Review: Hemlock Grove

Hemlock Grove
Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, it turns out this new series on Netflix, it was based on this book. I couldn’t help but think while watching the series that the book would probably be more complete, make more sense.

I was incorrect about that. At least the series had Lili Taylor. I love when things have her, ever since “Say Anything” (look it up, kids).

At least the book doesn’t assume we’ve read the book.

I feel like this wasn’t really edited much, not in that it was long, but in that it walked various lines of “show” and “tell” and no one seemed to have ever told it that it wasn’t as clever as it thought it was.

Maybe, though, that is a device reflecting the narrator who is at once omnipresent and limited, which doesn’t quite work for me (because and NO SPOILER, because she says it early on, she’s a character in the novel), but if the series is to be ongoing, maybe that’ll make more sense later.

At any rate, [b:Hemlock Grove|12510849|Hemlock Grove|Brian McGreevy||17496592] left me cold. It answered a few questions I had from the television version, but did not leave me optimistic for more.

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Review: Homeland

Homeland by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While it was a good while ago I read [b:Little Brother|954674|Little Brother|Cory Doctorow||939584], and I was probably in a different frame of mind most likely, this book still doesn’t measure up. I had a lot more of a feeling of an advertisement for “We’re makers! We’re infinitely cooler than you!” The “story” was really minimal, and didn’t get in the way of THESE GADGETS and THIS METHOD! WE ARE SO COOL! INTELLECTUAL! BETTER THAN YOU! It was far too much of an author’s personal manifesto and it kept hitting me in the face. I’m intrigued by the maker life, but I’m just not into the proselytizing without rest. If it isn’t hidden carefully within a story that I can love, then I don’t like preaching of any stripe.

I’d say more about the story, but there really isn’t much of an arc, even. Marcus learns to shut up and focus, because he’s a grown up now. Most of this story happens in his head or offscreen and isn’t really even much of a learning curve. His friend and girlfriend say “stop being a dumbass” He realizes he’s a dumbass and stops.

Also there are some “secret” documents that don’t figure in nearly as much as one would think such “important” information would, but no. It was just another thing that existed to frame the “we are Maker and we are awesome” message.

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Certifications and Languages

Watching season one of True Blood on HBO, I developed a brief, platonic love for Tara (brief for reasons that really belong in another post) when she discussed her education:

“College is just white people paying other white people to read to each other, I figured I could save money and read to myself”[paraphrase]

Sure, I went to college, I have a degree, but those words ring so true, especially after I graduated and while I was there and learning more from what people told me that made me want to learn more in classes than what I learned in half my classes (sorry, guys!).

This is not really a highly respected way to gain knowledge.  Oh, individual people are impressed by the manifestation of one’s knowledge, but in general, it’s not quite as certain if you say you know a thing as if you have a piece of paper saying someone else thinks you do.  Truthfully, that piece of paper doesn’t mean that much.  Crammed information dies.  Passion counts for something– or it should.

I’ve been looking recently into certifications (which I’d not bothered thinking about for a long time).  Yup, still expensive.  If I were to get a certification to get a job or better my chances… it would be nice if I already had that money.  On the other hand if I did, I bet I’d be using it for something else (rent, electricity, you know the spiel..).

This isn’t about whining, though.

It is kind of about the way I wish I didn’t see what the point of the pieces of paper are.  There are too many people these days with the skills and the need for work to just give everyone you like a try.

So… I’m thinking about which ones I might really want to get.    I’ve come up with a couple of articles that might help, especially if the prices are still accurate.  They’ll give me a starting point for thinking and budgeting, anyway.

Top 7 Programming Certifications for Web Developers and Top Three IT Certifications you can Get From Scratch.  Both articles are about a year old, but they have good information.   At least it’s a jumping off point.  Oddly enough, many certifications come from companies with proprietary interests in the properties involved.

Sometimes I still feel institutional education is a scam.

That doesn’t mean I don’t ache for more of it.

I totally want to get a MFA or MLS. (Unrelated to my programming aspirations… I need to focus and win the lottery.)