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Divergences

Batgirl
Despite divergences from the book in Game of Thrones this season, I am still finding myself enjoying it a lot. Which surprises the hell out of me actually.

I freaking love these books. I've lost track how many times I've reread them over the years, so I thought that if major divergences happened, I'd be a petulant little fan girl pouting "well it's not like that in the books".

(don't get me wrong, I'm still doing that. My husband must hear that phrase at least 10 times per episode yet he's still willing to watch with me. He also doesn't question why I have certain, violent reactions when some characters show up for the first time. He's a trooper.)

There are some divergences that bother me and actually most of them have to do with Arya (whom I adore):

1) I wish the Tywin/Arya show was her and Roose Bolton the way it should be. I think we need a little more time with him... just because.

2) The choice of who Arya has Jaqen kill is quite different from the books and in one case, should drastically change a later scene that is one of my favourites in the entire series.

3) Not liking making any Lannisters other than Tyrion and... one other, sympathetic. Attempting to make Tywin and Cersei sympathetic takes away from what makes Tyrion different from most of his family, and erodes from... someone else's incredible redemption arc. Well, in my opinion it does.

Things I do like:

1) I was never a big fan of Ygritte in the books. Nothing I could ever put my finger on, but she just kinda annoyed me. However, loving her in the show. The actress they've cast as her is knocking it out of the park.

2) Hey we got some Jaime in this lastest episode finally! Whoo!


I guess what it comes down to is, while they are taking different ways to get where they should be, the show is still getting where it should be. They are hittting the major points and hitting them well, so they are definitely preserving the overall plots and spirit of the books. And I very much appreciate that.

GRRM Live!

Batgirl
Last night, George R.R. Martin was in Toronto, doing a talk at TIFF's Lightbox. I had heard about this very early on and managed to snag myself a ticket back in January before it sold out.

It was such a great evening :)

I started off by seeing the Game of Thrones exhibit there which was... ok. Well, for free, it was great :) There's not a lot to it and much of the exhibit is made up of production stills, but a few of the costumes are pretty neat (Jon Snow's gear looks so... fake seen close up, which I found very interesting), the dragon egg looks smaller than it did on tv, but the workmanship on Renly's sword and scabbard was amazing. I did not join the rather long lineup to have my picture taken on the Iron Throne because I wanted to get upstairs and join the queue to get into the theatre.

I got myself a good seat, saw a couple of friends in the crowd and went to chat with them, then it was time for the main event.

It was a great talk and GRRM covered topics from the regular stuff such as his favourite character (Tyrion, Dany and Jon) to who is the hardest for him to write (Bran), to where he gets his inspirations (he told a particularly great anecdote how a trip to Hadrian's Wall in the mid 80s stayed with him and gave him his inspriration for the Wall), to how difficult it is for him to kill off characters (he put off writing a particular scene in A Storm of Swords till the very, very end because he found it so difficult to write), to trying to adapt his work and the work of others for television. It was all quite interesting, and he's a very entertaining and funny speaker.

As an added bonus, he read us an excerpt from The Winds of Winter. I feel bad in complaining that it was a Victarion chapter (as I find the Ironborn chapters in any of his books the most boring), but still, I appreciated the peek.

GRRM was also kind enough to stick around and do a signing afterwards. I had lugged two of my massive hardcovers with me (Game of Thrones and Storm of Swords), and I must admit, I had a moment of geek superiority whilst in the lineup as I didn't notice anyone else around me with original hardcover editions of the book. I know, I know, not my finest moment, and I should just be happy that people are reading his books now, but I couldn't help it. Anyway, you really only get about 45 seconds with GRRM as he signs, so I just thanked him for everything, and he thanked me and then (in what is obviously a stock question that he asks fans), he asked who my favourite character is. "Jaime Lannister" I of course blurted out. He chuckled and said "Ah, you like the bad boys do you?" And I had to laugh, because that's not the first time I've heard that. I just said "I do. And he's a fantastic bad boy". GRRM thanked me again and I was on my way.

Such a happy, happy fangirl :)

B-ball

Batgirl
So somehow I've gotten roped into playing on the intramural basketball team for my department here at work.

Now, I am fairly athletic and can passibly play most sports, but basketball is not my sport. I'm a pretty darn good tennis player, and can hold my own on the soccer field as well... but being a whopping not even 5'3", lets just say I've never really seriously pursued basketball aside from being forced to play it during gym in highschool, and happhazardly tossing balls at the net on our garage as a kid.

The R&D team needs at least two women on the team, else they'll forfit, I said I would contribute. It is just for fun, so what the hell...

But I'm kinda nervous for one reason... and that's because of my younger brother.

My brother also used to work here. He was one of the founding members of the weekly basketball games here. And he is a helluva basketball player. My brother stands 6'2" (he got all the height in our family, damn him), and he plays a lot and enetered tournaments etc. He's really good.

My brother hasn't worked here for 4 years now. But they STILL talk about him and his mad basketball skills. How do I know this? The player recruiting female players joined the company after my brother left. He never worked with him or played basketball with him. However, as we talked about my playing, I mentioned my brother's name, forgetting that they didn't know each other, and co-workers eyes went wide; "He's your brother? They still talk about how good he was..."

Oh great :)

Don't get me wrong. I'm proud my (not so) little brother has left such a legacy here. I just hope I won't embarass him too much :)

First game is this coming Thursday. We'll see how it goes.

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Doubles!

Batgirl
Last week, husband and I had a bit of a conversation about 'doubling up'; basically, having more than one copy of a comic book, whether it be having the issues as well as the trades, or having multiple copies of the same issue (husband got sucked into this a lot during the 90s speculator market as he was a stupid teenager at the time :) ) or even having multiple versions of the same trade. We were having this conversation as we're gearing up to get rid of a fairly sizable portion of our comic collection and we're making sure that anything in the 'sell' boxes really should be there.

But anyway, with a few exceptions, I never really did this. At one time I did have all of the Chuck Dixon penned issues of Nightwing as well as the trades, but I eventually sold the individual issues (I do kinda kick myself for that now, but it came at a time where money was really tight and those issues were worth a bit), and I have multiple copies of Impulse #10 which is probably my favourite individual comic in the entire world. But that's it. When I got my trades of Fables, for example, I 'bought' them by trading in my issues.

Right now, husband and I do have some multiples left over from when we got married and merged our comic collections. We currently have two complete runs of Starman and two (mostly) complete runs of Sandman. Aside from those, we have managed to divest ourselves of our doubles of JLA and JSA and a myriad of other things. We realize we just don't have the space to keep 'extras' of things anymore, so if they're duplicated, they need to go.

But...

When it comes to books... I'm actually really bad about having multiple copies of books I love. Off the top of my head I can tell you I have multiple copies of the following:

A Game of Thrones: Hardcover and paperback editions
A Clash of Kings: Hardcover and trade paperback editions
Guy Kay's Fionavar Tapestry: All three in hardcover, paperback and a trade paperback copy that collects all three books. (so that means... 7 copies of 3 books)
A Song for Arbonne (also Guy Kay): Hardcover and paperback
Fool on the Hill (Matt Ruff): paperback and trade paperback
Dragon Riders of Pern: The first three (Dragonflight, Dragonquest and the White Dragon) I have individual copies in paperback and I have a trade paperback that collects all three books (in my defense, the last was a gift, and it is signed, so I will not part with it)
Le Morte D'Arthur: I have... shit, four different editions/versions of this running around, including one written in the original Middle English. Can you say nerd?
Chronicles of Narnia: All seven in paperback and a hardcover collected edition as well.
And there are various Shakespearean plays I have two or more editions of as well.


As I said, and those are just off the top of my head. I have worked at paring down the doubles a bit; at one time, I kid you not, I had 11 copies of various Guy Kay books when he'd only written 5 books. I've calmed down a tad since then.

I try not to buy doubles anymore, but sometimes I can't help myself. I wanted a hardcover copy of A Game of Thrones to go with all my other hardcovers in that series. I wanted a collected edition of the Fionavar Tapestry especially since my paperbacks have been read so much they're falling apart... See, sometimes it's necessary.

But basically, this whole preamble is really just my way of trying to justify wanting to buy the limited edition, illustrated version of A Game of Thrones when it comes out. I'm so weak :)

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Tonight on the National... me!

Batgirl
(well now that I can FINALLY post again... sheesh)

Two Wednesdays ago, I did an interview with the CBC for a piece they were doing on George R.R. Martin. They wanted to talk to a fan, and my friend who works for the best sci-fi/fantasy bookstore in Toronto immediately thought of me and put my name forth. Basically K's thought was a) I'm a huge fan b) I've been with the series since it started back in 1996, c) I'd already finished A Dance With Dragons d) I'm a woman and not a 'stereotypical' fantasy fan.

The interview went well, they seemed perfectly pleased with my answers and with me. We talked for about 15 minutes, with the usual "How did you get into these books", "why do you love them so much", "did you like the HBO addaptation", "if you could ask GRRM a question what would it be?" (I lamed out and said I'd ask "Is ANY character going to come out of this happy?" and the loaded "Why do you think this series appeals to more than just the stereotypical fantasy fan?" (ugh. not fair) They were most thrilled with the fact though that the day A Dance With Dragons came out, I took the day off work (booked it off, legally!) to do nothing but read it.

So the piece aired on Sunday (July 24th), on The National no less! I'm on it for like 30 seconds (they went with the whole taking the day off work thing, like I thought they would), and they got my name wrong (my last name is Kent), but still, there I am along with interviews with George himself and Guy Gavriel Kay, who is undoubtedly, my favourite author. Supreme geek moment as far as I'm concered :)

Here's a link to the piece: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/TV_Shows/The_National/1233408557/ID=2068554409

A Dance With Dragons

Batgirl
10am last Tuesday (July 12th), the moment my local Chapters opened, I was there to get my copy. On Graig's urging I took the day off work to read it because I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate all day.

I finished it Friday night.

It was FUCKING AWESOME!

Only complaint was it needs more Jaime.

So when does the Winds of Winter come out? Cause shit, I need to know what happens next.

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Jul. 13th, 2011

Batgirl
One of the interesting things I've noted on FB is the proliferation of "RIP so and so" whenever someone remotely famous dies. Perhaps I'm a totally cold-hearted bitch, but most of the time, I see these posts and my reaction is often 'who?' and 'really? This person had such an impact upon your life that you care about their passing?'

Or maybe, I just don't buy into the whole celebrity death thing. I dunno.

In the past bunch of years, I can count on my fingers the number of celebrity deaths that I truly took notice of; 3 (I could say 4, but one of which was a comic book artist and I don't really think I can say such a person is a celebrity outside of the small circle of comicdom). And even then, most of those were 'oh, I liked them, I'm sorry they're gone'. I think I may have made posts about two of those individuals here, but that's it.

I think I perhaps find the whole thing a little... ghoulish? Or is that, due to the sheer plethora of it sometimes, that I question the sincerity of it. It almost seems to me a lot of it is 'oh look so and so died. And I'm cool for knowing it and commenting on it". I don't want to have a such a cynical outlook on it, but sometimes I just can't help but feel that way.

I'm not saying I'm immune, as I'm sure at some point, some celebrity whose work I've thoroughly enjoyed over the years will pass away, and I will end up commenting on it on my FB. But I'm just not certain who that might be. Not that I'm really looking to find out though either, mind you.

Playoffs? Still?

Batgirl
I can't believe I'm saying this, but... aren't the damn playoffs over yet?

I'm so not enthused with either team that could win this year (Vancouver or Boston) and the pure amount of asshattery that seems to be coming out of this series is also making me not want to have anything to do with it...

Somebody just win and put these playoffs out of my misery.

(well, at least the fucking Flyers aren't part of the mix this year. I still hate them the most)

This is the End?

Batgirl
My comic book reading has been on a steady decline for a number of years now. A lot of it has just been due to choices being made in books that don't interest me = me dropping the book (i.e. Barry Allen becoming the Flash again = me no longer reading the Flash as Wally is my Flash). Other times, books have ended their run (Jack of Fables) or I've just grown tired of nothing really happening (Invincible) so I've dropped that too. As of now, my reading list is basically down to the following:

Batgirl
Batman Inc.
Detective
Red Robin
Secret Six

Fables
The Unwritten

Captain America
X-Factor

Compared to what I used to read, this is miniscule. And the thing is, what with DC's big announcement that they're going to reboot, renumber, restart (whatever) their entire line... well I'm wondering if that list is going to be cut to just four titles (the two Vertigo and the two Marvel).

It's not that I don't understand that DC's continutity is heavy and yes, for many characters, very 'broken'. But I don't like the idea of things that I am currently enjoying (most of the Bat-titles right now) will be swept away to reset Barbara Gordon being Batgirl again (she's SO much more interesting as Oracle) or Dick Grayson being Nightwing again (yes, I love him as Nightwing, make no mistake, but I'm also really enjoying his turn at being Batman). What happens to Damian Wayne or Tim? Who's Robin? Yeah, I know, not really important, but they are characters I enjoy reading about, and I'd like to know if I'm going to be able to continue reading about them...

One of the things I've always enjoyed about DC is the generational aspect of their universe. Younger heroes move into the older roles and redfine them and create new stories. It worked for the Flash, Green Lantern, even Batman now... except everything's been slowly reset over the last bunch of years with bringing Hal Jordan back, now Barry Allen, and yes, of course Bruce Wayne is back too. I was never a fan of either Hal (ok, I'm not really a GL fan at all) or Barry and I thought it really dull they were brought back. Hell, probably my favourite book of all right now is Captain America, and it's because for the last few years they've been doing what DC did; they've put someone else in the role of Captain America and the book has simply rocked my socks off since they did (and believe me, it's not that I don't love Steve Rogers, 'cause I do). Right now, it's like Marvel's stealing all DC's old ideas and doing them better...

I don't really want to buy into the 52 (yes! significant number!) titles that DC will be launching in Sept. I'm tired of old characters returning. If this is a way to hook new readers, I'm not entirely sure this is how to do it. Those old characters still come with their own baggage, unless you are truly wiping everything away... However, my husband will of course be grabbing a bunch, his curiosity is definitely piqued, so I guess I should give it a shot before I completely shoot down the whole thing out of simple "Nope, it's different. Don't like it."

But right now I don't feel like I'm going to like it. And I want those damn kids off my lawn as well.
Batgirl
I know. I haven't talked much about hockey here in a long time. It's not that I don't still pay attention to it or watch it, 'cause I do. But the thing is I'm no longer a fan of the hometown team, and the hometown team is what everything is devoted to, so it's more difficult for me to talk about my favourite team as I don't get to see them play often. I finally understand what it means to be a complete outsider in the midst of Leaf Nation...

This past Saturday I actually found myself hoping that the Buffalo Sabres would win and therefore once and for all crush the playoff hopes of the Leafs for this season, meaning I wouldn't have to listen to the 'well they can still mathematically make the playoffs!' talk anymore. But no, the Leafs actually won and so it will go on and on longer. If they do make the playoffs, good on 'em, but I doubt it'll be a pretty run and so probably for the best if they just don't.

Also speaking of the Leafs, the faceless corporation of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is looking to divest themselves of their majority ownership of the Leafs and the equally faceless corporation of Rogers Inc. is the current leader to buy this majority ownership. Oh joy. Rogers already owns the Toronto Blue Jays, so they'd really have a monopoly on Toronto sports teams if they get the majority of MLSE (who also own the Raptors and TorontoFC). Would Rogers be better ownership for the Leafs than OTPP? Probably not. It's still a business who is interested in the wonderful bottom line the Leafs can give them; a wonderful bottom line that is always good even if the on-ice product sucks. Still no reason to invest in the on-ice product very much. And Rogers basically owns TSN and whatnot. What would their ownership of the Leafs mean for the much-loved institution of Hockey Night In Canada every Saturday on the CBC? No more Leafs? Losing your largest market is not a good thing at all. I wonder why Mr. RIM (Jim Balsille) hasn't thrown his hat in there. Is he just afraid he will be shot down yet again? Most likely. But really, the man so desperately wants to own a hockey team. He could have a chance to own the LEAFS! He has the money to do it. I kinda wish he'd get in there, just to see what would happen...

The past week in hockey has been dominated by the devestating hit by Boston's Zdeno Chara on Montreal's Max Pacioretty. It was an ugly hit with Pacioretty's head bouncing off the turnbuckle by the benches. I will say only this in Chara's defense... the man is huge, and nearly any hit perpetrated by him looks ugly. But in this case, I don't think it was that innocent, there seemed to be a lot of guiding of Pacioretty's head towards the boards and really, it's an area of the rink that the players should know poses a danger. But that didn't seem to enter much into Chara's mind. So of course, once again, the fans (well Montreal fans) are screaming bloody murder, the media (who don't regularly pay attention to hockey) are labelling it as a blood sport again, Bettman and his cronies aren't really doing anything (Chara was given no further disciplenary action for the hit other than the penalties he received in game) and the star players who are already out due to concussions (hello there Sidney, I do hope you can come out and play again) are STILL calling for something to be done about the proliferation of head hits and concussions the NHL seems to be plagued with of late. Can anything be done? It's hard to say. The physics of the whole thing can probably be boiled down to the players are bigger, stronger, faster, better conditioned and the ice surfaces are too small to really contain them, so players will be hurt. Those who are opposed to a zero tolerance stance on head hits say it will dilute the game's physicality, take an intergral piece of what makes hockey hockey out of the equation. But the thing is, the prime pieces of what makes hockey hockey are the players. And when a player of the calibre of Sidney Crosby sits out for 29(!) games due to a concussion... don't you see that there could be a problem? Do the players themselves and the NHL brass really want to dilute their overall product by damaging the players so and having no repurcussions to such things? I find it mind boggling to think so. I'm not advocating taking hitting (or even fighting though I do think that aspect of the sport should go away) out of the game, but I do advocate the players need to think about what they're doing more than it appears they do. I guess I look at it like the following; in the real world, if you commit a crime, and in the perpetration of the crime someone is mudered during this crime, even though you did not INTEND for anyone to be killed, you are guilty of felony murder. Most interpretations of this law require that the felony be an inherently dangerous one, or one committed in an obviously dangerous manner. If you ask me, this law could be quite beautifully adapted to the NHL. If a player perpetrates a hit on a player, even if they didn't INTEND for the player to be hurt, but they are still making an inherently dangerous hit (like Chara's on Pacioretty) and the player on the receiving end is badly hurt, then an automatic suspension should be handed down. I'm not even saying it has to be a long one, but an automatic one. Something that would make the players think, just for a fraction longer than they do, that if they hit that player as he is, with his head down, or his back to you, or if he's at a bad place along the boards... that you might badly hurt them when you do. Because it seems they do need to have that one second more of thought before they charge in there.

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