Culture Consumption: December 2014

Ah, 2014 has finally ended, and with that, I say good riddance! At least the stuff I was reading and watching was thoroughly enjoyable, so let’s see where December ended up.


My goal for 2014 was to read 50 books. If you don’t count the novellas/novelettes/short stories, then I fell just shy of that goal. However, if you include those (some of those novellas were pretty hefty!), then my total for the year was 95, which is more on course for what I was reading back in my book blogging days. Still short, but considering the kind of year this has been, quite respectable.

44) Symbiont by Mira Grant
45) Authority by Jeff VanderMeer
46) The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Short Fiction

45) The Ninety-Ninth Bride by Catherine F. King
46) The Astronomer Who Met the North Wind by Kate Hall
47) The Awakened Kingdom by N.K. Jemisin
48) Snakes and Ladders by Seanan McGuire
49) White As a Raven’s Wing by Seanan McGuire


It utterly amazes me at the number of comics I read every year. Seriously, I added it up, and I read a total of 283 individual issues this year. There’s definitely down from previous years, but the way the issues have piled up is overwhelming, and I still have a very large TBR comic pile. There’s some series that are ending, which is good, and some series I’m pretty close to quitting. That said, I’d like to be more judicious and selective in the my titles for 2015, and keep it to the stuff I’m really into.

Individual Issues:

Batgirl #37
Black Widow #12
Black Widow #13
Ms. Marvel #10
Sex Criminals #8
Sex Criminals #9
Sleepy Hollow #2
The Massive #29


My husband and I had an epic Harry Potter marathon in December, which was a helluva lot of fun, because it’s been a while since I’ve seen these and it was a lot of fun to go back to the start, knowing how the series ends, and see all the little clues I missed the first time around. I look forward to do the same with the books, but that’s a marathon for a much later time.

Total movies seen this year? 14 total in theaters, and 61 in the comfort of my own home.

In December, we watched the following:

A Christmas Story
Guardians of the Galaxy
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Home Alone
Palo Alto
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (in theaters)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 (in theaters)
Total Recall (1990)

Television Shows

We didn’t finish and seasons this month, but we completed a total of 46 seasons of stuff. Damn, that’s a lot of television, but when you consider a nice portion of those to be marathons of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Friday Night Lights, it takes up a good portion, and most of the television we watch is during the fall to summer season, so it’s an episode a week for a limited number of shows. Still, those seasons do add up, don’t they?

That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2014 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!


Show, Don’t Tell: How It Works in Total Recall

On Sunday, I watched Total Recall for the first time. Not the remake, but the original. I know, I know… I’m late to the party. But after watching the film, I noticed a very simple, straight-forward thing the film did that followed the rule of “Show, Don’t Tell” when it comes to world-building. Because Total Recall came out in 1990, I’m not worried about spoilers, but I promise not to be overly specific outside of discussing the specific world-building situations themselves.

Situation #1: The movie opens with the main characters in space suits walking around on Mars. Because they’re in a mountainous area, the footy is rocky, and one of them slips, slides down the mountain, and their face plate cracks open. The movie then proceeds to show us what happens to the character when deprived of air in the Martian atmosphere. Don’t worry, I haven’t spoiled anything for you.

Situation #2: The main character is going through his normal morning routine. One portion of his morning commute to work is to walk through the security scanner on his way to the subway. The security scanner, of course, scans for weapons, and of course, the main character walks through, no weapons visible.

Situation #3: At one point, the main character receives new tech to help him on his mission, and one of the pieces is a watch-type thing that projects a mirror-image hologram of whomever is wearing/holding the tech.  It’s nifty.

What’s cool about these three situations? Because each of these three situations sets something up: no explanation is given, and when the story comes back around, the viewer knows what’s going to happen when that tech/situation comes into play. The first go-around in each situation shows how something works, and the second go-around shows what it does in reference to the story. All of this without info-dumping exposition.

Which is neat. Total Recall might be an older, more classic SF movie, but I appreciated the straight-forward storytelling, and the trust the writers place in the viewer. A good lesson, even if it’s a little obviously telegraphed how things are going to work.