Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Revolution

When I first saw the promos for Revolution this summer, I was insanely excited. Why? Because I thought that they had decided to turn S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse series into a television show. I have only read the first two books so far (my mom introduced me to them only recently), and I have found them to be highly engaging. And with the media’s current love affair with apocalypses (apocalypsi?), I thought it was an obvious choice for network television.
Of course, I then went on Stirling’s website to see what he thought of the adaptation. And that was when I found that there was no connection to the book series. It was strange, I thought, that they would make something so similar without any connection to Stirling’s camp.
I decided to wait until the show premiered to make any judgments, though.
The first episode of Revolution aired on Monday night (NBC 10/9c). The episode opened with scenes from the “night the lights went out” and then progressed fifteen years into the future. I found the first scene to be very effective—it really showed the enormity of the situation. I think the planes just dropping out of the skies really did it.
The future, however, was a little strange. I like that they decided to go forward far enough that civilization was starting to come back—it distinguishes this show from other post-apocalyptic shows.
The main character is Charlie (the creators decided to show you she’s sassy by giving her a boy’s name), and she reminds me of another Kripke creation. I’m talking about Jo Harvelle from Supernatural. Apparently, Kripke likes young female characters who can talk the talk, but often need to rely on others to save their butts. Luckily, Charlie runs into the obligatory Mysterious Forest Hunk. Just like Jo, however, Charlie has a sharply intelligent matron at her side—though this is her disliked step-mother Rachel. I found that no matter how much Charlie seems to dislike her, I liked Rachel more than I liked Charlie. I also always enjoy Billy Burke (here as Uncle Miles).
Their group is threatened by the militia, run by the (also obligatory) ruthless individual who seized power after the “apocalypse.” They kill Charlie’s father, and take her brother—which is the catalyst event which sets her on her journey and connects her with her long-lost uncle. They think that Charlie’s dad and her uncle know how to turn the lights back on.
At there end, though, there is some evidence that electrical power is not completely gone—which is something I don’t quite understand. How can only a few people have a power grid that connects them across a country? Of course, there are some other issues that may or may not be answered later on. If you want to enjoy this show, you’ll probably just ignore them. Another issue I have, though, is that individuals don’t have guns because it’s illegal for civilians to own them. Since when does that stop people? Also, can’t we use wind or hydropower?
The rules of Revolution seem to be that the electrical grid is gone (and very difficult to turn back on). The rule of the Emberverse are different—all technology since gunpower is obsolete. It makes things more interesting, but the laws of Revolution are probably easier to get past a mass audience.
I would definitely suggest that you give Revolution a try. The news outlets seem to think that it will be a hit, and I can see why it would be popular. I, however, won’t be watching. It’s mostly due to the scene at the very end of the episode (which I won’t spoil), but also due to the fact that I see it as a poor man’s Emberverse. I would give it a score of 5/10, though that may just be the stereotypical pissy geek. I didn't find most of the characters to be enjoyable or intriguing--Charlie especially turned me off to the series--and I'm not sure if the creators even know what's going on with the power. 
If you don't mind a little fantasy mixed with your sci-fi apocalypse (though that element doesn't present itself until later), I would suggest that you check out the Emberverse series instead. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Etsy Tuesday: Firefly/Serenity

This week's subject for Etsy Tuesday is in honor of the puppy my parents adopted this weekend:
This is Zoe! (I know the picture kind of sucks--my mom took it). Mom and Dad were asking for puppy names, but they didn't want anything geeky. I managed to slip in Zoe, though, for Zoe Washburne of Firefly fame. Isn't she cute?

For anyone who's interested and in the Chicagoland area, Zoe has three sisters who are also available for adoption: Paige, Rene, and Milynne.

Anyway, on to what you're really here for--Etsy Tuesday!

I really like the leatherwork on this first piece--I think it's beautiful. The contrast between the main background, the lettering, and the background for the lettering is just the perfect amount. It's also one of the most badass geek flasks I've ever seen. But really, the first thing that caught my eye was the craftmanship. This is sold in the shop GrimmSister, which sells a lot of other leatherwork.

$45.00 USD
I don't typically like these Euro-style stickers, but this one makes my inner geek giggle with joy. Maybe it's the appropriateness of putting "shiny" on a car? Maybe it's because non-geeks won't get the reference and think 'well, it would be shinier if you washed it." Either way, this is cool. AND inexpensive. It's sold in the shop NalaSerenity, owned by Kimber McDermott.

$4.00 USD

This pendant is nice and understated. I particularly like that it is bronze, and not another metal. It's the same Serenity symbols as the flask above, but I like the hand-smashed (for lack of a better word--I don't know much about metal work and I like the word smash) imprint of the letters on the circles. This is sold at the store Piece of Shine, run by Cindy Pope.

$30.00 USD
I also like this Wash quote bracelet from the same store.
$35.00 USD
Finally, here's a Shepherd Book print that I like--mostly because I find that the expression on the drawing's face matches the quote perfectly. There is a print for most of the other characters as well (though I didn't notice Zoe or Wash), as well as a print of the group. I'd suggest checking it out, since it also has The Dark Tower and Marvel prints. The shop is Bensmind, run by Ben Smith. They also have multiple-purchase discounts--2 for $30, 3 for $45, and 5 for $75.
$19.99 USD

Well, tomorrow I promise I will put up my review of NBC's new tv show Revolution. I was going to put it up today, but then I realized it was Tuesday--and Tuesdays traditions cannot change. I also have a tube-top tutorial that I hope to get up by Saturday. You might get three posts in a week--craaazy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Etsy Tuesday: Avatar: The Last Airbender

So I've been completely caught up in learning how to teach a class, and I haven't written anything on Red Dead Redemption or Portal 2 (which I finished a couple weeks ago). I've decided that I probably won't--it's too untimely. There was something I wanted to muse about regarding Red Dead Redemption, but I managed to do so with a friend.

I'm also trying to salvage a couple of DIYs, so hopefully one will be up by Saturday.

So, back to your scheduled programming: Etsy Tuesday--Avatar: The Last Airbender edition.

Today's Etsy Tuesday was prompted by my sister. Back in August, my brother and I were talking about our Avatar cosplays for Chicago Comic Con. We were going as Azula and Zuko, and my sister wanted to know what she could be. Of course, I told her Appa. Then I went on Etsy and found this for her:

Though she didn't get it (and neither my brother nor sister ended up cosplaying with me), I still think this is the cutest thing in the world. I might even get it myself for my workplace Halloween costume and air it with some white clothes. I doubt anyone in the Political Science department will get it, but I will still enjoy it.

The shop GeekinOut also has a particularly adorable R2D2 hat, a Gir hat with ear flaps, and a Cthulu mask, all crocheted. There's tons of other products, too (twelve pages of options!), so I'd definitely recommend giving it a look.

Next up is another great option for my geeky-enough-that-I-love-it-but-not-distracting-enough-so-I-can-teach-in-it jewelry collection: an Earth Kingdom pendant. It's beautiful, and only those people who are familiar with the show will recognize it as anything but a regular pendant. It's made by Meagan Dibb, and sold in the shop MeaganDibbJewellery. This is another shop with tons of geeky options--you'll be sure to find something that suits your fancy.

$20.00 USD

While I would love to own this next set of glasses, the truth is that I own way too many glasses as it is (seriously, my cabinet is completely full). So one of you will have to buy these, so I can live vicariously through you. These are a set of pint glasses with the Avatar elemental nations/tribes symbols etched on them. I particularly like how well-sized these symbols are--they're commanding of the front of the glasses, but you can still see the whole thing. They're sold in the shop Partywareinc, which also sells these in shotglass size.

$46.00 USD

I have always wanted my own air bison, so I love the idea of this Appa pillow pet (I know, I know, apparently MoMo gets no love). It's constructed just like the pillow pets you'd find in stores, except that Appa is way better than a hippo or a moose. It's made by Meghan O'Laoghaire and is sold in the shop DemonicDJKitty.
$40.00 USD

I particularly like this final piece because it's not so blatantly attached to Avatar, but it is inspired by the White Lotus secret society. I think it's a beautiful piece, with the pearls, the flowers, and the metalwork behind them. The shop owner, KA, makes beautiful jewelry and a few more pieces are connected with ATLA in ways that I find clever. This is from the shop jewelrybending, which you should definitely check out if you like Avatar or Asian-inspired jewelry.

$43.00 USD

Well, that's all for today! Hopefully I'll get a hang of this lesson-planning thing soon and have time to be a better blogger. As usual, if you have any particular theme you think I should pursue for Etsy Tuesday next week, leave a comment!