Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Year Puzzle Fun, Echo the review and more!

Always have a back up plan (a second getaway driver doesn’t hurt either): that’s something disability and illness has taught me. I tried to go see Sherlock Holmes Monday but slept the day in order to compensate for loss of sleep due to pain. The kind of boring tedium which makes days disappear faster than you can say “opiate constipation!” haha.

I was to go to the Film today at 6:00 but getting ready took a wee bit longer than planned. But it worked out for the best, as I went in the evening, missing the earlier packed house, to an empty cinema. Linda and I laughed at Stephen Fry stealing every scene he was in, the new ‘urban disguise’ which I can only hope will catch on with children and survivalists alike and the homoerotic banter between Holmes and Watson. It is a good time, and getting out the house was fun, even if it was raining.

New Year’s Day Linda, Cheryl and I tried an Artifact Puzzle. Artifact Puzzle are a Seattle small business by two professors who make jigsaw puzzles out of a quarter inch of hard wood, cut with a laser. They aquire the rights to some facinating puzzles, including this bunny blossoms, which I long for, but as it costs $75, I will simply add it to my wish list. We started with 129 pieces, and after an hour of the three of us working hard, we finished The Garden of Death. Hey, I’m goth and macabre, envy it or get used to it! Workers like my stuff, or to be more accurate, they think their daughters would love my stuff (like when sorting clothes or the skull handkerchiefs my ice packs get wrapped in). It was fun but the unusual cutting of wood shapes along with thicker wood means that a few of the corners are not corners, and some of the puzzles are cut so there are no edge pieces at all (extra challenge score!). While now, the company specializes in designing ‘theme’ pieces, as the Bunny Blossoms has lots of different bunny pieces, while Stalking the Unicorn has myth and magic figures cut out (pictured). The tight fit of the wood in the puzzle means that sometimes trying a piece a few times to get the wood to shift in order to fit in. But once done, as you can see with Garden of Death above, the coated picture has a very high grade finish, good colour, and can be framed or broken up for another rainy day.

I finished the day starting to read Echo: The Complete Edition. It is by Terry Moore and the work he finished this year after Strangers in Paradise. This 600 page book has his black and white 3-D style as well as compelling and smart characters and plot. The planned and completed story arc avoids the repetition in SIP and other work of his and is a bargain at $25 with free shipping. There are very few graphic novels where I HAD to stay up in order to know how things ended, but this was one of them, along with ‘What is in the box?’ (a question you will have once you read Echo). The book has bisexual and lesbian themes, and includes colour covers and other bonuses. Sadly Terry Moore joins the growing group of North American artists who can’t draw a wheelchair to save his life, alas (or a wonderbra).

There is a sense of strange innocence in the book for those who are lesbian or bisexual, which is mildly amusing. I have noticed it in other graphic novels by guys, the few which aren’t all letchery, this alluding without ‘getting’ the whole attraction and how being horny or sexually attracted works between girls. But let’s face it, when most of the ‘western world’ and places like South Africa have legalized same sex marriage, along with two of the largest states in the USA, having girls kissing isn’t the ‘oh so debauched’ fantasy seen from the Matrix to Underworld. It is just….two people who are female expressing how they feel about each other in a public place, much like other married or non married couples.

As for the ‘New Year’, I am sure I will have resolutions, though right now I am working on a Top 10 list first. When surrounded by the ‘health professionals’ who seem to be chanting ‘Die, Die, Die!’ like I am the villaness in a ‘pro-wrestling’ under-card match who has just hit our heroine with a chair while she is dazed on the floor, the whole nature of reality seems skewed. Or that might be the pain. Or both. Simply by writing about the things I see and the conversations I have with VIHA, I have, according to Linda, become a ‘whistle-blower’; with all the fun that entails. Right now, I’d like to go outside when it is sunny, and watch some decent TV during the bad pain times. I had some bad pain times last week and they are not fun. You know, the ones where you slowly curl up, until your forehead touches the desk and people tell you that you are moaning. I had to ask people a couple times to pull me back and then prop the wheelchair so that I was sort of sitting upright or at least had my head up.


Neil said...

In the "die, die, die!" paragraph, you make me wonder if you're challenging Death to a cage match. :)

Those puzzles look wonderful, but they're definitely out of my price range!

As for Sherlock Holmes, we got the 2009 Holmes movie from the library and thoroughly enjoyed it. My Beloved's friend said she loved the new movie, and is going to have to watch the previous one again because she didn't like it the first time she saw it.

Oops! Time for me to start scurrying around to prepare for Real Life(TM), and work.

Love and zen hugs,

Anonymous said...

have you been able you been able to get Sherlock with martin freeman and benedict cumerbatch? might be available on i player? its great I think you would enjoy it, I am reading The House of Silk its good so far... definitely a Sherlock fan


Raccoon said...

"Stalking the Unicorn" is a book by Mike Resnick. From what I remember – I read it a long time ago – it was pretty good. He's got a sequel to it, now.

The puzzles look good. And nice and sturdy. Hrm. Who do I know that likes puzzles…?

I'm still trying to process Sherlock Holmes as an action star. I've heard good things about the current British version. I really enjoyed the first two series of Whitechapel, too.

Lailah said...

Echo has been added to my library request list. You always have the best recommendations. I remember when you wrote about how much you enjoyed the first season of Bones - gosh, that must have been five years ago now - and through your recommendation I not only fell in love with the show but also discovered that, as I put it later in my "30 things about my chronic illness you may not know" post for Invisible Illness Awareness week, "television is the holy grail for the chronically fatigued."

I haven't been keeping up with your blog for the last six months, but I've gone and voted for it in the Canadian blog awards and it was so good to check back in and see what you're up to. I'll try to write an email soon!

Kate J said...

Those puzzles look amazing! They'd be beyond me, I'm sure. Only sorry that I can't afford to buy you one.
Glad to hear you enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes movie. I take that as a recommendation! I'm seeing it next week when I do my evening a week work at the cinema, and my son saw (and loved) it a week or two back. He's a fellow steampunk fan - as well as a manga fan ... you'd get on well with him, I reckon! He preferred it to the current BBC TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch (which I really like).
I don't think you can get i-player in Canada, because the BBC sells the programmes to channels over there, I guess, so it's a copyright thing. But it'll be broadcast... or on DVD...
I'm glad to hear you've had some fun times, even if they're few and far, between the pain days. Wishing you and Linda more fun and happiness together,
Love & peace

Neil said...

"Stalking the Unicorn" is now on request; Sedley, a town of maybe 300 people, is the only location in Saskatchewan that has it.

On the other hand, volume 1 of Echo is available at the library closest to me. I'll try it, but I fear it'll have to be a VERY good story to keep me going with a graphic novel. I wasn't that big on comics as a kid, either, though I read 2001, A Space Odyssey twice in the first afternoon I had it; in the car on a trip to BC in 1969.

Raccoon: stop processing and just enjoy the movie! :)

Christianne said...

Definitely going to check out Echo, and absolutely agree with your comments regarding Moore's treatment of female same-sex sexuality. I haven't picked up the newest issues of Batwoman but several reviews I've read indicate that her sexuality is treated in a more holistic way (i.e., inclusive of *gasp* ACTUAL SEXUAL DESIRE). In my opinion, though, you still can't beat Alison Bechdel, Ariel Schrag, and Colleen Coover, though, for realistic depictions of lady-love!

Anonymous said...

good day everyone im a little late but just back off holls, hope yous had a nice xmas and new year

cheryl g said...

I saw Sherlock Holmes and thought it was lots of fun. I loved the banter and Stephen Fry was great as he stole every scene he was in. I laughed a lot. I also loved the Victorian atmosphere of the movie.

It was very fun putting the puzzle together. The bunny blossoms puzzle is beautiful.

I have always like Terry Moore’s writing and read quite a bit of his Stranger’s In Paradise series. Echo sounds very good so it is now on my reading list.

I hope you have more fun days ahead and more pain control as well.

D. Emerson Evans said...

I'd also add Mariko Tamaki to Christianne's list. If you haven't picked up the graphic novel Skim (illustrated by her cousin Jillian Tamaki), I'm sure you'd really enjoy it. It caused a bit of an uoproar in the Canadian comics scene when it was nominated for a Governor General's award, as the nomincation was credited only to the author, with no mention of the illustrator.

Elizabeth McClung said...

D. Evans: I have skim, and kept it, as of all the 'out' novels, it did a good job, one I liked. I think Cheryl read it as well. As for the GG, it is one of the most reflective awards of the country, with all the English Lit professor predjudice to go with that. No Science Fiction has won (not even Atwood, though she wrote mid 2011 for the Guardian how she doesn't write Sci Fi, or Fantasy, but 'slipstream' - because that is where in the library?). Also Finder: Voice - Finder the first library is also good, and a female artist, but for gender and orientation, Finder: Voice is a great coming of age story - as good, or better than 'Lost at Sea' in many ways. Sorry, I think I just geeked out.

Raccoon: I did like the Sherlock from the BBC, the second series is coming out in Feb, the first series is 5 pounds on and costs a pound or two more to send to your house in the US - best if you get a few sets as then it goes down to about a 1 per item, whether it is a single disc or a whole giant set, like The Killing (Danish Version). I like both Sherlock, for different reasons: but I find it interesting that both have very strong gay connotations and allusions within the film/series - the BBC one, as it is set in present has so many assuming John Watson and Sherlock are a couple.

Lailah: thanks, I hope to use that, as TV is the holy grail of pain control, of fatigue control and if the only people I talk to on the ones in my TV screen, at least I am still having converstaions.

Nicci: I have a 7-8 year old computer, no i-anything for me. The puzzles are wonderful and affordable in the $18 range, it is the $40-$60 range that is too far, but I wanted to put one together, see how good the picture was. The ones with the best pictures have the toughest time fitting the wood as it is such a close cut, and the wood is so thick, off just an angle and it won't go in.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Neil: Graphic novels tend to fall into two groups - the 'cape and cowl' of US superheros, and the autobiographical works like Burma, done by the husband of the guy whose wife was with doctors without borders. There are a few which, when the artist is also the author can be different - I kill Giants is one, Echo is another, Strangers in Paradise (but this tended to loop the story and went on too long, something learned in Echo - the math in Echo actually makes sense, though again intersex individuals make the crux of the character), Wet Moon (about goth girls, and girls with disabilities), are examples. They are generally printed by Fanagraphics or IDW or Image. Another good mystery murder is Whiteout, about the one police officer (female) stationed in Antartica when a killing occurs. Castle Waiting is another (award winner).

Lene Andersen said...

We're out here chanting "live, live, live" and I sincerely hope we drown out the health professionals!

That puzzle is gorgeous! A real piece of art. My mother is a jigsaw junkie and has a birthday coming up, so I appreciate the tip!

I loved the first Sherlock Holmes and adore Stephen Fry! Plan to watch SH #2 soon and now it's moved up the list thanks to you.

Wishing for a lower pain day for you.

Neil said...

Thank you for the recommendations, dear. "Stalking the Unicorn" is in transit from the Sedley library branch; I have a Ben Bova book to finish (Leviathans of Jupiter); I'm halfway through "Catacombs" by Anne McCaffery; and I'll pick up Echo this afternoon when I return the DVD "Quantum of Solace." Yes, I watched a Bond movie, but only because the European Southern Observatory at Cerro Paranal in Chile (or more precisely, the residencia - the hotel for the staff and visiting astronomers) was used as one of the locations for the movie.

When I've finished the backlog of reading, I'll try one of the novels you suggested.

Love and zen hugs,

Neil said...

17:20: upon arriving home from the library, sat down with "Echo, Vol.1 - Moon Lake."

17:55: Finished Echo. Curse you, Elizabeth McClung! Now I have to find the rest of the series!!! :)

Love and zen hugs,

Anonymous said...

what did you think of The Killing? some friends say it is the best series they have watched in a long time, they say they Danish series is the one to watch not the american version, its £38.99 so quite expensive...worth it do you think?
Nicci x

GirlWithTheCane said...

I have just just discovered "Dexter" through Netflix. You might enjoy it.

It's Jan 8. Hope you're doing okay.

- Sarah