Friday, December 27, 2013

A Doctor Who Dalekmas Special Review: The Time of the Doctor

            Welcome back!  I hope everyone's Christmas/Sithmas/Dalekmas/Kwanzaa was good!  Mine was meh, but I did get some pretty neat presents, including a Big Bang Theory pen that has a light that projects the word "Bazinga!" onto a wall or other flat surface, a Doctor Who themed cookbook and Doctor Who Post-it Notepads, and even a ThinkGeek gift certificate from my grandparents!  (As in the ones I visited while on holiday over Thanksgiving)  And my half-Vulcan father got a hippopotamus for Christmas!  W00t for Dad!  Anyways, thank you!  I really appreciate it, family!

            But that's not what I'm here for.  If you're a dedicated Whovian like myself, you probably watched the Doctor Who Christmas special that night.  I, too, watched it with my Whovian parents.  And I decided, you know what?  I'm going to review this one, too!


            It wasn't that long ago that the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special episode titled "The Day of the Doctor" was broadcast all across Earth.  For many, it was epic, surely one of Steven Moffat's better episodes.  We nerds surely expected the Christmas special to be able to at least hold even a birthday candle to it.
            Unfortunately, that was not the case.  Despite being 90 minutes long (including commercial breaks), anyone would've thought that Moffat would be able to whip out another ball-busting episode that would explain so much.  Instead, this one feels half-assed.  Well, perhaps not half-assed; more like 3/5-assed.  It feels like a college essay that I would manage to bullshit together at the very last minute before class.

            First of all, the intro part wasn't really done well.  The narration that explains what is going on makes the scene feel out of place, about as out-of-place as that Cyberman head.  I understand that, in the episode, there is a signal that is being broadcast to everyone in the Whoniverse who has space travel, and they all came to take a look, but it would've been more believable to me to have the Doctor detect it on his instruments and actively track it to Trenzalore on screen, only to discover that many of his enemies have gathered there.  The nudity part was a little humorous (because I'm still a little immature), but the Christmas dinner scenes just make it very confusing, with the turkey and the family and such.  It doesn't really fit in there, despite the hilarious scene of the Doctor and Clara talking about using the sonic screwdriver on the turkey, only to need a time machine on it.

            Not to mention that even though Mother Superius Tasha of the Church of the Papal Mainframe was gorgeous and amazing (even as a transformed humanoid Dalek), many of the different alien races were there for the sole purpose of being fillers; according to Dad, they didn't contribute to the storyline very much, especially the Cybermen, the Weeping Angels and the Sontarans.  It was hilarious to see the Doctor arrive on a saucer of Daleks brandishing the eyestalk only to go, "Oops!  Wrong ship!"  and then do it again with the Cybermen and Handles the Cyberman head, but it served very little purpose other than to make us laugh.  At least, we finally learned about Madame Kovarian's radical members of the Silence movement, who were once members of the Church of the Papal Mainframe, and what the creepy memory-fucking aliens really were.  But even explaining things didn't help this episode.

            There were plotholes that needed filling, like the technology barricade thing that the TARDIS could sneak through, Clara whispering into the crack to the Time Lords on Gallifrey asking to help him, etc.  And on top of that, it seems that Moffat was trying to make this installment BIG, but the episode wound up being too big in the efforts of being epic that the episode's story Moffat was trying to tell wound up being lost and convoluted.  I get that time passed on Trenzalore for the Doctor, and he aged, and that, technically, he used up all his regenerations, but the crack in the skin of reality making a reappearance is just pointless, and it doesn't help at all.  I mean, come on!  Moffat was grabbing bits and pieces from previous episodes and patching it all together into a Christmas episode, stretching it out over 90 minutes (again, including commercial breaks) and, disappointingly, it didn't work; Moffat had excellent episodes in his portfolio (Blink being one of them) but this episode is more along the lines of that WiFi episode with the Great Intelligence, and the episode with the black cubes--disappointingly shitty.  No wonder all the haters and critics chased him off of Twitter.

            However, I will be honest: I'll miss Matt Smith.  This charming Frankenstein-headed actor won me over with Doctor 11's final moments.  I mean, to have his thoughts go back to Amelia Pond, who appears to have been played by another little girl, not Karen Gillan's cousin (Really?!  You couldn't get her so you substituted in some other ginger-haired little girl with her face obscured by a child's drawings?!  Another point taken away there, Moffat!), is very touching.  But the tears finally fell when adult Amy came to him in his imagination, and said to him, "Raggedy Man, good night."  It really got to me at that point, how his mother-in-law companion (a person he really connected with, loved and cared for) said "Good night" to him before his regeneration finally completed itself.  It's like the Ood singing Tennant's Doctor to "sleep."  It just means a lot to have someone do that for you as a sort of farewell, especially if you're the last of the Time Lords in that particular Whoniverse and (almost) all alone.

            But the regeneration scenes were stupid in this episode.  I mean, to have the Doctor shoot down Dalek fighters and a saucer with his regeneration starfish of energy is pretty ridiculous, but to have that happen, reboot his youthfulness and then stop just before he changes faces is illogical.  Tennant did it right: he visited all of his companions and friends before retreating to his TARDIS, saying, "I don't want to go," and then assuming the starfish position and regenerating.  But it's stupid to do the major starfish of POWAHHHH then stop it, and then change faces very quickly, so quickly that it was like, you snap your fingers and it's done--it could've been done better; it should've been done differently, to not have the flow of that part of the story be all jerky with going and stopping and going and stopping, but rather be continuous instead of confusing.

            Right now, I don't trust Capaldi as the Doctor just yet.  In a sense, each actor the Doctor regenerates into has to earn that name on screen.  It's like, you see the Doctor you fell in love with regenerate into this weirdass stranger you don't trust or know, but later on in that actor's first full episode, you can see them BE the Doctor, at which point you say, "Yes!  That's definitely him!  That's the Doctor right there!  Welcome to the show!"  He has to go through that, instead of just being some old fogey grandfather you don't really like.  You know, that grandfather you have, who says things like, "My kidneys!  I don't like their color!"  (What color do you want them to be, Capaldi?  GINGER?!  Do you want Ginger kidneys?!)  I understand the plan (according to my half-Vulcan father) is that Capaldi doesn't wind up being the Doctor for too long (perhaps for a single series, like Eccleston).  But I do hope that the series continues as long as it can go on.  I also hope that Neil Gaiman writes more episodes for Doctor Who; he should've written this one because it'd be over 9,000 times better!

            I do believe I know how the series finale's ending will go.  Here, I'll share it with you.  But you might want to take several steps back and hold tight to your socks, lunch and nuts because this is the part that will be better than Twilight
At long last, it's the Doctor's final living moments.  He knows he is about to finally die, having used up all of his regenerations long ago, over thousands of years.  He's seen stars form and die, entire populations be born and wiped out, friends and family take both their first and their last breaths.  He's married, loved and lost people he remembers quite vividly.  Rose Tyler, Donna Noble, Sara Jane Smith, Amy and Rory Pond, Clara Oswald, each one seeming to whisper their gratitude and love into his ear, despite that it's only air occupying the space next to his head.  With each ragged breath, he grows more weary, knowing that he has mere moments to set things right.  He sees a crack in the wall, the same crack he saw on these same fields of Trenzalore he fought on to defend the helpless residents of Christmas, emanating a beautiful golden light, almost seeming to come from some sort of heavenly afterlife, and he remembers his people, his home, Gallifrey, which he saved by stashing it away into a pocket universe.  At that moment, he remembers what he has to do.  The question is asked through the crack--"Doctor WHO?" to which he responds with a very quiet unintelligible whisper.  The question is asked again--"Doctor WHO?"--and he realized that he wasn't loud enough.  He lifts his head, takes a deep breath and finally says his name, his real name, the name he kept guarded all those years, and… it felt good, like the weight of his secret was lifted off his shoulders.  The ages-old question that echoes across the universe is asked one more time--"Doctor WHOOOO?"  Frustrated, the last of the Time Lords of Gallifrey shouts his real name, bellowing it with every last fiber of his being, unlocking the seals he so carefully placed to protect his home world.  The planets tremble, the sky is ripped apart, and an orb emerges.  Gallifrey has returned to the skies, the final act of kindness the Doctor was able to bestow unto reality during his life, using his last breath to save the people who waited for the moment to return, while the ghosts of his past companions look on, smiling tearfully, before turning and disappearing into the ether.  The Doctor is dead, but his memory will live on forever, having touched billions of lives with his kindness, humor, ferocity & love.

            How's THAT for writing, Moffat?!  Of course, nobody is allowed to repost, reprint, etc. etc, without express written permission from me.  (This includes you, Google and journalists!)

            Anyways, that's all I can come up with.  Yes, there are a few moments where The Time of the Doctor was pretty good, but overall, it seems like it was a failing effort to explain where the Silence came from, the whole story and reasoning behind the question that should not be answered for at least another 20 years or so, and it was really one of Moffat's floppier episodes.  He could've been writing for Sherlock at the same time, and was possibly fairly distracted, but I do wish that he does better for any more episodes he writes for any show, including Sherlock.

            Rating: 3/10 stars

            Merry Christmas!  And Dalekmas!  And Sithmas!  And Merry Kwanzaa!  I hope you had as much fun as I did and I hope next year will be better!  Get ready for the new year, because it should be epic!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Music Mixtape--Mix It Up This Year

            NOTE: This blog post will not have a theme song, but rather multiple songs embedded via YouTube for you to sample what I believe would be the foundations for a better playlist for Christmas.  Also, I know it's another verbose blog post but hear me out: it's well worth it!

            Well, it's the time of the year again, where people purchase presents for other people in their lives, other people volunteer to help the homeless and hungry, cats fuck around with Christmas trees, retail businesses go nuts over Christmas sales, and radio stations keep playing cheesy music for the holiday season.

            It doesn't matter if you celebrate Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or whatever else you feel like celebrating at Christmas (Halloween?  Because you're cool like that?), those songs on the radio get extremely annoying.  When my family and I were spending Christmas in New Jersey (part of my territory, Daleks), I'd be lucky to just pass out from exhaustion on the car ride home.  Lately, since I've been getting into music, it's been so annoying to hear those songs over and over.  I'd be like, "Can we PLEASE put on some fucking techno already?!"  Of course, that's only in my head, and since my mother tends to be only a little telepathic, she can't just instantly read my mind anytime she wants or whenever I want her to.  It'd get insane!  And violent and vulgar!  And Hulk-like angry!  *cringe*
            But the irritation got worse when I was working in retail at a store that does a lot of seasonal stuff: the Christmas Tree Shops (run by Bed Bath & Beyond).  I'm not a fan of working in retail at that place, and I don't plan on doing it again anytime soon, but the station that the place was tuned in to, I swear, only plays like, 10 tracks on repeat.  So it's the same songs over and over and over again.  I had to resort to bleaching my brain with some Swedish death metal songs as soon as I got home, just to get all of that holiday cheer out of my ears!  That plus those particular stations playing some super cheesy sounding Christmas songs like "Little Drummer Boy," and various renditions of "Silent Night" that tends to make your conscience vibrate with pain when certain notes get overplayed and over-enunciated is enough to get a Nerd/Nerdist like myself curl into a ball and pray to whatever deities are out there to make it end RIGHT THEN before they start wishing they asked for a chainsaw that they could use to destroy the fucking radio (FM, AM, Satellite--who cares?!) in a frenzied fit of "PLEASE, JUST MAKE IT STOOOOP!"

            Not to worry!  I'm here to help you create a playlist that is not only a little indie-ish (not so much mainstream stuff), but is updated enough to not sound like it was made to put little kids to sleep or have them sing in front of their parents and siblings at their Catholic school's Christmas pageant.  I can give you options and sources for music that will not drive you insane, but instead prompt the usual rhythmic head-nodding that badasses use while they listen to their badass music!

            So, let's start with a couple of bands that people will appreciate this holiday season--as long as it got played a lot more!  (I hope that those aforementioned radio stations are reading this blog post!)

Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Definition of Badass Christmas Music

            My parents and I enjoy Mannheim Steamroller because they tend to be a bit of a pioneer when it comes to doing electro-rock Christmas music.  Songs like "Celebration," and two different versions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (where the comma is important to identify which is which), as well as some movie-sounding ball-busting chords of "Carol of the Bells" just making that particular song my favorite Christmas "carol".  If you don't like Steamroller, then it sounds like you're a traditionalist Christmas idiot, who believes that the Christmas holiday genre only has room for music made for kids to sing at pageants of the Nativity.  Or "Dominic the Donkey," which is one of those songs that I wish was never made to sing; I had to sing it and it just…. *shudders, violent screams of donkey-cide*  NO ITALIAN CHRISTMAS DONKEYS ALLOWED IN MY TERRITORY!  PEWPEWPEW!  #EXTERMINATE!  EXTERMINATE!!!  EXTERMINAAAATE!!!!!!!!

            Ooops!  *noms on chocolate truffles*  Soorry!  *swallows*  I went a little overboard on insanity there; it's best to keep it under a certain level, like 3.14159265358979……  (Pi for Christmas--get it?)

Anyways, if you don't like this version of Carol of the Bells, you deserve to be evicted out of my land!

And how can you not like their take on Deck the Halls?

            But, if anyone is a stickler for keeping songs up to date (like I tend to be, as long as it's not Mariah Carey butchering certain ballads with overdone vocalizations and *shuddershudder*  BEEBS being that tween magnet by making songs for the season for the sole purpose of making the record labels money), they might also enjoy Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  This is THE rock band for Christmas.  THE musical artists who should do a show in MY area providing that ticket prices are reasonable and the location is not too far from me to the point where I have to wield my imaginary driver's license and drive my imaginary car (a Lotus Elise or Bugatti Veyron--I CAN DREAM BIG!) to the location.  (Translation: I can't drive!)  Though, a TARDIS would most certainly be useful in that situation, along with some psychic paper and 2 sonic screwdrivers--one mechanical and one alcoholic.

            Nevertheless, who can say no to their version of Carol of the Bells?  The version that makes me wish I can join an orchestra of my high school peers and knock everyone's socks off with my imaginary guitar shredding and minimal piano playing!  (*adds to life list draft "Perform Carol of the Bells with TSO at High School's auditorium named after my marching band director"*)

Also, I just went and searched "Trans-Siberian Orchestra" on YouTube and came up with this tune!  Ain't it just AWESOME?!

            Even Eddie the Educator Dalek informed me that TSO is his choice of seasonal listening!  Which means either I'm awesomely psychic or TSO is just that good!

However, TSO is not everyone's cup of hot chocolate (with whipped cream and/or marshmallows) which is why I'm digging deep into the interwebs to bring you some more of the better Christmas melodies that should be appreciated; it could be techno, trance, dubstep, rock, comedy, etc!  And if my parents follow along with these suggestions, it means I'm successful and should increase my Charisma by at least 0.5 in my Character Tome!  (That's right, Dad, not everyone wants to listen to the Dr. Demento Christmas show you have on tape/CD/your computer.  Please keep it away from me this year.)

Carillon of the Bells: A Cast In Bronze Feature

            If you do not like either version of Carol of the Bells I've listed above, you might rather prefer having a bunch of bells do it properly, along with a piano, drums, bass, and perhaps a rhythm guitar line.  For that, I bring you the works of my tweep Cast In Bronze.

What's amazing is that not only is this the second traveling carillon he has (the first incarnation was, at the time, the only one in the world that could hit the road and wow people to the point where they #fansquirrel over him a little; hey, can you blame me?  I first saw him at the awesomely awesome Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire!  He performs at Musikfest EVERY YEAR!), it was mostly blind luck (mixed with circumstantial luck) that gave Frank DellaPenna the opportunity to make his "wish" come true and bring the miracles of a carillon to a modern audience.  He was even able to compete on (or perform at) the show America's Got Talent!

            Not only that, it seems that he's also performed at Epcot!  THAT'S DISNEY FUCKING WORLD!  (Cue Dad's Vulcan-like nerdgasm where he talks about how people who don't work for Disney can perform in the parks with a difficult "audition process", and points out that even my sister with our high school marching band was able to march in the Spectromagic parade in Disney World, before partaking in the ginormous halftime show at the Gator Bowl.)  He's just all around Nerdist awesomeness, taking his music Nerdiness and making something epic out of those skills.

The Twelve Days of Christmas That Tire Us Out

            I know you know of the tune the 12 Days of Christmas, and I know that you know that the person's true love gave to them in rich Victorian fashion, 11 Lords a'leaping, Eight maids a'milking, 5 Golden (hula-hoop) rings, and a menagerie of various exotic and expensive birds.  (I know I'm wrong!  That's because not everyone remembers all the 12 things in the right order!)  But not everyone's keen about singing how their significant other got them 364 total gifts over the course of 12 days, that, by the way, needs a shit ton of storage and upkeep and boarding and what-not.  (If you were on the Faroe Islands, it'd be 15 days of different items!  Source: Wikipedia)  Which is why I bring to you 3 hilarious variations of this song!  Not 1!  Not 2, but THREE!  First, there's the classy Bob and Doug take on the traditional tune that gets a uniquely original hippie manly twist on the original lyrics:

Ain't that classy?  "A beer….in a tree!"  (*makes mental note to get Dad's favorite beer that is not Foster's, and tie a chilled can of it to the trunk of the Christmas tree with a bow tacked on top*)

            If you're too young to know of Bob and Doug McKenzie, but are not too young to listen to the radio (which is like TV but without the pretty moving lights and Internet without the interactivity), I'm sure you've heard of the "12 Gifts of Christmas" by Allan Sherman, which is my personal favorite!  Who wouldn't want a Japanese transistor radio and calendars with the name of their insurance agent?!

I love this song!  I also crave to perform it in front of a live audience at my high school with an entire adult choir!  (*also adds to life list draft*)

            Yet, if you can't stand Christmas altogether, imagine (if you would) that it's already Boxing Day and you're singing Bob Rivers' version to yourself about the 12 Pains of Christmas and how you got through them all with the grace of a drunk Mother Theresa!

Classy!  Very classy!  I suggest you pick one and laugh your knitted socks off when it comes up on your playlist!  (If you don't like any of them, try this Indian version!)

Christmas Dubstep--Because It Ain't Cool Enough Without These Chewns!

            Ah, drum-n-bass, that genre that can also be called dubstep and furthermore piss Deadmau5 the trolltastic EDM producer off.  It's a bad sign when people's mothers gets confused about what genre is what and you have to explain the difference between techno and dubstep, but when you listen to it, it's like a temporal brain bleach that helps get the real life frustrations and the expired sounds I've described above in the intro out of your short-term memory.  Which is why I've included two songs here that should be added to every Christmas season playlist.  (If you don't know how to enjoy dubstep, try this "how to dance to dubstep if you're…" video and this other video of a child doing bassface!)

            Who said that Christmas had to be Merry?!  Tim Burton taught us that it can be Scary as well, with his stop-motion animation film The Nightmare Before Christmas!  And that is the tone I'm bringing to the Christmas playlist soundscape, by adding Hedegaard's "Scary Christmas"!  And make sure to pump up the volume on this one, enough to make your eardrums vibrate like the speakers at a rock concert!

            And why does the Little Drummer Boy have to be all properly "Pah-rum-pah-pum-pum"?  Hmm?  Why can't this kid….be a fetus with a mohawk and the mad skillz to make the beats all sick dubstep beats?  Hmm?  At one point, my dad was sampling various versions of Little Drummer Boy and one version stuck out: a dubstep version called "Little Drummer Fetus"!  If you're hitting up the EDM/EBM soundscape, you might as well add this to your playlist!

That's right, wonderful readers, feel my interwebz bass (the kind that's very hard to track down)!

Give It To Me: Straight No Chaser

            It wasn't until recent years that Straight No Chaser has brought my family fresher versions of traditional songs that we can all enjoy together!  They managed to get record deals from simply having their performances go viral on the Interwebz and since then, rocketed onto the music scene as the equally cool a capella version of the awesome Cast In Bronze!  They do stick to the music sheets, but there are songs out there where they were able to add their own twist to the music!  Here's one example: the 12 Days of Christmas!

And if you want something original, how about the equally funny but totally original Christmas Can-Can?!  It not only touches on the commercialism of Christmas but also Jewish traditions!

Some of the members of SNC also come from within my territory!  WOOHOO!  That makes Straight No Chaser my HOMEBOYS!  Lol, sort of!  But at least my parents are in possession of one legal copy of their CD and I hope to listen to it again this Christmas!  That is, in addition to the songs I'm listing here!  Get it, parents?  I don't want a repeat of traumatic childhoods or retail experiences!

Last Christmas I Gave My Listening Skill Points to Benny Benassi

            Hey, look!  It's the Bennassi clan!  You know, the Benassi Bros.?  The two cousins of the Benassis that spread out all over Europe with their badass Italian dance group and EDM production skills?  Okay, fine!  If you haven't heard of Marco "Benny" Benassi, he's like, the Neil Gaiman of music production!  (They even look alike!  :O  Le GASP!  COULD ONE BE THE CLONE OF THE OTHER?!?!?!  #nerdyconspiracies)  And if you haven't heard of the tune "Last Christmas" that Wham did previously, I suggest you get your head out from under that rock and take a listen.  I've already had to listen to it over and over and over again while working retail and I was ready to get back to hiding under that rock again from it--that is, before I heard Benny Benassi's remix ofthe tune!

It gives me hope that the Christmas soundscape isn't just jingling bells and people caroling gayly and sleigh rides throughout the Christmas-decorated village of ye olde times (or kids farting on Santa's lap--that song totally exists, readers!  Take a listen!).  Not that there's anything wrong with it.  Like I said, that scene is really not my cup of gourmet mint hot chocolate.

            Hopefully, I've given you some modern options for this holiday season.  Disclaimer: This blog post isn't the rulebook for the ultimate music playlist of all Christmas seasons ever.  Instead, it's a guide to providing a foundation of epicness that can only be completed by you.  That's right!  You can tailor-make your playlist for this holiday season!  In Morpheus terms, I've shown you the door (hallway), but only you can be the one to walk through it.

            With that said, I hope you have an excellent Christmas season this year!  And Kwanzaa!  Oh, and Happy Yule to all my Pagan readers!  If you wish to share your own (non-traditional non-mainstream) favorites, feel free to share them and I'll see about adding them onto next year's entry!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Update on Multiple Topics--Good Things Await Me!

            Today's theme song is Strobe (Extended) by Deadmau5.

            In case you've been missing me, I'M STILL HERE!  Don't worry, I just didn't have much in the way of topics to blog about, and I had a lot of real life to deal with.  Inspections, going on holiday over Thanksgiving week, being snarky and silly on Monday, managing a more normal schedule after being trained by the parents--I've been quite busy, as you can tell.

            I think this blog will be very verbose, so I'll do a summary of it here, in case you decided to be all "Too long; didn't read," to me:

Ø  I passed the annual inspections overall--AND YOU CAN TOO!
Ø  I had a ton of crazy fun (with a little drama) while on holiday in Pittsburgh and in Virginia (Richmond area, that's all you need to know).
Ø  I was snarky earlier this week; it's like Darth Hater was in charge of Karma that day, at least to me.  But that's the thought process I'm trying to delete from my brain banks.
Ø  I'm working on a life list; I ran out of ideas on my third page, so I'll consider any suggestions y'all might have.

         Okay on the summary?  Cool, stay tuned for previews of upcoming blog posts I plan on posting soon!  (Just to make you scroll through it all!  MWAHAHAHAHA!)  Want more info?  READ THE POST! >:F

Inspections: When You Wish You Had an Ood Servant

            If you've never lived on your own (or with a roommate) in an apartment (and I'm assuming most of you did rent an apartment), you must know this for when you do rent one:

Most landlords expect you to keep your apartment clean, bug- and mold- and damage-free, safe, functional, and able to meet their expectations.  They would even go so far to include it in your lease agreement and "house rules".  If you do not clean it when it comes time for them to do the annual inspections that almost all of the cities require, YOU CAN BE EVICTED!

            I have the clean-safe-healthy-functional clause in my lease, and in the past, I have failed the first round of inspections.  It's embarrassing for that to happen, and even landed me on the building's "suspect list."
            Not a good list to be on.  (Then again, being on any suspect list is a bad thing.)

            But I was able to address it this year, with the help of my loving, patient parents who tend to be overprotective of me even when I'm out of their house.  And it helped when we were on holiday, because I didn't wind up wrecking the place like I am wont to do (OCD and Asperger's issues; it's where change isn't a good thing, unless I change the apartment myself.  I know it's frustrating but now I'm more willing to accept the help.  Plus, total organization will take a while, and I can be the one who decides how to organize the place.)

            However, on Thursday, December 5th, 2013, just before 10am, the manager and someone who is probably from the Department or Bureau of Housing and Urban Development, showed up at my apartment.  I felt that I was as prepared as I could be, so I let them in (which is important!  Not letting them in means you have something to hide!).  I could see that Brad (the manager) was surprised and pleased (in his usual Brad way, with a straight face--I shit you not, he could pass as one of those guards outside of Buckingham Palace), and that I had a high chance of passing.  Albeit, he noted that I had to organize the closets and the entertainment center shelves, do laundry and clean the toilet's outside ceramic skin, but I still passed overall.  And of course, I called people and texted people saying, "OMG, I THINK I PASSED!  YAYS!  #SQUEE!"

            But to address the long-term issue of organization is quite difficult, which is why I was questing for a specific book while on holiday.  The Nerdist Way by Chris "BigC" Hardwick is perhaps the best chance for me to solve this problem, because even though I'm a nerd, this book can show me how to be organized and more together--by being a nerd and, even better, a Nerdist (a Nerd who uses their nerdy skills to create things and make positive contributions to the world).  I haven't had much luck in finding it in specific bookstores (The Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble I went to didn't have it in stock--Thanks a lot, guys. -_-) and I'm like, "I FAILED!"  Which really sucks and makes you question whether the people running these stores have the common sense to keep this book in stock for anyone who heard about it and is willing to track it down (like me!).
            However, someone on Twitter has offered to send me an unsigned copy and I was unsure.  That's when I had two offers at once: one from Twitter from a kind stranger saying, "I have multiple unsigned copies," to which I'm like, "YOU COULD'VE HAD THEM SIGNED?!  *dies, but is willing to reanimate as a zombie solely for the purpose of obtaining Big C's signature*" and one from my very good friend who's currently (at the time of publishing this post) living in North Carolina.  He says, "Here, it's a Christmas present."  My response: "Great!  Thank you!  Now, what can I get you that can be equal or greater in value to your gift to me?  Comic books?  Artwork?  ThinkGeek stuff?  BUTTENS?"  Thanks, Jesse, and I hope to complete and send you my Christmas gift to you before you move to the cheesy State of Wisconsin. (#badpuns)

            Note: Mom, Dad, calm down; he's neutral-good!  He'll never stalk and rape and kill me.  Not everyone on the internet is a creeper.  So, BREATHE and have some chocolate or brownies!

Pittsburgh Business Family Road Trip: When Car Rides Make You Feel Like a Trapped Marshmallow

            I hope to be as brief as possible: The Thursday before we left (normal Thursday before Thanksgiving), we cleaned the shit out of the apartment (literally and figuratively) and I stayed over at my parents' place.  Friday, we left a little bit late, headed over to Pittsburgh.  Traffic was crazy bad, and I'm like, "DESIGN YER ROADS BETTERS, ENGINEERS!"  For lunch, I tried Wendy's Bacon Mushroom Melt; it needs more beef.  We got to the hotel (all suites in old apartment buildings), and we had to lug our suitcases up the stairs because of no elevator.  As soon as my sister was free from other obligations, we had barbeque, alcohol and fun!  Saturday was Doctor Who day, and we hit up the Creative Reuse store beforehand and went crazy; I recommend the place to everybody with a creative imagination and the crafting skills (and XP) to redo almost anything.  Watched Doctor Who about 2 or 3 times; it started snowing, and it got pretty bad so we ordered pizza delivery.  That was the only time I allowed an exception to my rule of not consuming Papa John's (for political reasons and personal preference; but I would've said "FUCK YEAH!" to Pizza Hut).

            We had pancakes and latkes at the Original Pancake House (which was delicious and beautiful but very crowded), dinner at Chili's, and a bet going on.  The bet was that the sibling who has the messier apartment (judged by the parents) has to wear a dress without pants; stockings and shorts, yes, but not pants.  Unfortunately, my sister called it off because it would've been too cold for a dress; secretly, I think it's because she knew she lost and didn't want to wear the dress.  That's my sis for ya: hipster-crafty-sly nutcase who loves me.

            On our way to Virginia, we stopped at a Roy Rogers (which is where I found out bitchmode was engaged), before continuing on.  One petrol refill and a pit stop (bathroom break) later, we were facing bad traffic; there was traffic from an accident, and the traffic caused another accident.  It was like, "WHAT THE FUCK?!"  I swore it almost resembled my standing in line in order to stand in line for standing in yet another line for Parafest 2013.  Visited my grandfather, who was doing pretty well.  I had a small Thanksgiving dinner with him, enjoyed chocolate cream pie, hot chocolate, some donuts, some spoilage, etc, before we headed home, with a side trip to an Easy Spirit store and Pepperidge Farm outlet store that sells overstock and dinner at Red Robin with endless root beer floats!

            My rating: 87% pleasant overall!

I Brought Out the Snark: My Annoyance Sounds Like Stand-Up Material

            Frustrations piled up on top of each other this past Monday, to the point where I decided to bring out the snark.  It was mostly silly snarky stuff that only made me lose 2 followers, who wound up being losers.  Which is a win for me: I HAVE GENUINE FOLLOWERS!  Some of which might be dead accounts.
            So, for your enjoyment, here's a couple of the tweets I posted:

I ENJOYED MY BURRITO!  Because It Was An Excellent Day!

            Technically, it was a couple of Eden-tastic tacos, but Wednesday was truly an excellent day, with lunch at Moe's southwestern grille.  Oh, and Mom danced in the street.  It was an agreement between the two of us, but it was very satisfying; but she also said that once my apartment gets even better, she'll do a better dance in the street--QUEST ACCEPTED, MOTHER!
            For anyone not in the loop, "enjoying your burrito" is a Nerdist thing: it stemmed from the Rainn Wilson podcast episode and it talks about living in the moment.  I suggest you give it a listen, because it can really help you get a new spiritual perspective on life (Wilson really is very spiritual, which is probably why he does Soul Pancakes--A YouTube thing I don't pay attention to.  He's actually insightful and pretty cool, though!)

Life List: Because My Life Needs More to It Than Managing My Dwelling

            If you have been paying attention to my Twitter feed on Thursday (Dec. 5 2013), you'll notice that I've been trying to put together a life list.  It's kind of like a bucket list but a little bit different.  The best way to describe it is with Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson's tweet.  Yes, she replied to me--#SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!  I did fansquirrel a little at that moment, so THANK YOU, JENNY!

            So, for example, if I wanted to go to Japan on a trip and do various things, and someone decides to sponsor the trip (like a tourism board, por examplar), I can do it--but I'll have to write about it, like on the site that allows people to share their stories from the trip, and perhaps a blog post.  The Bloggess did one with Australia, and it sounded like fun, if frolicking in a continent-country that started out as a British penal colony and is now home to megaspiders (*shuddershudder*) is fun.  But the haunted places are interesting!  Not to mention I could also hang with my YouTube buddy The Fat Aussie Barstard. (NSFW NSFK)

            Yes, a 23 year old hanging with a cursing old man--that isn't creepy at all.  #sarcasm  (Stated for Mom and Dad if they're reading this.)

            So, with the idea of having new things to blog about (and to make my life and my blog more interesting), I figured I could draft up my own life list before submitting it.  I managed to make it to page 3 before running out of ideas…  Let me know what you think…

Ø  Ride horseback through Sleepy Hollow as the Headless Horseman of Washington Irving's tales on Halloween Night (big idea, possible; I've even ridden horses before…but not at full gallop! >_< but it would make an epic birthday present!)
Ø  Investigate a haunted location with my sister, her boyfriend (which is optional) and the Ghost Adventures Crew (I know of a few that are in my area.  It's just a question of them saying yes or no; and when I say, "them," I mean both the sibling party and the GAC.)
Ø  Do some modeling sort of photoshoots:
v At Columncile (or however it's spelled; The Bloggess' Red Dress thing?)
v At Greyfriars Cemetery in Edinburgh, Scotland
v In the Graveyard District of New Orleans, Louisiana (in character?)
v Steampunk/Industrial style (perhaps my own designs?) inside an old abandoned/not-in-use-since-100-years-ago warehouse or factory.
v Goth style inside of a Gothic nightclub or cathedral; one that SHOULD have a throne in it, and a fancy-looking goblet.  Details, details!
v Poe-inspired in the Parisian Catacombs
Ø  Visit France (Paris, Mont-St-Michel, Monaco, the Catacombs of Paris, etc.)
Ø  Own a truly haunted item (without the negative energies, preferably)
Ø  Throw, and DJ at, a legal and safe rave (with new Tripp pants that fit me)
Ø  Visit Chernobyl with my Russian Internet friend Yuri
Ø  Help Mom feed penguins!  (Because I love her!)
Ø  Dress Dad up as Spock and attend conventions with him. (For shits and giggles)
Ø  Attend a proper ball with Benedict Cumberbatch (from Sherlock; SQUEEGASMIC!)
Ø  Beat the Halo Tricks peeps (especially CMNeir and Tacoriffic) at Halo and League of Legends.  And traditional UNO, just because!
Ø  Attend the Olympics, PAX Prime, PAX East, E3, San Diego Comic Con, Parafest, and Scarefest (with VIP passes to the cons, preferably)
Ø  Visit Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, stay at a traditional inn, visit the hanging forests, get the samurai and geisha experiences, get a kimono, etc.  Smuggle their rice out of the country.)
Ø  Visit the Vatican with Mom; meet and receive a blessing from the Pope
Ø  Get locked inside with the Cardinals during Conclave (swingability questionable; if we could do it, then MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!)
Ø  Have my art hang in the Capitol and the White House (again, questionable)
Ø  Go inside the Fort Knox "gold safe" (would need to deal with getting POTUS's permission and stuff.)
Ø  Go inside Area 51 without getting shot and/or killed and/or arrested
Ø  Get an official family crest and tartan, perhaps even a tapestry
Ø  Get a full loom so I can start up weaving again (ain't cheap, y'all!)

            I think life lists should be longer than this, I really do.  Which is why I'm going to consider suggestions from you, my wonderful readers!  Just comment on the Google+ post's thread with the hashtag #LifeListSuggestions or, if you're on Twitter, just tweet @LadyEden1337 with the same hashtag, #LifeListSuggestions.  As for Facebook, you can leave a comment on the Facebook link post's comment section--but only if we're friended, and I reserve the right to ignore friend requests from people I think might be creepers.

            Don't worry, that's just the legitimate paranoia talking.  I also plan on doing a ton of blog posts soon, once I get them drafted (because it's faster than typing it straight into Blogger; it took an hour to do the Doctor Who review straight onto my parents' laptop):
Ø  A review of the all-suite hotel I stayed at while on holiday
Ø  Christmas shopping/crafting gift ideas
Ø  A Christmas music mixtape for those of us who are sick of the songs on the radio stations that only play Christmas music this time of the year
Ø  A review of The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick
Ø  Blog post drafts that I never got to publishing yet (maybe)
Ø  The usual other reviews, rants and updates

Which brings us to the point where I leave you wishing for more of my excellent words!  Don't worry, I'll still be on the Interwebz, tweeting and watching videos and perusing the megabytes of delicious nerdtastic awesomeness that make up the ThinkGeek and EntertainmentEarth websites.  If not, I'll be reading that book and figuring out my life with Hardwick's help, along with Jesse and my sister and her boyfriend if I get confused by the roleplaying character creation stuff.  (You don't mind, do you?  Providing you're not busy or sick or asleep?  Please? ♥ )

            Anyways, I shall leave you to enjoy this Lolcat picture, and until the next post gets published, ENJOY YOUR BURRITO!  Or taco or nachos or pizza or cake or pie!  Or whatever else it is that you love to consume by inserting it into your mouth-hole, masticating and digesting it!

            P.S. I'm also working on getting back to taking my medications.  I've noticed that I'm happier and less angry and I curse less in my blogs while I'm medicated.  Anti-antidepressant peoples, here's the reason why I should take them--If I do not take them, I'll be like this kitteh here:

I rest my case.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Celebrating the Time Lord's Genesis: A Review of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special Episode

Today's theme song is The Doctor's Theme/Next Stop Everywhere

        After a long and agonizing wait, the day finally arrives.  It's not just any old day.  School day, business day, the Sabbath?  No, not at all!  A birthday?  Well, yes, for Chris Hardwick (Happy Birthday, nerd bro!), but that's not the point!  Today belongs to a science fiction icon.  It's named after him, and, fittingly enough, it lands on his favorite day of the week!
       For today (Saturday, November 23, 2013) is actually.....


       Exactly 50 years ago today, a science fiction program named Doctor Who was born, the brainchild of Sydney Newman, which then grew up, died and regenerated over 12 (going on 13 times--John Hurt's War Doctor counts!) faces!  It gave a new definition to innocence, danger, time and space, and especially danger.  And so, to celebrate, I'm doing my usual REVIEW!  What else would I be doing?

Actually, it's 2 reviews in one blog post, one being spoiler-free for the people who have yet to watch this epic episode, and the other is for the ones who already watched it or just don't give a fuck.

So here we go, the review that I actually wrote down during the episode, which means that it's my real-time in the moment reaction to the special.

Spoiler-Free Review

       Huh. :O Oooh!  LOL!  Oh my gosh!  SQUEE!  Le gasp!  I want that Moment box--or a replica of it!  LOL again!  Ooooh!!  Whoa.  BWAHHHH!!!!!  Hahaheeheehee!  HA!  ROFL!  So that's where that came from....  EEWWW!  OH SHIT!  Heh!  ROFL, round things!  SQUEEGASM!  Little giggle.....  Aww!  Huge squeal!  WHOOOOAAAAAA!!!!!  Meta squee!  Le gasp!  Jaw drop!

       And of course, NERDING MY PANTS!  SUPER AWESOME!

       Now, for the more detailed review--so SPOILER ALERT!


Actual Review With Some Spoilers

       Well, if you've already seen it, congratulations!  Together, throughout 94 countries across 6 continents, we Whovians have all recreated the climax of Last of the Time Lords!  (Series 3, with David Tennant and Freema Agyeman)  Nothing can be more meta than that!

       Anyways, I was quite fortunate to watch it during that very broadcast at 2:50pm EST with my parents!  And to be honest, we were quite surprised to see that they used the old Doctor Who opening to kick off the transmission!  It was quite a sweet tribute!  And then, we have Clara, back to normal--I think.  How the HELL did the Doctor get her from that little temporal bubble thing where she passes out and he carries her away?  How did they get out of that?!  I'm more confused than a skunk on a black-and-white tiled floor!
       Thanks, Moffat, for that little plothole!

       But now, we've got John Hurt's War Doctor (who supposedly did something drastic to the race of the Time Lords), Doctor Tennant and Doctor Smith gallavanting about together!  What nerd wouldn't dream of that?!  And when we saw Tennant and Smith interacting with each other, pulling out the sonic screwdrivers and saying the same things at the same time, we were giggling and laughing.  And it made sense, knowing that they are the same person from different points in time!  Though, I've always dreamed how it would be: will they bicker at each other?  Will they have their companions meet each other?  Obviously, the companions never met, so, oh well.....

       But so many questions were answered, and if you've seen The Big Bang (Series 5 with Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill), make sure that you brace yourself: a similar bit of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey thing is going on, and it could be a little....bendy-wendy?  Not to mention that you could get headaches from that craziness, so make sure you have some painkillers on hand.

       The Daleks are also back, but they don't have a very strong presence in the story, despite the sheer size of the army attacking Gallifrey; they were more of a phantom threat, in a sense.  Like, they were a problem to be solved later on.  And has anyone noticed how it was the old Dalek casings?  This is, obviously, due to the Time War taking place long before Victory of the Daleks, which is where they get regenerated with the help of a progenator.  Oh well, my condolences to my Dalek tweeps!

       But seriously, to have the synchronicity going on between the three Doctors (three-fold man from Journey's End, anyone?) is quite clever, and awesome, and it just really tickles your nerd bits!

      I enjoyed Billie Piper as the sentient interface for The Moment, and she did really, really well!  She's got talent, that's for sure; I saw her in Shakespeare Retold's Much Ado About Nothing.  But the outfit--FANTABULOUS!  Though the ugly boots could be replaced with some badass ones.....  But it's still awesome enough to wear to a con!

      So, to catch a ride with the Doctor, the Doctor and the War Doctor was certainly fun.  I'm sure my parents enjoyed it almost as much as I did.  And a ton of questions that were raised by the trailer (How many Doctors were there really?  What was the red jewel thing? [A BIG RED BUTTON!]  And what really happened to Gallifrey?)  Not to mention that having a little meta moment going on, with Doctor Tennant speaking to Doctor Smith--major tearjerking moment there for me, because I still miss Doctor Tennant!  And lastly, you can't help but really nerd your pants, especially with all of the Doctors in one place together, looking at Gallifrey at the same time.  I enjoyed it!  I really did, and I hope that sometime soon, the series will take us to Gallifrey (again, for all the more experienced Whovians).

      Oh, and there's a surprise guest in the episode!  Thank you Tom Baker for making the episode extra meta by taking up your role again!  But I'm still waiting on that 4-foot TARDIS cake!