Midnight, Texas: Bad Moon Rising

When we last visited Midnight, Texas, Bobo’s missing fiancée had turned up dead and Manfred’s house was inhabited by Ghost Squatters.

When we arrive for this week’s visit, Manfred and Creek are racing for their lives to Manfred’s RV. They have escaped “him.” Creek — who is sketchy! — gives Manfred some first aid and, just as they are about to kiss, something hits the RV, rocking it. There are only so many times the writers can fuck with us like this before it gets old.

Manfred, already bloodied by “him,” decides to go check it out. NO, MANFRED, NO! Sir, have you ever watched a horror movie? Whenever someone goes to check on something, they get dead. Also, any dude who can rock that bigass RV is not someone to be fucked with.

At this point, I am a bit worried Lem is eating people. I am not a fan of watching vampires and zombies eat people. But Maud, why are you watching this? you say. Yeah, I know. However, when Lem ate a neo-Nazi white supremacist skinhead biker last week, it didn’t make me queasy. As long as Lem keeps noshing on white supremacists, skinheads and the like, I think I’ll be OK.

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Midnight, Texas: Pilot

I never watched True Blood, but I have read the second of Charlaine Harris’ Midnight, Texas trilogy, Dayshift, and all of her Harper Connelly Mysteries from which Manfred Bernardo, conman, psychic and the protagonist of Midnight, Texas, is drawn. Manfred was a fantastic supporting character and that led me to pick up Daylight even after the disappointment of Dead Ever After.

Ms. Harris does world-building very well and her supporting characters are wonderful, but when there’s not an immediate mystery at hand and a body on the floor, she meanders. When I heard the television version of Midnight, Texas had amped up the pacing, I decided to check it out.

I wasn’t disappointed; this show combines the ensemble cast and world-building that are Ms. Harris’ strengths and greatly improves her biggest weakness, pacing. (Of course, given much of television is in visual shorthand, pacing is easier.)

I give the pilot my highest praise. It is Batshit Bonkers.

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Wynonna Earp: Everybody Knows

So, we’re part of the way into the season, but that’s OK. Writing things for fun instead of for a deadline still feels weird.

Anyway, (previously on Wynonna Earp) Wynonna is pregnant, but it was fast forwarded due to some sleep/time magic fuckery a couple episodes back. Instead of killing the revenant who was responsible, Wynonna should have set him up in business. He would have made scads of cash letting people sleep through their pregnancies.

Also, town creeper/rich kid Tucker is on the loose and his sisters Mercedes and Beth are possessed by some weird moonwraith things. Maybe they’re dead and the weird noir sisters are using their bodies/appearance. Who knows with this fucking show?  Read more

Game of Thrones: Dragonstone

So, let’s check up on everyone in the seventh season premiere.

In the Riverlands:

Arya Stark got savage, delicious revenge on Walder Frey last season when she killed his favorite sons, cooked them in a pie and fed them to him before cutting his throat. Arya is so damn extra and I love her.

In season seven’s cold opening, Walder is presiding over a feast with all of the men of his house. And you immediately think, “didn’t this evil old buzzard get murder-knifed at the end of last season?” You would be correct. I mean, it was in the flashback right before the episode started.

Walder offers a toast, not allowing his child-wife to drink, and praises his house for slaughtering the Starks, calling them “brave men” for killing a pregnant woman, a mother of five and those they’d offered guest rights (a no-no in Westeros, as the Rat Cook of the Nightfort could attest).

The Freys begin gagging, choking and vomiting as Walder chides them for not managing to kill all of the Starks.

“Leave one wolf alive and the sheep will never be safe,” he says with an over-developed sense of drama.

Walder then whips off his face to reveal what the audience has realized by now — it’s not Walder, but Arya, wearing a Edgar– Walder-skin suit. Ewwwww.

Dead-Eyes Arya looks at Walder’s child-bride and intones, “when people ask you what happened here, tell them the North remembers, tell them that winter came for House Frey.”

Then, completely without a fuck to give, Arya strolls, smiling and stepping over many a Frey corpse, out the door.

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New Opportunity: Re-Caps!

As a journalist, I desperately wanted to do television show re-caps. I love talking about my favorite shows — and no one at the newspaper watched anything but House of Cards! — and re-caps are hugely popular, generating tons of traffic. Many publications are now including such content on their websites, but the publication where I worked was on the conservative side (i.e., had no idea how to operate in the digital world, so many missed opportunities with my talented co-workers, I swear).

I could have done re-caps on a blog of my own, but after spending eight hours each day writing, editing, paginating and interviewing … I was burnt out and needed a recharge. Now, I’m looking for things to fill my day, so why not try re-capping? If I have fun, it’s a success.

My taste in television is awful and my sense of humor is odd — so you’re duly warned.

I’m Surrounded by Angry Drunk People and My Family is Chirping

One of the things about being unemployed is people expect me to show up places. I don’t have the excuse of having to work anymore, and that will be unfortunate the next time my in-laws get together.

Since I got the axe,  I have been invited to baby showers, weddings, birthday parties and children’s sporting events.

I also was invited to a boxing match.

My family has boxed for three generations, and I am the only person in my generation not to have taken it up. Even my little sister has amateur titles. This is because boxing demands not only a lot of cardio and a keen ability to strategize, but also the ability to be punched in the face repeatedly.

I saw this face punching and decided it wasn’t for me.

Anyway, my cousin was the main event with a lengthy undercard. Since this was held at a beer garden, there was much alcohol-fueled chanting and flag waving by his supporters, which visibly irritated the other fighter’s supporters.

I was in charge of my mother, who has no sense of self-preservation, and my two chirpy nephews. Also, Cousin’s sweat-soaked, reeking sparring gloves, which I was put in charge of because reasons (i.e., my dad, who was the cutman, threw them at me as he walked past).

Somehow, instead of ending up ringside, we were surrounded by the other fighter’s supporters. The undercard lasted two hours, so by the time Cousin fought, everyone was drunk.

Now, the fellow Cousin was fighting was more than 100 pounds heavier than him.  Rumors were flying the state boxing commission would disallow the fight, but Cousin drank three gallons of water and ate an entire cow and managed to make weight.

If this was a short story or a movie, Cousin would have won the fight. If he had another round, he would have won the fight, but he didn’t. His opponent clinched at every available opportunity. Also: He had 100 pounds on him.

Every time the Big Man clinched, he’d lean on Cousin, and he struggled under the pressure of another 300 pounds. Also, Big Man was slow, but he hit hard when he wasn’t clinching. By the end of the fight, Big Man was slowing and Cousin was peppering him with punches, but, alas, amateur fights only go so many rounds.

My nephews began screaming the inaccurate, but descriptive, insult “tree-hugger.” I would have laughed if it weren’t for the opposition’s fans all around us. My mother began booing like that old hag in the Princess Bride.

People were glaring at us.

“You suck,” my smallest nephew screamed.

“You suck,” my elderly mother screamed.

“Oh my God,” I said.

People had stopped watching the fight to watch the old lady and two small children hurl abuse at a guy who outweighed all three of them put together.

“Boooooooooooooo,” my mother howled. This worked for her, so she continued to boo, cupping her hands around her mouth as a impromptu megaphone. My nephews began to imitate her. She’s a bad influence on her grandchildren.

The fight ended, Cousin lost and the hometown crowd grew ugly. Threats flew and my mother continued to boo.

“Shut up.” I started looking for a police officers. You couldn’t miss them. They had been wandering around all evening. As soon as I needed one, I couldn’t find them.

Someone invited one of Cousin’s fans to fight. I grabbed my still-booing mother and nephews — the littlest one in tears over the unfairness of the loss — and hustled them out of there.

My mother temporarily stopped booing to complain we couldn’t leave my father behind. I pointed out he wasn’t surrounded by angry drunk people, but she was stubborn. (It’s one of her defining character traits.)

So I called his cellphone. “Where are you?”

“I left,” he said. “Those people were a bunch of angry, drunk assholes.”

… you don’t say.



Adventures in Unemployment

My career as a journalist ended abruptly six weeks ago, and I didn’t see it coming. The newsroom, already operating with a skeleton staff, was cut down to the marrow. I was one of the casualties.

I’m trying not to be bitter. I’m trying not to ask myself why I was expendable, when I was one of two people to receive awards for their writing last year and the only one to do it in two states. I am trying not to think about my executive editor assuring me that my job was safe and I didn’t need to look for a new one six months ago. I’m trying not to be incredulous when I think about my publisher telling me I was very talented in the same breath she told me my position was eliminated.

I decided to pursue journalism in high school because I loved to write and didn’t want to be a starving artist. Even now, I don’t regret the decision. I’ve seen things, been places and met people I never otherwise would have had the opportunity to see, be or meet. Some days, that isn’t as comforting as I would like.

I’m struggling with unemployment. I’ve never been unemployed, and although I work hard to keep a positive façade, it’s scary. I’m afraid I went into debt for a degree and spent 14 years with one company for nothing. I’m afraid I’ll have to start at the bottom in another industry. I’m scared my skill set is so overspecialized I won’t be able to find another career.

I want a career. I don’t want something that is just a job.

“I’ll catch up with the house work and finish my book,” I told everyone. “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.” I’m a shitty liar. It’s amazing anyone believed me.

“I’ll catch up with the house work and finish my book,” I told everyone. “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.” I’m a shitty liar. It’s amazing anyone believed me.

Mind you, after 14 years of bizarre hours and 40-plus hour weeks, the house desperately needs attention. So I finished the book instead.

I decided to take marketing classes to expand my skill set. I learned that I hate marketing.

I applied for jobs, and the only places that gave me interviews were direct sales companies. You know, those people hanging out with clipboards at Wal-Mart who ask you if you want to change cable providers when you’re just trying to find a ripe cantaloupe. And I didn’t get hired. I’m apparently not clipboard material.

Some days I wonder if I’m not downsized, but dead, and this is the circle of hell I’m trapped in.

Some days I wonder if I’m not downsized, but dead, and this is the circle of hell I’m trapped in.

“You should write a blog,” my daughter said. A blog would be less constraining than a column. I can curse, to begin with. And I could tell stories that I didn’t dare tell without the anonymity of the Internet.

I’ve always found refuge in writing.

I didn’t think I’d miss deadlines or writing a column every week. Yet here I am. Let’s see where this takes me.