I’ve told this story before, but I’m not sure I’ve told it
I discovered Lindsey Buckingham before I really understood
what Fleetwood Mac was.
I was in the library, CD browsing, and my dad pulled out Go
Insane, Lindsey’s second solo album.“He’s the guy from Fleetwood Mac,” said my dad, as though I knew who
I should have, as my dad had given me a CD of the best o’
Fleetwood Mac not a while before that.But if we’re all stuck with a band from the moment we met them, Mac will
always be the guys who did Tango In the Night.So I knew most of that record, and those hits, and for some reason, the
song Tusk always stuck with me (probably because it was just such a weird
little song) but otherwise?
I never really realized that at one point they were The
Biggest Band In the World.
It would be years, in fact, before I finally listened to
Rumors all the way through, and went, “Oh, THAT’S what all the fuss is about.”
I don’t remember what else, if anything, I grabbed out of
the CD racks that day, but I took Go Insane home, and…
I don’t know how else to say it, but it kind of blew my
It was the mixing that got to me.Lindsey bouncing his vocals back and forth
from one speaker to another, multi-tracking his voice so that he was singing
six or more parts (I counted them, probably wrong, but I did my best).
It was a little Rock.It was a little Art.It was oddly
highbrow, with odd little instrumental passages, and walls of vocals, and when
I looked to the liner notes it said that just about every instrument was played
I listened to it constantly, and loved the record deeply,
and I think it might have been the first time I realized that sometimes, you
can’t convince anyone that a thing you love is amazing as you think it is.
Lindsey’s next solo record was Out of the Cradle.That one I’ve pushed on a half-dozen people,
all of whom like or love it to one degree or another.
But Go Insane?A lot
of the time, that feels like it’s just for me.
I’ve bought all of Lindsey’s studio records since then, and
loved them all to one degree or another.For some reason his Art/Rock crossover never quite worked as well for me
on his other records, though I’m not sure why.
But I’ve skipped his live records, mostly because that’s
just what I do.I’m okay with the
existence of live recordings, but for the most part they’re just
not-as-well-recorded versions of songs I already like.Why listen to something inferior if I don’t
Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of seeing someone live,
and the idea of a souvenir from a show I saw intrigues me as well.But too often, it feels like an inside
joke.You had to be there.
I’m also not much of a fan of iTunes.I realize that much of the world has moved on
from owning objects, and as an indie author I acknowledge that it’s easier to
put MP3s into the world than it is a physical thing.But I dislike trusting my ownership to
something as self-destructive as a computer.
And still… when I heard Lindsey Buckingham was touring
around, doing a literal one man show, him and a guitar, I had to hear it.And iTunes was, quite literally, the only
It’s an intriguing idea, really.I don’t know how many people really consider
the comparison, but the most famous version of Fleetwood Mac is surprisingly
similar to The Beatles.Multiple
songwriters, huge hits, the band internally torn apart by relationships.Even the sonic experimentation, to some
The solo careers that ensued when the band broke up.
Really, I think, it’s the death of John Lennon that prevents
the comparison from going any farther.Were John still alive today, I suspect that the Beatles might have
gotten together around the time they put out all that lost material.
But I digress.
My “no live albums” rule has had a few exceptions, and
therein, I think, lies to key to the mystery.I remember hearing that Fleetwood Mac was putting the classic band back
together, and yeah, I caught the broadcast of the show that would become the
live album The Dance.It was fun to
watch, but in the end I bought it for one track, and one track alone:
Lindsey Buckingham singing an absolutely insane version of
Big Love, wherein he played the guitar in a manner that… I mean… honestly, I
don’t know what he did, or how he did it.But it sounds like there are at least two guitars in there, and maybe
And here’s One Man Show, the live experience wherein you got
to see (or in my case, hear) what happens when he does something like that to
even more of his catalogue.
Music critics often like to talk about deep cuts, the songs
that weren’t hits or singles, and often aren’t even fan favorites.They are, instead, those songs that only the
true fans, the ones who listen to their records again and again, eventually
come to know and/or love.
In Lindsey’s case, that’s maybe half of his Fleetwood Mac
output, and about 99% of his solo work.
I’m not sure exactly what I expected from the recording, but
I do know this – Lindsey decided not to make it easy on people.
Your average big name performer likes to come out of the
gate with you on his or her side.So
they start out with one big hit, maybe two, before moving into the new
material, or the stuff that’s not as popular but it still pretty awesome.
(Heck, on The Dance, Lindsey and crew did FOUR big songs
before they did a deep cut and a new song, back to back.)
Sometimes, a band will even leap out of the gate with
something fast and fun, just to get the blood flowing.
Lindsey does none of this.
Granted, he doesn’t go full-on art.He starts off with Cast Away Dreams, which
is, in my estimation, one of his prettier late-period ballads.
He then tries to ease into the harder stuff by doing a
bang-up job on Bleed to Love Her, which translates surprisingly well from the
big band version, mostly because he seems to be able to play two guitar parts
But it still wasn’t what I’d call a hit, more of a semi-deep
cut from The Dance.So I figured he’d
whip out one “big” song before he started laying out the truly arty stuff.
But, no.Instead we
get Not Too Late, and Stephanie, and Come and Shut Us Down.
These are not terrible songs, but as I sat listening, I felt
restless.None of this was bad,
truly.It was all nicely performed.But as a fan, I felt a kind of unease.It was my big fear, as there was little to no
reinvention going on here, just slightly more noisy versions of songs I’d
already heard this way.
Go Insane was next on the list, and it works.This is a slow, ballad-y version of the song,
with little pauses in the picking and the strumming, for dramatic effect.I think seeing it live onstage might give it
an extra kick.As a recording, it’s
mostly just okay.
Next he moves to Never Going Back Again, one of the few
songs off of Rumors that wasn’t a hit.It’s a great, plucky little tune in its original format, but here, he
makes the song wander along for twice its original length.
Big Love is, more or less the same live version I already
knew, and I’m So Afraid, while still a great guitar solo song, isn’t quite as
marvelous since Lindsey is clearly working with some kind of pedal effect or
backing track to get his guitar riff to play over.
The show “concludes” with Go Your Own Way, which in my
estimation would have been a much better starting point than an ending
point.And once again, he resorts to a
backing track, and once again he plucks out pretty much the same solos we’ve
always heard.And the show ends.
Except, of course, there’s an encore.And honestly, I wish the encore had been the
He first steps out with what was probably his biggest solo
hit, a one-guitar version of Trouble that is, in my estimation, the superior of
the original in just about every way.Reduced to a single guitar and voice, it’s a high-wire act of guitar
picking and strumming and lovely singing of a pretty tune.
The show then finally closes with Seeds We Sow.It’s not my favorite Buckingham track (I
would have preferred Say Goodbye, off of Say You Will) but it closes the show
nicely and, perhaps more to the point, the song is a lot more accessible than
some of the rest of the recording.
I think Lindsey is probably happy with what he accomplished,
going out on the road and doing his own thing, just him and the audience.And in reality, I stand by my earlier thought
– if I could have seen this live, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more.
But my suspicion is that I still would have had some
disappointments.Gift of Screws, for
example, contains two great up-tempo numbers (Gift of Screws and Love Runs
Deeper), both of which would have livened up the show a bit.There’s nothing here from Out of the Cradle,
which is a perfect album with a lot of songs that are seemingly designed for
solo performance (in particular, Street of Dreams).
And as a recording, there are some serious flaws.Lindsey sometimes sings so quietly I wasn’t
even aware the recording was still running… until I turned the volume up a
hair, and then he started screaming.I’m
all for dynamics, but the mix could have used some tweaking.
I’m glad the recording exists, for guys like me who somehow
missed that he was even on tour.But
with such an extensive catalogue, and so much talent, I can’t help but think
that it could have been so much more.A
better mix.A longer concert that didn’t
ignore so much of Buckingham’s catalogue, or stuck strictly to his solo work.
In the end, I’m glad I own a few of the things here – in
particular Trouble is now the song I want it to be.I just wish there was more here that I loved.
I’ve probably said this before, but I find the idea of the
mid-season finale to be a little odd.
I remember being a kid, and your show was on, or it was not
on.And sometimes it was new, and
sometimes it was a rerun, in which case you’d watch it if you missed it last
time.(Though we rarely did in my house,
because my dad is way into technology and so we owned two VCRs.)
So now, there’s this big buildup, and you can tell that
showrunners are working really hard to go out on a high, but realistically?
Timing things on TV is just about impossible.
Because schedules shift.And shows move.And so a show
that was going out on episode nine suddenly goes out on episode eight.Or a spot needs to be filled because another
show failed, and storylines get bumped around.
Or the network wants a particular episode to happen on THIS
date instead of THAT date, so some editing is done and the episode that made
sense before now only sorta makes sense.
We’re now two weeks away from the end of the year, and every
TV show (or just about every TV show) has tossed what it had to toss at us, and
here’s where I’m at with what I’ve been keeping up with.
Much like American Idol, this one was forced on me by my
wife because she knew someone in the competition.
At this point, we’ve gone through three AI cycles and I’ve
come out with exactly one musical artist I felt like following – Phillip
Phillips.And even though I like the guy
well enough, I’m not sure if I’ll pick up his second record when it comes out.
By contrast, the last winner of The Sing-Off?Pentatonix.And I’ll buy EVERYTHING they put out.
(I want to give their newest release, PTX Volume 2, a full
review at some point.But for now, the
thumbnail is this: It’s great.Everything they needed to fix on the first go-round got fixed.If you like them at all, buy it now.)
Pentatonix, along with The Little Movie That Could, Pitch
Perfect, brought The Sing-Off back from the dead after a poorly-rated third
season.And from what I can tell, the
show is putting up decent numbers.
Not great, but decent.
And I hate to say it, but I suspect that’s at least in part
because the show isn’t quite as good this time around.The problem with the premise is that we’re
not dealing with individual people, but a collective that’s at least five and
sometimes almost 20 people strong.
There are, you can tell, millions of people auditioning for
Idol.But I’m guessing there are 100
groups across the country trying to get on The Sing-Off.Maybe less.(Maybe more.But I kind of doubt
And even these best of the best groups are often good, but
not VERY good.
I remember watching last season, and right after Pentatonix
sang I looked at my wife and said, “I think they could take it.”(Ultimately, it came down to the three groups
I thought it would.)
And this season, again, there’s a group that’s far out ahead
of the pack, in Home Free.
But the thing of it is, they’re already a working band,
doing more than 200 shows a year.This
is what they do for a living.They’ve
put out multiple albums, all of which you can pick up on iTunes or Amazon right
The group is, ultimately, on the show to get some more
exposure, and they’re getting that.The
probably want to go from working county fairs to working BIGGER county
fairs.And that’s about as far as I
think they’re going to get.
But I don’t think they’ll become the next Pentatonix.
I think that’s an inherent flaw in The Sing-Off, and what
killed it last time.It’s got a strong
gimmick, inasmuch as there are no bands, only voices.But unless there’s something more to bring to
the table (Pentatonix, with their seemingly impossible remixes and breakdowns,
has that in spades) the only thing you offer is a lack of band.
And it’s fun to watch, but it doesn’t sell records.
I think, given the holiday season, that The Sing-Off is
doing well, though it’s losing out to other “real” shows.I wouldn’t be surprised if this came back,
since it’s probably not terribly expesive to produce.
But I do wonder how many really good a cappella bands are
The Walking Dead
The mid-season finale brought us to one of the most brutal
moments in all of comics-dom, wherein Rick lost his wife and baby in a massive
shoot-out with the Governor and his crew.
And it ended… roughly the same way.
This was mostly handled with the “vanishing” of the baby,
which they tried to make appear as if a zombie got her.But there were a lot of folks running away,
getting on buses, and scampering off at the end of the episode, and I’m about
98% sure that we’ll find out that the baby is just fine come spring.
People love to talk about how Walking Dead loves to kill off
characters, but I must to continue to reiterate the truth – they don’t have the
guts to go all the way and really make it hurt.
Harry Potter had that same problem.Someone of “note” was finally killed in book
five, after hundreds of pages of build-up, and to be honest, my reaction was,
“Meh.”They took out a second tier
character, and really he was perhaps even a third-tier, and then tried to pass
it off as sad because of a first-tier connection.
By the time we got to book six, and iced someone of real
importance, it was, in my estimation, too little, too late.
And that’s the continual issue with The Walking Dead.Yeah, we’re losing redshirts semi-regularly,
but those are redshirts.Yes, we lose
other characters from time to time, but if the guys running the shows are
following social media at all, they know in their hearts that they’re getting
rid of characters almost no one actually likes. (The mom, for example.)
I think before next year hits it’s time for whoever is
running the show to sit down with the box sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and
really understand that death only matters if people are interested in your
And a lot of the time, they aren’t really pulling that off.
On the bright side, however, they really took a grenade to
the central stories of the season, and gave us what might have been a season
finale halfway through the season.There’s a real possibility for taking major chances now.
I hope they use it.
Agents of SHIELD
I’ve covered this before, and I think I’ll do it again and
I wish that critics would stop trying to fix this show.
I’m not saying the show is perfect, but I’ve grown tired of the
scads of digital ink being flung all over this show in an attempt to improve
Let us pause and consider something for a minute.
Recently, a Thor movie came out.It came in at a cost of 170 million dollars
and ran for two hours.
Agents, on the other hand, will probably run for 22 hours
this season.(15.5 hours, if you take
out commercials, I suppose.)
If they’re lucky, and they probably aren’t, they’re getting
8 million dollars to turn out each episode.If that’s the case, the yearly budget is about 176 million.
And I think those number are just close enough to make my
point – Agents has to fill almost 8 times the amount of screen time for the
same budget as Thor.And they have to do
I don’t know that George RR Martin is right about
everything, but he nailed it a couple of years ago when he said the problem
with television is that it looks like a movie now.It’s in wide screen, it’s high definition,
and they can’t really cut the corners they used to and get away with it.
And unlike Thor, which had a pretty iffy plot, but
spectacular action, well, they can’t get through every week just by adding
people punching other people in the face.
The fact is, yeah, Agents is still working on finding its
feet.It had storylines that started
that have to be worked through now, and some of them are interesting to people,
and some aren’t.
But what people forget is that the show was built with a ton
of masters, all of which must be served.ABC wants the show to tie-in to the movies, and so we get little scenes
that we have to pretend are germane to the films.
Geeks want all their classic heroes and villains to show up,
many of which are just plain too expensive to pull off.
And non-geeks who like the movies and the movies alone don’t
want to get bogged down by storylines featuring obscure characters they’ve
never heard of.
People keep talking about Arrow as being the better show,
but, well, look.It’s on the CW.If it put up the numbers it was putting up
anywhere else, the show would have been scrap-heaped roughly two episodes in.
And the show has “Agents” in the title, which means it was
always going to be a team thing, and not just one guy you have to meet and root
for.You can only cram so much character
development for everyone in each episode before they just implode on
The show has been swapping characters out and trying to
build everyone a piece at a time.It’s a
slow burn, and yeah, I wish it would hurry up just a touch.
But the fact is, I have FUN every week when I’m
watching.I smile through the
episodes.I laugh at the jokes.I enjoy myself.And at this point, it’s probably my wife’s
very favorite show.She asks for new
episodes on days the show doesn’t even air.
It’ll get there, everyone. Give it time.Enjoy.It’ll get there.
Speaking of shows and retooling.
I’m just about caught up with this one now – two episodes to
go and we’re caught up and ready to rock and/or roll when the show comes back.
And much like Agents, this one was a slow burn.Plots were being set up, rivalries put in
place, character dynamics configured…
At which point the show knew it had some flaws.So it dropped a grenade on everything.
Not everything-everything, you understand.But the original (ahem) plotline was pretty
just-okay – Klaus tries to take the city back as his own.
The, week by week, we met new people, added new dynamics,
and the show scrambled to try to gain traction.
And then they tossed a grenade in the works.
Actually, they dropped a few, grabbing all the character
dynamics and, in a couple of episodes, upending them as much as they possibly
could while still keeping the show the same show.Good guys turned out to be not so good.Bad guys turned out to be not so bad.
There are a lot of things as stake (heh, sorry) and there
isn’t really a good way to resolve them where good guys win (because there
aren’t many) and bad guys lose (though there are a lot of bad guys).
The show is intriguing, is the thing, and over the course of
a couple of episodes I found myself going from mildly curious where things were
headed to increasingly curious as to how they’re going to keep raising on the
bar as these conflicts come to a head.
I don’t know that this show will ever be as good as Vampire
Diaries was during their best years.But
I’m hoping it can get close…
There are certain works of art you almost wish you could
erase from your brain so you could see them all over again with fresh
Man, I’d kind of love to do that.
Here in the ninth year, it’s almost impossible for the show
to really pull off any surprises.Killing characters is almost passé now, because that’s unavoidable.
But then they pull out their mid-season finale.And suddenly, all the little problems that
have been building up over the course of this season come home to roost, and I
found myself saying aloud, “Oh, THAT’S where they were going.”
And it was totally worth it.
I’ve got all of Supernatural on DVD, and someday, I really
want to go back and experience it all again, just to watch all these stories
unfold a second time.
If you haven’t, start now.You’ve got so much greatness ahead of you.
Short and sweet:
This season is better than the last one.
I’m liking it, but not loving it.There are glimpses of greatness that could
My wife is just not into it.
We still have a lot of catching up to do.
Overall, I think the biggest flaw is a lack of clear,
interesting goals.Taking out the new US
government feels too big and vague.Making it personal by threatening our main cast rarely works because the
cast just isn’t all that interesting or well-liked.
So the show falters.
But it could still get good.It could.
Here’s the problem with this show: It just plain got too
much love in its early days.
It has a lot of well-deserved Emmys, and that’s a fine
thing.But it has also painted a target
on the show’s back, causing people to evaluate it with extreme prejudice.
But ye cats, people.The show has 12 characters in it, and it tries to service almost all of
them every week.It’s churning through
plots at a breakneck pace, and all the things that felt fresh five years ago,
well, yeah, they’re going to age somewhat as the show goes on.
I swear, some days critics are like toddlers.All happy with their new toys right up until
they start feeling just a little bit old and used up… and then it’s on to the
new toy, which is SO much better than that old toy…
Speaking of old toys, South Park came back after a long,
long time off.And it proved two things
that don’t go together at all.The first
is that the show, after 200 episodes, has gotten ever more hit and miss over
The second thing is that the hits are still there, and when
they are, as in their George RR Martin mockery, the show is still capable of
making you go, “Well, that’s just… I didn’t… I did not ever see that coming.”
The Big Bang Theory:
I often state that I’m out of things to say when it comes to
this show, and I suspect that might always be the case.
I feel like they’re really working on Sheldon this year,
though, trying to take off some of the sharp edges they’ve created and note
that, yes, he’s supposed to be a human being instead of a rudeness-centered
Unfortunately, this has turned some of the other characters
a bit more one-note, but they can fix that, right?Amy is more than just a frustrated nerd in
need of man-love, right?
The Vampire Diaries:
‘S funny.Every time
I figure they’re going to drag something out, they drop a bomb on it.After a year of dealing with Silas, suddenly
all that’s over and done with and the guy I figured would be the major villain
this year is gone.
Which makes for mid-season weirdness, as now they’re setting
up some new bad guys, and it feels like the start of the season all over again.
hoping this fresh season-within-a-season is good.
Talk about your failure of a mid-season finale.
The rise and fall of Glee is one that kills me, more often
than not.Mostly because I remember that
first season, that first episode, that first blush of TV that was fun, that was
heartfelt and hopeful.
Let’s talk about the last two episodes.
The last episode?They said it was a “lost” episode, just so they could jam in a Christmas
special, even though it’s spring on the show.Like their other Christmas episodes, it was a pretty mediocre affair
with a couple of nice moments and some good songs.
But you can tell how far the show has fallen.The previous three years have had really
wonderful Christmas CDs, with extra not-in-the-episode songs, wonderful little
performances, and a few lovely song-gems that were worth hearing whether you
were a Glee fan or not.
But this year, it was an online-only thing, with Love Child
thrown in there even though, really, what was the point, and only one real
enjoyable song, Mary’s Boy Child, which was destroyed by girls in hot pants
basically making the song weirdly uncomfortable.
The week before that, we had the puppet episode, wherein
Blaine made a bunch of puppets, because there hadn’t been a puppet episode yet.
As I’m thinking about it, I’m realizing that I can’t think
of anything “great” about this season.The Finn episode was heartfelt, but all over the map and didn’t really
offer the catharsis the show needed.The
various themed episodes (Beatles, Katy Perry/Lady Gaga/Billy Joel) feel like a
desperate push to cram songs on the soundtrack.
And I can’t think of very many covers I want to own.Marry the Night, maybe.And the acoustic version of Wide Awake?
I wonder if the death that overhangs the show is what’s
dragging it down, or if there’s just an absence of ideas at this point.
Either way, the show still has a season and half of episodes
ahead of it, and I’m starting to suspect even the writers don’t know how to
I’ve been a Bridget Jones’s Diary fan for a number of years
now.It was one of my few airplane
You know, one of those books you buy at the last minute at
the airport because you need something, nay, anything to do on plane?One of those.
I was standing in the airport and I was hating the book I
had.A friend had loaned me Hunter S.
Thompson’s Better Than Sex, and I was quickly and painfully learning that I was
not a Thompson fan.
(I eventually tried Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and also
found it an absolute slog.Sorry folks.)
I’m not sure why I picked up the first Jones book.I do recall I was standing at a kiosk with
extremely limited literature choices, and it’s possible it was the only thing
that looked even remotely interesting.I
flipped it open and started to read, and while the humor was simple (oh look, a
man in a bad sweater!) it looked like it wasn’t going to punish me for reading
it, unlike certain other books I could name.
So I bought it and boarded the plane, and here’s the thing –
I had a good flight.I sat and I read
and while I didn’t feel compelled to keep turning pages (Jones is, for the most
part, a romantic comedy, and they really only end one way) I also never felt
compelled to stop, sigh, and regret my choice.I even had a nice conversation with the flight attendant, who told me
she thought the book was very funny.
I smiled.I was maybe
halfway through it then, and while I was enjoying myself, I didn’t find it
riotous. I didn’t feel compelled to laugh out loud.
I was almost done with it by the time I got home, and the
next morning I woke up and finished it off.And while I couldn’t put it amongst the works of great literature, or
even among my favorite books, I kind of loved it.
When people (mostly women, I’ll admit) asked me what I was
reading lately, I more often than not found myself loaning the book to them,
and they had much the reaction I did.They’d read it in a day or two, and return it with a smile on their face.
Ultimately, it was a perfect little gem that did everything
it was supposed to exactly right.
The problem, of course is that it came to a pretty solid
happy ending.There wasn’t really any
reason to write another.
And yet, as I often say to friends who ask why there are so
many movie sequels, the reason is always simple: Money.
In a kind of a cool twist, a friend I had originally loaned
my copy of the book went to the UK around the time the second book was
published.She brought it home and
loaned it to me, and I was able to read Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
months before it came out in the States.
And… it was really mediocre.
Having already solved most of the complications in the first
novel, this one was forced to create new ones.And while the first book contained a lot of moments that could easily be
described as, “Well, that’s a little zany, but I could see it happening to
someone I know,” the second book…
Well, frankly, it tried to up the stakes, and it just didn’t
work.The original volume had been a
fun, low stakes book, and this one tried to up everything, and it wasn’t silly
or fun, just kind of annoying and trying-too-hard.
Whereas I had dragged my wife to see the first movie in the
theater, and enjoyed it thoroughly, I caught up with the second movie on video,
when I could get it from the library and not have to pay anything for it.
There were a couple of fun moments, I’ll admit.But whereas the first movie had taken the
best bits of the book and added little ideas that were fun, the second movie
seemed to keep only the stuff that was just flat-out the opposite of good.
I figured it was over then.Years later I read that Jones had returned, in column format, in some
British newspaper or another.I figured
that eventually that would get turned into a book as well, but it didn’t
happen.I figured this was because the
moment had kinda passed.
And then… and then there was word of a new book.
The thing of it was, I hadn’t care for the second book, and
so the third couldn’t really hurt me, I figured.If it was bad, I’d skip it, or perhaps skim
it and see if any of the old magic was back.
And if it was good?Well, it would be nice to see Jones redeemed.
Much was made of the fact that Jones’s love interest (and
husband!) died before the events of the third book.The author said the Jones books only work
when she’s single, and maybe that’s the case.But truthfully, I think a good book could have been crafted out of her
marriage and child-rearing.
(I’ve worked and reworked the below paragraph, and honestly,
it might reveal too much about the book.Feel free to skip that one, if you want to read the book.)
Instead, Jones became a cougar on the prowl after years of
being a lonely single mother.She spends
the book getting into and out of a relationship with a man several years her
junior, and then the book ramps a periphery character and Jones, because she has
to, heads towards another happily ever after with one of her two choices.
It is, in some ways, the first book all over again, only
with more baggage.
But mostly, it’s less of a fun book.In fact, mostly, it’s a melancholy one.
The fact of the matter is, a dead spouse is a very serious
subject matter, and while the book skirts around the edges of this idea for a
while, it remains the elephant in the room until the book decides to address
The thing of it is, if you liked the character at all, those
passages are genuinely devastating.If
the first book was a light romp, this book can’t, by its very nature ever get
nearly as romp-y.
If the first book was a perfectly crafted thing, this one is
messy, and I don’t know if that was the intention or not.A dead spouse was, ultimately, going to mean
that pathos was baked into the tale, and when I sat around reading reviews,
it’s apparent that people just couldn’t stomach the idea of a tale with happy
in its sad and sad in its happy.
But I was good with it.
A good book is a delicate animal, I think, and the problem
with imperfect ones is that often there’s no real way to fix it.The book spends a lot of time clearing its
throat and trying to get rolling, and I spent maybe 100 pages trying to get
used to reading Bridget’s missives again.
I can imagine an editor, and possibly the author, spent a
long time trying to get the book to launch in just the right way, and
truthfully, I think they blew it.
But as I moved through the book, I found more and more to
like.Bridget spends much of a book
trying to write a screenplay and get it turned into a movie, and since that’s
mostly unrelated to her love life it allows for more laughs.
And while the cougar relationship sometimes trends towards
the awkward, it eventually develops a charm of its own.I suspect that’s because it becomes more
honest as it goes along, starting as a “young man finds a woman 20 years older
than him to be the hottest thing ever” and eventually dives into the real
issues that would present themselves.
And perhaps that’s the issue, really.So much time has passed, so many important
events have occurred, and the book is forced to skip over some and gloss over
others in an effort to get into the story.
But the thing of it is, there was a story there, it probably
just didn’t feel very Bridget Jones-like, what with all the death and the
In the end, this is a melancholy book, and much of that
hinges on a dead husband and the prospect of single motherhood.Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy knows this
and tries to be honest with it.
And while I don’t think it will eventually be judged a
classic, I suspect that over time this will be the book fans turn to when they
think about sequels to the original.It
will always be found slightly lacking (anything compared to the first book
probably will be) but it has a charm and an honesty all its own.
If the first book is all about happily ever after, this one
is about finding the happiness in the sadness.
I’ve been trying to get back to writing for National Novel
Writing Month, and so far that’s been an utter failure.
I did reread what I wrote on my last vampire novel, and I
was happy to find that it’s really good, and know where I want to go.
But I’ve been drained.
So I’m just gonna do this blog post, just to try and get in
a writing mode, and we’ll hope for the best.
The Walking Dead:
This is new – I’m actually all caught up for the first time
in pretty much forever.I even watched
the most recent episode the day it aired, and…
It’s all right.
I want to like it more, but I feel like I’ve been getting
ahead of this show for a while, not because it sticks to the comics any more,
but because it’s trying to get away from it and mostly succeeding.
There has been much talk about the surprises coming this
year, and I think that’s what inevitably leads to letdown for me on this
show.They’re trying to surprise me, but
they don’t really have anywhere else to go, shock-wise.
As much as I might like various characters on the show, I
also am well-aware that killing them off or otherwise injuring them is really
the only trick this show has.Oh,
they’re setting up plotlines, like the illness, but if you think abuot it the
illness is just the zombies all over again.It’s taking out redshirts until we get further in the season, when
they’ll finally kill off an actual face we like and/or care about.
The comic went all-out (don’t read if you don’t want to
know) and ended the prison stay with the death of Rick’s baby.That’s a pretty brutal place to go, but at
this point it wouldn’t really be a shock.For the majority of the audience of the show, it’s been done already.
They could kill Rick, but why would they?He’s not all that well-liked.
And of course, they don’t have the guts to take out fan
What does that leave us?Probably with the death of Glen and/or Maggie at some point this
season.There’s enough of a shock there
for it to work, and it doesn’t have the problem of wiping out someone we don’t
have enough information about to care about all that much.I mean, I guess they could off Maggie’s
sister, but that’s a minor shock at best.
I’ll say Glen.
Oh, and also that little girl is feeding rats to the
walkers.Duh.Try harder, show.
The storylines are a bit spread out now, and bringing to
show around to its main point (closing Hell, dealing with the angels) is taking
a lot more time than I expected.That
said, I’m laughing hard, I’m enjoying the moral dilemmas of secret keeping
enough to let them go from week to week (because there is at least a point to
the kept secrets) and moments like Dean getting ready to shoot a pigeon are
Easily my favorite show.
Agents of SHIELD:
Man, this show gets a lot of abuse from critics.I’ve read probably a half-dozen “here’s how
to fix this show” articles these last few weeks, and you know what?
Man, let it go.
I realize I try to fix shows all the time, but this show has
only just gotten started.Yes, the
characters are generic, yes, it’s still very monster/case of the week, but I
feel like because this is a Whedon show everyone’s gotta shove its nose in the
carpet and tell it that it’s a bad dog.
You know what?I’m
liking it.It’s a little X Files, it’s a
little Marvel, and the show is having fun.I laugh more at this show than I do at most sitcoms.The action scenes are well-shot.We’re getting little bits of personality from
the characters, and yeah, it’s taking some time to shake out, but guys, it’s a
Give it time.It’s
This is the one show I’m still way behind on, and I’m not
quite sure how the little threads are really going to weave into a full
season.In fact, that’s probably my
biggest issue – it’s a big setup that Vampire Diaries would probably burn
through in four or five episodes, but it appears they’re on track to drag it
So I’m reserving judgment on this one, for now.
Um… what to say?They
took a longer break before bringing us these ‘sodes, and I think it pushed them
out of the groove a little bit.
There are laughs, yes, but we’re zipping along through these
episodes and usually, by now, they’ve had at least one very good episode, and
instead they’re all just passable.
I don’t know if they’re just having an off season, or if,
perhaps, it’s time to hang it up after more than 200 episodes.
I’m not sure why I keep talking about this show, because I
don’t have a lot to say about it.Ultimately, it’s a sitcom, and it makes me laugh.
And… I’m out of revelations.
When we last saw Revolution, it was a big fat mess with a
bunch of people I didn’t care about.
This season it’s… less of a mess.They’ve spun the characters out and they’re
trying to sustain this good guy/bad guy dynamic, but…
But things got fuzzy, a little too fast.Some folks got bombed, which should up the
stakes but mostly just made people sad.
The US Government is now back on American soil and trying to
take over and “restore order,” but since they don’t seem to have a real plot
aside from “eventually be the government again,” I have a hard time rooting
against them.I suppose the argument is,
they’re bad and they nuked a bunch of people, but given the harshness of
conditions and the fact that pretty much every “hero” on the show has killed
dozens, if not hundreds, of people, it’s hard to give them the moral high
The show is fun sometimes, but it could be more fun.(Also, my wife is starting to hate these
people, so… they need to do something, and do it quick.)
The Vampire Diaries:
The season started off with a bang, and it seems to be
clipping along nicely.Bonnies death
has, I must admit, been hard to watch, as I’ve lost two friends to cancer this
last year and watching these characters mourn has really set me off emotionally
a few times.
Ultimately, of course the show can never quite maintain the
crazy.And that’s fine.I’m happy with it, and as a bonus no one is
being stupid and the random “witches can do anything unless they can’t” thing
hasn’t intruded too much.
A good time for all.
So they finally got through the Finn thing, and now… now
it’s pretty much Glee, with the random emotions and some nice musical
numbers.You can tell the budget’s been
cut based on the fact that they don’t have A and B list actors, they’ve got two
people who are about a year away from Celebrity Apprentice, but, eh.
I did not spend this week’s episode banging my head against
The Big Bang Theory:
You know what I forget sometimes?This show can be really charming.Especially when they do something like the