Monday, February 20, 2017

Season 7 Episode 10 - Friends

Not to start out in a rant, but: what was up with the vernacular of the new group? The sentance structure was unbearable. I mean, they didn't have accents that would insinuate a misunderstanding of American grammar (An oxymoron, I know.). It was like Lord of the Flies, The Next Generation. We kill Piggy. You find Kirk to do fire. My gosh, it was like watching  Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger. Do you see me rolling my eyes? 

And let's not forget, the walker from Pan's Labyrinth. Gave me flashbacks of the two-weeks of nightmares I had after watching that movie. 

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system.

So, when we left the group last week, they were surrounded by our Lord of the Flies, dump-dwellers. 

Side Note: Has anyone else watched Life After People? Gosh, I would love those expert's jobs: the study of structural decay. In my spare time I like to take pictures of abandon architecture - an homage to my artist-mother's work - and it's fascinating how different climates have a different effect on the rate of decay of human-made structures. 
I often wonder while watching TWD if they take any of those sciences into consideration while filming. I know the zombies have gotten more decayed over time, though not nearly as much as one would expect. Seriously a zombie apocalypse would be the easiest apocalypse to survive - wait a year, maybe two, don't get bitten, keep cuts and sores clean, maybe go north where the zombies would freeze solid, and you're good to rebuild civilization. So this episode, I sincerely wondered how the dump would smell.
Even in an anaerobic environment, the initial organic-decay smell would be long gone. Plastic bags, which photo-degrade after a year of exposure to the elements and turn into plastic-dust, would be gone (assuming they were on the top of the pile). Natural fiber fabrics, cottons and wools, etc., would succumb to mold and mildew pretty quickly. So what's left? Metal, glass, rubber and things that start with "poly". You know the chemical smell of the inside of a car on a very hot summer day? That's what I imagine, only worse, as the sun, heat, and humidity break down the molecular ties of all that garbage. Maybe that's why the people can't speak anymore - they've spent the apocalypse huffing fumes.
 Anyway. I really liked that after telephone Rick and farmer Rick and crazy-eyed Rick, and tail-between-the-legs Rick have been replaced by leader Rick. I think, in all honesty, this is the first time we've seen this Rick. Sure, he showed a great deal of leadership qualities as officer Rick before the story arc between him and Shane came to a close. But this is different. He isn't as struggling with that role. And, first time ever, when Michone put her head on Rick's chest out of relief and mutual comfort and smiled up at him while he kissed her head...I could believe they were a couple. 

Father Gabriel also showed considerable character growth - leaving clues, taking a hostage...I haven't gotten this far into the comics, so I'm interested to see how his character plays out.

Meanwhile. Rosita. Ug. She and Richard need to just take their self-destructive teenage angst and go. The two actual teenagers aren't half as bad. I'm guessing there's a purpose to their nihilism and that when their characters do die, they'll go out with honor and dignity. Maybe Richard will save Carol and Rosita will save Sasha. Except that they stopped doing that when they killed off Beth, so we'll see. And while I'm on other characters: Tara. Wow. She lies like I do. How nobody said, "Hey, Tara, what are you hiding?" is beyond me. But, hey. Now they'll have five groups against Negan.

The reunion between Daryl and Carol: from the moment he found out where she was until he slipped off into the darkness, every moment of that was so sweet and so powerful. I've loved watching both of them since season two. Remember when Sophia was missing and Carol was so weak? Daryl told her a story about the trail of tears and gave her a flower as a sign that they would find Sophia. He does that now by telling Carol that they won against Negan and that everyone is fine. Daryl has always offered hope to Carol, and Carol has offered strength to Daryl. Their meeting felt like a final goodbye between the two of them; Carol getting her final dose of hope that her friends are safe and alive and Daryl getting enough strength to leave the kingdom and go back on his own.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mid-season Premiere

I don't have a lot to say just yet. We changed cable companies a while back and TWD comes on an hour past my bedtime with the new company, so my brain is not functioning. I mean, it's 1 pm and my third cup of coffee isn't making a dent. Seriously.


It was a nice, light, happy episode with the most video game style zombie killing method ever devised. The hilltop is fed up with Negan and Gregory as that all-important dethroning of Gregory and exchange of power to Maggie gets set up. King Zeke threw me a curve ball by deciding not to join Rick's coup...for now.

I'm glad Daryl is over at the Kingdom so he can show those kids how to aim a bow. I'm guessing his presence in the Kingdom will have something to do with Ezekiel eventually changing his mind. Maybe Negan goes looking and finds Daryl. Maybe Daryl is more convincing than Rick. Who knows. Morgan admits that Rick was right and sometimes it's kill or be killed and he lies to Rick about Carol's whereabouts.

And then there's the good Reverand. I'm not quite sure what he's up to, but since I'm sure it's not holing up in some church while his parishioners claw at the siding, it's nice to see him take some initiative.

I watched the first few minutes of Talking Dead. I think I need new glasses because the director was sitting there and I thought it was the director of Sons of Anarchy until he started speaking and it threw me off so bad. I completely disagree with all of them going on about the chemistry of the cast on-screen. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the romantic couplings - as my teenager would say, "ships." It's like they're siblings or something. The only chemistry I see is the Rick/Daryl dynamic where I actually buy their relationship and maybe the Sasha/Rosita animosity.

Anyway, thoughts? Insights? Throw them out in the comments.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Warm Bodies

"My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy"

I'm not your average chick-flick kinda girl. With few exceptions, romantic comedies take a back seat to most other movies by choice. Warm Bodies (2013) is one that makes the cut. I normally wait for movies to come out on TV - not DVD or blue ray, TV, but as soon as Warm Bodies hit Redbox, I had to see it. I was not disappointed.

Warm bodies is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet based on the book of the same name by Issac Marion. It's set in an alternate reality where zombies have taken over as the dominant species.

"R" played by Nicholas Hoult is a zombie living at the airport. The zombie disease progresses in levels. R and most of his peers are the standard, brain-loving zombies called corpses. They eat human flesh and wander slow and aimlessly through the area they were when they died but they still have remnants of their humanity. They look like humans, move like humans, and through R's inner dialogue we learn that they think like humans though on a rudimentary level. The zombies, in this way, are paralleled to the human condition where the plague is a symbol for the loss of human connection through the overuse of technology.

Then there are the "bonies" who have progressed to the final stage of the plague. Bonies are the main protagonist in Warm Bodies. They've lost their human form and their human thought. Their only goal is to eat. According to R's narration, "They call these guys Bonies. They don't bother us much, but they'll eat anything with a heartbeat. I mean, I will too, but at least I'm conflicted about it."

Enter Julie. Julie, an uninfected human and daughter of the survivor's leader. She and her team get caught by zombies on a supply run and R eats her boyfriend. He then fixates his gaze on Julie but instead of eating her, he kidnaps her and falls in love with her. Over time, she falls in love with him too. Meanwhile, their contact with one another cures him of the plague, bringing warmth into his dead body (Which is, of course, the opposite of the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet.). With the alliance of the corpses and the humans, they bring down the impending scourge of bonies and bring to life those who were once dead.

Warm bodies is a fun, albeit different take, on the zombie trope and a great addition to any zombie library. For further reading, this is a good place to look.
*Only 18 days till the return of TWD*

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Snacking Dead

This is a review of the cookbook, The Snacking Dead - A Parody in a Cookbook by DB Walker

A few years ago it seemed like everything was a Walking Dead parody - including cookbooks.

The Snacking Dead is a fun cookbook with spectacular pictures. Each recipe is accompanied by a story about surviving the outbreak and each has a clever Walking Dead invocative name. I assumed this was more of a survival-food cookbook, but most of the recipes are standard American fare with a twist.

Today I'm making Guac and Load Guacamole.

I picked this recipe because I had some avacado that needed to be used.
Step 1. Put all ingredients in a bowl. (avocado, green onion, jalapeno, lime juice)
Step 2. Mash it together with a fork or if you're lazy, like me, throw it in a food processor.
Step 3. Ignore the book and add garlic powder, seasoning salt, and cumin.
4. Serve with tortilla chips or on chimichangas or tacos.

That's it. 

We're guacamole purists here so I was worried it wouldn't go over well but my kids licked the bowl clean which I consider a food success.

The Snacking Dead isn't a daily-use cookbook, but if you like amazing food pictures, it's a fun one to add to your collection of zombie heads in fish tanks.

On the back of the book is a website, but it's down now. It can be purchased at Amazon.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Floating around this house somewhere is a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, a parody of Jane Austin's famous Pride and Prejudice. It was a birthday gift from my mom. I've been trying to find it for three weeks so I could finally read it. I hadn't bothered before because the words "Pride and Prejudice" nearly sends me into convulsions. I hate that book and did every time (four - I had to read it four times) it was assigned for school reading. But the movie was good, so it deserves a shot. I mean, who doesn't want to see aristocrats from the Regency period get eaten by reanimated corpses?
I finally found it!
Themes: Love, honor, vanity, and zombies.
Genre: Apocalyptic Romance (that was weird to type).

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is set in an alternate reality in Britain during the Regency period in the countryside of the gentry - the upper class - during a long war against the living dead. Unlike London, the country lives in relative peace, saved by the protection of a wall around the city where most of the dead are contained.

While the original toyed with themes of love, its real value as a literary classic was its commentary on the social structure and the roles of women in society and their value therein. Their value as a gender relies solely on their value as a potential wife. Love is secondary to accomplishment in the delicate arts of entertaining with skill on the Pianoforte (a predecessor to the modern piano) standing as a symbol of utmost femininity and culture. Young ladies of this culture are pitted in a vicious competition to marry well. 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies adds an additional accomplishment to the list: skill in martial arts with the different styles and schools drawing a clear line in the subtle variances of high social class. This plays a huge role in the story arc between Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett and symbolizes the cutthroat life of high society by paralleling the kill or be killed reality of a zombie apocalypse.

The plot follows the original love story between Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) and Miss Bennett (Lily James) except for one little detail; Mr. Darcy is an expert zombie hunter. Well known for his skill in rooting out the most clever of zombies and his thoroughness of eradicating them, Mr. Darcy comes across as pretentious and apathetic in social situations which is only matched by Miss Bennett's obstinance and pride.

Once they realize their folly in judgment of one another, the duo, equal on the battlefield of both love and war, defeat the vile foe and turn the tides on the war against the reanimated dead, and find a place within each other's arms.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a fun take on the genre as well as an interesting and creative adaptation of a classic novel. Well worth the watch.

Happy New Year!