror weird Western where the dead get up and walk and things crawl in the shadows and hiss on the night wind and the more frightened people are, the closer you can get to Hell. Graced with the tagline “the spaghetti Western… with meat!” in the early days, its history noticeably diverges from real-world history on the day that the Battle of Gettysburg was called on account of zombies.

Years later, California has mostly fallen into the ocean, the war between the States has hit a kind of cold détente, slavery has been abolished, the new superfuel (colloquially called “ghost rock” because it sounds like damned souls screaming when it burns) is driving technology forward at an unprecedented rate, and what became the United States in our world has been split into six distinct political entities.[1]

I’m probably doing a bad job at describing it. And, let’s face it, the best description I can give it is still going to be textual. That’s not always the most evocative means of description.

And that’s okay. Know why?

They’re making a TV show.

[1] There are a couple of other changes that make me relieved; f’r ex, the most recent edition of the game explicitly sets out that racism and sexism in the game setting are the provenance of the villainous and shamefully ignorant. Arguably not plausible. Guess how much grief I am going to give a game that chose “implausible” over “deal with yet more unfun prejudice that is totally normalized”. Go on, guessssss.

Arriving in a screech of dust.

Good god, that was a long break.

Spring has come, and then viciously run off again, and now come back grinning like a dog that wants you to understand they are really not a bad dog, they just saw this awesome squirrel and kinda had to leave you standing there with a snapped leash in your hand, yelling about how there’d been sun and things were melting and what the hell is this thirty-five degree drop from one day to the next!

(I think that’s a sixty-three degree drop, for people who use Farenheit.)

I’ve managed to do some serious cleaning out stuff that’s slowly accumulated and that I’m just not going to use anymore or that anyone’s not going to use anymore, so that’s nice. There’s a charity that schedules pick-ups of donations of clothes and household items, so having a deadline to work towards helped. All told, I’ve gotten five garbage bags[1] and a box of stuff out of the house, so I feel way better.

I’ve also managed to sort a lot of my knitting. I got rid of a couple of old finished pieces, and frogged a couple more. I put all my in-progress projects in one place, and all my yarn that I’ve decided on a specific use for in another (neatly bagged together with the pattern in question). It makes it feel a lot more manageable (and has drastically reduced my interest in buying more yarn for the foreseeable, so that’s nice).

It’s not exactly interesting progress, but I suppose it’s progress. And it’s nice to occasionally sit back and think about how much more air there is in the house, now that there’s more space for it.

[1] Garbage bags are what they ask you put old clothes in.

Deadlines and recalculations

A story I recently submitted got a lot further than I’d expected it to before coming back with a personal rejection. I’d submitted it very close to the deadline, and I told myself that when[1] it got rejected, I’d revise it one more time before sending it out again.

Now, though, I’m kind of unsure. It’s apparently a sounder story than I thought it was, and I’m wondering if more revisions are just procrastinating. (I’m not saying it’s perfect! I’m saying it might be as close to really good as I can get it, if you see the distinction.)

Therefore, on the horns of the dilemma of “do further revise an already good story” or “don’t revise a story which I felt needed more”, I am picking the obvious option. The only sensible option. The option which stands out as clearly as if spotlit from above with “Thus Spake Zarathustra” playing in the background.

To wit, “find an umbrella and go out for some form of fluffy beverage which incorporates both coffee and whipped cream.”

The rest can get sorted in a bit (possibly while keeping this in mind); right now it’s likely the warmest part of the day, and I always feel a bit odd if I don’t get outside at least once.

[1] This is how I plan for such things.


Well, the bleaching and dyeing went well! My hair is now purple–mostly a blue-purple, some parts reddish-purple, and a few bits of bleached-but-not-dyed hair wisping around in front of my ears. The Vaseline got on them, it’s a resist, it happens. 🙂 I wasn’t sure using the two different dyes would actually make a difference, but it seems to’ve done so.

(In comparison to the other vegetable dyes I have used–Manic Panic and SFX–Punky Colour seems to bleed not at all. It comes out a little with shampoo, of course, and I had to use cleaner on the bathtub when I first rinsed it out. But it only comes out with shampoo, doesn’t stain the bathtub after the first rinse, and the first night I put a towel over my pillow and could not actually find anyplace my hair had stained it in the morning.)

(It also smells like Grape KoolAid, or at least the two purple dyes I used do. I have no idea if this is a nod to the old… tradition? method? …of dyeing hair bright colours by using KoolAid, but I would not be surprised.)

I’m feeling like a bit of an ass for waiting so long to do this again, to tell the truth. I keep thinking about an old joke about the woman who gets a nose job, feels great, takes a cruise, goes mountain-climbing, deep-sea diving, has a wonderful time. She runs into her plastic surgeon at a party or something several months later, he asks her how she’s doing, and she bursts into tears.

“What’s wrong?” he says, confused. “I thought you’d had a wonderful time since I saw you?”

“Oh yes, doctor,” she says. “But I could have done it all with my old nose, and I feel so stupid for waiting.”

(Let us not unpack why this is expected to be funny, I am in a good mood right now. But the waiting. The maybe-it-won’t-be-right, the bloody inertia. I get that.)

In other news, my work contract is done, and spring is here. I am contemplating shovelling some of the snow off the lawn–the pile is currently only four feet high or so, but it’ll melt down to the grass faster if I take off a little. And Elise has posted a tease of names for some of her earrings, so I expect to be able to see some lovely shinies within the week.