Category Archives: rant

Adaptations— A primer

ADAPT: to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation

: to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose

: to change (a movie, book, play, etc.) so that it can be presented in another form

So, this book I love is becoming a TV series tonight (not a movie, not a mini-series, but a full on, 16 episode first season series!) I have had the pleasure of reading the books for over a decade,  seeing the first episode during the last week, and conversing via social media for  the past year with author, costumer and actors…. and you know what?

THEY are right and you may be wrong.

Outlander, the first of at last count an eight big-book series, (with a number of smaller works that go along with them) written by Diana Gabaldon, premieres as a TV show on Starz tonight.  The things that are IMPORTANT will be there. Possibly in a different order. (Patience, young grasshopper!) I have faith in this, because Ron D. Moore tells us his job as show runner is to not mess up his wife Terry’s favorite book.

The things that CAN be done will be done, and things that are important will stay. And if they aren’t still there, well maybe we are the ones who have created something in our heads that isn’t there. Seriously.

   

10559752_10152584443924246_6176897968434202756_n<—-Important bit. Included. (The text actually is NOT from the first episode, but the LOOK, so he can tell Claire this much later in the books, had to be in the first episode. )

As Ansel Adams said, There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

I would think that this is at least as true in the written word. When those words are then translated by hundreds of hard working actors, directors, screenwriters, costumers and set designers, the number of voices and visions might possibly deafen.

Each of us brings to any work of art, indeed, to any aspect of life, the sum total of all of our experiences. Either in the creating of said work, or in the consuming of it. That we have all had different life experiences doesn’t seem odd, and accordingly, our reading of words on a page must be influenced by different things. 

That doesn’t mean that any interpretation on screen is WRONG. It just may be different than what YOU brought to the reading of it and what you took from it.

After a year of having the supreme honor of hovering about the edges of this creative endeavor—following Twitter and Facebook conversations with writers and costumers and actors alike, I have to say that I think they’ve got it in hand. Trust them.

In the 8,000+ pages where he lives, the character Jamie has commented a number of times on his wife Claire’s substantial bottom.  That doesn’t actually mean that Claire’s rear aspect is overly large; indeed it could be read, as I did, as simple pillow-talk and playful behavior between Jamie and Claire. It also has absolutely no importance to the plot. For example, said plump ass never gets stuck in a doorway, blocking access for some thief in the night, which then causes a different outcome. If the big booty in question was required for the story, I’d be sorry to see them not get it right. (If you read the actual physical description of Claire, she is supposed to be about 130 lbs., and shorter than the actress portraying her. Diana Gabaldon put the height issue to bed quickly by suggesting that the only option was to find a less perfect actress or cut Cait’s feet off…)  Perhaps Jamie is simply a fan of Sir Mix-a-Lot?

As it is, I have to say that the ass, as shown, is a lovely round thing and how dare we as viewers denigrate an actor who is willing to bare all for the story? (Odd, isn’t it, to be admiring my ‘friend’ Cait’s backside, huh? I can’t imagine how I will be feeling when I get to see my other ‘friend’ Sam’s ass;– we have been assured he has a fine one, by the author Herself!)

Similarly, Claire’s eye color, a great device in storytelling, didn’t actually accomplish anything other than being a way of description. At no point does the heroine get caught because someone noticed her odd eye color and realized she was skulking about where she didn’t belong, thereby changing the story. Diana writes long books. Gorgeous, evocative description is obviously a part. And the camera is now going to create for us proof of how wonderfully deep and complex Claire may be, Caitrona Balfe’s eye color and butt size be damned.outlander-sam-heughan-caitriona-balfe-tobias-menzies However, Claire-hair WILL stay, and I think that a fine thing and a character of it’s own.

 

8,000 pages, give or take depending on your reading device, and the story isn’t finished. We, the long-time readers, can not continue to nit-pick every utterance or camera angle or choice made while ADAPTING the written word for the visual medium of TV. We are talking about taking one type of art and turning it into another type of art.10382772_10203709921660693_259376560995244149_n

There have to be changes. The medium requires it—We have to be adaptable as well.

It is entirely possible some scene that to you is incredibly important, because of what you brought to the reading of it, may be cut. It is going to happen. What we have to be thankful for is that the over all shape of the story stays. That the intent and love of the story remains intact. We can hope that many more people fall in love with these characters and that that the entire cast and crew remains committed to making a quality product.

We need to adapt because there are 25 million readers who have 25 million life stories, 25 million visions of Jamie, or of the size of Lallybroch or the size of Murtagh in relation to Dougal, or who think Tobias Menzies doesn’t have Frank’s smile.

That for all these years, YOU have considered Jamie Fraser to be the size of Hercules with a Ronald Mc Donald wig on his head in no way makes the color red they came up with for his hair incorrect. If his hair isn’t long enough for your vision, then adjust your vision. This is the character, Jamie Fraser, played by the actor, Sam Heughan.

Filming is almost finished for the first season, so stop complaining, will you? Jamie will be imbued with Sam as much as Sam will be imbued with Jamie.  (By the numbers, Sam is an inch shorter and a few pounds shy of the actual book description, your fantasy man notwithstanding.)

But we’ve already had that Conversation , haven’t we?      Ad infinitum.

There have been some absolutely wonderful reviews of Outlander so far….  Here is Rotten Tomatoes, which catalogs reviews.

Yes, books are different than TV and movies, and usually, the book is better.  And that will probably be the case, overall, here. But I am watching this as a companion to the books, not as a replacement. I can keep in my book world the images I have created and STILL enjoy the visual ADAPTATION immensely.

PS. Yes, young Roger IS in the manse. We just don’t SEE him in the first episode. Did you SEE how big that house is? He’s a tiny boy asleep on a chair, for goodness sake!  Dinna fash, aye?

COMMENTS welcome!!!!

pps, and I am editing as I re-read…..sorry about spelling errors! Dang Auto-correct strikes again!

Interesting reading about the costuming.

A nice review, episode 106, about Adaptation.

 

PIFF

I really need a dandelion right about now. 

With just hours left before Written in My Own Hearts Blood (aka MOBY) book 8 of the Outlander series is published (*Disclaimer—for the majority of readers, as there ARE people who have already received the book, legitimately or via oversight by stores stocking early, and there ARE countries where the book wont come out for a few weeks and…) the self-absorbed, unable-to-accept-an-answer, petulant five-year-old contingent of the internet has come out in some force on some social media sites about Spoilers and Sharing.

Lets just say this about that, shall we? FIRST WORLD PROBLEM10447201_10204512464395576_677531282_nS

I know that the Red Wedding episode in Game of Thrones is bloody and shocking. I haven’t read the books, I am only on season one, but I am not so put off by this information, these “spoilers”,  that I’ve decided to stop watching. I’ve learned, before even starting into the series that really, George RR Martin shouldn’t be your wedding planner, via social media and yet….

Yes, while the overall issue is exposed, the how we get there and the enjoyment of the show isn’t “spoiled”.  I will just be on my toes, so to speak, and know that I shouldn’t become enamored of any character.  I can use Facebook or Twitter, and if I notice that one of my friends threads is “Going there” I just scroll on.  I MAY see a word or two, I MAY read a sentence, I don’t have to absorb and analyze the posts, and I haven’t asked them to stop speaking of the current season because I am three seasons behind them. No brainer. And of course, applying Caveat Emptor, I should stay off of Twitter on Sunday nights if it bothers me.

My Facebook page is non-denominational, if you would. I have a wide variety of friends, who have a wide variety of interests that we share, and they have a wide variety of interests we don’t share.  Almost every post that is put up is a spoiler to SOMETHING if you want it to be.  The topics we discuss, they discuss, (or, more to the point, that Facebook feels I should be allowed to read)  well, they are endless and varying.

I am NOT planning on coming onto FB or Twitter after every Aha Moment and exclaim or carry on—(Diana has assured me she got Jemmy out of the well tunnel. I know, Timmy down the well, Jemmy in the tunnel. I just “hear” Claire exclaim “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I said. “Bloody Timmy’s in the well!” even though that is from ABOSAA)  It’s just not my style, reading has until now been a solitary activity. I may be noticeably missing for a few days. I will not be following or commenting on threads that may get me farther along; I will accept that if I see the trees it doesn’t mean I cant appreciate the forest….

I will scroll down before commenting.  I will honor any policy that is in place, but I will not have a fit if someone doesn’t understand the intricacies of the way a particular site works on a platform they don’t use and they inadvertently share ‘privileged’ information.  Life sucks, yah know?

I have to wonder, seriously, if when people go off the deep end about the small stuff, is it because it is the only part of their spiraling out-of-control life they can manipulate? Is everything else so bad, so out of control that they obsess about things that aren’t worth the energy? The amount of psychic energy that is required to keep up a full-steam frontal attack on something that is truly amounting to nothing is more energy than I have. I am inherently lazy, I guess.

So, I apply empathy, and have to assume that the only reason they would waste 30 miles of gas, and hours of time, three times, to complain about and have the BACK of a picture frame repapered because it didn’t look smooth enough is because the rest of their world is uncontrollable and they need to be able to be in charge of SOMETHING. #Piff!

Is sex only for the well to do?

It’s been a while since a political /social studies rant. Here we go, on random recent events (One, epic length post versus me getting worked up on a more regular basis. Kind of like a cork, under pressure, that finally pops, and then, peace and bubbly for all.  Understand that the “YOU” and “I” and “WE” is of the royal variety; I am not picking on any one person, but if the hat fits your head…)

Non-pro-choice  is a form of misogyny, to be sure. But what about these thoughts, as well?

HETROSEXUAL relations are the cause of ALL Abortion, bar NONE (well, ok, add IVF as a cause of pregnancy, but most people are planning that occurrence).  That’s right, boys. You put your pecker where babies happen, and viola, pregnancy. No gay couple can pull that one off.

What is the rate of married women having abortion? What is the rate of single but oh, say over 25 year-old women? Over 40 years old, married or unmarried? What is the racial and financial breakdown of this collection of women? How many children do they already have? What is the rate of abortion because of incompatibility with life? What about finding out that the fetus you carry is dramatically deformed? What about the idea that the legally allowed birth control DID fail or that the couple in question might be human and made a mistake and had unprotected sex? Or, as the old saying goes, “You do know what they call people who practice Natural Family Planning, right? (Parents)”  What about incest and rape victims?Although men some in government seem determined to continue redefining rape so that only battered, bloodied corpses will be considered rape victims and everyone else had a change of heart or is out to get the guy. (I am not about to go do the digging for these figures; someone can if they want.)

Some people don’t have the strength to handle what will be a very sick child. Some don’t have the medical coverage, thanks to our odd belief in this country that health care isn’t a human right, but something you have to be smart enough to earn. (Which by the way doesn’t mean you will KEEP your medical insurance, or that your very sick child won’t top out in a year on lifetime costs and you will still go bankrupt) Some people have a house full of children already here that HAVE to be cared for, and they know they will suffer the loss of parenting while you live for doctors visits and hospital stays for this terminally/chronically ill child. And who will care for them? And how many families can simply drop the income of one of the parents but still need the daycare? Add to that the number of people who know that, say, two children was the emotional and financial limit they could bear, and find themselves faced with the fourth pregnancy, healthy or otherwise.

When people start talking about abortion being used as birth control and that is why they abhor it—(because they don’t think women should be able to have sex and not worry about the consequences, those sluts)  why (I really want horns and blinking lights here) are we ignoring the male who got them pregnant? It takes two to tango. If the woman is having illicit sexual relations and should have to pay for it with pregnancy and childbirth, then what about the guy? (Or should we just go back to stoning the woman to death for unmarried sex? Would cut down on abortion) Wasn’t the sex he was having just as illicit?  Then why in the world are we not handing out free condoms on street corners, providing free and easy access to birth control pills AND making sure every child/teen/young adult/grown-up understands EXACTLY how it is that a baby is conceived? And what of the married women having abortions? What of the abused woman who is trying desperately to get out of that situation, yet finds herself pregnant? (Because, you know, being in an abusive relationship means forced sex, or tolerating it till you can find the strength to walk)

I hear the it’s a baby from the moment of conception. It’s not. It’s a  freeloader, a sponge out to suck the lifeblood from it’s host. If you are willing to be the host for the next 40 weeks, great. (Editing: someone whom I have no respect for carried on about how horrible I am because I call a fetus a freeloader. I was going to use the word Parasite, but I felt it too inflammatory, despite the first definition of the word being almost exactly correct, the only difference being that it is the same species

PARASITE__noun
1.
an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

It can not survive outside the womb. The moment it arrives at around 40 weeks, all the ROL(Right-to-Lifers) are finished. Before birth, it was a BABY. Now, it’s just one more deadbeat taker, sucking on the teat of big government, it’s mother nothing more than a welfare queen out to game the system, and to hell with medical care, or Head Start, or day care, or living wages, or anything resembling the Christian faith that forced it into the dreary existence it must now survive. And there are too many actual, born children languishing in foster care, to say just let this new child be adopted.

You know what? Pregnancy isn’t like giving a pint of blood.  No matter how you ended up that way, everyone you see knows. And wants details, and wants to congratulate you. And you know what else? Pregnancy can cause you illness, up to and including death. It is a hugely physical experience that lasts for the better part of a year. How can a rape victim heal if her very body rebels against her and reminds her for three seasons of a year?

So, to summarize, ladies. You should think before you act, or keep your legs closed. (The man trying to get them open is totally blameless)  If you can’t afford contraception for whatever reason, you have no business having sex. If you are married, you still have no business having sex if you can’t afford a (another) child…so,wait. Hold up a sec. See the slope? Be careful, it’s slippery.  The only people who have any right to have sex are married couples who have the financial and emotional stability to support a new child every 11 months or so.  So. Explain to me how it is so many upper income, religious, or educated families have 1 or 2 children, max? Guessing the little lady has cut you off?

No? Oh, you can afford the health insurance that provides the birth control you don’t want to allow for those who can’t afford the children. (Because after all if you can’t afford health insurance, you shouldn’t have sex. And you can’t get low cost birth control without health insurance because you have tried to close all the women’s clinics.) Right. What of your religious convictions now?

Seriously, it wasn’t my intent to bring articles or charts, percentages or anything more than thoughts into this little bit of self-expression. However, I posted a meme on FB the other week, and got a response that, well. Yeah. Thankfully, no one else responded after the one, and I have removed it, because I really want this to be about what I am saying, yah know? But it went like this:

1069271_280433142101676_1230393775_n

One response to the meme was this—-

“thats a lot of assumed dots your connecting. If abortion were not so readily available (except when medically needful for the helath sake of the mom), some might pay closer attention to what is taught in sex-ed and use the condoms, or wait till marriage.”

I resisted the urge (quite strong) to continue this thread. Because the problem is THIS—

A state the size of Texas (over a quarter MILLION square miles –268,000+ square miles) –will have FIVE clinics after the government played it’s latest games. THAT doesn’t sound readily available.

A state like North Dakota could have theoretically reduced the ability to have an abortion performed to ONE DAY of the entire pregnancy! (Had their smaller-government games actually passed muster) –one clinic in the state–have to fly in an out of state Doc, who comes once a week, and abortion couldn’t be performed until a pregnancy test confirms (at about 5 weeks) and no abortion after six weeks…TOTALLY not readily available.

Another problem is that so many of the lawmakers out there are NOT for sex-ed! And are NOT willing to provide condoms. And not all people WILL wait for marriage, because it is not your morality or religion they follow, but theirs. So, again. Legal. Safe. Rare.

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/22/a_kid_is_not_a_luxury_item/

http://nation.time.com/2013/07/24/personhood-movement-continues-to-divide-pro-life-activists/?xid=rss-topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Ftopstories+%28TIME%3A+Top+Stories%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/29/meet_five_of_the_most_extreme_anti_abortion_lawmakers_in_the_u_s/

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/22/judge-blocks-north-dakotas-restrictive-abortion-law/

(And yes, they are liberal sites. Can’t stand to read things like Faux News, sorry.)

Randomly moving on. I’m also tired of the relentless beating down about homosexual marriage, as if once allowed, all of us will be forcibly removed from our spouses side to marry someone of the same gender. Now, if  that was what was going on? Damned sure I’d be all over stopping it. I am rather attached to my husband. But short of that? What. Does. It. Do. To. You? HOW could it possibly affect you in a negative way? (Ok, competition for secular catering halls, booking the baker and the photographer, etc. might get a bit more challenging, but really??)

I can hardly even express how giddy I was that Wednesday as 10 AM approached. I was nervous, unable to focus, hitting my refresh button on the phone, holding my breath, anticipating, positive that the only way SCOTUS could rule was the way they did, but so fearful they wouldn’t anyway. The exhalation of breath was part of a communal relief around the country, I am sure.

If your faith causes you to believe that some people are less equal, that same sex marriage is wrong, then by all means follow your conscience and avoid marrying someone of the same sex.  But leave alone these other people. It is past time to accept that there is love in the world, and that love is good, and if more people love, the world is better.

No one is asking you to deny a portion of your being to satisfy a social construct.  If that is too hard to get, think about standing around the coffee maker at work and how you don’t think twice about mentioning you need to run by the store to pick up something for your wife on the way home. How when people ask casually what you are planning for the weekend, you say your husband and kids are heading to the lake. You aren’t rubbing your heterosexuality in someone’s face, simply sharing your life.

Would you expect to be fired for saying so? Passed over for promotion? Told you can’t live in this building? Beaten up? Dragged to your death? I watched my Facebook page, and I was gratified. I see that the majority of my friends (many of whom I have known in real life forever, and many who I have been connected to via mutual experience and habit to my great joy)– these people are of a similar belief—that the true religion is that of acceptance and love, not divisiveness and hate and fear of “other”.

I realized too, just how many of my Facebook (and real life)  friends are affected by the challenges of our world and how many of them have now had one burden lightened. Not removed, that will take the LOVE part of things to get stronger, the acceptance part to get stronger.  But so many of my friends will now find the world a better place.

I have found very few indeed, who are willing to post much that is outright hate, (on this topic at least) and for this too, I am gratified, because I know that surely, hate is floating around.  Point taken. Be assured, you are being ignored, blocked or unfriended. Love is not in your heart.

I have been married for 11 years. I am so enamored of this institution that I got to participate in simply because I loved someone that I can’t imagine holding it back from two other people who love each other the way I love my husband. That is what we were demanding that others not enjoy, simply based on the person with whom their heart has fallen in love.

When I married my spouse there was no agreement or understanding we would procreate if married. Indeed in the marriage vows, and in the marriage license, nowhere are children mentioned, inferred or implied. Nor did anyone say we couldn’t marry because there was no possibility of procreation.  We didn’t have to undergo medical testing to prove our ability to have children was intact. Our marriage wasn’t predicated on the idea we would raise children, or rear the children we already created as the results of failed formal and not so formal relationship, as they were adults. Yet no one person anywhere at any time suggested we not be allowed to avail ourselves of the myriad legal and societal opportunities provided us by that little civil paper from the County Clerks office. We call ourselves a family. Of Two. (Now, plus the cat and the adult child who came back)

But your faith — yes, I get it. Your God, blah blah.  You don’t KNOW, you believe. No one knows.  This country is not founded on any one religion. (Really, no matter how much you try to make it so, it’s just not. Even if the founders themselves were of a particular religious bent, they didn’t want the two mixed up.)  You did not need to approve of my marriage in order for me to marry. I didn’t need to approve of the person you chose to marry. (Goodness knows, if we all got to get involved in THAT particular circle of hell, there would be very little marriage at all.)

We hear these phrases every day. There but for the grace of God go I.  Walk a mile in my shoes. Live and let live. (How about Live and let Love?)

What is happening to YOUR marriage if more people can marry? What benefits are being taken from you if ANY other two people marry?

This is like the ultimate round in the have and have not,  ME-tality that seems to exist. I somehow ended up born in this country (but you can’t come here.)  I somehow found a company willing to provide medical insurance (but you can’t have any.) I somehow ended up on the correct side of a convoluted, gerrymandered redistricting line so my vote counts (but yours, not so much.) I somehow arm allowed make medical decisions for my spouse even over his family’s desires, (but you don’t get to do so.) Me me me.

And so the argument goes. As a country, we seem more concerned with sticking our noses into other peoples most private lives, lest someone get away with something. We don’t want big government, that is for sure. We want it small enough to set itself on the headboard of our beds. Rather than making sure there are jobs, rather than having our elected officials do their jobs and maybe get the interest rates straightened out for college students, or worry about the air we breath and the water we drink, we let them try to (repeatedly) repeal a law that provides medical care for (almost) all.  We allow Wall Street and big business to be the largest abusers of entitlement programs and tax abuse, while cutting a poor child’s school lunch. We are so concerned that some woman (who, I have to add, had heterosexual sex with a man) be punished because she is unwilling to continue with a pregnancy (and she knows her circumstances well enough to know she can’t afford another child) ….Or that two men want to live a quiet life of love together and not be ostracized.

If the bible is THE word of (your) God why on earth are there so many versions of it? That there are hundreds of English translations  and interpretations on bookstore shelves seems to indicate to me that it is not the word of God, but the words of many men. If the bible my great grandmother read is different by even one word from the one you read now, then how is the word of God?

And as for Paula Deen? Shame for defending her! If you say something, OWN it. To use as an excuse your generation for your poor behavior? I get other people say things, vile things. And they aren’t right either. But to defend one wrong because other people do worse? How does that make any sense.  If you say something stupid, as a non-celebrity, well, you are an ass. When you are a public figure, you should accept that as part of the the social contract you make with your fans; the trade off you make for all of the benefits you enjoy is that people hear and listen and react. Rappers aren’t little southern grandmas who are expected to be soft and friendly. What they say isn’t good, it isn’t nice, but it’s more or less contextual  (and not acceptable to me.)

No Child Left Behind  (told you it was a random list of rants) Today’s high school graduates pretty much made it through 12 years of NCLB. And I work with them, out in the real world. And holy crap, they have no ability to THINK. The questions they ask. The things that they can’t connect the dots on? The inability to infer, extrapolate? It’s more than laziness. It’s that they lack the ability to think creatively.

And by the by, this lapsed Catholic is thoroughly enjoying Pope Francis.

Can we at least all admit that  the law is sometimes wrong? Can you swear that your child would never be caught in a circumstance like Trayvon and that they might not run, which might cause someone to follow, which might mean you throw a punch which might mean you deserve to bleed to death in the rain because you don’t have the right to defend yourself from him with your fist, but someone else can defend himself from you with a gun?

Oh, and Of COURSE drivers licenses aren’t covered in the Constitution. We didn’t have cars back then.

http://youtu.be/4A6Bu96ALOw

I think I am done. Watch this clip, (which I can’t seem to embed prettily) and yeah.

So, back to photos next time, ok?

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