Tag Archives: Alien visitors

To the stars – and also to New Jersey: movies viewed

BEYOND THE SKY (2018) has a UFO skeptic (“My father claimed mom never came back because she was abducted — I’m going to prove that’s just another of his lies.”) falling for a young woman who claims she was abducted when she turned seven, then at 14 — and her 21st birthday is just a few days off. For most of its running time this is a watchable, if unremarkable film but then the ending makes it memorable, but not in a good way: first we have a human implanting false memories of abduction for some incomprehensible reason, then it turns out Aliens Are Real (or are the last 20 minutes just an implanted hallucination?). This is one of several movies using the fringe UFO theory that aliens are actually time travelers (in this case future humans trying to understand the emotions they’ve bred out of themselves). “Back in the MK Ultra days it was trial and error, but now we’ve got it down to a science.”

SUPERMAN II (1980) is a sequel that holds up favorably to the original, as Clark and Lois become more than friends while Luthor liberates General Zod (Terence Stamp) and his allies from the Phantom Zone to get revenge on Superman. I was too distracted watching to enjoy it as much as it deserves, but I’m really impressed with how well they pull off the parallel plotlines, so that the film stays interesting even with Superman largely out of costume for the first half. A lot of the credit goes to the cast — in one scene, where Chris Reeve’s Superman actually gets hurt, his stunned incredulity is absolutely pitch-perfect. The battle is smaller scale than the spectacle of Man of Steel but it also has more heart and drama, treating the bystanders as people, not just figures in a video game. All that said, the ending hand-wave to reset a lot of the events in the film annoyed me seeing it on the big screen and hasn’t improved. “Your father and I tried to anticipate your every question, Kal-El. This is the one we had hoped you would not ask.”

I stuck my DVD of CASABLANCA (1942) into the player when I got tired of watching movies for Alien Visitors and didn’t feel like reading either. No question, it was the right choice — the story of Humphrey Bogart’s Rick discovering lost love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) has walked into his bar out of all the bars in the world, and what followed after that, never disappoints me (I have a fuller review from the last time I watched it). And man, wouldn’t it be great if we could defeat fascism just by singing Le Marseillaise? Always a pleasure; Claude Rains, Sidney Greenstreet, Paul Henreid, SZ Sakall, Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre make it that much more of one. “How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. One day they might be scarce.” I got so little pleasure out of JERSEY BOYS (2014) that I gave up after an hour. The story of the Four Seasons was a successful jukebox musical on stage, but Clint Eastwood’s film version is a standard-issue musical biopic as four Jersey lowlifes and petty crooks rise into a celebrated super-group, though their career is marked by conflict, adultery and tragedy. I usually like Eastwood’s directing, but this never rose above cliches. “If you’re Italian, your name has to end in a vowel.”

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For obvious reasons, this was a short work week

As usual for the last week of the month there was no Leaf to work on. But my mind couldn’t seem to shift to Questionable Minds so I watched some movies for Alien Visitors and spent most of my time on Undead Sexist Cliches. I finished proofing the footnotes and I polished the text through the middle of Chapter Seven. So next month, I should be done with polishing too. Then it’s just going through the steps to get it into book form at Draft2Digital and then Amazon, including writing cover copy and and getting the cover art.

I’m actually a little nervous: this topic is much more serious than my film books which makes me more concerned that I’ve done everything right and that my reasoning is rigorous. But I will, of course, press ahead. It will be done within a couple of months, and I can stop spending writing time on it. And if it contributes at all to the fight against male supremacy, well that’ll be awesome.

Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving, which hasn’t been turkey day for me for more than twenty years. Normally we’d be eating at Café Parizade, which has the largest vegan Thanksgiving in the southeast (neither TYG nor I is vegan, but we do quite a few vegan events). This year, of course, is not normal, so I paid for takeout, then drove yesterday to pick it up. That was both exhilarating (whee, a trip somewhere besides the vet!) and unsettling (driving somewhere other than the vet! What if the car explodes?).  And I was also worried I’d made a bad call and the meal wouldn’t be substantial enough to be worth the money.

I needn’t have worried. Parizade’s portions were generous and while the menu wasn’t as diverse as the usual buffet, it was quite satisfactory: seitan cubes, pasta and veggies, garlicky mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts (TYG had those. I can’t stand ’em), blueberry crumble, quinoa with veggies and several desserts. We did miss not being able to go back to the dessert table repeatedly, but on the plus side we were able to keep the leftovers so I didn’t feel the need to stuff myself to get my money’s worth. Or at least not stuff myself as much.

I’d planned a Zoom call with my family but there was a confusion about time so I had one call with my bro at 3PM and one with my sister and Dad at 4. Still fun.

Today I made a zucchini lasagna, which I’d planned to make Thursday — it’s one of TYG’s favorites — if we’d been doing our own cooking. And I started thinking about my December writing schedule and plans for next year.

To wrap up the week here’s a delightful painting by Gervasio Gallardo, who did so many amazing covers for Ballantine Books.#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

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Small-town Hitchcock, Evil Superman and some TV viewed

Rewatching SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943) in the course of an Alfred Hitchcock rewatch makes me appreciate how much it has in common with HIichcock’s earlier films — not just the camera work but the quirky supporting characters, the family dynamics (reminiscent of some of the parts of Young and Innocent, for instance) and a female lead becoming restless in her current station (as Hitchcock Romance says, similar to Joan Fontaine in Rebecca or Suspicion).That said, this film still feels unlike anything else of Hitch’s work. Joseph Cotton is Charlie, the “Merry Widow Killer,” who escapes a police dragnet and holes up in a small town with his relatives, including his namesake “Young Charlie” (Teresa Wright). It’s a warm, vibrant town where everyone knows everyone and where Henry Travers (as Wright’s dad) and coworker Hume Cronyn can happily dicker over which mystery’s method would work best in real life; it makes for a sharp contrast with Charlie’s view of the world as a cesspool where dog eats dog. Can Charlie hide there? Will detective MacDonald Carey open Young Charlie’s eyes to the threat? This one remains a personal favorite. “This world is a hell — why does it matter what happens in it?”

BRIGHTBURN (2019) is an obvious Superman riff in which a young couple rescue a baby from a downed space capsule; when his powers manifest as a tween he immediately begins using them in bad ways, from killing people who diss him to stalking the pretty classmate he’s crushing on. Dark Superman is an idea that has been done a lot — Super-Menace in the 1960s (depicted by Curt Swan here), Stalinist and Nazi alt.Supermen in recent years and the Superman-inspired Irredeemable — and all of them better than this; as Rolling Stone‘s review puts it, it’s like a sub-par version of The Omen where everyone who gets in the kid’s way dies horribly. The implication here is that Brightburn is some form alien advance guard (voices in his head keep telling him to “take the planet”) though that makes him less interesting than if he were just corrupted by power.  “My real parents were — superior.”

The third season of YOUNGER (s2 review here) has Liza and Josh coping with familiar relationship issues (he wants kids; she’s done with that) and the added sexual experience age gives her (“Everything I want to try, you already did with your husband.”); at work Liza and Kelsey have to deal with a tech bro millionaire moving in and trying to remake the publishing house. Once again things fall apart at the season ender when Josh catches Liza kissing her boss just when he was about to propose (he conveniently forgets giving her permission to stray at least once in an earlier episode); more interesting is Liza finally confessing the truth to Kelsey. Still fun. “You put your workout bench in my bedroom?”

The BBC’s 1981 miniseries of DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS is more faithful to the John Wyndham novel than the film version, with the exception of making the triffids a much larger menace earlier on. The faithfulness has both good and bad sides, the good being that the triffids are just as alien as in the book and without the convenient weakness that ensures their destruction in the movie. On the down side, this carries over Wyndham’s sexism (“Most women want babies — husbands are just a means to an end.”) and bogs down in talk as we get away from the imminent triffid threat and into the mundane job of rebuilding civilization; focusing primarily on the triffids turns out to have been a wise move on the film-makers’ parts. And like Wyndham the prospect that blind people from before the catastrophe might have some useful advice doesn’t occur to anyone, nor does anyone even consider that the blindness might be temporary, which would complicate the moral calculus. All that said, this did have some excellent moments.

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The Man Who Lost Thursday

(And yes, I picked the title because I really like the Gervasio Gallardo cover).

Following last week’s mess, I expected to rise back to my normal level of productivity this week, but it was not to be. I had three reasonably productive days, getting work done on Undead Sexist Cliches, and watching material for Alien Visitors. Plus, of course, my Leaf articles.Then came Thursday. It was one of the days where there’s a bunch of real-world stuff that had to be done — so I dropped my work and did it.

Two of them were surprises. The Low Tire warning light went on the day before and with all our driving back and forth to the veterinary rehab, it seemed wise to take care of it. That morning I took the car to the nearest gas station which has an automatic air-pump that inflates tires to the right pressure without having to check. I also figured out how to reset the tire pressure so the light goes up, something that’s not as simple as with our previous VW Golf. That way if there is a slow leak or something — I’m assuming it was just time, our lack of regular tire checks and cold air effects — it’ll alert us again.

Then there was my teeth. They normally stay sore for a while after I have work done on them, so at first the temperature sensitivity after last month’s filling didn’t bother me. But it seemed to be becoming more acute, and included heat sensitivity, which is a warning sign of Something Serious. Given that it spread over both the upper and lower right side of my mouth, TYG suggested it could be sinuses. However, while that seemed plausible, it could have been worse … and I didn’t want to have to go in two or three weeks later with COVID-19 in its winter surge and my teeth having deteriorated. So I called the doctor and made an appointment for noon.

It was sinuses. Which despite paying $120 for the exam, I was happy to hear. Relatively simple to treat and no going under the needle again! Or paying for fillings, root canals or whatever. And I don’t have to worry something’s seriously wrong, which I would have if I’d skipped going.

The other stuff I did Thursday was matters that I knew needed taking care of but I hadn’t gotten around to yet. Hall light replaced upstairs. Chatting with our medical insurer and determining that no, we hadn’t met our high deductible yet which is why a couple of bills were higher than expected. Figuring out how to access our HSA to pay for them — our old HSA let you just withdraw at the ATM, but this one is much more complicated to get money out of (I got it figured out though). I wanted to submit to our pet insurer for rehab coverage too, but that will have to wait.

So not much done. Then today we had dog stuff for much of the day: take our dogs to the vet to get their nails trimmed (Plushie’s are long enough they could break, which would be painful), then to rehab. Normally we go evenings, but this time we scored an early afternoon appointment. Preferable, but not good for productivity (it’s a good half-hour drive).

On the plus side, though, Flash in a Flash accepted my short story Rabbits Indignateonem. That’s the first new story I’ve sold in two years. It doesn’t necessarily change my October views on selling stories, but it is quite nice.

And it looks like Leaf, as usual, will not have articles for the last week of the month so I can make up for lost time next week, despite the Thanksgiving weekend.

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A saboteur, a superman and assorted aliens: movies viewed

Some years back I caught SABOTEUR (1942) for my film book Screen Enemies of the American Way (you’ll notice the paranoid warning in the poster about “the man behind your back!”). Rewatching now, I can see how much it fits the old of 39 Steps and Young and Innocent, with Robert Cummings framed as an Axis saboteur, going on the run to find the real criminal and falling in love with Priscilla Lane in the process; it also foreshadows North by Northwest in having the final showdown on top of an American monument (the Statue of Liberty here). This has some great little details like the way the Nazis talk about their families, but overall it’s merely competent, not stellar. “Don’t tell me my duty — it makes me sound so stuffy.”

SUPERMAN (1978) was an immense landmark in its day, a serious superhero film in a time when superheroes on screen were defined by the Adam West Batman rather than Tim Burton’s Batman or the MCU. My big complaint when I first saw it was that despite it’s many merits, the comic relief bits (Luthor’s lackeys Valerie Perrine and Ned Beatty) detracted from the whole; now I find them forgivable.  The film starts in the icy, crystalline world of Krypton, with Marlon Brando as Jor-El, then shifts to small-town America for the Kents (Glenn Ford plays Pa Kent) to find a crashed spaceship and realize the toddler inside it is no ordinary boy; finally we get Metropolis, where we go pure comic book.

After reading about and writing about INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1958) for Screen Enemies, I honestly don’t think I have any new insights, other than how darn good it is (despite a couple of howling errors in logic). Well-acted but also creepy as hell in a way earlier stories on this theme, such as Heinlein’s Puppet Masters, weren’t; where Heinlein’s a flat out warning against tyranny, the pod people replacing us with emotionless doubles is creepier and much more flexible as a metaphor (a point I’ll come back to in its own post). “Love. Desire. Ambition. Faith. Without them life’s so simple.”

FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR (1986) was an excellent Disney movie that Disney unfortunately marketed as an E.T. knockoff (it isn’t). A boy walks home through the woods in 1978 only to arrive home eight years later; what the heck happened? And what’s his connection to a UFO government scientist Howard Hesseman is investigating? Sarah Jessica Parker has a small bit as a helpful intern. Well worth watching. “Oh my god, you’ve seriously never seen a music video?”

THE MONOLITH MONSTERS (1957) follows the standard tropes of 1950s monster movies — strange things happen, monster is identified, science finds counter-weapon — but the creature is unique: meteor fragments that grow when exposed to water, forming monoliths and then shattering under their own weight. The fragments then grow and break, scattering the pieces across the landscape — and guess what, a typical small town is sitting right in their path! With a creature that can’t be reasoned with or intimidated any more than a Terminator, what can the town do? An effective low-budget film. “It’s the commonest material you can find — but everywhere it turns up, somebody dies!”

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The day (or two) that dropped out of time!

This week was a reminder that being tighter and more efficient about my schedule is good, but it can’t always overcome bad luck. As I know from experience, sooner or later a run of good weeks will be followed by a bad. And this was the bad.

Last Friday, Plushie took a couple of indoor poops which was really unusual. Saturday night, he woke me up at 11:30 to go out for a poop. Then again at 1 AM. And a couple more times. I spent Sunday in a stupor and never got any Alien Visitors films watched.

Tuesday night, it happened again. Wednesday day I alternated sleeping— a lot of it — with reading Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill. No work. So not a productive week.

I got almost a full quota of Leaf articles and quite a bit of work done on Undead Sexist Cliches. Nothing on Questionable Minds or Alien Visitors. I wasn’t pleased by this but I won’t beat myself up over it either. Life happens.

And in a minor annoyance, the original Outer Limits, which I’d been watching on Amazon, is suddenly not available in my area. It doesn’t appear to be streaming anywhere else and the DVD set is not only pricey, the reviews saw it degrades fast.

On the plus side, after we took Plushie to the vet on Wednesday he got some meds and his poop has stabilized. Thank goodness.

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Rogues, long-distance lovers and UFOs: books read

After publishing Eyes of the Overworld in 1966, Jack Vance authorized a sequel, The Search for Simbilis, by Michael Shea. Then in 1983 he released a sequel of his own, CUGEL’S SAGA, picking up directly from the end of Overworld, at the point where Cugel’s revenge on the Laughing Magician has instead dumped the rogue on the far side of the world. Determined to make it home, Cugel sets out across the dying Earth, scamming everyone he meets except when they scam him first — though at least this time, his defeats are due to dumb luck rather than his own stupidity.

I enjoyed this but not as much as the first two Dying Earth books. At 300 pages, the picaresque formula wears thinner, and sexism is still a problem. Women are either unpleasant battle axes to be thwarted or sexpots to be seduced or betrayed; the seventeen virgins Cugel seduces (or rapes?) in one story never even appear on stage. So despite its appeal, severely flawed.

The graphic novel LONG DISTANCE by Thom Zaler starts with protagonist Carter telling a family at the airport that he used to be in a long-distance relationship, then flashes back to show how he and Lee (the other protagonist) met cute in another airport and began a long-distance relationship. Despite being perfect for each other, they’re both attached to their jobs, and that leaves them stuck in Columbus and Chicago, respectively; can they make it work?

This is cute and funny (as I’d expect from the creator of Love and Capes) though despite having met TYG long-distance it didn’t strike a chord as much as I’d expected. Probably because Lee and Carter are uncertain about where the relationship is going where TYG and I agreed up front we’d get married if things worked out. But that’s not a flaw in the book.

I read HOW UFOS CONQUERED THE WORLD: The History of a Modern Myth by David Clarke as background for Alien Visitors but it works well in its own right. A former UFO believer, Clarke details how a chance sighting by one pilot in 1947 kicked off America’s flying saucer obsession (though the pilot never said the ships he saw were saucer shaped), though the book also covers some of the earlier Things In The Sky incidents (a mystery airship at the end of the 19th century, the “foo fighters” of WW II). He then dissects the evidence that even trained observers aren’t reliable eyewitnesses, goes inside Britain’s government UFO tracking group (regrettably as Clarke’s English there’s less on U.S. research) to dismiss the stories of men in black and discusses how much pop culture influences UFO beliefs as well as vice versa. For instance one theory, that the U.S. is flying planes incorporating alien tech, originated on X-Files, the passed into UFOlogy. The best of my research reading to date.

As I’ve read and liked several of Raymond F. Jones’ short stories I picked up RAYMOND F. JONES RESURRECTED: Selected Science Fiction Stories of Raymond F. Jones to read a few more. The focus of Jones’ SF stories is often science itself. In “Noise Level” a group of physicists learn someone has invented antigravity and try to duplicate it; “Tools of the Trade” has Earth engineers struggling to repair an alien technology; “The Unlearned” debates whether Earth should give up independent research in return for learning the secrets of the universe for a more advanced race. Jones is clearly a fan of thinking outside the box as all three stories hinge on breaking away from conventional paradigms. It appears he’s also one of those writers who aren’t big on villains, preferring antagonists who are simply misguided. I was convinced the aliens in “The Unlearned” must be up to some scheme for instance but no, it turns out they’re simply wrong. I enjoyed this enough to dig out the one collection of Jones’ stuff I already have.

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Aliens in multiple films (and some TV)

Opening in 1979, SUPER 8 (2011) is JJ Abrams’ tribute to Stephen Spielberg. A handful of tweens have set out to make a thriller movie in their small town, but after they witness a mysterious train wreck, they discover their town is caught in the middle of a clash between a runaway alien and the military trying to capture him. This does a good job providing a predominantly kids’ eye view and making the seemingly monstrous alien more sympathetic, and the performances are consistently good, including Elle Fanning as one of the actors and Kyle Chandler as one of the parents. On the downside there are several bits that don’t make sense, such as why the alien cocoons humans when it’s not apparently planning to eat them and the way some of the adults turn into nice guys too abruptly. Still it works. “‘You will die, your parents will die’ — this is not good information!”

The director’s cut of DARK CITY (1998) makes me even more appeciative what a great movie this is, both visually and in the story. Rufus Sewell wakes up amnesiac to find himself apparently a murderer, but why does he feel like he isn’t? Is he really trying to get back at wife Jennifer Connelly? Why does detective William Hurt feel there’s something strange about the whole business? All of this taking place in a city of perpetual night, haunted by the dark-clad Strangers headed by Mr. Book (Ian Richardson) and Mr. Hand (Richard O’Brien — the commentary track says the younger members of the cast went into orbit at being in the same film as Rocky Horror‘s Riff Raff), while sinister doctor Kiefer Sutherland skulks around in the background. This version dispenses with the opening narration with director Alex Proyas says he added after realizing how lost the test audience was (“I knew there was a problem with reaching the mass market.”), among other changes; the commentary and Making Of features discuss themes, acting, visuals and as someone who loves the film, I found it all fascinating.“What kind of killer do you think stops to save a dying goldfish?”

For some reason I’ve never been able to share most people’s enthusiasm for THE IRON GIANT (1999) and it’s heartwarming animated story of Boy Meets Robot in a 1950s small town populated by beatnik Harry Connick Jr., waitress Jennifer Aniston and G-Man Christopher McDonald. Brad Bird’s takeoff on monster movies here just feels off in a way that The Incredibles didn’t. Part of it is that the FBI agent is an over-the-top caricacture who doesn’t fit with the more realistic tone of the other characters, but I don’t think that’s all of it. Still, definitely qualifies for the Kids and ETs chapter of Alien Visitors and due to the agent, the Men in Black chapter as well. “I am not a gun.”

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (2019) is a Belgian TV series that sets the story in the present day — actually it doesn’t because this has zero to do with Wells’ novel. The aliens aren’t Martians (admittedly a hard sell today), their superweapon is an EMP that shuts down our tech and most of the first two episodes are concerned with either character study or standard society-is-collapsing scenarios (and less interesting ones than, say Day of the Triffids).

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Mars Needs Breeders! Movies viewed for Alien Visitors

MARS NEEDS WOMEN (1968) stars Tommy Kirk as the leader of a Martian raiding party (I’d like to head-canon this into continuity with Kirk’s previous Martian invader in Pajama Party but I can’t make it work) seeking fertile Earth women because a Martian genetic glitch has created a male/female ratio of 100 to 1. After their initial attempt to kidnap women by teleportation fails (I presume their atoms got scattered en route) they ask the U.S. government if they can recruit volunteers, get told no, set out to kidnap by more conventional means — but in the process Kirk falls in love with sexy geneticist Yvonne Craig who may be willing to return with him voluntarily. Like Village of the Damned, this soft-pedals the rape overtones, but depending on your taste it might pass as So Bad It’s Good (I wouldn’t agree). “The freezing process is part of how we map non-chromosomal genes.”

When, Nya, THE DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS (1954) arrives in the Scottish highlands looking for men, it’s because her planet has largely wiped them out in the battle of the sexes, making her a proto-feminazi as well as a would-be Earth conqueror (this struck out at me because when the alien males need breeders it’s the result of tragic accidents). Despite being competently acted (the exception being the title role), this filmed stage play is stage bound much of the time and generally just plodding. With Adrienne Corri as a barmaid and Hazel Court as a miserable model. “Now Earthmen look — watch the power of another world!”

I’ve had INVASION OF THE STAR CREATURES (1962) on the B side of my Invasion of the Bee Girls DVD for years without ever feeling the itch to watch it until now. A wise decision on my part, it turns out, as this low-budget story of two inept GIs (the template seems to be the Bowery Boys, but without even that level of talent) confronting two beautiful ETs, Puna and Tanga (as Bill Warren says, probably a pun on “poontang”) and their plant-man warriors. One advantage of not reviewing every film for Alien Visitors in detail is that I don’t have to struggle to say anything intelligent about this one, because I got nothing. “It would not be so bad to be prisoners of Earthmen — we might even get to like it.”

THE ABYSS (1989) has deep-water mining engineers Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio and Ed Harris lead a team to rescue a stranded sub at the bottom of the ocean, a mission complicated by a)an alien vessel (whether ET, Atlantean or other-dimensional is never clear) and b)Marine Michael Biehn snapping and becoming convinced a nuke will solve everything. The aliens are almost irrelevant to the story, but the mundane underwater drama is good enough — except at two hours I had to use it as a talking lamp. “I always knew this was a one-way trip.”

Joe Dante’s EXPLORERS (1985) has a lot in common with E.T. (Dick Miller filling Peter Coyote’s role as the guy who dreamed of doing what the protagonists did) as well as making the same kind of pop culture jokes Dante’s Piranha and The Howling did, but it’s a poorer film than any of them. It starts off well as tween Ethan Hawke starts receiving strange tech insights in his dream which tech nerd River Phoenix uses to create a mysterious force-field sphere that enables them, along with a third musketeer, to fly inside it. First around town, then up into space to meet the source of the dreams — which is where the film tanks. Taking the pop culture references way over the top, we meet alien kids (whose ET suits look like something out of a bad Saturday morning live action show) who’ve been monitoring our TV broadcasts for years and babble constantly in quotes and soundbites; it’s meant to be amusing, but it sucks the magic out, particularly as that’s all there is to their interaction. I’m also annoyed that even though the girl Hawke crushes on shares in their dreams, she doesn’t have any role except as the love interest. “I watched four episodes of Lassie before I figured out why the little hairy kid never spoke!”

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Not many goals accomplished, but October went well

A quck check of my list of goals for October shows I only accomplished 40 percent. But the writing went well, so these days of pandemic I’m satisfied.

Work on Undead Sexist Cliches really went well this week. I carefully bookmarked the various blog posts and news stories I referenced but searching through Firefox’s Library page was consistently slow. It turns out if I just type the title into the search engine, I get much quicker results. Doing that I’m now through with the footnotes for Chapters 1 through 4, which is better than I expected. Footnotes, barring disaster, will be completely done next month.

I did some research reading and movie watching for Alien Visitors, though not as much writing as I should. But I gave myself a very ambitious schedule so I’m not at risk for missing deadline.

Questionable Minds got bypassed because Wednesday I went to the dentist for a filling. Much as I hate sitting in medical offices these days, it went fine and I doubt I caught anything. But I’m happy that barring emergencies, I won’t need to see another doctor until next year. The tooth is unpleasantly cold sensitive, but that will pass, and Dr. Robinson is really good about providing adequate anesthetic during the procedure.

There was no Leaf work, as usually happens at the end of the month. That helped a lot with catching up on everything else, plus doing some research on self-publishing options besides Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. At this point, Amazon still looks like the best bet.

And the weather is turning genuine fall. The light today was beautiful so I went bicycling and had a blast. While I didn’t take any photographs, here’s a shot of South Roxboro Street from a recent cycling trip.Have a great weekend everyone.

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