Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Fun Times

It's the worst to have lots of ideas for blog posts and no time to write them down.

But here -- have a Welsh steam engine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Interesting Things

Anna and I are in the process of -- or recovering from -- taking our beloved kitty Gerry to the vet, so have some Things That Are Nifty.
And just to make sure you have a good midweek, one of the ravens from the Tower of London.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Photo Monday: Cats Being Cute

Cross-posted from the feminist librarian

Yesterday was a rainy autumn Sunday here in Boston, so in order to combat the rainy-day blues we assembled this post full of pictures of our cats being cute!
Teazle is undecided about sitting on shoulders
Human book shopping means paper bags for kittens to play in!
Gerry likes the advent of fleece bathrobe season.
Shortly after Hanna snapped this photograph Teazle tipped
right off the pillows onto the floor. So much for her Princess and
the Pea
imitation!
Gerry has become protective of our little one ... 
... or perhaps it's just long-suffering toleration!
Wishing you all a peaceful and productive week!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Fun Times

I was dubious about using this because it's my normal rule not to re-use songs where I don't understand the lyrics.

But then I thought, "So perfect for Friday!"

So I went and found translations and, well, it's an odd song, certainly, but no more offensive than your average run of English-language pop.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Short Thoughts: Horror on the Weekend

I rather liked doing a mass movie post last time so I'm going to try it again and see what happens.

I apologise for not having graphics or anything to make it look a bit spiffier but my home internet connection is currently so logey that Blogger is not reliable. Getting IMDB.com or a Google Image search to work at the same time is pretty much impossible. Even GMail has been hinky lately -- GMail, people!

Anyway.

The Omen. Everything is wrong with this movie. Gregory Peck? Wrong. Lee Remick? So wrong. The little no-neck chubby-faced demon kid? Super wrong. The dogs? Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. And yet... and yet.

It's not scary -- at least, not for me. I have friends who have informed me it was a totally traumatic experience for them and I get that. If I had seen it 15 or 20 years ago, doubtless I'd've been kicked in the back of the skull by it, too. I also don't have a thing with dog fear -- caninophobia? -- so the hellhounds chasing people around just look like dogs who want cookies to me. Plus, I saw Resident Evil first and after zombified Dobermans, these just didn't have a chance. I'm much more sympathetic to Dean having his minute with the Shih-Tzu he thinks is a hellhound because I hate those yappy little motherfuckers -- and the pink bow is just the finishing touch.

Ahem, anyway. While I didn't find it scary at all -- it was...intriguing to watch. David Warner gave a great performance as the 'reluctantly involved outsider' -- always a bit of a tricky part to play -- and I loved his 'Well, this is probably real because I'm seeing it and feeling it and hearing it, so I better go with it as reality' approach. Also, his darkroom. And what is not to like about a movie with Patrick Troughton as a semi-crazed priest with a morphine habit? Also, Leo McKern as a...I don't know what. He didn't seem to have much point. Van Helsing with no Hel?

And I feel much more confident that I get more jokes in Good Omens and Supernatural than I did before. So there's that.

Hellraiser. Well. Er. I want to love it. I really really do. I want to love it like I want to love Candyman.

Bits of it, I do love: "Jesus wept." The Cenobites. The house. The stepmom's freaky-deaky hair. The juicy zombie dude in the attic sexually harassing his girlfriend into bringing him fresh meat. Wait, scratch that last bit -- but the whole thing is just...meandery. Who's the main character? The stepmother? The dad? The daughter? The uncle? I suggest we just pick Pinhead who seems to actually know what the fuck is going on around here and go with him.

Great look, though, don't get me wrong. Love the box and, like I said, the Cenobites who were, I think, the best part of the whole film. I thought we were going to get a pretty kick-ass final girl until Kristy started facing everything by whimpering, cowering in a corner, and viciously crying at it. Not your best call when confronted by a transdimensional dude who thinks an open laryngectomy wound is the height of fashion. I thought we could expect something better from someone who nutpunched a reconstituted undead -- but I guess every girl has her limit.

Perhaps I will love it like I want to love it after I see it another time.

An American Werewolf in Paris. Disclaimer: seen on the SciFi Channel, therefore "edited for time and content." But still -- fucking hilarious! Not sure it was meant to be but please! The duelling ghosts? Hiding in a morgue drawer to get away from the cops? Amazing injectable werewolf fluid? What is not to love about that!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Short Thoughts: Winners on Netflix

You don't get to say the words "winner" and "Netflix" too often in the same sentence these days.

Anyway.

Here are some movies I've enjoyed on Netflix in the last month or two but that I don't have time and energy to write a full post about.

Salvage. Quiet little British thriller about a military operation gone wrong spilling over into suburbia. Starring the always wonderful Neve McIntosh who gives a stand-out performance in a cast full of pretty damned good performances. Pay attention to the guy playing her boyfriend -- he's doing very nice things in the corner when no-one's looking.

Wilderness. Not-so-quiet British thriller. This is more if you're feeling the need for blood splashing around the screen and lots of yelling. Oh, and "attack dogs."

If you like Sean Pertwee, this one's definitely worth checking out although the whole "juvenile prisoners on a character-building weekend trip" framework is bizarre to the point of unworkability. I'm willing to buy "juvenile prisoners" and I'm willing to buy "character-building weekend trip" --  but maybe not partnered in the same movie? And there's a whole bullying-leading-to-death storyline that is, ostensibly, the trigger for all the violence in the film that appears and reappears at somewhat random intervals.

Don't focus your eyes entirely on Pertwee -- although he gives his usual, slightly exasperated performance here -- there are several of the young characters who are more worth watching. I'm on a network so slow I can't access IMDB (or, indeed, poster graphics), so I can't look up anything like performer or character names but there's Annie from Being Human and the two young (male) skinheads.

Super 8. This one really does deserve its own blog post and I really do want to write one. I put off seeing this because I figured it couldn't possibly be as good as everyone said it was.

Wrong again!

It's totally as good as everyone said it was. I described it to my parents as "the best homage to E.T. and Close Encounters that Spielberg could have asked for on bended knee." And it's better than that, too, because it steps beyond being a nod to bigger and better things and becomes its own thing -- a little awkwardly at times but that doesn't matter because you're so in love with it, you don't care.

Captain America: The First Avenger. Not my fandom. Not my thing. Not going to be my fandom or my thing any time soon.

Thor. Ditto. But a step beyond the above by being directed by Kenneth Brannagh and including Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba. Has the single most wooden kiss that I have seen in a long time.

Graveyard Shift. A film adaptation of a Stephen King story. You already know so much from that phrase alone, don't you? But this is better than most -- if for no other reason than there's Doc from Deadwood in a leading role as a crazy ratcatcher.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spiffyness

Here are some cool things for midweek because I haven't finished my post on "The Girl Who Waited" yet...
And, finally, an owl getting his/her head scratched:


Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Fun Times

I think I may have already used this but y'know what? I don't care. This song is that awesome.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Night Not-Very-Terrors

Working it out.
Night Terrors, season 6, second episode of the second half of the season.

To be honest with you, the idea of writing a review of this episode has slowed me down more than once.

I heard wonderful things about it: how scary it was, how clever it was, how apt the title was, what a brilliant script Mark Gatiss had written.

And I won't say any of those things are absolutely 100% wrong -- but I have watched Terrors two or three times now and every time I watch it I come away more strongly convinced of the fact that I paid for something I didn't get.

The story is simple enough but 'ware spoilers if you haven't seen the episode yet.

Small child is having nightmares: weird noises outside his window, in the closet, under the bed, etc., etc. The parents are powerless to do more than soothe and are discussing getting some kind of nebulous "professional help." The child overhears the conversation and, panicking, manages, without meaning to, to get a message to the Doctor. The Doctor arrives quite promptly and, with Amy and Rory, takes on the fun task of searching a multistory council flat for the child in question. Amy and Rory do not find him; the Doctor finds not only the child, but the child's father, and sets about solving the problem. Amy and Rory, meantime, have tried to use the elevator -- bad idea in council flats, apparently.

So far, so good.

My problem with the episode is not that you can figure it all out beforehand -- that's fine. The problem is that the end reveal is...exactly what you've figured out beforehand. And it isn't that interesting. The kid himself does little except pant and stare through the whole episode which makes your chest ache after awhile. The father is a great character to start with who gradually slides into being a cliche by the end. It's a nice difference that it's the father rather than the mother who has to undertake the journey and trials to get back the child but -- it's not enough to make the whole episode feel like it lives up to its publicity.

There are some clever startles -- "scare" would be too strong a word -- but they don't last. The dolls are only disturbing the first time you see them and after that...they lose punch very quickly. This is interesting because they're very similar to the Weeping Angels who simply become more terrifying every time you see them!

It is nice that this is another episode like "The Doctor Dances" where "...everybody lives!" but it doesn't put it up there with the best of this season as far as I can see. It's a solid entry but somewhere in the realm of "The Black Spot" rather than "The God Complex." This is only disappointing because I expected more from Mark Gatiss -- a fact which I'm sure causes him daily heartburnings.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Fun Times

The easiest possible way to come back to non-work-blogging -- posting videos!



And the fun partner game: how many of these can you name?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reassuring Visitors but Tempting Fate

"I aten't dead!"

Full points to anyone who recognizes the quotation.

Anyway, I aten't dead and neither is this blog. It's just been...well, lets call it hibernating while I work out a long, hot Boston summer.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do with this space -- not that I imagine anyone reading this has been bouncing up and down on a bed of nails wondering! -- and I have some ideas.

Although it may seem somewhat schizo, I'd like to write more about yoga and meditation and more about horror movies. Yes, I know. I'm weird. I've been told many times and it hasn't stopped me yet!

I will not, of course, give up my Doctor Who addiction (if you haven't seen the season 7 trailer, why are you wasting time here?!).

So -- watch this space, I guess, is what I'm saying.

I've spent a lot of time in the last -- well, my post listing tells me I last put up anything here in May, so I guess the last 3 months doing "professional" blogging and it's damn near killed me. I want to write about fun stuff again, guys! Blue boxes and hockey masks and stripey sweaters and vampires (who actually, y'know, kill people, not the stupid kind) and hearts sent in Valentine boxes and and black cars.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Fun Times

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre do all of Doctor Who season 6 in under 10 minutes. :)


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Did Anyone Get Hitler Out of the Cupboard?

Back to Doctor Who! Wheeeee!

After the pain, suffering, and loss that was A Good Man Goes to War, now we get the fun and frolick that is Lets Kill Hitler.

Really, Hitler is one long romp -- and that's not something you get to type very often, so bear with me while I repeat it: Hitler is one long romp.

I'll do my best to be spoiler-light, but seriously, folks, I had to have been one of the last people on the planet to see the end of season 6, so if you haven't seen it...well...seek help? Anyway, RAYOR.


I can say that everything you think about the first 5-10 minutes is true. When I say that one of the most important things about season 6 as a whole is "trust your gut," I mean it. If something seems -- weird, not quite right, strangely familiar, haunting, odd, off, or otherwise peculiar: go with it.

Lets Kill Hitler is a lot of fun with some seriousness wrapped up in the fluff: when Alex Kingston speaks, you listen. That's probably the best advice I can give you overall.

Try to ignore the worst of the dialogue ("...except, perhaps, the cruelest." She delivers it well but...it's a schlocky line.)


Nina Toussaint-White is awesome and if fans get to vote on the new, post-Pond companions, I want to vote for her! Her style as a pre-River River (I did warn for spoilers!) is fucking fantastic.


Rory has some wonderful moments here; I can't say how much I appreciate the time and attention he gets as a character in this season. While he's a solid back-up in season 5, he really starts to shine in 6 -- he steps out from Amy's shadow and wait for The Girl Who Waited if you want to see Rory and the Doctor start to get into it which, really, we've all been waiting for them to do, right? The Doctor has spent most of the last few seasons begging for a smackdown -- or smackdowns.

And the Tesselactor -- possibly misspelled here! -- is a lovely invention that I'm sure has Douglas Adams grinning to himself over some otherworldly cup of tea. The antibodies alone are worthy of a whome Adamsian side monologue along the lines of the towel or the Guide: "You will feel a slight stinging sensation -- and then death." "Please remain calm while your life is extracted." Fucking classic.

So enjoy it while it lasts, really. You've got The God Complex and The Girl Who Waited coming up before you get to Closing Time which is the only other episode that even comes close to being comic relief in the second half of this season so I'd suggest taking long juicy draughts of the craziness that is Lets Kill Hitler.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Homework

So I've been doing my horror movie homework lately: the first two Friday the 13th movies and the first Nightmare on Elm Street. I'd've hit up the Halloween series, too, but the first movie is gone from Netflix insty and H2O sequel is...quite, quite dreadful. I watched it out of desperation on cable once when I was sick. Even my massive childhood crush on Jamie Lee Curtis couldn't make it good; it only made it watchable.

(Admittedly, a cable edit is not ideal viewing at any time for anything except, perhaps, Stonehenge Apocalypse and then only because the ad breaks give you a chance to recover from your bouts of helpless hysteria.)

Lets do Friday first. I...wasn't unduly impressed with this. Slasher flicks are not my favorite movie meat at any time of day and, while I'm interested in the Friday series for a number of reasons, the actual content of the story isn't high on the list! I find the durability of the franchise fascinating (12 films, the last in 2009), the role it has in the development of modern horror, the impact it has on other films, on pop culture in general (who doesn't have some faint "back of the brain" recognition of "Crystal Lake" or "Jason"?), and so on and so forth.

But the slasher film per se doesn't do much for me: blood for the sake of blood...eh. The first Friday had enough other things to keep me interested: the characters were actually...a little character'y; it's always fun to watch the back-story unwind (even when you already know it); and, honestly, the setting is quite gorgeous. This, really, was one of the things working against the scare value of the movie for me; I grew up somewhere that looks very much like "Crystal Lake" and, while I've seen plenty of horror movies with a woods'y setting that work just dandy to set my adrenaline going, this wasn't one of them: there wasn't a nasty vibe coming out of those trees, at least to my mind.

What I found particularly interesting sitting and watching the first two Friday movies in immediate succession was, among other things (sex = punishment!), was that the surprise, the shock, the horror (if you will) is supposed to come from the kill itself. There isn't much emphasis put on the lurking killer, the mutilation of the bodies, the disposal or discovery of corpses, and all the trappings that I (and I suspect other viewers) have become accustomed to watching more recent films. The killer kills -- and that's it. If you're lucky (or unlucky) you get a shot of a corpse with a hatchet in her head or his throat slit (physiologically inaccurate, if anyone cares) and that's about it. If that doesn't scare you -- too fucking bad!

It's an interesting take: it assumes that your effect can be totally gotten across to your audience by a brief -- seconds only -- shot of a hatchet in someone's skull. Okay, yeah, Tom Savini did a great job with the make-up, but...perhaps my palate is just jaded but -- not really that scary.

In time and place, however -- I remember once having a conversation with my sewing teacher back when I was in 4-H as a child about, for some reason, Jaws and how she remembered the summer it had come out and how terrified people were. I'm not sure if I remember her saying she'd been to see it or not, but I've always remembered her saying how scared people were and how silly it seemed now, etc., etc. Well, I've seen Jaws on the big scene and it was fucking terrifying and that was in 2009, 30 years after first release. I can't imagine seeing Friday the 13th on the big screen and it having the same effect.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun Times

Want to be suspicious of music forever? Want to live in perpetual terror of a fey imp leaping from your closet? Always thought your high school band was a little too strange? Watch on, my friends, watch on!


Monday, April 9, 2012

The GUT of Neil Marshall

I bought a cheap copy of Neil Marshall's The Descent at Newbury Comics the other day and, from the reaction of the dude running the register, you'd've thought I just bought gold covered in chocolate. Or chocolate covered in gold: "Oh, God, this is the best movie. Have you seen it? You haven't? Oh, you're going to love it! Yeah, there's the sequel but -- I don't think it's as good. Yeah, definitely see this first..." And so on.

Now I actually bought this movie because I was sick of only the sequel showing up on Netflix. I don't know about you but I try really hard not to watch sequels first. I've done it occasionally out of horror movie desperation, but I've always regretted it.

But lets get to the point: the Grand Unified Theory (or GUT) of Neil Marshall (based on two movies and therefore in no way generalizable and produced only for entertainment):

A. The man has no idea what real blood looks like.

B. He has a very generous estimation of the abuse the human body can take and survive.

C. He really doesn't know what shock looks like -- except when he does, and then it's startlingly good.

D. He's very good at the sudden reveal scare -- except when he's not, and then it sucks ass.

The Descent was a disappointment. I bought it expecting an above-average monster movie with a nifty cast; what I actually got a was a well-below-average monster movie with an "eh" cast. But nice scenery.

Yes, the all-female cast was a unique aspect to the film but I can't say that in and of itself makes the movie more watchable or any better although I had been led to believe that it kinda did. It's interesting as a movie fact; that's about all you can say for it. Oh, and the screaming is in a generally higher register than it might otherwise be.

Potential spoilers follow.

Your basic plot: heroine is suffering from trauma and grief due to having survived an auto accident which killed her husband and young child. Friends band together to create a yearly wilderness outing to bring their grieving friend back to some semblance of a normal life. Wilderness outing goes horribly wrong. Group is lost. Monsters descend. The band of friends blows itself apart -- as such groups are wont to do, apparently -- and much death ensues.

So far, so basic.

My problem is that there isn't anything here by way of unique characterization or interesting group dynamic or even real plot tension to keep the thing going forward. Okay, so it's a group of all women instead of all guys or a mixed group. So? And? Now what? There basic character types that tend to be women in horror movies are still all here: there's the slut, the studious girl, the good girl, the sisters, the sporty girl... there's nothing different going on here. They're just all a little older than they might otherwise be. Yes, okay, I was glad that the script never got to the point of desperation where the whole "You slept with my husband and therefore distracted him and therefore he died in a horrible, horrible, ironic car accident!" had to be said aloud but perhaps saying it aloud would have given the actresses a little something to sink their teeth into rather than just wandering around the edges of it.

And the monsters? Oh, dear God, the monsters. They're pathetic. Really. Seriously unscary. And they don't make sense which is even worse. A little basic research on the structures and habits of cave-dwelling creatures might have saved the screenwriters from looking like idiots. Hell, Gollum makes more sense than these sods.

And, Mr. Marshall, do you really think I'm going to lose my shit over a cave full of bones and a gooey pond? Well, it ain't gonna work and I'm vaguely insulted by the suggestion!

And one of the the only interesting moments -- "do I kill my friend to save her from being eaten alive?" -- took place then, too, and I was so pissed off by then that I couldn't even respect it as a moment.

So, if you have nothing better to do with the next two hours of your time...well, personally, I'd say watch A Very Supernatural Christmas twice before I'd suggest you watch The Descent.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Magic Words

I am going to give you the two magic words that will make the last episode of the second season of Sherlock watchable.

Are you ready? You're gonna want these -- get a pencil and some scrap paper or something. Got it? Okay, good.

Andrew. Scott.

Or, if you prefer:

James. Moriarty.

Like any good fairy tale -- remember those words, folks -- the villain makes the piece. Without Vader, Star Wars falls apart (ceases to be, actually, I think) and the Doctor is better with his Master -- yeah, well, this Sherlock has a fuck-tastic Moriarty.

Yeah, okay, I'll grant that Cumberbatch and Freeman and Gatiss turn in reasonable performances -- Freeman's is actually inspired at more than one point -- but Scott is the beating black heart of this thing. He's freaky, he's scary, he's violent, he's crazed, he's unreliable, and he is fucking convincing.

This isn't a villain you want to have tea with (Al Swearengen, anyone?); this is a villain you'd hide behind the couch from (think John Simm's Master at his nutsiest.)

So you've got that, right? Glue your eyes to Andrew Scott and don't fucking let go or you will miss the best, juiciest bits of this show.

Apart from that, Reichenbach Fall is a hot mess -- we're back to Scandal territory here and it's painful. The story kinda makes sense -- at least the bits with Moriarty have the charm of complete and utter insanity -- and you know what's gonna happen in the end, so, really, it's just a matter of making sure we get from A to B in an hour and a half.

I'm not going to bother going through the motions of a plot summary here and if you really think you can be spoilered on a story that was first published in 189-blahdeblah, then...wow, I really have no help for you. But there are some nice character moments -- Watson at Sherlock's 'grave' is palpably painful and Molly, once again, gets some truly awesome screen time.

Does the whole thng work? Well, do you want to be convinced by it? Then you will be. I think Gatiss and Moffatt have signed themselves up for more trouble than they really need for the third season -- already contracted for, or so I hear -- and I'm really not looking forward to seeing how they get themselves out of it because all the options I can think of at least are messy and unfortunate.

Still, through all this, there's my happy place: He didn't screw up season 6. He didn't screw up season 6. He didn't screw up season 6. :)


Friday, March 30, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dog or No Dog

All right, so it's really sad to have to come to the second season of Sherlock and say that Hounds of the Baskerville is the strongest episode.

It shouldn't be.

Much as I love Hound (and I do in pretty much any version including Rathbone and Brett), in a line-up that includes Scandal and Reichenbach, it should not be the strongest.

That said, Mark Gatiss has done a lovely job updating the monster story -- I think maybe he tried a tad tiny bit too hard ("The Grimpen Minefield") but at the same time, I'm deeply grateful not to have to go through the whole quicksand thing.

If I were Russell Tovey's agent, on the other hand, I might have suggested that doing another story that centers around big, potentially supernatural dogs might be something that could be best avoided at this point but, hey, whatever. I'm not the man's career coach and I love watching him dither about the place.

Hound gives us some great Sherlock/John moments and the best attempt at character development for Sherlock that you're going to get for any of the three stories. Admittedly, it also features Sherlock's "info dump" trick which I'm starting to get really sick of. Cumberbatch is very good at it and I realise that it's totally canon, but it's slick and superficial and annoying and when it's used in place of actual character development, it just doesn't cut it.

There's great house porn and bar porn and small-cute-town-in-England-porn which is nice. There's a moderately effective villain and some great chain-jerking which allows Gatiss the luxury of tying in another Holmes canon story.

So...yeah, it's fun; it's cheesy; it's amusing; it's well-paced; it's the most fun you're going to get out of this season, quite honestly, without making a drinking game out of it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

If Only...

So here's the list of topics I was considering writing a post about for the Medical Heritage Library blog for tomorrow...

"Daffodils are pretty." (There are pot daffodils in the room.)

"Why is there a dalmatian on the hill?" (Dog, not person, and the hill is outside my apartment.)

"Why is a mouse when it spins?" (Full points if you get the reference.)

"What, really, is a treacle well?" (No points if you get the reference.)

"If you give a fuck, raise your hand!" (Which has a kind of pleasant Catch-22 ring to it.)

"How can bumblebees fly, really?" (Because why not?)

"And what's up with geese?" (Ditto.)

"Did anyone really understand Lost?" (Additional question: "...or understand the ending?")

"Why did Wash have to die?" ("Because Joss said" is not an acceptable answer.)

"Why do young men wear pants that don't fit?" (Or young women for that matter.)

"Why would anyone watch Gladiator twice?" (Or any Russell Crowe movie other than A Good Year.)

"Explain Richard E. Grant." (Extra points for also positing a theory of Paul McGann.)

"The rise of splatterpunk. Discuss." (Without examples, please.)

"That the SciFi Channel should never be allowed to make anything 'original'. Elaborate with examples." (And the fact that they generally hire one good actor -- David Hewlett, Misha Collins, Lucy Brown, Rhys Ifans -- to try and disguise a heap of shit is not a fact which can be adduced in their defense.)

Unfortunately, none of these could reasonably be said to concern the history of medicine, even at the broadest possible point.

Sad, the burdens which professionalism places upon us...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One of Those Weeks

You know the ones I mean.

So no time to blog this week! Instead, have my two favorite new Tumblrs:

mishagantic: I don't know what the name means either. Ask her -- she's very nice! French Supernatural fan with a serious thing for Castiel/Misha Collins in general as well Dean/Cas which warms my twisted little heart. Love this blog.

houseassbutpotionsmaster: More Spn goodness -- also random DW goodness -- just goodness all 'round really.

And a third option in case you're not into either Spn or slash (in which case what do you do with your spare time?!), Bookshelf Porn. Pretty much what it says on the label.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fun Times

Young woman goes squishy over electric kitchen devices.


I apologise for the sound quality.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rules Part 1

A Good Man Goes to War.

*claps hands*

Everybody ready? (Spoilers await, folks.)

Okay, Good Man is straight-up, cracked-out, full-on rock'n'roll Doctor Who -- I'm not sure how much caffeine Moffat pumped into his cast for this one but it is so totally absolutely worth it in every single possible way. It's such a frenetic rollercoaster of goodness, in fact, that it's kind of difficult to write anything about it.

I'm not even going to try to go over the story here. Suffice to say the big reveal is revealed: River is...well, River is River. She's also Amy and Rory's daughter but, really, you had ample time to figure that out during the season so it's not worth holding your breath through the whole episode waiting for it.

That said, the final reveal scene -- even without the reveal itself being a huge gasp-inducing moment -- is just...really really great. There's Amy and Rory and the Doctor and River and hugging and sexual innuendo and so much emotional energy passing between the characters that the screen practically crackles. It's just...sweet in the best possible way.

Other points of interest...

The good man. Clearly, as self-identified, the good man is not the Doctor: "Good men don't need rules. Now is not the time to find out why I have so many." Okay, good, I'll just be over here crouched in the corner whimpering gently, then.

This leaves us with relatively few options for the good man -- so, really, it's Rory. Which is kind of awesome because the show needs more Rory. Rory is coming from a relatively simple place: he wants to get his wife back and keep his family in one piece. It's not exactly a revolutionary goal in life but, given the events at the end of The Almost People, you can't blame him for being a bit tetchy: "Do I need to ask the question again?"

Rory has come such a long way from The Eleventh Hour -- and then, in a way, he hasn't. Rory has always been both observant and determined and, really, those qualities have only been enhanced by travelling with the Doctor, as the second half of the sixth season proves. He has a very handy knack of not being distracted by non-essentials: he sees the odd thing out or the thing that should be there and isn't and his habit of dogged insistence is extremely useful.

And the Doctor is not a good man in this; he doesn't even follow his own self-established rules, as Lady Vastra and Dorium Maldovar take a certain amount of pleasure in pointing out to him. The whole conversation with Colonel Manton ("Colonel RunAway") is just fucking terrifying; it's as close as the Doctor has come in quite awhile to losing it and it's so very very bad when he does that. And, of course, he gets bitten in the ass for it as Madame Kovarian waltzes off into the wild blue yonder with baby Melody quite neatly.

The secondary characters in this episode are fantastic, some of the best in the season: Jenny, Madame Vastra, Dorian, the Headless Monks, the Fat One, the Thin One, and Commander Strax. The baddies, particularly Madame Kovarian -- I wish I felt...better about. She's a little...uncentered. It's not clear why she's doing what she's doing or, even when Moffat tries to make it clear, it's still unclear what she gets out of it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"What? What?!"

All right, before we start the investigation (see what I did there?) into the second season of Sherlock, let me lay something right out on the table.

I'm a Whovian.

In plainer English, I am a Doctor Who fangirl.

Bet you're surprised, right?

Yeah, no, I know you're not.

But my point is that, in the grand world of Steven Moffat's televisual projects, Sherlock can win, lose, or burn to the ground for all I care so long as Doctor Who stays solid.

My mantra since the end of Who season 5 has been "Don't fuck up season 6."

He didn't.

I'm happy.

That said, I like Sherlock. I heartily enjoyed the first season. I was looking forward to the second season.

And...well...Moffat didn't fuck up season 6.

And I can't say that Sherlock 2 is a total loss but....wow. After season 1? It's kinda sad.

The short version: Scandal = hot mess. Hounds = much stronger. Reichenbach = oh my fucking God is anyone paying attention here?!

Spoilers follow. RAYOR.


So, Scandal in Belgravia. I can't even begin to recap the story for you because, honestly, I'm sorta confused as to what happened. I think the actors were confused as to what happened. I'm damn near certain the writers were.

There was the pool. And then there was a phone. And some pictures. And a dead hiker. And a naked woman. And the phone again. And Mycroft being seriously bitchy for no good reason. And the phone again. And....yeah, I don't know.

Moffat. Gatiss. We all know you can do better than this. WTF, guys. Seriously. Pull your fingers out and do a third draft next time.

And if you ever ever write another female character as hampered, pointless, uneven, whiny, and generally useless as Irene Adler (who could have been so completely kickass I can't even stand to think about it), I will end you. Me, and every fangirl out here with a sense of self-respect.

Also? Moffat, stop ripping off your Who storylines for other things. Most of us watch both. Cribbing River Song to make a cod dominatrix version? Not. Cool.

(And while we're on that subject, I don't think you need to whap someone around with a riding crop after you've tranked them. One or the other. Not both. Both was just going for a forced 'sexy' moment that didn't work. If it had worked, I'd've forgiven you much. But it didn't. And if you'd realised it didn't and then let it drop, I'd've forgiven you. But you didn't. It didn't work -- and then you kept pushing it. Realise when the horse is dead, fellas.)

The best thing about Scandal is the few moments of Moriarty at the beginning. Oh, that, and John, Sherlock, and Mrs. Hudson. Mrs. Hudson wins all the things in this -- as does Sherlock coming to her defense from the American (really, Moftiss? really?) thugs who break in to interrogate her. And Molly. Molly can share the things with Mrs. Hudson for finally stepping up for herself and telling Sherlock off -- much to the apparent amazement of everyone else in the room -- bar Lestrade, who was still trying to get over her dress.

I really cannot fully express my disappointment in this episode. It was a complete let-down after the tight, well-thought-out, detailed, character-rich storytelling that was the bulk of the first season to get this kind of sloppy rubbish that didn't seem to know where it was going, what it was doing, or what story it was trying to tell.

Anyway!

Something more fun on Wednesday. I promise.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Too Cute"

Y'know what this week needs?

Kittens.

This week desperately needs more kittens.




Monday, January 9, 2012

Pro Bono Publico (Something Like That, Anyway...)

Last week, I sent this .gif to a friend of mine.

To understand the rest of the post, I suggest you click through to it although it is NSFW unless you have a sheltered cubicle or an understanding boss. (It isn't someone dancing naked covered in chocolate, though; no naughty bits are revealed.)

The email dialogue between myself and friend ended like this:

Myself: i wonder if he went full monty...? why is he doing this?! did someone just yell 'hey, chris, take 'em off?' 
Friend: From all accounts, that seems most likely. But I think the real question is not why he's doing it, but rather - why he's not doing it more often? Public good, and all. 
Myself: maybe this should be pointed out to him...?
The conversation then took a slight left turn at this point into a discussion of what other people should do other things for the general public good.

Friend and I came up with the following list:

Chris Evans, strip.
Michael Fassbender, wear hats.
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, just be awesome.
Jensen Ackles, smile more.
 Joe Flanigan, just lean against the doorway there.
David Hewlett, snark at something.
Matt Smith, flail generally.
Karen Gillan, hug people.
Catherine Tate, laugh.
Paterson Joseph, just...lounge over there next to Joe.

I would also like to add:

James McAvoy, grin.
Maggie Smith, raise those devilish eyebrows of yours.
Arthur Darvill, tell stories.
John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons, talk. About anything. Really. Recite your latest grocery list.

Enjoy this addition of pleasant ideas to your Monday! (Free of charge, too.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Fun Times





You're welcome for the earworm. :)

And this is the movie they're talking about, by the way: Outlaw of Gor. I'm sure it's a classic somewhere.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Flesh

So here's the deal. (RAYOR: mild spoiler-ish type things ahead.)

I really didn't enjoy either The Rebel Flesh or The Almost People that much. And despite having my DVDs of the first half of the season back in hand now -- and having had them for the best part of two months now, I think -- I really can't be bothered to watch them over again. I sort of have the same relationship with them as I did with The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood in season 5. Yes, they're good; yes, they have some interesting things to say; but they boiled such complicated, interesting conversations down into such Manichean dualities that I got very irritated.

This isn't to say that I wanted to use the discs for Flesh/People like Frisbees as I did for Earth/Blood. No, there wasn't anyone like Ambrose (*fists of rage*) in these episodes and I didn't want to kill anyone. I mostly felt sorry for everyone involved, particularly Jennifer who was so badly used by the whole storyline.

And then, of course, all sympathy gets diverted to Rory 'cause man does he get a rough deal. Just...really really awful.

But I'm a) not sure why this story had to be a two-parter; and b) not sure...well, I'm just generally not sure.

If the whole point of the 'ganger storyline is to convince us that gangers are people, too, then why does the Doctor dissolve the 'ganger Amy? It's no more her fault she's a 'ganger than it was...any of the other 'gangers! Why doesn't she get a chance to do her own thing like the others? If nothing else, wouldn't she be a valuable link back to whoever has the real Amy?

And what's with the 'gangers anyway? Are we supposed to cheer their political and personal emancipation? or worry that they're all going to turn out crazy huge blobs like Jennifer? And just...what...really was the point of all that?

Well, clearly, the point was to get us to the last ten minutes of The Almost People: that is, really, the only part of the show that advances the story arc at all.

Yes, there are some nice character moments outside of that -- Rory and 'ganger Jennifer; Amy and the 'ganger Doctor or the Doctor at all, really; the Doctor and Cleves -- but they're all rather brief and not enough to sustain the whole story.

And, yes, the thing with Jennifer-the-Blob at the end is...really quite unsettling.  But I'm not sure it deserved to spark a conversation in the Guardian about whether Doctor Who was getting too scary for kids! After all, that's a conversation that's been going on since...oh, probably about...the end of December, 1963? and it's not very interesting. Mary Whitehouse proved just how uninteresting it could be!

Really, I feel that Flesh/People just kind of mark time to get you to the real meat of the season: A Good Man Goes to War.

Monday, January 2, 2012

"And this is how we begin..."

And welcome to 2012, ladies and gentlemen and anyone else who might be hanging about the place.

Random thoughts follow...

Believe it or not, I do have a post in the works on The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People but I keep getting distracted by the fact that there are episodes after that that I want to talk about way more and have you all seen The God Complex? To say nothing of The Girl Who Waited! I mean, the hell!

Additionally, has anyone seen Tintin? Is it worth my braving a Peter Jackson movie for the sake of a Steven Moffat script?

In other news, I've finally finished the fourth season of Supernatural which was...very much like the rest of Supernatural, to be honest with you. I've come to the conclusion that the show is very much of a muchness but it's a muchness I very much enjoy, so I'm going with it. Dean snarks, Bobby growls, Sam pouts, Castiel scowls and they're all pretty madly attractive while they do it so what's not to like?

I also may have located a class -- or two -- that I can take via my workplace benefits this spring. You'd be amazed at the paucity of Harvard's history offerings. At least, I was amazed. Perhaps I am easily amazed? This, too, is possible.

Why does AMC always have to start their Walking Dead marathons with the beginning of season one at about noontime so that by the time they get to the season two episodes I need to get caught up on, it's about 9 o' clock at night? Is this fair? Some of us zombie-lovers have to get up early in the morning, y'know!

And, finally, is it fair that the latest Underworld movie is going to be in 3-D? Is it right and reasonable to deprive those of us who wear glasses of the fair Kate in tight leather?