July 18, 2018

Sabbatical goals 6 to 10

Filed under: bloggery,living in the future — Tags: — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 10:22 am

Continued musing on my sabbatical goals, today numbers 6-10.

steps6. Walk 10,000 steps a day
The sabbatical started in May 2017. I managed an average of 10,000 steps or more in 12/15 months. I missed May, June and December. This is pretty good really. And I made up for the missed months in later ones. Those steps included some lovely walks along the river with my partner and my friends Kathy and Sara.

scones

scones

7. Bake cookies
I did bake cookies and they went a bit wrong. I made rather more scones and cakes. The best were chocolate chip and raspberry scones, now a staple.

8. Keep informed about issues
I think I’ve done fairly well. I read the news every day and I also branches out into other sources of information to avoid being in a complete echo chamber. I’ve decided I like my personal social media feed to be a reasonable safe space and will challenge people sometimes in that space. But I also read and don’t comment on material found outside my bubble. I think I understand some things better now although I boggle at the world I find myself living in. When I said I wanted to live in the future I didn’t mean a dystopian one.

9. Make music
I was doing this before the sabbatical but I’ve done nothing on it at all recently. I don’t know why. I’m not going to feel guilty about that. My mashups are still there for when I return to this.

10. Use nail brushes artistically.
Yeah, I tried. It turns out I don’t have very steady hands. The brushes are not the silver bullet for nail art I was hoping for. I do have photos of my attempts but they are so terrible I can’t bring myself to post them.

Next post, making clothes, seeing friends and visiting new places!

July 16, 2018

Sabbatical goals

Filed under: About Rhiannon Lassiter,adventures in the world of today,life — Tags: — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 4:45 pm

goals listSince May 2017 I have been on sabbatical from my university job. (By day a Faculty Marketing Manager at Oxford Brookes, by evening a writer of fantastical fiction, by night whatever the dream world dictates.) I was originally thinking of blogging about what I did but quickly decided that would take away from actually doing things, although I do have a daily photo journal.

Before the sabbatical started a lot of people asked what I was going to do. “Will you be writing a book?” was the most popular question. The answer to this question is always yes. The unfortunate state of the writer is always ‘writing a book’ although it can also involve ‘promoting a book’. But aside from writing, what else?

I started out by writing a list in a beautiful notebook. I rather regret this because paper lists just don’t work for me as well as app data. However, I’m going to use it as a jumping off point for talking about the goals I’ve achieved (and try to remember some of the others).

1. Write books.
I have done this. I completed “Candid” (working title) shortly after the start of the sabbatical and started all sorts of other projects before finding the book I was meant to write, “Before & After” (also a working title), and embarking on that. It’s currently 70% done. I hope.
2. Attend meetings of the Labour Women’s Group.
I have not done this. But I did leaflet for Labour in Blackbird Leys and we successfully elected a new Labour MP with an increased majority, so I’ll give myself partial credit.
3. Bike rides.
I have done this. I have discovered that although I in theory enjoy this, in practice I don’t often get the bike out. I have done a lot of spinning at my desk bike though, so perhaps will be able to re-enter the world of 9-5 employment as a commuter cyclist.
4. Take over 10 Pokemon gyms.
The purpose of this was to get the maximum amount of daily coins possible in the game. Only they’ve changed the system so by the time I did it, it doesn’t work that way. But I did get to level 39 and made a bunch of new PokeFriends.
5. Go to the gym frequently and regularly.
This is the real world gym, not the Pokemon kind. I have done this. I have done this a lot. I am a gym regular, people know me there, I even have gym friends. Achievement unlocked!

My reflections on the first 5 goals on the list are that although “make more friends” isn’t on the paper list it was definitely on my mental list. So that’s going to be list item 20 and it’s already been ticked off. I have game friends and gym friends, I’m just missing all those potential political friends. Yay for friendship.

Also, this was a good mix of different kinds of goals. Well done, Past!Rhi, for thinking of them.

Look out for the next blog post in which I contemplate baking, important issues and nail art.

June 14, 2018

Raising an eyebrow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 1:12 pm

Today I encountered this meme y-all-really-not-tired-of-looking-like-this-yet meme image and I raised an eyebrow.

This is my face. Maybe thinner and with more makeup but basically this woman, this look which is now so ubiquitous that people are tired of seeing it, is mine. I have dark hair and pronounced eyebrows, brown eyes, brown skin and big lips. Check out my Insta if you want the proof of it. And when I was a child and a teenager, this idea of beauty just wasn’t out there.

When I was nine my mother wrote a book called “Beware Princess!” about a princess with dark hair because all my books had blonde princesses. The books got better but digital media as taken a long time to be as inclusive of dark-browed ethnically ambiguous women.

When I was eleven I came up with the perfect wish: “I wish that gradually, over time, the human standard of beauty will change to increasingly resemble me.” I thought that was genius and genie-proof, unable to be twisted against me. I didn’t anticipate it would take thirty years for my wish to come true, but I woke up one day and it had.

Instagram picI may not be one of the most beautiful women in the world with thousands of online followers but this idea of beauty, this kind of beauty, this face is one I recognise and can claim a share in.

So, no, I’m not tired of looking like this. This is my face. Deal with it.

May 14, 2018

Fictoplasm podcasts

Filed under: my favourite authors,podcast,things Rhiannon likes — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 5:33 pm

Fictoplasm logo

Fictoplasm

Did you know I occasionally appear on a podcast? Now you do.

My friend Ralph Lovegrove runs Fictoplasm, a (mostly) science fiction podcast about books and roleplaying games. I’ve appeared in two episodes so far.

Episode 401: What We’re Reading
Rhi has been reading What Makes This Book So Great? by Jo Walton and Heriot by Margaret Mahy. Josh has been reading Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, and The Tale Of The Axe by David Miles. He’s currently running Blades In The Dark. Ralph has been reading Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem, and the anthology Ubiquicity collected by Todd Foley. He’s still writing Stormhack.

Episode 402: Excession by Iain M. Banks
Rhi and Paul join Ralph to talk about Iain M. Banks’ Excession and The Culture. Post-scarcity, intelligent starships, body modification and first contact.

There are three previous seasons and listening to them inspired me to join in. It’s excellent talking about books with other people who’ve also read them and hearing new recommendations.

May 8, 2018

Before and after

Filed under: bloggery,Fitness,growing up,life,living in the future — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 1:54 pm

So, this time last year I was at Harry Potter world and didn’t notice my friend taking this photo. I wouldn’t normally have posted it because I don’t like it very much. However it has its uses because one year later it serves as a useful comparison for my fitness journey. Today’s required some curation and the limited patience of my other half. But here we are.

Don’t pay too much attention to the fact I look grumpy in the left hand pic, I was having a lovely day and other photos attest to that. I also didn’t see the photographer or I’d have smiled.

The top is the same, I brought it to Greece deliberately, but the lighting makes it look different. I did not bring jeans because I didn’t want to be broiled.

If you’re planning a major lifestyle change do take before photos, your future self will thank you for them.

April 30, 2018

So very goals

Filed under: bloggery,growing up,things Rhiannon likes — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 2:04 pm

"If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down."

“If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down.”

On the 8th of May 2017 I set a weight loss goal in my Fitbit app. I actually set one earlier and pressed the wrong button but the 8th of May will do.

I started my sabbatical from my day job at the beginning of May and naturally people asked me what I was going to do with the time. Some people asked if I was going to write a book which is a bit like asking a fish if it intends to go swimming. I have been writing, and cooking, and doing crafts, and trying to reduce my amount of possessions saved in case they become magically unbroken or I need a 56k modem when civilisation collapses.

I didn’t say “I’m going to lose weight” because it seemed risky to set that as an ambition. I didn’t say I’m going to get fit because I didn’t use to care about fitness at all. But I did want to become healthier in mind, body and spirit – to use the time in new ways and do things I hadn’t been able to while working a highly pressured job.

And so I set a goal and began to work towards it. I started with walking, brought on by my love of PokemonGO. Then over the summer I did couch to 5k which taught me that I was capable of things I had never imagined possible. Then when I got bored of running I started doing exercise classes and as you will see from my previous posts discovered a love of fitness I had NO IDEA was inside me. Discovering this new person who actually enjoys going to class and lifting weights and doing squats was a huge surprise. I couldn’t have been more surprised to discover I was actually a lizard person or the Queen of Genovia.

"Fitbit: Weight goal met"

“Fitbit: Weight goal met”

Today I met my goal. According to BodyTrax I am now a fit person and when I look at myself that’s who I see. I have more work to do to be the best me I can be, so I’ve set a new goal. This time I set it from a position of feeling good about myself, proud of my accomplishment and eager to see what’s ahead.

I don’t blame myself for gaining weight. That’s extremely easy to do in the modern world, especially when you live in an affluent country and are reasonably affluent yourself. I’m happy to have lost it, that was hard work. It’s not just changing your body, it’s changing your mind.

But what makes me happiest now is to know that I’ve found a new source of joy in my life and a new way of being me. That’s a goal worth celebrating.

March 18, 2018

Virtuous Cycle

Filed under: bloggery,things Rhiannon likes — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 3:55 pm

Wake Up Work Out photo
In January I wrote about attending my first fitness class at the gym, the classes I’d tried and what I thought of them. I wrote about attending morning classes because it was hard to motivate myself to go in the evening. I hated circuit training and loved zumba.

Things have changed a lot since then.

I never really understood what people meant when they talked about an endorphin rush from working out. I went to the gym once or twice a week and never understood how anyone could enjoy it. Turns out I wasn’t working hard enough.

Exercise is addictive. First there’s the sense of achievement from achieving your goals, then there’s the pleasure of setting new goals and smashing them, then there’s the endorphin rush.

I didn’t get it when I was attending morning classes 5 days a week. I went to the classes because discipline is important. But two weeks ago I added a second set of classes.

My new schedule looks like this:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8am: spinning
10am: Aerobics
6.15pm: Body Pump
11am: Body Pump
5.30pm: Zumba
8am: spinning
2pm: walking
6pm: spinning
8am: spinning
11am: Zumba
5.15pm: Grit circuit
8am: spinning
10.15am: Aerobics
6.30pm: Grit circuit
10am: spinning
12.30pm: Zumba

Life cycleMy LifeCycle app reckons I spent 10 hours at the gym last week. That doesn’t count the spinning which I do at home and the walking. I aim for 10,000 a day and managed between 15-20,000 most days over the last two weeks.

And I feel as though I’m on a constant high. I bounce off to the gym, I bounce around at the gym and I bounce back home again. I am flushed and my hair is constantly frizzy from all the sweating. I babble about weights and reps to anyone who will listen. I still love zumba but now I love circuit training too. I love body pump. I love everything. I walk out of the worst workout I’ve ever had and book it again for next week. I have become one of those people.

And I was never one of those people. Never ever. In a future blog post I will lay out my plan for making PE less horrendous but for now let it suffice to know I was always at the back, on the edge, wanting to be anywhere else. I once deep-fielded my way into the library.

Now as the clock ticks down on the grit circuit I try to get in one last squat and star jump. I push and then push harder.

I don’t know who I am any more. But it’s exciting to find out who I’m becoming.

March 8, 2018

International Women’s Day: recommended feminist SF

Filed under: recommended reading — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 3:34 pm

Ten works of feminist science fiction I recommend.

All links are to Amazon

January 11, 2018

First class

Filed under: bloggery,things Rhiannon likes — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 10:52 am

So, I’ve decided to dust off this blog to stimulate my writing muscles. Trust me, I am always writing the novel – it’s just that some of that is thinking about the novel, deleting sections of novel and wondering why I chose such a difficult idea.

One of the things that’s interesting about the current book though is that more than anything I’ve ever written before it takes from thoughts and experiences I’m having right now – rather than nostalgia or hypotheticals.

And, as I start the new year one of those is physical fitness. I’m writing about a character who has become very invested in working out and I’m drawing on my own experiences for her story.

I had “attend a class” on my goals list for a long time before I actually did it. I wanted to want to go. That was as far as I got. But working out can be very boring, I will never forget the incredible achievement that couch to 5k was for me, it made me feel as though I could do anything. And then when running 5k became boring instead of miraculous I told myself I needed a change of pace.

I added weights to my workout but then the gym suddenly included classes in my membership and I didn’t really have an excuse not to go anymore. I started in December, accepted a Christmas break with relief and began again in January.

I originally planned to do classes in the evening but it’s really hard to motivate yourself to go out at night. I chose my gym because I had to walk past it on my commute back home and if I took gym kit with me to work I had everything I needed to walk in instead of just past. Now I’m on sabbatical I have the choice of mornings or evenings and so far mornings have been a sprinkling of people and evenings have been rammed. If you’re new to classes a workday morning might have a lighter attendance and be less intimidating.

My gym offers a range of classes.

One of the most popular is Les Mills body Pump which for a long time I thought was French is actually named after an Australian Olympian named Les Mills. This is a busy and can be a scrum to get the equipment and find a place. You need a mat, a step, weights on a bar and other weight plates to change in and out for various exercises.

Here are some social rules. You’ll be taking up space and other more organised people will know what spaces to go for.
Travel lightly; leave everything but a water bottle and a light towel in your locker.
Enter the class quickly and get a mat. Find a gap for your mat and dump your towel and water bottle on it.
Ideally you want to be able to see the instructor in the mirror at the front. You can go forward and know other people can see you, go backwards and risk only seeing the rest of the class. It doesn’t massively matter because people will be of focused on their own performance, not yours, and in an intense class the mirrors can steam up.
Once you have your mat, choose weights. Don’t make the mistake of trying to match your weights to those of the rest of the class, always choose the lowest when you start. Don’t change up during class either. It takes a day to recognise the effects that a class will have on you.
Steps are made of risers and a crosspiece, check what number of risers the others are using and choose that or add a couple to increase the level by one, steps are used for horrible press ups and tricep dips all of which are easier if you start from a higher level.
Once you’ve got everything you need bring it back to your mat and check your position relative to people around you. You need enough space to move forwards and backwards and side to side at full extension. You will also need a space to lie down by your step and use it for the horrible press ups. People will be accommodating during class but they will be better at keeping their weights and bar and step tidy then you so learn what space you need.

If you’re starting a new class Body Pump is a good choice, it’s intense, it involves a lot of different exercises, it uses music but doesn’t rely on it, it’s basically being bossed about to do a lot of different weight training exercises in time. Everyone probably finds different things hard and for me the tricep dips and push-ups are extremely hard but the most actively painful are lunges where it amazes me how my legs just suddenly give up with no intervention from my mind at all.

I tried a bunch of classes and I think Body Pump is currently right in the middle for me in terms of workout and enjoyment. It’s a good class and it does the job but there are other I prefer and others I fear more.

The worst is the Tabata Circuit, it’s only half an hour long but it feels like forever, you use your own body as the weight so all you need is a mat. The circuit is alternating horrible push-ups and dips and squats and star jumps and things so horrendous I don’t even know their names. The first time I did it had to do it on my own, the second time the only other person in the class was some kind of boxer.but the class is at a convenient time and I leave it shaking so I’ll stick with it. The first time I even stayed on for another further half hour of indivisible punishment but then I could barely walk the next day.

The best is Zumba. Zumba is the class I will keep forever. People tell you it’s good and you don’t listen because these are the same people telling you that yoga and running are awesome. Or will go wild swimming in rivers in February and mill ponds in October so naturally they are not to be trusted. But Zumba is awesome and everyone who told you to try it was right.

At my gym Zumba is a mixture of club dancing, Latin moves, workout stuff and being the Fonz. Just imagine you are cool like Fonzie and you can Zumba, you can even jump that shark. Zumba involves following the movements of the instructor at speed to music with breaks every ten minutes or so to drink water and breathe. It’s intense and fun and energising and unjudgemental. You do some sexualised movements like swishing or pumping your hips or sliding your arms up and down your body but those are time keeping moves as you breathe a bit before the next step.

In Zumba, as in every class, you will sometimes feel you are late or going the wrong way, push through it. These steps repeat and the changes repeat too. Keep trying to keep up, it doesn’t matter if you are off or late, watch the steps and try to get part of it, when it comes around again you’ll get a little bit more. Remember that everyone else has been to this class before and they know the moves, that looks intimidating but it’s inspiring too, they learnt it, you will too. And Zumba is lovely, it’s full of sass and fun and you sweat like anything. If only everything was Zumba.

But it’s not on every day so my second favourite is aerobics, that’s a more chilled out body pump with moderate weights and no step, There is some synchronised movement as in every class but you’re not a itself dancing like Zumba and you have a bit more time to compose yourself between exercises than in body pump. My two classes so far have been with different instructors and although the first was more fun they both pushed various exercises to a point where they felt effective but not too hard. Where Body Pump pushes you and then you keep on going, Aerobics laid off and tried something else.

My childhood PE lessons ever taught me any physical education so I’m learning this stuff as I go. I got fat and I didn’t mean to and didn’t notice because of reasons, and then things changed and I changed. Learning to run 5k rewired my brain so that I now believe a lot of things are possible that I could never have imagined, Today I’m the slowest person in the class, with a whole differ colour of weight on my bar always a half step behind. Tomorrow I won’t be.

March 10, 2016

Approaching the end of The Good Wife

Filed under: bloggery,reviews,things Rhiannon does not like,things Rhiannon likes — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 10:36 pm

SPOILERS FOR THE GOOD WIFE up to S07e16

The current season of The Good Wife will likely be the last and I’m going to miss it. Personally I’d like to see a Good Wife spin off called Lockhart and Associates, because who remembers the name of that law firm except for Diane Lockhart anyway, centred around Christine Baranski as Named Partner, keeping Cush Jumbo as junior associate Lucca Quin and bringing back Archie Panjabi as investigator Kalinda Sharma. There aren’t enough female dominated TV shows, although I love Lena Dunham’s Girls and Jenji Kohan’s Orange is the New Black, and the women have been one of the best parts of Good Wife since the start.

I was introduced to it in early 2015 and binge watched it immediately so that I saw seasons 6 and 7 as they came out. It’s had moments of real brilliance and also terrible lows. What annoys me about it even when I love it is missed opportunities and under used characters.

I loathed Chris Noth in Sex and the City but he was excellent as slippery political machinator and lovecheat Governor Peter Florrick and in early seasons he and Julianna Margolis’s Alicia Florrick had a fascinating dynamic. She was standing-by-her man, desperate for a job to bring in some money after being out of the workforce for over a decade but far too busy for Peter’s clawing himself back into power and his demands for her forgiveness and her emotional energy. But although Peter was a schemer and a manipulator, that Florricks had a connection and a relationship which was a lot deeper and meaningful than the casual hook-ups Noth had as ‘Mr Big’ with Sarah Michelle Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw. I would have liked to have seen more of Peter Florrick but he seemed to move further away from the core narrative as the series developed and something of that defining relationship after which the show was named was lost as he receded further into the background. It seemed to happen almost between episodes that one of the Florricks’ endless rows proved the final one and they barely interacted afterwards.

I think another mistake was to bring Alicia on to the political stage. If Peter had continued as a major character he could have occupied that space and the series could have continued to explore more of the tension between Alicia’s role as wife of a ‘great man’ and an independent professional entity – a Cherie Booth story if Cherie had continued to work during her Downing Street tenure. But as Peter moved down set, Alicia occupied the political ground and moved further away from the law firm and that left Lockhart and Associates in the shadows as the show’s camera moved with Alicia and she was never at work. Seasons five and six concentrated on arc plot to the detriment of the ripped from the headlines law drama of the week approach that had been the strength of the early seasons.

I think the writers are deliberately moving towards a point at the end of season seven which leaves everyone more or less back where they started. Diana Lockhart spending more time scheming how to cement her power than actually working but still head of a successful partnership, Alicia working out what kind of lawyer she wants to be, and Peter Florrick back in prison as the misdeeds that have been following him from the start finally catch up. That’s fine as far as it goes – but it means it was a pity to move the focus away from Peter en route.

Also lost on the way was a truly great character in soft-spoken badass Kalinda. It’s quite clear that Margolis had a problem with Sharma and a great girl buddy relationship was lost there. There was the subtext that Kalinda was quietly crushing on Alicia with the complication of their mutual history with Peter and different moral codes. The shambles of their final scene together in which the two actresses weren’t even filmed in the same room was just depressing – although Archie Panjabi gave it her all until the end.

I somehow get the impression Juliana Margolis might be quite difficult to work with but I found her interesting and believable as someone who’s defined herself in a series of ways that turn out not to be based on truth and is trying to rebuild her personality from the ground up. I’m not completely comfortable with the way her enjoyment of a glass of wine after work seems to have transitioned into a running gag about her incipient alcoholism which must be medicated with sex. That’s a disservice to the character and to any woman who likes a drink. And Alicia’s sex life has always been cringingly badly presented. Actually, that’s not quite true because I found her occasional encounters with her husband credible. But her high school crush on beaky-nosed blowhard Will Gardner was just inconceivable to me. I’ve never been a fan of will-they-won’t-they romantic entanglements so it was almost a relief when they finally consummated all that office flirting. And it was a double relief when Will was tragically shot and the character was erased for good. But then the show made one of those weird misteps where Alicia immediately fixated on Finn Polmar (remember him?) the dashing young state’s attorney who tried to save Will’s life as her new romantic interest – as though somehow Will’s dying soul had passed into Finn and with it that a bizarre sexual attraction that I could have done without. I could also have done without the release of the text of Alicia’s private emails to Will in the email exposure episode, did anyone else freeze frame and read exactly how embarrassingly graphic and horribly written those sexts were? If you did hit the pause button you’d have been stunned at the gullibility of a press who were prepared to believe that was an ‘office flirtation that was never realised’. And Alicia’s latest romantic entanglement this season with an actor who will forever be known to me as Denny Duquett from Grey’s Anatomy has just had raw/roar sex accompanied by lion attacks. Maybe if I’m lucky Alicia will pull an Izzy Stevens and discover that all her sex with Denny was just a brain tumour.

Quite apart from the excruciating content of Alicia’s sex emails, I’m convinced that the endlessly changing name and ownership of the lawfirms she’s belonged to has led to some deeply weird continuity issues. It was the email system of Lockhart, Florrick, Agos that was hacked but the emails the hackers acquired included emails from Lockhart Gardner although the two firms were independent entities. ‘Stern, Lockart & Gardner‘ became ‘Lockhart, Gardner & Bond’, became ‘Lockhart Gardner’, became ‘Lockhart Gardner Canning’ became ‘Canning and Associates’. It doesn’t make sense that the other firm which was ‘Florrick, Agos and Associates’ then ‘Lockhart, Florrick, Agos’ then ‘Lockhart, Agos, Lee’ would have all the email of the original firm just because they had recovered the lease of the building. Email access isn’t a utility in which previous messages get backed up like hair in a drainpipe. Plus I’m convinced that the sole black male associate of Lockhart etc went off to start a New York branch office for firm A and returned to what he believed was firm A but was actually firm B with very similar staff occupying the same office – and he never noticed. Running payroll for the firm must be a nightmare although they keep the sign writers and branding consultants in business.

Continuity of character was also increasingly untidy. Alan Cumming was initially impressive as wily campaign manager Eli Gold but his buttoned up neurotic personality became increasingly caricatured into a figure of fun whose idea of cunning is listening at doors. What were his motivations. One moment Eli was vowing revenge on Peter for demoting him the next he was begging for his old job back. He broke down in sobs over deleting Alicia’s voicemail from her late lost love before remembering along with the script writers that the voicemail actually came before Alicia’s torrid affair and it’s deletion had no actual effect.

The in-fighting about who got to be named partners left me reeling. Within months Alicia goes from forming a lawfirm with Cary and mortgaging her home to save him from prison to distrusting him and suspecting him of plotting against her with Diane. And Diane’s slide from liberalism into gun-toting right-wingery was less of a surprise than her determination to always jump to the worst possible conclusion about everyone else’s motives.

Still, I only get annoyed with the show because of those moments which showed how clever and funny it could be: the rigged search engines of Neil Gross’ ChumHum, the campaign support video by Peter Florrick’s ex mistress, the ever watchful CIA analysts spying on the protagonists, and the copyright suit that gave us the pop and rap versions of Thicky Trick. I also enjoyed Mary Beth Peil as Alicia’s judgemental mother-in-law, Makenzie Vega as in her teenage transition as Grace Florrick, Zach Grenier as greedy divorce lawyer David Lee, Michael J Fox using his disability for evil, Carrie Preston as the eccentric savant Elsbeth Tascioni, Mamie Gummer as a folksy but cutthroat corporate lawyer, and Sarah Steele as Eli’s insouciant daughter. Oh and the parade of eccentric judges and the occasional appearances of psychopath billionaire Colin Sweeney. I hope we see him again before the show ends.

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