Wednesday Check-In: At least there’s Jensen Ackles

I never have enough time. Ever since my grandmother patiently explained to a very young little me that there is never a good reason for an imaginative person to allow themselves to be bored I’ve been keeping myself all sorts of busy. Sometimes, back in my pre-parent days, even busy doing nothing. But as of late I feel like themay17 race begins when I wake up five minutes before my alarm and ends when I lay down having only accomplished three quarters of my to-do list. On my good days! My small, super dependent roommates have been sick on and off this week and making me beautiful art.

 

I’ve been reading A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I’m only about a quarter in, but it is mesmerizing, terrifying, shocking, and revelatory so far. I highly may17brecommend educating yourself with this fine book. I don’t read that much non-fiction for fun, so an interesting experience to say the least. We started watching American Gods, of course, and it is amazing (my review). I would take any job Bryan Fuller wanted to give me. How does one apply to be an apprentice to a TV God? Hubs and I watched American Honey a few weeks ago and scenes and moments from it are still replaying in my head. It was engaging while we watched but I did not expect to still be thinking back on the film. Beautifully shot too. Also reading Bared To You, by Sylvia Day. That’s going about how you’d expect 😛

Maximus remains a doggie challenge, though I did get him to come to me for a treat when he got out of the yard a few days ago. Progress of a sort, I suppose.

I almost forgot! With all the stress and uncertainty in our world right now I wanted to recommend watching all the back seasons of Supernatural. For some reason, I find watching Sam and Dean Winchester driving around together and stabbing bad guys oddly therapeutic. Maybe you will too. All previous 1 million seasons are on Netflix for your tuning-out-your-brain needs.

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WIP is still Tinseltown Temptress #3 – Screwed Over. I’m loving this one the most of any of the books. So much touching back on various characters it’s like old home week every day on my keyboard. Cassie is … changing. Evolving, I guess, but it sounds pretentious. She is learning to prioritize.

Both my released books continue to get great reviews on Amazon. Book 1, Screw Up, is still at 99 cents and Book 2 remains on KU for a limited time😀 Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

The sun is actually shining today, though it is still cold and VERY windy. Hope you’re on a warm, sunny beach right now. What are you reading?

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Wednesday Check In – Does It Get Easier??

Taxes, child management, and job hunting have robbed me of all my time as of late. I have also been querying my paranormal romance novella. That process is not unlike the online application for the copywriting and video production jobs I’ve been looking at in the Detroit Metro area. Cover letters are getting easier to write quickly.

Haven’t been doing much reading beyond fanfic and children’s books (mythology and gross stuff are heavy favorites in my house). Being a filmmaker and horror fan from Michigan, MaximusI’ve always loved the Evil Dead film series. Hubs and I have been catching up on the tv series the last few weeks. Bruce Campbell is a revelation. We also very much enjoy how the overall tone of the films has followed through into the series. Pretty groovy. With mid-season starting up this month, the show I’m most looking forward to getting back to is Flash. But as far as I’m concerned they can just focus 85% of each episode on Iris/Barry. So adorable and hot.

We’re looking into training classes for Max. His strong doggie personality is a bit too much for me to handle on my own.

My ‘work at your own pace’ contracting class has turned into a ‘neglect cause your life is too full’ problem. I need to make a plan on how to finish the damn thing!

WIP is still TT #3 – Screwed Over. But I have to get a couple of series related short stories out of the way first. I love doing the serious work on Cassie’s story. Can’t wait to wrap up the series with an amazing book. Revisions are going well, though rewrite is really the proper term for most of the book : It is going to be so great! I’m also doing more plotting and character work on my scifi series. Here’s a shot from its spot on my workboard:

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All that empty space under the light year stuff is where the scene cards go 😛

Both my released books continue to get great reviews on Amazon. Book 1, Screw Up, is still at 99 cents and Book 2 remains on KU for a limited time😀 Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

The sun is actually shining today, though it is still cold and VERY windy. Hope your day is beautiful wherever you are. Happy Women’s Day! What are you reading?

Film Review | How to Love Straight Outta Compton and Women

set pic straight outta compton actors for MC Ren, DJ Yella, Easy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre

Straight Outta Compton promo pic

The representation of women in F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton can be viewed two ways. The first, most obvious assessment is that in a film that barely passes the Bechdel test (One woman tells another in the film’s opening scene, “Nah, I’m good,” in response to a non-verbal question of whether she would like to drink Easy-E’s unwanted forty.) the multitudes of silent, mostly naked, women strewn liberally throughout the nearly three hour run time are sexualized objects, and nothing more. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this biopic features more boobs than Boogie Nights and a lot more booty. A deeper message can be observed however, when examining the protagonist’s arcs for change and its impetuous. The lives of NWA’s members are profoundly shaped by the women in them, and though at times their influence wasn’t emphasized, they are the backbone of the story; providing the support the men need to excel and even triumph.

Treated as a side character, DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) is depicted as the biggest womanizer, hitting on every woman he interacts with and watching explicit porn in the tour bus’ main room as if it were completely innocuous programming. Just before an early showcase performance he jokes, “Can this motherfuckin Jerry Heller bring in more pussy? Cause that’s worth twenty percent.” The manager does just that for the guys of NWA, from which the conclusion could be drawn that DJ Yella, at least, felt his contractual arrangement with Heller (Paul Giamatti) was satisfactory.

Ice Cube, played convincingly with depth and finesse by his own son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., is driven by his need to provide for himself and his growing family. Though in the early tour scenes he is seen entertaining groupies, even dropping the line “Bye, Felicia” on a topless, hotel-room-ejected, exotic dancer years before penning Friday, he is the first NWA member to settle down into presumed blissful monogamy. His wife Kim (Alexandra Shipp) doesn’t have a big role, but is shown time and again nodding her full support and backing up her man’s plays with her unyieldingly protective body language. The filmmakers did a wonderful job here of showing without telling in just a few scenes what a motivating force this important woman was in his life.

As portrayed cleanly by Corey Hawkins, Dr. Dre’s experiences with women in the film are a contrast to Cube’s committed one, but tell the same story. At first, both his own mother (Lisa Renee Pitts) and his daughter’s mother, Lavetta (Aeriel Miranda) are critical of his choice to pursue a career in music without any significant financial gain or control over his own path. When he discovers that the mature relationship he desires with future wife Nicole (Elena Goode) is out of reach due to his violent associates and partying lifestyle, he changes his outlook and abandons that life in favor of fiscal independence and total creative control.

Lastly, the film’s presentation of the late Easy-E, played with heart-rending tenderness by Jason Mitchell, downplays the man’s misogynistic attitudes as a product of his surroundings and the folly of youth. His disgusted demeanor while spitting “You think I give a damn about a bitch? I ain’t a sucker,” while laying down Straight Outta Compton’s title track is one of utter sincerity even though he is usually shown with a woman close by his side. Though in real life he fathered children with several women, they are barely mentioned and the audience only meets one, the woman who became his wife, Tomika (Carra Patterson). Most tellingly, this woman radically alters the course of Easy-E’s life by presenting him with an accounting of his manager’s career long betrayal. When E confronts Heller, the man dismisses Tomika’s importance to E, calling her a groupie executive assistant, but Easy-E doesn’t take the woman-blaming-bait. Instead, he trusts the woman he loves and fires the man responsible for duping him for so long.

Watching the fictionalized account unfold, I couldn’t shake the idea that if Kim, Tomika and Nicole had just hashed out the group’s Jerry Heller problem over lunch NWA never would have split up. Only this movie isn’t about NWA’s wives, but the men themselves. So even though most of the film’s women weren’t rounded characters, at least Gray didn’t let them all become mere titillating backdrop. Some served as important personal confidants and support systems for the movie’s central characters, which highlights their importance to the group’s ever shifting dynamic. If, as their song Gangsta says, “life ain’t nothin but bitches and money,” then the men of NWA did well for themselves, finding both satisfaction with their bottom lines and love from the bottom of their hearts.