Friday, January 1, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Villains Inc by Marion G Harmon (Wearing The Cape 2)

Villains Inc. is the second book in the Wearing The Cape series written by Marion G Harmon. It is an indie book that was released through CreateSpace on 30th March 2012. The ISBN for this book is 1475125968. I bought this in paperback form can’t remember if it was eBay or amazon worth checking as there was a price difference.

There are lots of spoilers in this review so be aware. I would also recommend that if you are interested in this series then you should start with Wearing The Cape by Marion G Harmon.


WHY I BOUGHT THIS

I picked up the first book for free after trying to populate my newly bought second hand Kindle with a few books I might actually bother to read and was blown away.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Chicago sounds like a fun city and it has always been an American city that I wanted to visit even without its own superhero team. The world painted in the Wearing The Cape series is rich and detailed by the end of this book you know everything you need to know about how superhero bureaucracy.

Can we also talk a bit about how awesome Hope is as a lead character? Even though this is only the second book she has already been through so much but it is the fact that we can believe her journey, dealing with her PTSD while still doing her best to do her job and getting on with her life which was hardly settled now as she still feels the push and pull between her life as a hero and the life she knew before.

Villains Inc. is a pretty straightforward idea as a plot in a world with superhumans why wouldn’t organised crime want their own team of enforcers after all when one bullet proof man can knock over a bank or a police station by himself.  I also like the fact that this idea was opposed strongly by the super powered law abiding community in the past.


I’m not going to go over everything that happens in the book I just really enjoyed reading it and I am impressed by the fact that the quality of the writing improved in this book and that the author isn’t settling into a rut.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Going Back Into Battle - JSA

It was always a possibility but I had hoped that I would have found a job by now. After claiming ESA long enough for them to finally give me an assessment (11 months where it should be 2) I didn't get enough points and was told to switch back to JSA. I got the call on Friday and they wanted me to apply then and there unfortunately for me I was waiting for someone to drill into my teeth so I decided to wait until I got the letter.



Letter arrived on Tuesday informing me that my ESA was stopped on the same day they wrote up the letter on Friday so then it meant it was time to apply. Here's one wrinkle my area is now a Universal Credit area so I could not apply online. I am intending to appeal my ESA assessment and those on appeal can't be part of the UC pilot. Is it still a pilot after all these years? I don't know.

So now I've got my JSA first meeting on Monday where I will finish out the application and be required to sign a Claimant Commitment. This is where the battle starts to ensure that it doesn't force me onto Universal Jobmatch or to a totally unrealistic number of jobs to apply for each week.

I know some people might assume that it is being lazy or that Jobcentre Plus isn't out to get you, unfortunately they are and the numerous reports of sanction targets and my own posts about the various attempts at sanctions should serve as evidence.

I do not look forward to this fight or the wait to actually receive my benefits which are on pause while the new claim goes through but I'm assured it will happen by the 23rd. So just in time for Christmas unless I had to post presents at all.

I'll keep you posted on what happens on Monday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Month Is A Long Time

I have not posted in a whole month which is pretty bad. Things have been moving forward sort of. Shall we summarise:
  • Job hunting, cranking out maybe 15 a week as a minimum
  • No interviews this week
  • Booked my place for a really cool Star Wars: The Force Awakens Party
  • Trying my best to put in some work for Nanowrimo
I am trying to remain positive but it is not easy. Thankfully I am stubborn and I am just not willing to give up yet. I've been getting through a lot of books and a number of my favourite series came to end this year or will next year.

I've been doing a bit more with my volunteer role hopefully that means that we will get our accreditation back so I can go cover events. It is something that is fun and also means that I am gaining new skills as well as working on improving existing ones, communication skills can always be better right?

So a short update for sure but hopefully I will be back soon with more.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dealing With Disappointment

How do you deal with disappointment? It comes to us all right? I certainly can't claim to be any worse off than anyone else but disappointments get me down all the same. I find myself trying to stay positive while not having much luck in terms of job prospects.



I have been looking at ways to generate my own income like a small business but that requires capital which I don't have. I tried a little wheeling and dealing but that is just a start and trying to get that to the point where I can live off is a big, big step.

The latest disappointment was connected to things well outside of my ability to control, the site I work for lost a year's worth of posts which includes most of the time I was writing for them. That affects a lot more than me it also means that our site lost their press rights at a range of conventions and media events until we can re-establish ourselves.

For me it means I lost out on one of the two events here in the UK that are relevant to what we cover. It was something I was looking forward to it was a lot of fun and also a chance to add to my CV which apparently needs all the help it can get.

So how do you deal with disappointment ideally in ways that the rest of us will think of as positive.

Oh look I just broke my mobile phone with an epic accident I am too embarrassed to fully explain.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

3 New US Shows To Try

Blindspot


Strong Female Lead And A Puzzle To Solve

Jaime Alexander stars as Jane Doe in this new NBC thriller. A lot of people have been drawing comparisons with The Blacklist and I can see that strangely enough people seem not to be comparing it with Prison Break you know that show about a guy covered in tattoos that form part of an extensive plan.

The show has gotten some stick from certain reviewers for treatment of Jane Doe as an object, the first episode does have her emerging naked from a bag in Times Square then being poked, prodded and scanned by the FBI. Is it uncomfortable watching, yes is it there to titillate? I very much doubt it. The showrunners are undoubtedly portraying Jane as a strong woman who undertook this bizarre mission for whatever reason.

Now strong woman can be thought of as a negative term which is not what I intend when I describe Jane as that I think in a time where we have lots of action shows we have a majority of men doing the physicality in the lead roles the only current show I can think of that does that is Castle. They bring back memories of Alias and Buffy The Vampire Slayer


Everything I have seen tells me that this has what it takes to keep the audience interested but trying to judge audiences is a difficult thing but this is a show I’d recommend.

Chances of Season 2: 85%

Limitless



I really wondered about this when I started writing about this adaption of the film but seeing it in action may have made me a believer. I like the way that they strictly define the ups and downs of NCT so while Brian is on a whole other level he does have limits.

It is interesting to see Eddie Morran in this role as both a potential ally or an enemy and I want to see what happens next and if there are any more Big Bads to appear and what is the story with Rebecca's dad. This show lives or dies on the back of the line walked by Jake McDorman between loveable slacker and jumped up asshole. From time to time he goes over that line but got to be patient as it is only up to the second episode.

If you watched the film I think you'll be pre-disposed to liking this and if you haven't seen the film the pilot makes sure that you are pretty well filled in about stuff.

Chances of Season 2: 75%

Minority Report



Another film to TV series Minority Report continues the story five years the Pre-Crime Division was shut down after the events of the film starring Tom Cruise. I'm not sure which way this will go we've had a future procedural with Almost Human which should never been cancelled or had its running order changed so the character development made no sense.

Hopefully Minority Report won't make those same mistakes but it is too early to say. There are some fun things to see in this show

Chance of Season 2: 45% (That's been optimistic for a Fox show)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ANIME REVIEW: Rokka No Yuusha

Rokka No Yuusha (English Title: Rokka: Braves Of The Six Flowers) is a 12 episode anime series produced by Pony Canyon. It was originally a light novel series written by Ishio Yamagata then a manga and now it has been adapted for anime. The series despite its fantasy and magic setting is best described as a mystery.


PLOT

When the Majin awakes from the depths of darkness, the deity of fate selects six heroes and bequeaths them with the power to save the world. Adlet, a boy who proclaims himself the strongest man in the world, has been selected among "The Heroes of the Six Flowers". However, as the heroes gather, they soon begin to suspect that someone amongst them is an imposter.

WHY I WATCHED

You don’t get many anime series that revolve around mysteries, I’ve watched a few Hyouka is an interesting one that I thoroughly recommend. I chose this as something to break up the usual parade of mecha, fantasy and fighting anime.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I am writing this review up after the first 9 episodes of the show but I think given the mystery premise that’s fine. This anime is pretty much a run of the mill whodunit where instead of a remote hotel or a dinner party caught off by a flood you have a group of warriors stuck inside a barrier with the equivalent of a locked room mystery to deal with.


The mystery is at the core but this is about a group of warriors so we do see amazing fights with a range of interesting fighting styles and the interpersonal relationships and how each warrior reacts to one another is interesting to say the least. The warriors are very different from different social classes we have everything from princesses to commoners.



There isn’t much more I can reveal that doesn’t get into major spoiler territory so I will just say that trying to figure the mystery out is a great little brain teaser and makes me eager to see how things work out. I don’t know whether this is just a first season or if this was just meant to be a one off, I tend to think it could be the former subject to ratings.




If you like things like Sherlock or mystery books than you could do much worse than this anime which is just the kind of whodunit fix you need.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Adventures In Ebay

So I have been going to and fro about taking the next generation console plunge. Money is always and issue so I thought the best way would be to put up my PS3 for sale on eBay because I don't have space for both with only one monitor - below is all the fun stuff that happened.



eBay is pretty much the only viable way I think for getting rid of your PS3. It is so late in the game that I doubt Game or other video game store would want it and heading to a pawn shop would most likely get me £30 at most. I figured that most likely in a free bid situation I should get more than that so if I add postage I would have been fine.

Obviously doing the eBay thing does require some preparation time taking nice pictures of what you are trying to sell. Having a PayPal account to deal with payments is pretty much a requirement. A good step is searching for what you intend to sell and pick out the good stuff that makes the listing appeal to you and adding it to your own.

I think to set my one up I spent 45 minutes before making the listing live. Oh pay attention to what eBay suggests you might as well use their stats but of course be aware that if it is low you might take a bath finance wise. It can be a little stressful sometimes.

I set my PS3 for £40 with a few games which I could live with along with the postage that I had already got a quote for. I used myHermes it allows for collection from your home and has decent prices but do your own research.

FEES, FEES EVERYWHERE

The problem with doing the eBay thing is the fees and not just in the obvious ways, eBay charges a monthly fee based on your sales for that month and insists you give its direct debit access. Now that might not be a deal breaker for you but I've never been a big fan of that also not a fan of the way this stuff doesn't kick in until your second or third sale or bunch of sales.

Also another fun thing that happens after a few sales is Paypal start holding onto your money for up to 21 days. The first time I called them up to ask why they said bring my status to Above Standard then they changed that. For now the rules seem to be add tracking for your package on Paypal and they will release it three days after delivery is confirmed. Now there is a problem there are only three postal services that are integrated into Paypal so the rest (like myHermes) won't confirm delivery through Paypal so you have to call them up and get them to check it through the site. Yeah makes no sense to me either.

So if you want to sell things for a reasonable price not the pocket change that cash convertor style places offer go to eBay just be aware that it can be a fair bit of work.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...