I’m a huge romantic. I enjoy reading or watching good love stories, especially the feel good kind. The late ’80s and ’90s saw an explosion of the feel good love stories that we often categorize as romantic comedies. By now, there’s nothing particularly new about this genre of film. It follows the usual formula everyone will recognize––boy meets girl, boy and girl are so obviously right for each other but one or both don’t realize it yet, boy and girl are put in a situation where there’s a delay in the two getting together but the attraction to each other is undeniable, a revelation happens, cue sweeping romantic gesture and confession, and finally the couple get together and live happily ever after. There’s a variation to the formula, but the end result is still the same and it’s for your favorite couple to end up blissfully together.
There are a bunch of John Hughes films I feel a great comfort in watching after all these years. Teen films aren’t exactly a new genre in film, but it has been said that John Hughes is arguably the one who started the genre back in the ’80s. His movies connected with teenagers in ways so few films today don’t. The Breakfast Club is still a pop culture classic and is continuing to get discovered by a new generation of kids coming-of-age.
I may have been too young during the time a lot of his films featured notable members of the “Brat Pack,” but I consider a good chunk of John Hughes’ films a part of my childhood. Among those films in my top favorites list is Pretty In Pink.
This week I’d like to take a step back from talking about video games and instead discuss something else I am becoming rather fond of – comic books. Lately I have been reading though a couple of comic book series’ back to back which are all about my favorite characters, Batman and Catwoman. I would like to share some of my opinions and thoughts on the ongoing relationship between these two characters and why I love it so much. Get ready folks, I’m about to get all mushy on you. Continue reading Batman & Catwoman – My Favorite Comic Book Relationship
Episode 119: Valentine’s Prey — The guys brace themselves for another spiteful holiday episode, but things go in a surprising direction. Also, Chris hates today’s distinction between dating and hanging out, Dave vows to work extra-hard for his marriage, and Shaun doesn’t get a chance to discuss his super-exciting V-day plans.
- Survey shows confusion between “dating” and “hanging out”
- Experts say your refrigerator can shed light on your personality
- Second-graders give 24-point list on how to fall in love
Secondary Segment — Buzzsaw
- Filling your social media feed with V-day stuff
- Proposing on Valentine’s Day
- Complaining about Valentine’s Day
“Main Theme (Rhythm Thief)” by Tomoya Ohtani
- “Main Theme (Valkyria Chronicles)” by Hitoshi Sakimoto
- “With Mila’s Divine Protection” by Noriyuki Iwadare
- “Arkham City Main Theme” by Nick Arundel
- “Night at the Octodrag” by Thee Jaguar Sharks
Announcer: Molly Robinson
More At the Buzzer
Everyone wants someone to love. Love is a simple word, but packed with a lot of meaning. Love can be as beautiful as it is complicated. It can make your heart flutter or it can rip it to shreds. In spite of what love can do to people, we can’t really live without it.
Love doesn’t happen to just the beautiful and perfect people of the world. It happens to every self-proclaimed geek, weirdo, outsider, and misunderstood person as well. Television has spawned some really great couples, where one or both individuals are not the prom queen or the smooth operator. Instead, they have qualities or traits that make them charming and loveable to the ones who take the time to really get to know them. How else does someone fall in love with another person if you don’t take the time to find out what’s hidden behind the surface?
A few weeks ago I reviewed one of my favorite sci-fi romance books, Grimspace by Ann Aguirre. It features a sarcastic protagonist named Sirantha Jax, a woman with the J-gene who is able to jump ships through grimspace (like hyperspace). She’s framed and imprisoned after her entire crew — including the love of her life — is killed and her ship destroyed, but a ragtag group frees her and helps her uncover a conspiracy. And she falls in love with one of them, too.
I’ve lately been reading the second book in the series, Wanderlust — and I like it even more than the first. Jax is named ambassador and sent to Ithiss-Tor to recruit the planet to the Conglomerate. But before she even gets to Ithiss-Tor, she goes through hell in more dangerous places.
Instead of a traditional review, here is a list of what I love about this book:
1. My Favorite Badass Protagonist, Sirantha Jax: Jax is one of my favorite protagonists ever. Sure, the writing can sometimes be over-the-top sarcastic and all over the place, but that’s just what the inside of Jax’s brain must be like. Wanderlust is written from her perspective, so we spend a lot of time in there.
What I love most is hearing her think about how much she’s changed from her younger self. She’s in her 30’s, scarred — literally — and is no longer “one of the best-dressed women in the tier worlds.” Her glamorous life has evolved into something richer and possibly more twisted, but she’s come to embrace that… even if she does sometimes have to remind herself not to be self-conscious about her scars, because “guys dig them,” after all.
She’s also a jumper to the core, and that means embracing some danger. Jumping is addicting, and in Wanderlust, she learns that every jump is eating away at her, causing her to lose strength. She’s becoming frail, and she may not be able to jack in and jump anymore. Others are noticing the change in her, too; even March hits that sore spot when he says, “Your fire’s gone out. You used to feel like a live wire, Jax.” It’s heartbreaking for her.
2. The Flawed Romance: The romance in Wanderlust focuses a lot on Jax feeling torn between memories of her late love, Kai, and her new love, March. She even has a recurring dream about it:
“I’m in a white room, no furniture, but there are two exits. Kai stands before one door and March stands before the other. I’m caught in the middle, and I have to choose. I know this is a bullshit crazy-ass thing because I’ll never have to pick. Kai is gone… I’m happy with March… But the dream still wakes me up in a cold sweat.”
There’s also a handsome young mercenary named Jael who acts as Jax’s bodyguard — and he’s just the kind of guy she would have gone for a few years ago.
Jax is also worried about her disease and frailty, so she pushes March away to protect him. This is a bigger deal than you’d think, because March is Psi (psychic) and able to read her thoughts and communicate with her that way. When she pushes him away, he stops entering her mind, leaving her feeling more alone than she expected. And when things get dangerous, she worries about his safety when he’s not around or in her head.
I also have to say that March has grown on me as a character. I wasn’t crazy about him in Grimspace, because he didn’t do or say much. But I love the way he is characterized in Wanderlust. He’s not the most handsome guy around — in fact, he “looks mean as a black-tailed rattler,” according to Jax — but he’s been through tough times, and he gets Jax, and she gets him. Even the sex scenes spend time focusing on their physical scars. It’s a very offbeat relationship that shows the two of them embracing each other, flaws and all.
3. The Alien Bounty Hunter: Velith Il-Nok is rapidly becoming my favorite character in this series. He’s a bounty hunter from Ithiss-Tor, first encountered at the end of Grimspace. When he learns about Jax being framed, he switches gears from taking her down to saving her. I loved that.
He’s also a shapeshifter who is able to take human form when he wants. (Otherwise, he kind of looks like a giant praying mantis, and he has mandibles and stuff.) He can seem a tad serious and scientific — sort of Spock-like — but he also has a dry sense of humor that Jax likes. As a hacker, he can crack codes faster than anyone Jax has ever seen, “like he can hear machines on a level that we can’t.” He plays bait (and survives) to save Jax and the rest of the crew. Although he is formal and hard to read, he tries to comfort Jax during her emotionally difficult times, and she appreciates the attempt.
I love science fiction with aliens anyway, and it just so happens that Vel is the type I’d want to meet in real life.
4. Vivid Locations and Emotional Action: Aguirre must have fun envisioning the settings in these books, and action abounds. You have a snowy planet (very Noveria-ish, in my mind) with a run-down bar and bad neighborhoods. Then there’s Emry Station, where an alien species known as the Morgut have killed and eaten everyone — and now they’re after Jax and crew, too. Later, the crew lands on the planet Lachion and has to survive in underground tunnels when things get hairy on the surface.
But what makes the danger and action scenes more interesting is the emotional investment. On Lachion, Jax and March are temporarily split up, and Jax worries about him when she can’t feel him in her mind. And the near-death situation on Emry Station forces Jax to make smart decisions. She’s terrified of dying, she wants to save March, she doesn’t want to be a coward, and yet she also wants to listen to Vel — her partner on the mission, who she is supposed to look out for instead of March — and play it smart by locking herself in the medical center until March and Jael return. It’s as interesting to see her inner struggle as it is to watch the action unfold.
Overall, Wanderlust has made me fall in love with Jax, March, Vel, and their friends more than ever. It’s also reminded me of why I love series like this: You have time to get attached to everyone, and cracking open a new book is like reuniting with old friends. I’m looking forward to reading Doubleblind next!