Monday, September 14, 2009

FenCon News and Weekend TV

I was such a horrible slug this morning, but it was cool and rainy -- perfect sleeping weather -- and I had nowhere in particular to be, so I let myself sleep in and lie around for a while. This was after a weekend in which it rained the entire time, so I spent most of the weekend on the sofa, reading while marathoning season 5 of The Office.

In other news, I have good news, for a change. Because the people at FenCon love me (and because someone else cancelled), I now have a reading slot. I'll be reading at 1 on Saturday, in a session with P.N. Elrod.

Of course, now that I've made a fuss out of having a reading, I hope someone actually shows up. It would look kind of bad if no one did after they made an effort to accommodate me. Remember, that will be the world premiere of the beginning of what would be book 5, and since I've tinkered with it since it was originally submitted, the only person who's read or heard this version so far is my mom, so this is really a premiere.

Another FenCon premiere: I wrote a short story in the Enchanted, Inc. universe for the program book. I don't do short stories often, so this is special.

I thought of something as I was inhaling hours worth of The Office. It's something of an anomaly for me. Normally, I'm drawn to television series that have a sense of "found family" about them. That seems to be the common thread in the shows that really hook me, where a group of people who are either geographically or emotionally distant from their biological families or else whose work tends to be all-consuming form a kind of family among the people they spend the most time with. I like seeing those surrogate families form as the characters start treating each other like siblings or fall into parental roles. The Office totally inverts that, as it's about a boss who desperately wants that to happen, while the rest of the staff desperately does not want it to happen. Some relationships have formed (like Jim and Pam), and they do have the occasional workplace friendship, but these are all people who'd rather keep their office relationships in the office and resent office things spilling into their personal lives. And yet, those family dynamics do still come up within the office environment, even if they don't endure outside the office. It's fun to watch those relationships develop and shift over time on that series.

And what's really funny is that this is closer to my real work relationships and more what I'd want. I have a family. I don't really want to see co-workers as family, but then I haven't been geographically isolated with them or had to put my life in their hands. That may change matters. I understand that people who work together in police/fire/military type settings do tend to form closer bonds. I have had workplace friendships that eventually extended outside the office, and a few of those even lasted beyond the job, but for the most part, friendships at work are about making the best of a situation you're stuck with.

The really weird thing is that although this has become one of my favorite series, the only reason I watched it in the first place is that when I saw a promo for it before the premiere, they showed a clip of Pam at her desk, and it seemed to me to be a depiction of Katie from my books. Not exactly, because I didn't picture the long, curly hair she had then, but there was something about her face, wardrobe and overall bearing that caught my eye, so I watched the show to see if that held out, and then I got hooked on the show.

On another TV note, I'm sad to say that I was somewhat disappointed by the first episode of Glee beyond the premiere. This is going to sound like a weird complaint, but it's bugging me that the musical numbers sound so over-produced. I know for practical purposes they have to be recorded in a studio and then lip synched for filming, but it seems so painfully obvious that's what they're doing, and they're not just studio recorded, but also studio produced -- and heavily studio produced -- so it doesn't at all sound like something you'd hear in a school classroom or auditorium, and that takes me right out of the show. I guess that sort of fits with the overall over-the-top nature of the series, but I found the episode kind of grating. I'll give it a few more chances, and maybe I'll just fast-forward past the episode stuff to the musical numbers and it won't bother me so much.

My cable company actually got the first episode of Robin Hood up on BBC-A OnDemand. They'll probably skip every other one, but at least I got to see what happened next after the finale. The series seems to have improved somewhat in Marian's absence, but it's still "turn your brain off and enjoy it" material. Meanwhile, my local PBS station reverted to the beg-a-thon instead of showing Mystery, which is annoying because I was really enjoying the series they were showing.

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