Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vuja De

I used to experience déjà vu all of the time. We're talking on a daily basis here, and sometimes they weren't just a flash, which is how I generally experience this phenomenon, but in long, drawn out episodes. I usually chalk this up to living a pretty predictable life and having low expectations. So, I try to ignore them or suppress them and only pay attention if they seem really strong.
Now, I must say that I don't recall ever having one immediately prior to a big event in my life, or even a little event in my life for that matter, but I have a good memory and a desire to experience the uncommon.
I'm not sure what you call the other side of déjà vu - the day or time you were flashing forward to, but it is a whole other can of beans.
This morning, a little after 9:30 am PDT, while washing dishes, I had a strong flash of "this is that day that I was looking at through that déjà vu. Sifnigicant? I don't know. I hope not, since lately all of the news coming into my life has been bad news (nothing wrong with yours truly, but friends of mine are going through some tough times). After one serious thought about what this portends, my first "Eric" thought was "First Contact!".

Friday, August 01, 2014

Winter is coming, and right before it, November.

Every year I compete in National Novel Writing Month during the month of November. I have been doing this for over a decade and look forward to the month of mad writing more than is probbaly healthy, well at least healthy for my writing.
With all of that said, I am strongly thinking about not doling NaNoWriMo this year. Bear with the explanation - I have developed a process where in during the month of Spetember I come up wiht an idea, then spend the month of October researching and preparing spreadsheets, etc so that I can dive right in at 12:01 a.m. on November 1st. But, it's just turning into August today and I have the idea (no process needed to narrow it down) and I have been working on the background ideas, and I think the only research will be making sure that I am not accidentally lifting plots from other stories. I don;t want to sit on this until November, but I also don't think if I were to start today that I could make myself write as much as I do then, nor will I be ready to do this again in November. Okay, even to me, that sounds like kind of a lame cop-out.
I'm a writer and I do write all the time - but not just on novels. I have totally convinced myself that writing blogs and forum posts counts for my daily word count (or whatever), but really? Maybe if I were hilarious or making the big bucks then I could count that kind of writing.

Well then, we can't have me feeling lame for months and months. And if I don't do NaNoWriMo this year, I think pretty much the only excuse that would even come close to counting is, "I started in August and I'm still working on it." The whole purpose of a month of writing dangerously is to make writing a habit. After you have done the competition long enough to have more than a decade behind you, and more importantly to have developed a system for getting new novels going, you don't really need NaNo except for the word count deadlines, and since I just participate online, can't I just have an email service send me a daily reminder that I should be writing?

This post did not go where I thought it was going. I thought I would be writing a little post explaining that over the nexxt couple of months I would be reporting on my NaNo preparation, not one expalining that I can't do NaNo because I need to write now. I guess, instead I will just say that I will try and write about my progress and any techniques I come up with to keep myself motivated and on track.

This feels so liberating. I am actually quite excited about this project. So. Do you wanna know what I'm writing about? Well stay tuned. I will tease today by saying that this is my first foray in Urban Fantasy, or at least how I interpret the drama.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Elementary Season 1 Disc 6

Episode 21: A Landmark Story
The first time we met a surrogate of Moriarty, not the man himself, presuming he is a man and that she is not a woman. But, of course we don't know this right away, we believe that this particular killer is a serial killer, not an assassin. In fact we don't even know there is a Moriarty until the end, we only know there is a killer who uses the moniker M. Of course the educated audience is expecting the M to stand for Moararty, but it doesn't.
Moriarty is back. Kind of. A man dies of a suspected heart attack and a whole chain of events lead to uncovering other assassins used by Moriarty, each very different from the last. One of these men was an engineer and specializes in killing people in a way that makes it look like an accident.
There is no secondary story going on this time and we get to see Holmes and Watson work on their issues in only one light. It was actually a nice change of pace and done quite well.

Episode 22: Risk Management
This is really the second part of the last episode, as it begins immediately after the conclusion of the last one, which ends with Moriarty calling Holmes. This episode begins with the twist of the phone call continuing and Moriarty asking to hire Holmes to find a killer.
Captain Gregson tries to get Watson to leave because it is too dangerous and at a later point, Holmes tries to misdirect her for her own protection. She will have none of it, rightly stating that if she is not into being a detective all the way, including possible personal danger that she is only playing at it and that they are behaving overly defensively because she is a woman.
Throughout the whole episode, Holmes is at least least one step behind Moriarty and they both know it. As you can imagine this is quite a blow to Holmes ego, but for the most part he puts it aside because the game they are playing is getting him closer to his goal of finding Moriarty to avenge Irene, Holmes murdered girlfriend. Of course, the end of the episode is a game changer.

Episode 23: The Woman/Heroine
Finally we got to the big season closer, a double length episode none-the-less. As you might have guessed from the descriptions of the previous two episodes, this is all about Holmes versus Morirarty. Every single time the two go tet-a-tet, Moriarty wins. That does not change in this episode as Morirarty forces a well known Greek Nationalist with a shady past to commit a crime to save his daughter, and the crime causes a fluctuation in the currency market of Macedonia so that Moriarty makes nearly a billion dollars. Meanwhile, Homes knows what is going on but is powerless to stop it as he is always one step behind.
Holmes is able to figure out Moriarty's involvement and to find evidence proving what he is saying, but it is still too late each time to prevent the loss of life. Not that catching murderers is a bad thing, mind you, it's just that Holmes feels that he should have been able to prevent them.
I don't think I spoil anything by saying that Moriarty lets Holmes that he has been bested and that in every possible meeting of the two that Moriarty will always defeat Holmes, which Holmes knows to be true. But by your powers of deduction, you should already see what I'm saying with this and know what happens in the episode. I won't belittle your mental capabilities by stating the obvious.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Elementary Season 1 Disc 5

Episode 17: Possibility Two
I took a little break from watching episodes, almost completely not related to this show. Coming back to it after a little break was good, and also well timed. This episode fully breaks from the old way of doing things in that Watson is a now a full-time detective-in-training. It was fun to watch Holmes call her on something in front of the police and everyone, because she would just stumble along trying to hobble something together. She didn't get it right every time, and even when she did get it right, she only got most of it right. But, she didn't quit and she didn't complain. You can see why she would have been a kick-ass surgeon.
The story itself indirectly touched on this and all procedurals, especially forensics based ones. In this episode, a geneticist created a fake blood sample that was a perfect match for a particular and because he knew his business, it matched all 13 markers perfectly. Case closed, right? Wrong. Acting upon his suspicions, Holmes called in a favor to do further testing and they discovered that while the 13 markers used by law enforcement were a match, there were no other makers at all, of which there should have been hundreds or thousands. Very interesting.

Episode 18: Deja Vu All Over Again
Watson had her first case! And her first arrest! And was arrested for the first time! What? Ya, it was crazy like that.
Ms. Watson took on her first case, at Holmes bidding. He thought it was a pretty straight-forward missing person based upon the evidence that he had at the time, but it turned South quickly. Not only was homicide involved in the disappearance, but a seemingly random murder that no one would have thought was related turned out to be, but not in the way that it obvious. There were definitely some clever little twists in this one.

Episode 19: Snow Angels
The lesson of this episode is just how far you can get by saying that you are a consultant for the police and having some cash to back up your requests when telling the person about the police fails to get the job done. Holmes and Watson were able to get around a locked-down New York and out to East Rutherford New Jersey to investigate the crime, and they did it with minimal trouble. They even got into the Federal Reserve bank and into restricted areas. Of course it helps that they actually do consult for the police and were correct about what was going on, but the right type of con man or con woman would be able to do the same thing I would think. That might just be a very interesting show to watch - the episode where Holmes and Watson must find the people playing at being Holmes and Watson.

Episode 20: Dead Man's Switch
We got a look at Holmes very personal side as we approached his one year sobriety anniversary. He does not want to receive recognition for this act and gives all kinds of reasons but it it obvious to Watson that there is something else going on and eventually he confides in her before he tells his sponsor that it hadn't actually been a year, that the day after he quit drugs, he snuck out and did them one last time. Holmes is deeply ashamed of himself and incredibly embarrassed that he could not will himself to stop and stick with it - that he actually gave-in to his desires.
Holmes very personal trials were counterposed with a story of blackmail and a victim of blackmail becoming a blackmailer himself when he realized just how much money there was to be made. Holmes states early on that to him blackmailers may be more foul than murderers, to which no one responds. This made me think towards the end of the episode as the culprit is being revealed, that the only thing worse than a blackmailer would be someone who was being blackmailed and truly understood just how horrible it was to be the victim, that person switching to becoming the blackmailer himself.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Elementary Season 1 Disc 4a

Episode 13: The Red Team
This was Elementary's stab at conspiracy theories. I think. It was another spy story, well Intelligence story more than spy story. It's about the way the Intelligence community operates and people who play that game. With the usual twists and turns, I didn't really know where this one was going at all.
This episode was also about Holmes getting back in with Captain Gregson after the whole incident in the previous episode. Their relationship is forever changed as Gregson can not get over the fact that Holmes was ready to murder someone. The Captain reinstates Holmes but tells him that things are different now and that he'll never really trust Holmes again. Then Gregson punches Holmes in the stomach saying htat there was something he wanted to get off his min.

Episode 14: The Deductionist
This episode is a little different in that there are two mysteries going on simultaneously. There is the main mystery - an escaped serial killer who is out to get the FBI profiler who put him away, but not because of that, because she wrote a book that lead to his father committing suicide. The second mystery is why Watson is getting kicked out of her apartment. The interesting part of both mysteries is that there is a tie between Holmes and the main mystery and Watson and the second mystery.
In the main mystery, Holmes has a personal history with the famous profiler, who had once been his lover, but now his almost enemy since she had profiled him for a scientific journal. Watson, obviously has a link to the second mystery since it's about getting kicked out of her apartment, but that's not what I meant. It mirrors Holmes link in that someone she has known for a long time and trusts - the building handyman - is involved in the activity that is getting her kicked out, even as he is delivering the message that she is getting kicked out.

Episode 15: A Giant Gun Filled With Drugs
Let me just do a mental rundown to be sure, but. Yes. No one was murdered in this episode. That is a definite milestone and I hope harbinger of things to come. Not that I expect we'll be foregoing the episodic murders or anything, but there might be more episodes out there that focus on other crimes. It is nice to have a variety of possibilities, after all.
Holmes has to help his former drug dealer rescue the man's kidnapped daughter. The issues between them are all about Holmes sobriety and whether or not he is as god of a detective sober as he was high. Of course, this is something very near and dear to Watson who at one point lays it out for the former drug dealer - Holmes and his sobriety are more important to her than the man's daughter getting rescued.
Even though I suspect that Holmes will already know, he is going to be devastated on a certain level when he finds out that Watson has been lying to him about staying on as his sobriety companion at his father's bequest. I think ultimately he will be flattered, but it might take an episode or two. This might even be the kind of thing that they end the season with.
Oh, and I really love the title for this episode.

Episode 16: Details
So much for my grand predictions immediately above. Holmes had already found out about Watson lying to him and staying on claiming to be working for his dad. The scene that was their 'confrontattion' was short and not much of a confrontation, more like a small work-around that would allow the show to go on ad infinitum without needing to ever talk about this again.
This time out we got to take a look at the main police detective that Holmes and Watson work with. He turns out to be just as much of a straight shooter as he seems to be, but they find out about his ex-con brother. The story is as much about those two patching up their relationship as it is about a murder which takes place.