Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The 2016 Election Experiment

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 I’m starting to feel like the world we’re currently living in is the product of two parallel universes colliding, thereby spawning a super massive black hole of chaos. 
What other explanation could there be for this madness?!  photo question_zps2wrvoik3.gif
Up is down, left is right, good is bad, men can use the women's restrooms, climate change is the cause of Isis, air conditioners are dangerous. It's like a whole new reality.
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  It's akin to a combination of Wonderland, The Twilight Zone and a Tim Burton movie. A page out of a 'Mad Libs' book makes more sense.
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The other night I was frustrated with things about the election, so I decided to sort of decompress by rambling on my laptop here. It was a little weird, but also therapeutic.
Here it is
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 I’m beginning to think that this election is an experiment masterminded by aliens.  photo 40_zps0e3c8b25.png
They’ve separated us into two focus groups: The Haves and the Have Nots. The HAVES are those individuals in society that look at the facts and employ common sense. They exercise their brains through critical thinking, so their neurons are constantly firing. They aren’t fooled by celebrities, smoke and mirrors, and habitual liars that get away with murder.
They think Juan Williams is an idiot.  photo 34_zpsd8619e6f.gif
The HAVE NOTS on the other hand are frequent guests on Watters’ World. They’re those mindless Zombies that fall into several sub categories. There are the “Kumbaya-I-believe-in-talking-pink-unicorns-that-smell-like-cotton-candy-and-I-love-happy-glitter-and-Hillary-Clinton-is-my-role-model-because-she-sits-down-when-she-goes-to-the-toilet-just-like-me” people….. the “We-Hate-America-and-all-the-freedoms-we-have-so-I’m-just-gonna-say-I-effin-hate-America-and-I’m-gonna-burn-this-flag-now-because-I-want-to-be-on-television!” people… and lastly, the “My-feelings-are-hurt-because-I-like-chocolate-milk-with-my-breakfast-but-my-roommate-prefers-1-percent-milk-and-I’m-offended-by-1-percent-milk-because-it’s-a-beverage-that-reminds-me-of-the-elite-1-percent-of-this-country-like-Donald-Trump-and-Hillary-says-Trump-is-dangerous-and-says-mean-things-so-I-can-never-drink-milk-so-long-as-Donald-Trump-breathes-so-can-I-go-to-my-safe-space-now-please?” people.
The HAVES will be the ones protected from being abducted by the aliens for further experimentation. They’ll be protected because they’re capable of rescuing themselves. They are already distrustful of what their eyes see and their ears hear, and what they see and hear at the entrance of the Mothership is Geraldo Rivera standing inside the mist with a microphone in his hand.
There’s just no way in hell they’re getting on that ship.
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Alternatively, the HAVE NOTS will walk right on to the Mothership because the alien’s clever 2016 Presidential Election Experiment has proven that the HAVE NOTS believe everything their eyes see and their ears hear…. and what the HAVE NOTS will see and hear this coming November will be Hillary Clinton beckoning them towards the Mothership with Bernie Sanders at her side, promising a cornucopia of free education, free healthcare, and Donald Trump free safe zones behind every oak tree of any dog park.
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The HAVE NOTS will continue to exist inside their little Wonderland bubble, getting poked and probed by 4-foot aliens whereas THE HAVES will continue to drink their 1 percent milk without seeing tears in any millennials eyes.
Unfortunately for the HAVES, a life devoid of the HAVE NOTS is not all roses and Red Bull’s.
Juan Williams is still with them. The aliens didn’t want him.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Count Dracula Speaks...

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I am: Count Dracula!
 I think: Zombies are overrated.
 I know: a few werewolves.
I want: a werewolf for a pet.
I dislike: Shabby Chic.
 I am always: picking on The Headless Horseman by provoking him to argue with me.
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I miss: the old days, when wearing capes were fashionable.
 I fear: any pizza sprinkled with garlic.
I sing: not very well, as my fangs get in the way.
 I have: the most comfortable coffin.
I feel: that Count Chokula is reprehensible.
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I hear: “Tocatta in Fugue” playing on my ipod.
 I smell: Hershey’s Bars and Candy Corn.

I wonder: why Halloween decorations are already in stores in July.
 I crave: Oreo Cookies dipped in blood.
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I listen: to those Haunted House Sounds cd’s and I just want to laugh and laugh.
 I search: for a soulmate, but it’s difficult finding one of the living dead type.
 I regret: that Wonder Woman isn’t a vampire that fights evil.
 I love: smiling jack-o-lanterns.
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 I worry: that as I walk down the streets this All Hallows Eve, none of the little kids will fear me because they’ll think I’m just playing dress up.
 I argue: with Frankenstein all the time, but usually he just mumbles and staggers around like a toddler.  photo frank.gif
I write: a little bit like Shakespeare, because while he was drunk in a tavern one night I drank a pint of his blood.
I wish: my mother would stop trying to set me up.
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I don't understand: why I wasn’t contacted to portray myself in the old ‘Dark Shadows’ tv series.
I am scared: of my two recurring nightmares, of sunny beaches and Miley Cyrus sticking her tongue out at me.
I need: to sleep through December, since all that good cheer is nauseating.
I am happy: when riding The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World during Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary-Halloween-Party.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Power of Words

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 Are ye ready for the longest post in internet history?
Diana wrote a post on Facebook the other day, about the differences between film and book, and the more that time passes the more bizarre I find people's reactions to it.
If the human race can land a probe on Mars, I'm pretty sure we can figure out what book adaptations entail. We don't need to be taught anything.
Diana's "true fans" as they call themselves ... (aka teacher's pets that think even a grocery list written by her is "brilliant;" their words, not mine)... interpreted Diana's post as a means to make "the nitpickers shut their wee traps and keep their complaints to themselves."
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Also their words. (They have quite a limited vocabulary which consists primarily of insults). They insist that everyone else - what one person calls "The Moaning Minnie's" - has unrealistic expectations of the series. They think we're so idiotic that we expect e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from the books to make it onto the screen.
If everything from the books was in the show, it would be airing until the year 3010. 
What's more, all too often these "true fans" (I'm speaking of the fanatical one's) place DG on a pedestal. For example, calling her a "Goddess" or "The fairy godmother from the Highlands."
And here I thought she was from Arizona.  photo scratch_zps3adfc319.gif (Okay, that was rude. The fairy godmother remark was kinda sweet, but since it was followed by more name-calling, I didn't exactly feel obligated to be nice... especially since I'm typing this on my own echoey blog).
I'm all for praising Diana's writing. IMHO she's one of the hands-down, absolutely best writers of our time. The woman is incredibly gifted at her craft, but that doesn't mean you have to share her opinions about the tv series. If we all did that, there wouldn't be discussions about the series at all.
I understand that, unlike a lot of authors, she keeps in touch with her fan base. Sure, that's great. It's refreshing, but unfortunately a lot of people are easily seduced by that. It doesn't occur to them that Diana is the type of person that thrives on communication. (I'm pretty sure we can all agree on that). It's a big part of her persona, and likely what assists so much with her writing skills. She's a great communicator, and with all that conversing comes a false sense of camaraderie. It just seems to me that many of her closest fans mistake this for being in her 'clique' so-to-speak. They conduct themselves as if they're back in grade school and desperately wish to be the popular girl's best friend; to carry her books, to sit at her table during lunch... to agree with her every word.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that these people get so caught up reading her posts/opinions that they forget to come up with their own. Diana's words are not coming from On High. She isn't their mother. (Many fans have mentioned that she's been "mothering" them throughout the series). She isn't their best friend. She's a communicator, and that brilliant mind of hers thrives on it. They don't bear in mind that, in the grand scheme of things, she's still human and not everything she says is going to be all roses. (How nauseating would that be!)
Even so, as far as they're concerned every explanation she utters is a golden bar of truth. When they read her thoughts on Facebook that day, they saw fireworks... they issued applause. In their words, the "haters just got schooled!" (I must confess I was a little frustrated that Diana didn't step in and disagree, other than to say that she didn't mind complaints but did mind ignorance).
 Ignorant, are we? (I know that sounds mean, but what else is one supposed to take away from such a comment? I sincerely doubt ignorance is at play here).
Is it any wonder they translated her words as addressing "ignorance" and the "complainers," and let me tell ya... there were some harsh comments made on that one post alone. It was ugly to see. Every time I visited that Facebook page, it started feeling a little like junior high. (I've since unsubscribed. It wasn't exactly a positive gathering place. I detest rudeness on public forums!)
Now, I can't speak for Diana Gabaldon. Only she knows exactly why she created that post, but I certainly didn't like the comments and vibe which that post created.
After Diana wrote that on Facebook, and I saw so many repulsive responses from her more fanatical followers, I was happy to see a fellow voice of reason elsewhere. On her blog she addressed the issue so superbly, and in her comments section it was apparent that others were on the same page. It was a refreshing sight to see!
So here's my two cents as well.  photo cents.gif
I really don’t care for sweeping generalizations about people that are a little dissatisfied with certain episodes. It isn’t that we are hard to please and are nitpicking every little detail and wishing every single line from the books would be in the series. The biggest complaint… (well, I think “concern” is more accurate)… I’ve seen is that there’s been too much focus on Frank, etc rather than on Jamie or on his and Claire’s relationship. It’s the basics that’s being left out, or priorities being mixed up. (Example: The honesty speech not being in the wedding episode… Jamie being out of character by leaving Claire alone while she was going into shock… Frank scenes that aren’t relevant to accelerating the story… there being more Frank scenes than Jamie/Claire scenes in the mid-season finale of all episodes. As someone else mentioned, even Angus and Rupert are hogging some desperately needed screen time from our hero and heroine).
We are not Poutlanders, or Sheeplanders. (Never heard of that last one until recently. How…. creative?…. those folks are. Limited vocabulary, that's all I'm saying). We’re intelligent people that can think for themselves. We’re protective of these characters, and we love the books, so when we feel there’s an injustice slowly unfolding before our eyes we have every right to express our feelings, too. When we disagree with others we don’t lump them into categories and give them silly, made up names that sound like they’ve been uttered on school playgrounds.
In a nutshell, I think we’re the adults.
Diana loves to ramble (thank God it isn't just me), so I'll only share snippets from her Facebook post.
If by some miracle anyone is reading this,  photo 19.gif parts of it are not G-rated so I'll try to remember to edit certain parts of Diana's post. If I forget, some of it is pretty crude, so proceed with caution. Also remember that this is only my honest reaction to what I read. I very much doubt anyone will even read this, so I'm not saying these things to upset anyone or stir the pot. (Personally, I find that that pot was already stirred to begin with).
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(Diana's thoughts on telling us what to think, because while we can have our own opinions - and address them - we're perceiving things incorrectly, and she's here to explain the truth)  photo 34_zpsd8619e6f.gif
 Just my opinion...
(And yes, maybe I'm mistaken but that truly is what I gathered from that Facebook post. Maybe that wasn't her intention in the slightest. All I'm saying is that that was the message I received, and tried to ignore initially, but then the crazies translated her post as 'sticking it' to everyone else. I just didn't like the feeling of there being a division there; that we're either on Diana's side, or we're not and should just stop watching the series altogether. That kind of thinking is far too simplistic for my tastes).
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"So--I thought I might address a few recent comments and questions on Episode 8. Not to refute people’s opinions—everyone’s entitled to think as they like, and say so—but just to show you a bit about How Things Work."
Obviously I don't know Diana personally, but I've read enough of her posts that alarm bells are already ringing like mad. "Show you a bit about How Things Work?"
Already that sounds either condescending, or like there's a hidden reason as to why she feels it necessary to show everyone "how things work." It's common knowledge that the series is going to have to have its differences from the book because it's an entirely different medium to tell a story.
I like to think that most people are intelligent enough to know better, ESPECIALLY people that will voluntarily read - sometimes several times - a series of books which weigh like an elephant. (Each book consists of roughly 800 pages). It isn't that we need anyone to take us by the hand, like some child, and subject us to an extended step-by-step explanation on how things work in film. Do we really need to be educated, or is this her way of trying to change our opinion under the convenient guise of explanations and enjoying teaching things? (I'm not saying this is the case. I'm not inside Diana's head, and I'm not an oversensitive person that's overreacting, but that is the vibe I got... and that's all it is. A vibe, which could be right or wrong).
It wasn't that we didn't understand certain filming aspects of the episode. It's that we just weren't all that impressed with it.
Even those who were unhappy with an episode CAN still be fans of the show. It doesn't have to be black-and-white. (The more fanatical fans believe this is the case). We don't have to either love it all and agree with DG 100%, or hate it all and stop watching.
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"While most people were riveted—as they should have been; it was a terrific episode—there were a few who were upset at things they perceived to be “missing” —these including:"
If most people were riveted why bother with an explanation/justification at all?
And they SHOULD have been riveted? So what we can gather from this blanket statement is that the mid-season finale was a Golden Goose which the minority just can't see for themselves. (Hence the purpose behind the explanations to come).
Diana defending the books that she writes is one thing, but telling people that they should have enjoyed an episode... and then attempting to educate those who didn't... sounds belittling to me. (Again, this is just a vibe. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt).
 A lot of people weren't happy with the episode, so I say "So what?" Not everyone is going to agree. Those who don't praise an episode are not necessarily wrong or misunderstanding what they've seen.
 And "perceived to be missing?".... only if she and her followers admit that they, too, are "perceiving" everything to be perfect. They're also "perceiving" that the mid-season finale was a "terrific episode."
The fact remains that if you're going into this series knowing what the CORE of the books are really about, a lot of people are not perceiving some things to be missing. We're saying it.
 Because key elements to the story ARE missing, and anyone who says this series so far is without flaws whatsoever.... well, it's obvious they're either living in La-La Land or are afraid to speak up.
And nothing in this world is perfect. Nothing. Not even her books, as much as I treasure them and as dog-eared as they are, so naturally the same applies to the series.
Not everyone has to have the same tastes.
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ALL the things you wanted to see--one on one Jamie and Claire, more scenes of intimacy, relationship building, Claire patching people up, etc.--ALL of them, are things that would require extended chunks of time ("extended," in a TV show, is anything that lasts more than 60 seconds). None of these things are "action," none of them move the plot in any direct way.  
Did she seriously just excuse RELATIONSHIP BUILDING between Jamie and Claire because of TIME? This tv series IS about Jamie and Claire. The entire cast is even built around Jamie and Claire. It begins and ends with them. These two are the focal point and the story radiates around them.
And Jamie/Claire don't move the plot in any direct way? I cannot believe anyone would say that in regard to the two MAIN characters.
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Now, a successful adaptation is always balancing the needs of the story versus the exigencies of the form. As Andrew Marvell notes to “His Coy Mistress,” –“Had we but world and time, this coyness, mistress, were no crime…” I _have_ world and time in a novel; pretty much all I want. I can shape the story to fit my own notion of pace, rhythm, focus and climax. So can a show-runner and his gang of writers—but they don’t have world and time.
  Common sense again. No one needs to be told this.
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(in reply to the person complaining about the redcoats’ abrupt appearance): “ But...the redcoats came out of "nowhere" in the book, as well, when they pull Claire out of the stream. It isn't that they aren't "there"--it's that in neither case does Claire _see_ them, because she's so totally focused on her goal...and we're in her head, so we don't see them, either.
Diana's explanation of the redcoats sudden appearance was dead right, but by reducing this one person's viewpoint to simple "complaining" she cheapened their view. (I just didn't like how this one person's thoughts were so easily dismissed. If a world famous author - one which even little old me has helped make a multimillionaire by purchasing her books and recommending them to family and strangers alike - read my honest thoughts about an episode and dismissed them as "complaining".... I would have felt very disrespected).
 I get that Diana's explanation was spot on, but "complaining" was a poor choice of words when most likely this person simply forgot that that's how the redcoats appeared in the book as well. (For the record, I don't think Diana intended for it to sound that way but I bring it up because the majority of members on her Facebook page do have that elementary mindset of everyone else being "complainers" and nitpickers. I guess I've read enough about the "complainers" that the word itself has made me become defensive. I'm just tired of it being misconstrued).
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We _can’t_ see what Frank was doing and going through after Claire disappeared.
We don't need to see what he's going through because it's obvious. He's searching for his wife, he's worried about her, and he already had suspicions over the highlander.
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Technically, it’s possible to use multiple viewpoints in a book—(in fact, I got a note from one of my editors (regarding a chunk of MOBY I’d sent him) saying, “Congratulations…I think you’ve just done the literary equivalent of juggling half a dozen chainsaws.”)—but OUTLANDER was my first book, written for practice, and I wasn’t out to make things too complicated. Had I used flashbacks of Frank’s life in the context of a book of that size, they’d either be overwhelming, or trivial distractions. Used in the context of a 55-minute TV episode, they were beautifully balanced against Claire’s 18th century life.
Beautifully balanced? Err, no. No, I can't agree with that. You can hardly say there was any balance at all since there was so much of Frank (Ron Moore's 'pet') in that finale.
I'm beginning to think others are right and Ron wants to turn Outlander into "The Frank Show." The first half of the season certainly felt like it, and so much so that many newbies to the story still believe that FRANK is the hero.
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Also - and I agree so much with this - but like I read someplace, the scenes with Frank in the finale had a more polished feel to them while the other scenes felt rushed. To me, that's very telling of Ron Moore's way of thinking. I understand wanting to give Frank a larger role. I really do, but it seems to me that Ron and Co. are going overboard with it. (Example: The overly angst scene at the stones. I get that Claire and Frank love each other, but by no means did they have an EPIC kind of love. No, no, no, no. Hell no).
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 In addition, there’s a visceral punch to _seeing_ Frank’s actions that gives you an instant emotional investment in him and his story.
God, no. The guy is okay with his wife cheating on him, yet at the same time he's so possessive. (Sociopathic behavior, anyone?)
That's not a character I have an emotional investment in.  photo yawn1.gif (Although others do, and that's fine).
I really don't mind seeing Frank, but when he takes so much screen time away from where it's most needed... THAT' S when I have a major problem with it.
I'm e-l-a-t-e-d to hear that Frank's character won't be as present in the second part of the season!
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I probably have the chops to do such a thing effectively in print ¬_now_, but I didn't when I wrote OUTLANDER (and in fact, I wouldn’t have thought of doing it; I wanted most of the focus on Jamie and the 18th century, both because that’s where most of the color and action and Story was, but also to assist the reader in falling in love with Jamie along with Claire, so that we would understand her later choices.
Do I really need to say anything more? The text I underlined says everything that Ron Moore and the writers needs to be reminded of.
Those words right there clarify EXACTLY WHY there are so many people with concerns... (what everyone else is calling "complainers" or outright "ignorance")... over the series, particularly the last episode. After all, this series is an ADAPTATION of THE BOOKS and Diana herself just explained the focus of her books.
Her words: "I wanted most of the focus on Jamie and the 18th century, both because that’s where most of the color and action and Story was, but also to assist the reader in falling in love with Jamie along with Claire, so that we would understand her later choices."
So are these people (myself included) complaining/ignorant/seeing the glass half full, or are they only frustrated and protective over a cherished story and its characters?
Think about that.
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 OK, moving on to the was-it-rape? scene and the aftermath…
The TV-only people probably think he _did_ succeed because one of the "warnings" at the beginning was an "R" for "Rape," even though there isn’t one in the episode. Now, whether whoever put the warning on thought that's what happened, or whether it's merely a "trigger" warning (i.e., people with a sensitivity to scenes of sexual assault might want to know there is such a scene in this episode)...I don't know.
But this is one of those things where stuff from the book actually can't be shown adequately. It's absolutely clear from the book, because we're in Claire’s head, and we _know_ what she was perceiving. But the shot can't be under her skirt --
(which would not only be crude, but would grossly undercut her--and the audience's--sense of shock and dislocation)...then it's not going to be clear to viewers, who will have to be left to draw their own conclusions.
Say what?  photo dry_zps3e4b6119.png
The scene was badly directed, period. (The same could be said of the Grant fight). When an audience isn't sure whether X or Y happened, it means the final edited scene was a failure. (This is why blockbuster movies have test audiences before being released to the general public. You don't want your audience confused over the final result).
And when Jamie says this to Claire afterwards --- "... and to let you be... to not STOP him!" --- those words, and Jamie's tense pause in saying the words and barely being able to even get them out of his mouth, lead the audience into thinking she was indeed raped.
And then there was the unwise decision to film in slow motion while Claire was being attacked. It has nothing to do with drawing our own conclusions. WHY would that be a secret from viewers in the first place? It wouldn't be. (They really should have included Jamie/Claire's eye contact from this scene in the book).
This was just poorly executed editing and direction, plain and simple. It happens.
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2) See remarks above about time. Including this scene would have meant leaving out something else; and everything in this episode is necessary to the purpose intended by the writer/production team.
Yeah, the Bromance Ron Moore has with Frank.
The purpose intended by the writer/production team indeed.
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3) The scene wouldn't have been nearly as effective on film as it is on the page--and the reasons have to do with Claire's subjective sensory perceptions. You simply can't _show_ most of what she's experiencing without it being pornography.
 But you can describe it, vividly and straightforwardly in text, without it being gross. Without those subjective bits from Claire’s interior point of view, though, the scene doesn’t have either the deep sense of intimacy or the intense sensuality that you have in the book version; it’s just another sex-scene (albeit one admittedly with some fairly funny dialogue).
While I agree that that scene isn't essential to the plot, others aren't saying that it requires you to SEE it if it has any hope of making it on film. It isn't about pornography, but simply Jamie saying that one funny line.
SURELY this is another matter of common sense. Every fan of the books - the author herself included - understand why so many fans wish to have this scene in the series. This doesn't need to be explained to anyone.
I'm fairly certain that scene WILL make it into the series... which will only prove my point. It is filmable, as the draw towards that scene is Jamie's sense of humor coming through in an intimate moment, nothing more.
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 It isn't that so many people are "nitpickers"... "complainers"... "Poutlanders"... "haters" that need to be "schooled"... or expecting the tv series to mirror the books in exact detail. It's common sense that the film is going to have to have its differences from the book because it's an entirely different medium to tell a story. I like to think that most people are clever enough to know better. I sincerely doubt there are that many simpletons out there.
Do I love the series? Absolutely, but there are things that worry me and a lot of people. No one expects the series to be perfection, but there's nothing wrong with voicing concerns and when someone does let's please not act like schoolchildren on the playground. We're all adults and no one has to "put up or shut up." We're not all "haters" and "complainers" either. We're simply defending a story and characters that we hold dear.
And that's the bottom line. We're FANS with CONCERNS. It doesn't mean we hate the show or the actors, or have to keep our opinions to ourselves. No one sets out to feel this way, but it is the honest reaction to what we saw. That's it. We don't all have to think every single scene in this series is pure gold.
I think it's a lot like having children or a loved one in your life. They might disappoint you from time to time, but you still love them and can see their possibilities and good points. I just think it's important to remind people that no one should be berated, or "schooled," for feeling the way they do.
And please... let's stop making sweeping judgments and lumping people into categories of you're either on our side (loving it 100%) or you're not. At the end of the day it is just a television series and we are all people with feelings and our own opinions.
Words are powerful, so choose them wisely.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Outlander: "Both Sides Now"

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I don’t expect anyone to read this, but I have got to write down my thoughts and the only way I can think to decompress is to brainstorm those thoughts.
It's gonna be a long one...  photo blah-1.gif
The mid-season finale to Outlander aired Saturday night, and I am not very happy. (FYI: I will be listing book spoilers). I didn’t hate it exactly. I loved several parts of it in fact, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried for the second half of the season. I awoke the next morning and felt so angry the more I thought about it.
Up until now I’ve been okay with most of the changes, but after Saturday night I'm no longer in denial.
Some very key moments have been cast aside, and I'm speaking of common sense things; basic personality traits, which convey to the audience an actual growing relationship between Jamie and Claire.
Have there been any Jamie/Claire scenes so far that are true to form? Yes, but not enough to justify the 'punishment' that's coming up in the next episode.
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 (It airs in April, even though all along we’ve been told the 2nd half of the season would resume in January).
 It’s the same with the honesty speech Jamie gives Claire on their wedding night…
"There are things that I canna tell you, at least not yet. And I'll ask nothing of ye that ye canna give me. But what I would ask of ye---when you do tell me something, let it be the truth. And I'll promise ye the same. We have nothing now between us, save---respect, perhaps. And I think that respect has maybe room for secrets, but not for lies. Do ye agree?"
- Chapter 15: Revelations of the Bridal Chamber - Page 273
… that is a KEY QUOTE in regard to understanding Jamie's character, and it does affect the rules for their relationship in the future. WHY did they not include this on the show? It is essential!
And even if it does crop up at some point, it'll be too late. The damage has already been done. The honesty speech belonged in the wedding episode, and if it comes up in a later episode the impact of it won't be as powerful now.
Judging from reports I’ve been reading online, I’m fearful that newbies to the Outlander world do not understand why so many people have fallen so madly in love with Jamie and Claire’s story. (I've even heard of people thinking that FRANK is the hero of the story).
It isn’t their fault. Who can blame them? They can’t understand what they’re missing because the Jamie/Claire relationship that they’re viewing on tv isn’t in the same place as the Jamie/Claire relationship in the books. At this point in the tv series, the depth of their relationship should be matching the books. They should be intersecting.
 Unfortunately, they’re not.
At this point in the book, their feelings haven’t yet reached their full potential but at least it’s further along than we’ve been seeing onscreen. While their love – especially on Claire’s side – is gradual, by this point it should consist of more than a physical attraction and just being two friends married out of necessity.
Had there been less scenes - or none at all - of Frank in this episode, we would be seeing more of that oh-so-needed Jamie/Claire bonding.
At present, seeing that bond is vital!!!
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I'm sorry, but there should be no Team Frank. Starz is focusing on Frank a lot more than necessary, and the result of that is Jamie/Claire’s connection getting the shaft.
Up until the mid-season finale I really believed that the Outlander production team would always at least keep the most important aspects of the story and characters in place. Obviously I was wrong, and stupid, gullible me didn't see it coming.
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This isn't a story about Frank and Claire, and it's apparent that some newbies are under the impression that Frank is more integral to core of the series than he really is. Is he important? Yes, but is he ALL important like Jamie? No.
I have no problem with them adding to Frank's storyline, but I do have a problem - and a major one - when in order to execute that they push JAMIE of all characters aside to do it. We don’t need character development for Frank, whom overall isn’t even a major character. It’s the hero of the story that needs to be fleshed out. Why is this not obvious to Ron Moore and the writers? This isn’t only Writing 101. It’s common sense.  
Understanding Jamie is more important than understanding Frank, PERIOD!
For instance, the scene with Frank going all Black Jack in the alley. There was no reason for it. Not only is it against Frank’s character, but it takes time away from some desperately needed Jamie/Claire relationship development. Frank going berserk was unneeded fluff. What are they thinking? Did Starz think all the extra subscribers they were going to gain from this tv series had never picked up the Outlander series of books? Did they think the majority of them wanted to see FRANK's side of things? Employ a little common sense, please.
And why waste so much time focusing on Frank’s search? We’re not stupid. We know he’s in 1940’s Scotland looking for the whereabouts of his wife. That’s obvious. We know this and we don’t need half an episode – the MID-SEASON FINALE for God’s sake – to reveal this. Frank should not be a priority here.
Screen time for such an important episode was not used very wisely. Why?
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(Texture by ele22)
This tv series is supposed to be an adaptation of the books. These books are ultimately about Claire choosing Jamie, why she does so, how it affects her life, and how other people in her life are affected by this decision forever after.
Separating the book from the series, Jamie's character traits aren't where they should be at this point. Readers of the books understand who Jamie Fraser is, but if you’re only a viewer of the tv series you are missing out on LOADS and LOADS of character development when it comes to Jamie. (A lot of which takes place during his and Claire's honeymoon, which the tv series skipped over in favor of Frank). These viewers have no idea what they're missing, and that’s frustrating to think about.
And oh my God! One of the most endearing lines from Jamie - "Does it ever stop, the wanting you?" They just shot the original meaning to hell. It was meant to come across as sincere, even spiritual in a way. On the whole I had no problem with that scene, but over time I stopped lying to myself because those words did not come across - AT ALL - as to how they were originally intended. It was as if they decided to pick a random line from the book, and then - as if it was a doggy bone - tossed it in the fans general direction, hoping it'd satiate our appetite for hearing actual lines from the books.
NEWSFLASH! It isn't about the lines themselves. It's about THE TRUTH behind those lines. It's about the ESSENCE behind the words. Just why do they think these books are so popular? If they change the spirit of these characters and their story, then by the end it won't be the same story.
Also, this reminds me of the scene with the pearls in the wedding episode. I didn't like how one moment Jamie was all "These pearls belonged to my mother, whom was very precious to me," and the next second Claire is wearing the pearls and nothing else and it's Making-Whoopie-Time. I'm not a prude, but for me it completely cheapened the sweetness of the gesture.
And yes, I realize that Starz itself is likely the one to blame for that but the fact remains that Ron Moore and Company needs to stop twisting - or leaving out - the most important elements in the Outlander Universe. I see nothing wrong with enhancing a story, but at least preserve the most important aspects.
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Claire has to choose between Frank and Jamie pretty soon, and people who have only seen the series have no clue that Starz is already beginning to fall behind at showing the many facets of Jamie’s character. He has a lot more depth than what we're seeing. (I've actually read, and from several people, that Jamie is coming across as a teenager half the time. This isn't good news).
At this juncture in their story, we should also see that Claire understands Jamie even more than she ever understood Frank.
And WHERE was the honesty speech during the wedding episode? (Yes, this again. It IS important). That one conversation was only THE FOUNDATION of Claire and Jamie's relationship. The heart of their relationship began with those words.
Bottom Line: Claire and Jamie’s relationship simply isn’t developing at the rate that it should be. There are some very, very intense situations coming up and I'm not so sure that Jamie and Claire have bonded enough to weather it together.
And I think it’s important to note that I’m not upset over Sam or Caitriona’s acting skills at all, or even some of the changes and additions. (Sam is definitely doing his homework because he is including Jamie's mannerisms quite a bit). It's the brushing aside of Jamie’s character, and situations from the books that are IMPERATIVE for Jamie/Claire's relationship to work and be believable.
Up until this mid-season finale, I've been very forgiving of all this.
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I absolutely hated this part of the episode. It was a train wreck, and even now I can't gather the courage to watch it again. It was an absolute mess.
It was cheesier than a can of Cheez Whiz.
For people that haven't read these books, I fear that the scene with the stones has given them the wrong impression. Claire's SCREECHING Frank's name (like she was Scarlett O'Hara running after Rhett Butler) was a bit much.
And Frank’s crying of Claire’s name…. bad, bad, BAD acting right there. I was shocked. He’s supposed to be crying and at the end of his rope, but where were his tears? And his voice… “Claire… Claire!” … horrible, horrible acting. And I’m not saying this because I think they’ve spent too much time on Frank’s character. Even though I've never seen any roles that Tobias Menzie's has been in, I’ve always thought he was a fine choice to play the role, but now I can only hope there won’t be any more dramatic scenes like that for him. I didn’t believe him at all. Sorry to sound harsh, but his acting sucked something major in that scene. It was so phony. Watching it, I felt pretty embarrassed for him.
The whole scene at Craig na Dun just felt waaaay over the top and overly dramatic.
 I understand that at this point Claire still loves Frank, but at least in the book we know that Claire does feel torn over going through the stones. She has at least some internal conflict over how it would affect Jamie, and what it would do to her to leave him. She even realizes that if Jamie found someone else to love – Laoghaire in particular – she doesn’t exactly feel comfortable over it. She feels jealousy deep in her gut just thinking about him with someone else. I think she even mentions her stomach lurching at the thought.
No, you can see for yourself. Here's part of that scene:
My stomach gave a sudden lurch as I thought of Jamie. God, how could I do it? Leave him without a word of explanation or apology? Disappear without a trace, after what he had done for me?
With that thought I finally decided to leave the horse. At least he would think I had not left him willingly; he might believe I had been killed by wild beasts— I touched the dagger in my pocket— or possibly kidnapped by outlaws. And finding no trace of me, eventually he would forget me, and wed again. Perhaps the lovely young Laoghaire, back at Leoch.
Absurdly enough, I found that the thought of Jamie sharing Laoghaire’s bed upset me as much as the thought of leaving him. I cursed myself for idiocy, but I couldn’t help imagining her sweet round face, flushed with ardent longing, and his big hands burying themselves in that moonbeam hair....
 I unclenched my teeth and resolutely wiped the tears off my cheeks. I hadn't time nor energy for senseless reflections. I must go, and now, while I could. It might be the best chance I would get. I hoped that Jamie would forget me. I knew that I would never be able to forget him.
In this episode however, it was as if Claire had completely forgotten about Jamie and had no affection for him whatsoever. I just don't believe that scene was true to Claire's character and her growing feelings for Jamie. (But again, the show isn’t focusing on developing their relationship at the rate that it should be). In that particular scene Jamie was COMPLETELY swept under the rug.
This isn't mere opinion, it's fact.
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And NO ONE should be wishing for Claire to go through those stones and back to Frank. That shouldn’t even be a thought inside anyone’s head. If anything, it should be the opposite and if anyone wanted her to make it through the stones and back to Frank then this series is beginning to fail. Even if Gabaldon herself approved such a scene - which I do believe she did - to faithful readers of THE SPIRIT of the book, it’s insulting. (I realize not everyone feels that way, but speaking for myself... it felt offensive to the very heart of the story. The dramatic music, camera shots, and poor acting from Tobias made it look like fan fiction penned by a 13-year-old. It might have looked fine on paper, but onscreen it just didn't work for me).
And it wasn't even like Claire was running towards the stones in a panic because she was having a bad day and wanted to get the heck out of Dodge. Nope. She was screeching Frank's name like she was Scarlett Flippin' O'Hara and he was her soulmate. (Sorry, but Frank and Claire are not soulmates. I get that they love each other, but Frank doesn't even respect Claire the way Jamie does so early on in their relationship. Jamie would never tell her it was okay with him if she ever cheated on him. Hmm, think about just why Frank would make such a comment).
And if anyone had a connection to Claire and the stones, it sure as hell isn't Frank. It's JAMIE! The story may begin with Frank, but the whole purpose of the stones is that they bring Claire 200 years into the past; to Jamie.
I understand that things have to be adapted for television, but that one scene... which felt like it was going against the very grain of the story... well, as Jamie would say it was tearing my guts out! I do understand these characters, and what I watched the other night wasn't always them. Tweak the story all you like, but please don't tweak the characters personalities. Gabaldon wrote them beautifully to begin with. Don't mess that up.
 I honestly wouldn't have minded that scene if the drama in it wasn't so ridiculously overkill. It just felt phony. I can see the beauty in the IDEA of it, but the reality of it felt catawampus. Epic, epic fail.
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In the book it was a near-rape, but in this episode it looked to me like Claire was raped. WHY would they add that, especially with Wentworth prison coming up? And if she was raped, you cannot just gloss over that. It would change Claire forever, not to mention her relationship with Jamie.
What also didn't feel right - because it is out of character - was Jamie leaving Claire up on that hill when she was in shock. Jamie would NEVER do that. NEVER! Absolutely NEVER. He would have just let Dougal walk up that hill himself - (he's got legs ya know) - while he stayed at Claire's side. And if he did leave, he would at least see that someone else stayed with her.
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(And FYI: In the book Claire didn’t go into shock like that. Claire really has a much stronger backbone than we’re seeing in the series so far. She thinks quickly under pressure, too. For example, the scene at the end with BJR… in the books she didn’t panic like that. Claire is never a damsel in distress).
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Of the mid-season finale, THIS SCENE has upset me just as much as the one at Craigh na Dun and when Jamie left Claire while she was in shock. Once more, just like with the honesty speech, they left out only one of the MOST IMPORTANT pieces of dialogue from the book. To ensure Claire’s safety, Jamie does a thorough search of the woods before telling her….
 “It’s verra dangerous, and I’ll not have ye there, Claire. I shall be busy, and if it comes to it, I can’t fight and protect you at the same time.” Seeing my mutinous look, he dropped his hand to the saddlebag and began rummaging.
“What are you looking for?”
“Rope. If ye wilna do as I say, I shall tie ye to a tree until I come back.”
“You wouldn’t!”
“Aye, I would!” Plainly he meant it. I gave in with bad grace, and reluctantly reined in my horse. Jamie leaned to kiss me glancingly on the cheek, already turning to go.
"Take care, Sassenach. You've your dirk? Good. I shall come back as soon as I can. Oh, one more thing."
"What's that?" I said sullenly.
"If you leave that copse before I come for ye, I'll tan your bare arse wi' my sword belt. Ye wouldna enjoy walking all the way to Bargrennan. Remember," he said pinching my cheek gently, "I dinna make idle threats."
This warning is important for two reasons:
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1). We’re given a glimpse into Jamie himself. His code. Jamie doesn’t make idle threats. He’s a man of his word, and if he gives you a warning you had better believe that the truth is coming out of his mouth. James Fraser doesn’t lie. (Again, the newbies to this story don’t know that and why? Because the honesty speech from the wedding night never took place, and the above quote didn’t take place either).
2). After Jamie rescues Claire from Randall, there is a BIG scene coming up.
From the quote I posted above, what happens is obvious. It’s a very controversial scene, but overall Gabaldon’s readership is intelligent enough to understand that Claire is living in a different time period with a different set of rules. Every decision made is literally a matter of life and death. If Jamie didn’t punish Claire for disobeying and putting the clan in danger, his word/vows/oaths mean nothing… the respect he has earned within the clan is lost…. and the clan would punish Claire themselves, most likely by flogging her. Her punishment would have been all the more severe.
 In this episode all Jamie told Claire was to promise him that she’ll stay put. That’s it. No mention of being punished if she left. No mention of not being one to make idle threats. Just a simple “Promise me, Claire. Swear to me you’ll be here when I get back.”
It’s pretty obvious that this warning from Jamie would have had to take place BEFORE he left her alone. (And in the episode it didn’t happen). So now, when Claire is punished for putting the clan in danger, it will change so much of Jamie's personality and what the audience thinks of him. It won’t be that he’s a man of his word, but is just being cruel.
And even crueler is that he will punish her after 1). Not warning her of any consequences, 2). Not telling her he isn’t one to make idle threats, and 3). She was just raped by one of the Redcoat Deserters. (Which, in the book she wasn’t).
Claire’s punishment was difficult enough to swallow before – and that's knowing she’d been forewarned - but thanks to that one warning never taking place... it's going be a train wreck. It WILL be a train wreck because in the episode Jamie GAVE NO WARNING! As it stands now, all she did was break a promise (not thinking there would be consequences) and run up a hill.
Another important difference in the books versus episode was that in the book Craigh na Dun was a 7 mile hike. Traveling that far a distance makes Claire's actions all the more problematic for the clan in trying to discover her whereabouts. In the series however… all she did was trek up a hill. Not such a big deal.
And the punishment WILL take place in the next episode. That scene was one that Sam Heughan had to do in his audition.
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This is a minor nitpick, but it's so ridiculous that it makes me laugh... and I need to end this Outlander-Sized post with a laugh.
As you can plainly see, the photo Frank had drawn up of the mysterious Highlander (aka Jamie's Ghost) is incredibly detailed.
When Frank saw Jamie, it lasted only a few seconds. It took place in the middle of a thunderstorm. It was the middle of the night. He saw him only from behind.
 So taking all that into account, why is the mysterious highlander's face drawn? How could Frank have seen the brooch at all, much less that it was a Jacobite brooch possibly from the 18th century?
Deep Breath....
 Believe it or not I DID enjoy a lot of the finale, even though it felt very rushed. I wouldn't even have minded some of the Frank scenes had this been a 2-hour episode.
 It's only that the scenes I didn't like... I REALLY didn't like. I didn't set out to feel that way. It's just my reaction to what I saw.
And please don't misunderstand me. I don't expect the series to be exactly like the books. I look forward to any surprises, but I also think the KEY factors from the books should be present.
 I'm not taking this series for granted. I'm thrilled that it exists, and so far I am very impressed with the actors. (Apart from Tobias Menzies phony-bologna 'crying' at the stones). I'm still reeling over the fact that they've found an actor capable of filling Jamie's shoes. And while Caitriona Balfe isn't how I've always pictured Claire, I think she understands the character and has brought her to life. She isn't always as plucky and spirited as Claire from the books, but that has nothing to do with her acting ability.
I only hope that during the long hiatus newbies to this story will actually pick up the books. I think that's why I'm so upset. I feel like I'm beginning to see an injustice in progress. This wonderful, much-anticipated gift has been given to the world and I'm afraid that by the end of it all the story won't be recognizable. Jamie and Claire in the series won't be the same Jamie and Claire from the books. (I've already seen examples of that. For instance, Jamie leaving Claire's side while she was about to have a full-on nervous breakdown).
 If that does end up happening... heartbreaking.