Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So... Season 8 of Doctor Who

Yeah. I gave up on talking about the show. I should of liked "Listen" and "Time Heist" but... nope. It was all downhill from there until I finally hit a blissful spot of "don't care".

I felt a little like when I started watching Stargate SG-1 because cast members from Farscape had joined it. Stargate wasn't a bad show. In fact, I had enjoyed it in the past. But it was so dry and hard compared to the emotionally-driven and messy (and canceled) Farscape. And it was also in its own steady wind-down with fleeing castmembers and ideas running out. There wasn't as much heart in it as classic Stargate and nowhere near what I came from as a Farscape fan.

And I literally almost typed "ideas" and "eyedeas". No clue why.

I can't put a finger on what is actually going wrong with Doctor Who (well, story-telling wise), just that I'm not enjoying it the way I enjoy the hell out of "Partners in Crime" every time I watch it. I like Clara and I like Capaldi... but they seem to be in different shows.

And Twelve is so fucking difficult to get a read on. I just... I think I like him as a Doctor? But I feel like I still don't have much of a clue as to who he is as the Doctor after 12 episodes. Like, I keep wanting to compare him to Gregory House- also a grumpy doctor that was an unlikable character yet the audience wanted to keep watching him. You have to give the audience something to connect to the character with or else there's no way to emotionally invest. This was also my problem with Eleven- who started off as a collection of ticks and by the end of his first series, I wasn't sure if I knew who the hell he was other than that collection of ticks and hats. By the end of Eleven's run, I finally got comfortable with the character, but it should not have taken that long.

Twelve has swept the ticks and hats out of the way, but he's also swept his relationship with his companion out of the way. He sits in the TARDIS and ponders episode concepts on his own until it's time to pull Clara out of her rom-com with Danny and into a sci-fi plot. What the hell? Couldn't he at least be in a bar or a Stars Hollow town meeting watching differing opinions interact with each other when he's pondering these concepts? Give him some business other than sitting on the TARDIS with a blackboard.

And don't get me started with Cyberman rain and poor Danny.

Monday, September 8, 2014

So... Robot of Sherwood

Peter Capaldi, I think you're great. I will never stop telling people to watch Children of Earth because you rip out my heart and stomp on it beautifully every time I work up the courage to watch it again.  And you've got a great physicality happening that's so smooth and sexy after Matt Smith's gawky flapping about.

Mark Gatiss, you know I love you, right? Some of my all-time favorite commentaries are commentaries including you, sir. And I really loved how you looked like you wanted to punch Chris Hardwick (who I also love, but...you know) during the premiere after-show episode because you are so much more a Whovian than anyone else on that stage ever was. You're probably second only to Nick Briggs on actual Who knowledge.

Ben Miller, I was so happy to see you. I'm so happy every time you show up in something. I'm so happy about you being in What We Did On Our Holiday later this month. How have you not been on this show before? How much did you seem to be enjoying yourself?

Jenna Coleman, you know you're awesome. You can do anything and pull off any outfit. You are the living breath of this show and bring a necessary spunky attitude.

That said... gah, what a boring episode of television. I'm already tired of these stupid droids. Also, while I really do love Capaldi... Twelve is too cranky. He is an unlikable level of cranky. Which is stupid writing. You don't make people not like the Doctor! That makes the show not be fun to watch! You can keep him cranky, but he has to be a likable cranky. Hugh Laurie did it for years.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

So... Into the Dalek?

I don't really want to put these new episodes in my Back to Who category. But it would be tidy to do so, wouldn't it?


Danny: I like Danny. I don't like how we went to Coupling techniques to introduce Danny.

Other Characters Introduced Here: Nope.

Clara's trousers: I want to like them. I can't like them. No go.

Plot: I liked it better when the episode was called Dalek and featured the 9th Doctor. Also, this episode might feature the stupidest thing the Doctor has ever done.

Missy: Nope.

Sonic Screwdriver: *sigh* Remember when the sonic was described as "Doesn't kill, doesn't wound, doesn't maim"?

Final Note: When the dalek said "resistance is futile", I suddenly really got my hopes up that soon the dalek would say "Love soft as an easy chair. Love fresh as the morning air" and it would be revealed that he didn't see some star being created but he saw the 1970s version of A Star Is Born, followed by some TV shows, and THAT is what changed him.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How I Spent My Summer: A Recap With Gifs

Or let's recap all the posts I would've posted this summer yet let just become drafts:

1) I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past and while I didn't hate it, I had ISSUES with it. Mainly: wouldn't it have made more sense to have Professor X be the one going into Wolverine's mind? Rather than bringing him back from the dead just to hang out and chat while things went to hell? I hated all the future stuff as it had no real tension from the moment it was revealed that there were time travel shenanigans happening and un-dead-ing people. And I feel like the 70s plot could've been better. Quicksilver was great, though, which I was not expecting.

2) Girl Meets World started airing! It's... a Disney show. At times, it's quite terrible. Other times, it's adorable. The child actors are at least better than Miley Cyrus. Their clothes are ridiculous. The boy is definitely not a 13-year-old. And I get distracted by the West Elm pillows in the Matthews family's apartment.

3) I started a thesis on my love of time travel. I stalled after reaching the part where I went "TIME TRAVEL IS THE BEST".

4) I went to Comic-Con! I could have a gazillion posts on this. I may still do that. The gist of it, though: not that many actual geeky moments. A lot of waiting in line. A lot of feeling ill. I literally laid down on the ground and closed my eyes while in line for Hall H at one point and told my friends to poke me if the line started to move.

5) I went to Tucson surrounding going to Comic-Con. I miss Tucson. Why am I not currently in Tucson?

6) I became an independent consultant for Jamberry Nails. Because I like to hide my gross nails behind pretty wraps, I can't paint my nails to save my life, and nail polish comes off my fingers if I look at it wrong. Buy from me at lambjams.jamberrynails.net

(not a Jamberry product)

7) I had a work retreat. I got 20+ mosquito bites. My greatest accomplishments from the work retreat: 1. A full-page doodle that I worked on for all three days while looking like I was taking notes 2. selling lots of Jamberry to co-workers after they've had drinks 3. Getting a free margarita.

8) My car tried to die on me. Starting with the A/C going out. On my way to Tucson. With 24 hours left in the drive. And two weeks left in my vacation.

9) Doctor Who came back and I was sad to not be excited.

10) I've spent a ridiculous amount of this summer lurking on Tumblr. Hence the new GIF addiction.

The End.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

So... Deep Breath, huh?

Yay: Capaldi. Clara's clothes. Strax. Elisabeth Sladen's widower in a cameo.

Nay: Most of what came out of Vastra's mouth. Moffat sucking the last bit of life out of one of his last good original monsters. Clara having trouble with the regeneration despite how she knows better than any companion about the whole process and that he's been an old man before and IS an old man. That stupid t-rex. That stupid ending. Well, the whole plot really.

I'm so tired of Madam Vastra at this point. I really liked her the first two times. Not so much now. Also, while lesbianism is a novelty for Victorian England, it's not a novelty now unless you're a pervy old man, Mr. Moffat. The rest of us are used to it. Stop writing the Vastra/Jenny relationship like it's the most titillating crap in the universe. It's not. Especially not with the way the Vastra treats Jenny most of the time.

I think Strax's confusion is still hilarious, however.

Also, I dig the chemistry between Capaldi and Coleman. So, there's hope for that.
Not too thrilled about next week's returning villain, however. As they also seem to get less interesting with every re-tread as well. And Moffat has never written them well at all.

I can't believe they gave Moffat an Emmy last night. Ugh.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shut Up. I'm Not Obsessed With David Tennant.

But, I am a bit of a obsessive about details. And I'm really thrown-off when a commercial featuring an actor with a very asymmetrical face has half the footage flipped to a mirror image. Because you can tell something is off but, even if you don't notice that his part flips from one side of his head to the other within the ad. Or even if you don't know that David Tennant arches his left eyebrow and not his right- you can tell something's off.


It's not just me, right?!

Anyway, they probably flipped the footage because they could only find cars that were built with the wheel on the left-side. Or it was shot while he was in Canada. Or both. Then again... it's all green screen. Why not just green screen a different car in?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Victorian People Being Sad: Penny Dreadful

Three episodes of Penny Dreadful have aired and I'm starting to realize that the show won't give enough for me to form an opinion on it until the end of the season finale. Because that's how this crap works these days.

I mean, the acting is great. Timothy Dalton is growling all over the place and Josh Hartnett is proving that he's more interesting as he ages out of the teen heartthrob look. Eva Green looking great in Victorian dresses. And Billie Piper. I will follow Billie Piper where ever she may go. Even if most of her scenes seem to involve her being naked. I even like her Irish accent.

But there's too much going on. Frankenstein is having weird slightly-romantic relationships with his creation(s). There are vampires and demons and mystery upon mystery upon mystery upon mystery. And... it's a bit too much to care about. It's a lot of talking in riddles and about things rather than experiencing them.

Also... ugh, enough with the copious blood splatter scenes.

I should like the show. But I also didn't care for NBC's Dracula. Maybe I'm just done with Victorian horror. Sadness.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Do I WANT To See X-Men Days of Future Past

I've been asking myself this question since the first trailer came out, possibly a year ago.

I mean, I loved X-Men: First Class. A LOT. And I really really liked The Wolverine (except for the silly climax). And, as weird as it sounds and as unpopular as this opinion might be... I liked Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. It's a really pretty movie.

So, that should erase all ill-will I have from X3 and Wolverine: X-Men Orgins, right? This is fixing the old franchise and tying it into the new, right? The cast is amazing, right?

I just... can't, though. Not after seeing the trailers. And the corporate tie-ins. Something feels... askew. Too removed from reality. Too removed from the mood of either version of the X-Men franchise.

Maybe it's because the whole "save us from this apocalyptic future" thing is exhausted (in my opinion). Maybe it's because it feels like a money grab. Maybe it's because I sort of have this inkling that when First Class did well, Singer suddenly felt a little jealous for only being involved on an executive producer level and wanted back in on the glory and pushed Matthew Vaughn out of the director's chair. Which was stupid, if you ask me. Just like it was stupid when Singer was ousted on X3 because of hissyfits over him doing Superman Returns.

X3 was a weird parody of the universe Singer had developed in the first two films. And I fear that Days of Future Past will be Singer trying to not only re-claim things too late in the game, but also try to partially parody Vaughn's new universe. Because Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman brought a very specific (and very British) tone to the film. A tone that appears to be present in the trailer for their other 2014 comic book movie- Kingsmen: The Secret Service. A movie which I AM very excited about, thankyouverymuch. A tone very different from Bryan Singer's tone, no matter how much involvement Singer had in First Class.

But don't judge a book by it's cover and don't judge a movie by it's trailers & posters. Right?

And... Dinklage! Lawrence! McAvoy! Jackman! Sir Patz & Serena!

Gah, that's a terrible poster.

I'm conflicted. Someone convince me one way or another.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Yay, David Tennant's Hair Is FINALLY Back To Normal

Listen, David Tennant has, historically, really great hair. To the point where in the Doctor Who episode "Turn Left", Rose Tyler even describes the tenth Doctor has having "really great hair". Fact. 

So, when six months go by of Mr. Tennant having sub-par hair and there being a lot of pictures of him with such hair, it's sad to see.

But, from the looks of things in the pictures from the Broadchurch 2 cast reading, his hair is finally back in Olympic form. Or, I'm just so hopeful that his hair would be better for the show that I'm seeing fresh layers happening. Either could be true. But I chose to believe that it has been improved.

It may not look like much, but it's a much better cut than what he appeared to be sporting while shooting the American version of the show, Gracepoint. The Gracepoint hair is just so... flat. 

The Gracepoint hair was a bit of a let-down (to me. This is all about me and my opinions of a stranger's hair) when pictures starting being released, as I was hoping for him to have made a bigger improvement from the dark era that involved extensions for Richard II.

 Instead, it appears that they just took the extensions off him and sent him across the world without so much as a maintenance trim. Which was disappointing because his Broadchurch hair was so... nice.

Gah, this post is pathetic. I apologize.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Male Lead Character, You'll Be A Woman Soon...

I've been outlining a story for a screenplay for a couple weeks now, and it was really flying. I was reaching the homestretch for outlining and almost ready to start really working on the script. I was really excited because the story wasn't running away with the plot, it was working in the way I had hoped it would, and I was restraining any overly crazy whims that came along. It was a small story and staying small. It was bittersweet but had some funny moments. It was going to require a giant budget for music rights if it ever saw the light of day.

And then I paused on it for a few days, because life got busy and I was just a little bit stuck on a big revelation for one of the characters. Then, yesterday, I was in my car and thinking about it and suddenly realized what the problem was.

I need to turn my male lead character into a woman. It makes the dynamic with the existing female lead character so much more impactful and meaningful.

But, dammit, I had a specific actor in mind and everything for that role!

Also... hello, internet! You have no idea how many unfinished draft posts I have started since I last successfully posted to this website! I'm still here! just not good at finishing things.

And now I need to think about everything that will change now that I'm writing a story about two women.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Back To Who: What To Think About Martha Jones

I have a lot of feelings about Martha Jones.

When she first showed up, I was hopeful and open-minded about her. I loved Rose, but I was excited about having a change of pace. Martha was supposed to be a little bit older than Rose, a little wiser and a bright young medical student. I had hoped this would mean she'd be a bit nerdy with the Doctor and a little less reverent towards him.

And from looking at the first three episodes, I think they might've originally intended that for her.

But that damn crush. They gave her that stupid crush on him and made him very harsh towards her in response. I sometimes wonder if Russell made the Doctor extra harsh towards Martha in a way to get the audience on her side. But if that's what he was aiming for, I think he missed a bit as the unrequited love she had for the Doctor made the brilliant Dr. Jones seem like she was a little bit stupid. Why would anyone be so loyal to someone that treated her so terribly?

I loved when Martha would have some attitude. Like her snitty little knock in Human Nature when Matron Redfern tells her she should knock when entering a room. Or when she made the Doctor stop and explain himself on New Earth. The best being when she basically told him to fuck off (not using those words) when her apartment blew up and she was calling her parents. She should've been like that all the way through. She should've been giving him major grief about acting like she was still a guest on the TARDIS rather than looking like she was being given the holiest of communions when he finally gave her a key.

And it kills me that they barely played with the fact that the Doctor was traveling with someone with a lot of medical and science knowledge. Other than in The Lazarus Experiment, you never see her and the Doctor talking about anything scientific together. Martha tells people she's studying to be a Doctor but barely ever shows people (her little lesson to Redfern barely counts). Why weren't there more episodes where she and the Doctor could play off of each other's scientific knowledge to figure out what was going on? Or even by having the Doctor show-off with showing her medical techniques from the future? Would that have been too much to ask for?

Instead, the poor girl was given the worst trips around the universe ever. She gets kidnapped at (fake) gunpoint, almost killed by a giant scorpion-man creature, stuck in freakin' 1913 as a maid for several weeks, briefly jettisoned towards a sun in an escape pod, and then stuck in flippin' 1969 for several weeks. How cruel is it to have two trapped-in-the-past-for-weeks adventures happen to the black companion? And have them both be "not-terribly-enlightened" time periods? Ugh. I hope there are unseen adventures where the doctor takes her to spas and amusement parks for weeks on end and gives her presents to show thanks.

Then she walks the damn earth for the Doctor for a year. I remember watching The Last of the Time Lords for the first time quite vividly. I was in a Panera. I had met up with a friend that had been out of the country for the past year and only had a couple weeks before she was heading back to Asia for another year. We huddled together and watched the episode on my laptop the day after it aired. And I have to admit, I first thought there was going to be an "it was all a dream" reveal A LOT sooner than the "it was all reversed" ending. It just didn't ring true that Martha would do that. Or could do that. Her family had become slaves to a madman, her "hero" was turned into a feeble old man, and she was given this ridiculous mission... wha? But I've gone on about the episode before, so I'll stop here and just say... what a horrible way to spend a year.

How the hell did she recover from that year? From having memories of a terrible time that almost no one else remembered? How did her whole family cope? It always bugged me that it wasn't really dealt with more than a single line in one of her Torchwood episodes.

Oh, and then there are her Torchwood episodes. Martha's actually pretty badass on Torchwood. I think Freema even seems a little more confident as an actor in the Torchwood episodes. But shit goes down in those as well and she nearly dies in each episode.

By the time The Doctor's Daughter ends, I can't blame Martha for being all, "Dude, I'm DONE. See ya!" but then she get's screwed again by not only having an untested teleportation device strapped to her, but she's given the horrific responsibility of killing everyone on Earth to save them from threat. Thankfully, she doesn't need to use it, but... OH MY GOD!

How has this girl not had a mental breakdown?! How is she not Theon in the beginning of season four of Game of Thrones at that point?!

Also... her and Mickey? Really? Really?

Anyway, I feel that Martha really got a shitty situation compared to the other companions. Yeah, she's one of the few that got to live her post-Doctor life the way she wanted to, but her time on the TARDIS was really terrible. I think her time with Shakespeare might've been the only adventure where her life wasn't directly threatened. I guess maybe that's how it has to be to be one of the few that walks away?

On the upside- she had the best clothes out of all the Tenth Doctor's companions. So, there is that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Is This Feeling?

So, today I arrived at work an hour before anyone else. It was glorious. I love being alone in the office. I put on my headphones and then just started to zone out into website edits (work website edits, sadly, not fun websites that I've been neglecting). And by the time 9 AM rolled around, I realized that I hadn't yet had to speak to anyone all day. It was beautiful.

I normally do like speaking to my co-workers... it's just that the really talk-y ones were absent. And the really annoying ones ended up being absent as well. So, it gave me a chance to just relax and work and not be disturbed for a few more hours. I continued to feel calm and collected. I still had little moments of work rage, but nothing as severe as I've had in recent day and weeks.

But I also started to realize that I was ridiculously achey. My jaw has been acting up for ages due to all the weather changes and I've been so tense recently that my neck was reacting to release of tension and aching more because of it. Like, my neck hurts so much that my throat muscles, on the inside, hurt. It's been a while since I felt that.

And now, with half an hour left in my work day, I think I'm just tired.

Or dying.

But I still feel calm and sort of at peace about it all. I don't really get it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spores, Molds, and Fungus: Harold Ramis Has Died

I seriously don't remember ever watching a movie before Ghostbusters. And I certainly don't remember voluntarily rewatching any movies before Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.

Groundhog Day is basically a religious experience for me. It's one of my "I'm having a sad day" movies. It's a movie that I will watch on repeat all day even on days that are not Groundhog Day. I've even driven up to Woodstock, IL in the winter just to take a look at the shooting location in the snow (it's beautiful, by the way).

The emotional journey in that film is something that my mind will wander to frequently in everyday life. Especially the concept that Phil had, by the end of the film, repeated the day for decades worth of time. I always wondered how the hell he would return to life after having lived more life in that one day than before that one day. Would he have forgotten his address back home? Would he not know how to present the weather any more? Are there names of people that he lost during that time, just because he didn't interact with them during the decades he spent trapped in Punxsutawney? And how crushing would his love for Rita be by then, after decades of just trying to win her over and over and over again?

I, quite literally, just found out about Harold Ramis dying. And I got teary. Not just "Oh, that's sad." or "Oh, that's tragic." but honest-to-goodness teary. I don't normally get that way over celebrity deaths. And it's not like he was a spring chicken, right? Nor was he in the middle of a career renaissance. But... he was Harold Ramis. He gave us comedy that wasn't just funny but was also intelligent. He gave us stories that went in directions no one expected and let the characters experience things.

He was able to direct Bill Murray at the height of his Bill Murray-ness. And directed some of the best episodes of the Office.

Not to mention... Egon Spengler. He was Egon Spengler. Possibly the best geek ever put on screen (other than the Doctor).

Mr. Ramis, you will be dearly missed.

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's Not Snow, Not Any More

In my "ignore winter until it gets the hint" move (which is strikingly similar to how I end relationships), I've decided to stop believing that the white stuff that is all over the place is snow.

It's marshmallow.

Marshmallow left over from a second Stay Puft Marshmallow Man attack. And this time it was a bigger Marshmallow Man. We're talking at least 1000 feet tall, rather than 100 feet. That's why there's so much! And why it's all over the country!

You see, a Gozer worshipping cult has been growing in strength across the Midwest and Eastern seaboard. And when this cult, mostly made up of millennials, managed to bring Gozer back this time, they just automatically assumed that his physical form was of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, as that is the form they all know he took in 1984. No one other than the Ghostbusters saw the first form that Gozer took! Therefore, Gozer was a 1000+ foot Marshmallow Man this time.

How did they manage to bring Gozer back? Well, by manipulating Louis Tully into sharing his experiences as the Keymaster. You see, Louis's life has been pretty boring in the past 20 years or so. His stint as a ghostbuster was rather short, as shortly after he donned the uniform, Janine was also trying to convince him to style his hair in a familiar tall and top-heavy style that a certain other ghostbuster styled his hair in. Upon realizing that Janine was unintentionally using his willingness to fill the Egon-shaped hole in her heart, Louis left the ghostbusters and tried to just provide legal and financial advise to the team when needed.

But, eventually, he still wasn't over Janine and when the Ghostbusters shut down in 1991, he felt the need to leave New York entirely. It was then that the cult started watching him. And, eventually, he had reached the point in his life where he was so open and looking for something to fulfill him that the cult swooped in and made him feel like a part of something important again. They told him how amazing he was for being picked to be the Keymaster. How important he was to all of history. How very very special he was. They even started just referring to him as "Vinz", the name of the demon that had taken him over.

Louis lapped it all up, desperate for love. Desperate to be cool. And told them everything.

The cult was lead by the great-grandson of Ivo Shandor, a skilled architect that had studied the designs Ivo had used to make the building used in 1984 and had a few ideas on how to improve upon the original. He built several buildings this time to help create the gateway for Gozer to return, knowing that it would have to be at least 30 years after the first attempt. And in those 30 years, the world kindly suffered so many major problems- wars, economical depression, climate change, and so on- that the cult had no problems recruiting new members that believed that Gozer needed to be summoned to end the world.

And, in early 2014, they summoned him. Big time. As the Stay-Puft Marhsmallow Man. This time it took all the regional versions of the Ghostbusters (instituted by Egon when he re-instated the organization in the late 90s) and every proton pack in existence. It took days, but they defeated him, leaving half the country under a thick coat of marshmallow. Marshmallow that also caused atmospheric disturbances that resulted in extreme cold.

So, there you have it. It's marshmallow. And it's going to suck to clean up when it thaws.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For... So I Checked Out Stand-Up

Last night, I went to watch an Open Mic.

For weeks now, I've been feeling like I need to do something. To take control. And to maybe get some stress off my shoulders.

A couple weeks ago, as I sat in the parking garage at the mall, trying to navigate the internet on the free wifi I can get if I park in a very specific corner of the garage, something in my brain snapped and I found myself Googling for local Open Mic listings.

This "snap" might've been caused by how I was very likely to be listening to a podcast full of comedians at the time.

I like comedy a lot. I listen to a ridiculous amount of podcasts by comedians in the L.A. comedy scene. But I don't know much about the current Chicago comedy scene. It's something that's not easy to access when you don't want to spend money and don't have a lot of free late nights.

And the lack of free nights is why it took until last night for me to attend one. I just wanted to go to watch (a friend said he was going to go as well to finally go up, but he bailed), to see what the caliber was, to see what the environment would be. I still don't know if I really would want to get up- but part of me feels like I might need to. I might need that outlet. But not yet.

The Open Mic was in a truly tiny little dive bar. I chose that one as it was the closest to my apartment, but still a bit of a drive when you factor in how I couldn't find parking nearby to save my life, due to all the snow mounds taking up extra space.

The thing I didn't consider when I chose to go to the show was the Olympics. I showed up ten minutes after the show was supposed to start and there was one non-comic in the bar and only two comics besides the host even there. Eventually, a few more people showed up and three more comics. And when I left, just after eleven, I was sad to have to dash but concerned that 1) my car may have been towed or ticketed (it wasn't!) and 2) I had to be up at 6 AM.

I really wished I could've stuck around, as I wanted to pick a few brains and maybe, you know, socialize. Something I've done almost none of since moving back to Illinois in 2011. Yeah, three years ago.

At least, when I lived in Tucson, every week I'd at least go to one trivia night and see some friends. If I didn't see anyone at all for the rest of the week, I'd at least seem them at trivia. And it helped a lot. It also helped that I had super social friends that had amazingly large social circles that I could just attach myself to like a barnacle.

Maybe I can get that way with Open Mics. Maybe I can drive myself to commit my free nights to going to shows. Or, at least, one night a week. And maybe something earlier than a 9 pm show (or, at least, crowded enough that I won't feel bad if I leave before the show's over). Part of me wants to force myself to go to a show tomorrow night and maybe even Saturday night. 

The other part of me knows that I need to do laundry and get my weekly one night of 8 hours of sleep at some point.


I'm terrible at conforming sometimes. Or, rather, I'm unconsciously subversive about conforming. I can drink the kool-aid wit the best of them and toe any line if you're paying me enough to keep me happy. I'm rather pathetic that way. Hell, I'll smile and tell people about the benefits of boiling puppies alive if it means my medical bills being paid in full.

But then there are certain things that my brain just refuses to adapt to, especially if my first introduction to it involves pointing out the rule not being followed by the rule-maker to begin with.

And I'm going to call a couch a couch. I can't say "sofa" without having to pause and remember it like I'm trying to conjugate verbs properly before speaking in another language. And "settee"? Really?

I'll say "chaise" before I say "settee", thankyouverymuch.

And you (yeah, you) say "curtains" on your own damn website AND in your merchandise locator, so don't try to tell me that we shouldn't be saying it. I'll say "window panels" as well, but let's not freak out at the sound of the word. Despite how I say it much like how Brittany Murphy pronounced the name "Elton" in Clueless.

The Elton Couch

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

We'll Miss You, Shirley Temple Black

The news of Shirley Temple's death was everywhere this morning. And half the people I've seen talking about it on social media have also felt the need to mention that they thought she was already dead.

I'm guessing a large part of that is because, despite her political career in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, most people think of her as the eternal tot. The little lisping girl with cubby cheeks, a head full of curls, and a lot of moxie. The epitome of adorable in the 20th century. The girl that every other little girl actor would be compared to for the rest of time.

I also grew up watching Shirley Temple films. Because my mother grew up watching them in the 50s and 60s, when Miss Temple was already retired from film but still a big deal on television with Shirley Temple's Storybook.

Most people think of her younger work- Little Miss Marker-ear. But we tended to watch her later work, especially if it was based on a book, like Heidi and The Little Princess. She was actually acting in those, rather than just being the adorable little girl. They're dramatic as hell (for Shirley Temple) and Heidi especially would make me cry every time.

I remember watching The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer in my tweens and being so excited to see a teenaged Shirley Temple movie. And then being really disturbed by the plot of a 17-year-old girl falls in love with random adult, played by Cary Grant, and her family convinced him to LEAD HER ON. Even though he doesn't want anything to do with her! Crazy, I swear. Old movies have some bonkers plots, folks. Especially if Cary Grant was involved. It doesn't help that the film was written by the man that would go on to create I Dream of Jeannie.

It was weird to see her looking so much older, yet still so much like that tiny little girl. She resembled Debbie Reynolds at the time, actually. Reynolds wouldn't even make her first movie until the year after The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, and wouldn't even become known until Temple was out of the game in the 50s. Almost makes you wonder if there was only room for Reynolds once Temple had stepped down.

Anyway, what I really remember Shirley Temple for is the Shirley Temple doll my mother had. My mother was not the type to hang onto childhood toys. Mostly due to the fact that she had six younger siblings, four of them girls, and her old toys would make their way through the family until they, presumably, just turned to dust in the youngest sister's hands.

But the Shirley Temple doll survived.

She did not, however, survive unscathed. I remember my mother showing me the doll when I was about five and I was mystified by the thought that it was supposed to resemble the cute little girl from the black and white movies. The face and arms were marred with dark streaks and the hair looked like something between a pointy anime hair style and an afro. Too long and too snarled in odd shapes.

There was also the fact that she had no clothing. That didn't help my imagination with trying to see Shirley Temple in the doll. I was convinced my mother had been duped and no one had the heart to tell her that she just had some old doll.

Many years later, she found someone to restore the doll. She found a dress to fit the doll and shoes and socks that fit it as well. And when the doll was returned to our house, it was clear of black marks and the hair had been painstakingly restored to shiny sausage curls, somehow. It is now lovingly displayed on the piano in my parents' house. In a tiny doll chair, next to pictures of family members. Another family keepsake.

It still does not, however, look like Shirley Temple to me.

Rest in peace, Shirley Temple Black. You've been a legend for 60 years and will continue to be so.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Olympics Relevant! 10 Things I Hated About Figure Skating

Yeah, I'm not watching the Olympics this year. I wish I could say it was in protest, but it's because I just don't have the time nor the care. To be fair, the only reason I watched the past two winter Olympics was to see what this little weirdo grew up to be like. In a former life, I was a figure skater.

Please note that I did not say I was a good figure skater. I was the little sister of a good figure skater. And since we were always at the rink, I was put on the ice as well. It took up the majority of my not-in-school time and I am still slightly bitter that I wasn't given the chance to find my own damn sport that I might've had a chance at being good at (thank you for asking).

As the Winter Olympics are upon us and, for the first time in eons, the U.S. Figure Skating team is most likely to go home empty-handed, I felt the need to talk about the things I really really DON'T miss about skating. A Bottom Ten List, if you will.

10. Getting a runny nose while practicing, meaning that you had to pull the ultimate Grandma Move of keeping tissues up your sweatshirt sleeves... which would then sometimes go flying out while you were skating. And then someone (most likely you) would trip on the tissue. Then you'd have to find more tissues, as your nose would still be running because you're in an ice rink and that happens sometimes.

9. Getting annoyed at crappy portrayals of the sport in movies and on television. Despite the terribly inaccurate use of spotlights during major competitions, the ability of a character to go from hockey player to National-level pairs skater in the blink of an eye, and the complete bypassing of any official testing of said skater before he was competing... at least the skating in The Cutting Edge looks good and you can believe that Moira Kelly could skate. Nothing drove me crazy more than seeing someone portraying a talented skater while clearly being barely able to stand in their skates when not replaced by their skating double. Ice Princess, I'm looking at you. Also, would it kill animators to one day actually animate real skating moves? I'm always sad when I watch that Peanuts special (episode?) where Peppermint Pattie skates and so much of it isn't recognizable as real moves.

8. The Harness.

Every rink had one and I HATED it. Partially because of body issues. But mostly because it was pointless. It was meant to help you get a feel for a jump that you couldn't complete all the revolutions for yet. A way to slow the jump down in mid-air. Except there were all those wires keeping you attached to the ceiling and getting in the way of you making those revolutions.

7. The terror of hitting someone during freestyle practice. Like Oksana and Tanja in 1994.

Your average skating practice is a bunch of individuals practicing individually at doing very high-speed jumps and spins while wearing two sharp blades that are constantly becoming airborne. And there's always someone that's a little bit oblivious, without a doubt. I was always terrified of a collision. Especially when you do something nuts like throw in some lefty skaters and you don't realize that someone is going to be coming from that direction to do a double toe right where you're trying to get enough speed to attempt a double lutz, which you haven't perfected and you need to concentrate to do some footwork to get properly on your outside edge and you're so damn determined to not cheat it. Ahem. If you've ever seen warm-up sessions before a competition on TV, that's nothing in comparison to freestyle practice, where there are more people and everyone is working on something different and there are more possibilities for collision. And, therefore, more possibilities for being on the verge of jumping and having to abort it just before you dig in your toe pick.

6. Scribes.

An ancient artifact used for a form of skating that no one cares about anymore- figures. You'd practice figures in a session called "patch"- due to how everyone taking part in that session would be assigned a specific patch of clean ice to stick to for the session. On your patch, you'd pull out your scribe, which was like a giant compass, and etch out two giant circles in a figure eight (meeting perfectly in the middle, not overlapping). You or your coach might then also hatch out certain spots on those circles and indication of where you should be turning/changing feet/changing edge/ect. And then you spend a very very very quiet session where almost all you would hear would be the sound of blades against ice. I loved patch, as it was very meditative and edges were more interesting to me than jumps (as I was good at edges and turns while very bad at jumps) but I hated those damn scribes. I can't remember if it was my sister's scribe or one of my coaches, but I had one take a bite out of my hand as I set up my circles one morning. Blood everywhere. There were all these adjustment points on the scribes to make them portable and functional for multiple sizes of circles and that included an adjustable handle piece that wasn't adjusted right one day. Fucking scribe.  Plus, I almost always forgot I had one in my bag until it would hit me in the leg or side while I was running and I'd get all bruised.

5. Having to go places in my skating gear. Especially in the summer, my mother (or my sister) would suddenly realize that there were errands that needed to be ran after practice and not have the forethought to tell me to bring a change of clothes (or just not give me time to change). Meaning I'd be schlepping around town in 90F degree heat while wearing two pairs of thermal tights and my butt visible under a short lycra skirt. Then there was always the weirdness of, when I finally could change into real clothes, my thighs would still be ridiculously cool to the touch from the tights holding in the cold for hours.

4. The smell of hockey players.

I remember Marc Maron talking a lot about having a pair of jeans that he was told to put in the freezer to kill odor bacteria, as they weren't meant to be washed. Anyone that has ever encountered a hockey locker room can prove that cold does not kill odor (hell, my boots this winter can prove that as well). The sweat somehow seeps into every atom of every piece of equipment they wear and the smell is profound and terrible. At my home rink, the wall between the girls' locker room and one of the hockey locker rooms had about a foot gap at the top and the smell that came from it was horrifying. I have been at competitions where the smell from the locker room has caused asthma attacks. Hockey Family Advisor went into more details about the distinct terrible smell of hockey, if you wish to read it.

3. Changing in the backseat of my mother's minivan. Because hockey got the sensible timeslots at every rink I ever skated at, all figure skating sessions were so early in the afternoon that my mother would have to race from her work to pick me up from school and then I'd have to change into my skating gear on the ride to the rink. This includes removing underwear, putting on at least two pairs of tights, pulling on a lycra skating dress, and finishing with a sweatshirt. I got very good at never being completely naked and using my super-baggy sweatshirt as a cover while I shimmied the tights and the dress up my body- but it was still crazy and unpleasant.

2. Power Stroking. Yes, it sounds dirty. "Stroking" is skating laps around the rink... properly. Arms extended and still, back arched, legs extending and held with each stroke, and building power with each stroke. On the curves of the rink, you do cross-overs and re-adjust your arms (stroking requires arms out to the sides, as it's a forward motion while cross-overs are curved and therefore the arm on the outside of the curve is extended in front of you and the arm on the inside of the curve is in back of you). Power stroking is an endurance class. Think football training and aerobics combined and put on ice. You (and 15 others) start off just warming up with standard stroking laps, being corrected if you're not doing something properly (flappy arms were a biggie). Then the laps might be changed to a figure eight pattern across the rink. Then you're forced to stand on the blue lines with your feet in a T position while perfectly extending your arms. For what felt like forever but was probably, like, two minutes tops. Then the drills start- which are the same as what you see football players doing, but depending on what coach was running the class, sometimes you were required that rather than just doing a hockey stop and building up momentum, you had to do a T-stop at every line. Which is fucking tedious. And then you'd go back to standing on a line and holding up your arms. And then you'd do a bunch of other things for 15 minutes and then, because you're 8-years-old, you'd feel like you were dying. But you couldn't die, because you most likely were immediately following the power class with a 30 minute coaching session where your coach would give you grief about being so sluggish.

1. Skating Moms. Think "Dance Moms" and "Pageant Moms" but with more money, more bleacher space, and more acoustic surroundings to work with for their obnoxious cheering and shouting. I remember my mother tutting about a mother or two that were clearly forcing their daughters to skate because they had wanted to skate when they were younger and how miserable the daughter looked. There was a synchronized skating team in the Chicagoland area that was infamous for their obnoxious mothers- who would wear matching spirit wear, take up a large section of the bleachers, and bring pompoms in the team's colors that they'd shake when they cheered (and they were practiced routine cheers, of course). They would also be very vocal and un-sportsman-like to any teams competing against their daughters- which was ridiculous, as they usually creamed the rest of us and they had no reason to be so harsh on the other teams.

Friday, February 7, 2014

I May Not Have Much To Look Forward To, But I Finally Made a Great Pandora Station!

So, I've been pretty bummed about a lot of things lately.

One of the issues was the realization that even if I do still have a full-time job at the end of this fiscal year, there's no possibility for growth. Not unless they start randomly paying me a lot more so that I can go back to school. I'm at the height of where I can go in this organization as I.T. and it's rather depressing.

Another issue was, as I only just realized, figuring out how to adjust to having no more deadlines fueling my workload. When I was still partially a data manager, I used to have frequently very important deadlines to work towards and had to keep multiple supervisors in the loop about my progress.

Now I'm just I.T. and other than when someone asks about how a purchase issue or if there's a sudden emergency tech issue... no one really gives a flying fuck about what I'm doing or how long it will take.

Part of why it took me so long to realize this was that I spent October, November, and part of December operating on a very tight schedule of one-on-one sessions. Then January hit and things were so fucking loose. And we were given time off. Suddenly, I realized that because I was now on more of a beck-and-call schedule... and because I was miserable... I could fuck around on the computer a lot during work hours and no one would really care. And I felt a certain amount of "serves you right!" towards "the man" about the whole situation, too.

And then the guilt took over. Massive, massive guilt.

So, now I'm getting over that phase (thankfully) and adjusting to actually doing some work again. Busy work that I'd usually consider eventually doing but would put off. And while I'm doing that, I'm able to momentarily go off-task without turning my whole day into being off-task.

And, in the process, I managed to finally curate a really diverse Pandora station that didn't fall to pieces (yet). It's my background noise for these busy-work tasks and my savior between horrible I.T. emergency requests. And because I'm not working constantly towards crazy deadlines, it's okay to actually go in and curate it while working now.

I called it Clusterf*ck Radio.

So, at least I'm achieving something, right?!

I'm Going To Force Winter Away

Bald tires + over 5 feet of snowfall this winter = I'm still grumbling about the weather.

Seriously, this shit needs to stop.

I've already decided to stop wearing my boots. Partially because they smell horrendous after wearing them every icy/snowy day since November but mostly because I've decided to try to will the snow away.

Considering how it snowed another foot after I came up with this plan, I don't think it's working. But I'm still wearing my sneakers to work rather than the boots. Dammit.

I've also taken up eating "summer" flavors of foods and drinking fruity teas, like it's flippin' June or something.

Not to mention all the planning for July. July is on my mind, baby.

I'm trying to come up with other ideas to force winter out the door- ooh, opening the windows!

Anyone have better ideas?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Back To Who: Last of the Time Lords

Newsflash: Hindsight has not made this episode better.

It's so stupid and such a letdown after 6 good-to-great (yes, I think "42" is good and will defend it in long-form some other day) episodes in a row that it ends with... that.

I had hoped that, given time, I'd be able to see the episode for more. That maybe it was just my dislike of episodes where the Doctor is not the star? Where the Doctor is not his usual energetic self?

Nope, it's more that it's just ridiculous and creepy and can't balance out to good versions of ridiculous and creepy at that.

The weird The-Doctor-Now-Lives-In-A-Tent-And-Responds-To-A-Bell situation turns into the bizarre Dobby-esque Doctor that's only followed by the even worse Tinkerbell-esque Doctor that has extra super-powers on top of regaining his youthful appearance? Usually, Russell T. Davies is very good at putting emotional meaning behind his plot holes to a point where you don't care so much about the hole. But it's just not there in this episode that bounced painfully from dark and disturbing to saccharine and just... stupid.

Not to mention just a complete letdown for finally having the Master in it. I don't think RTD could ever quite find a way to balance the Master's insanity with actual plot. The End of Time didn't do much better- a little bit better, but not by much. And a lot of that comes down to having more emotional impact via Wilf, Donna, and knowing that Tennant's era was ending.

The only saving grace is Martha getting appreciated. Re-watching Martha's run really makes you feel terrible for the girl, as the Doctor treats her terribly and a lot of shitty things happen to her (and even more happened to her on Torchwood and in later episodes). And, yes, she is fully responsible for Professor Yana opening his pocket watch and I don't understand why she didn't just grab the damn thing from him the moment she recognized it and she she'd take it to the Doctor to be checked out). But at least, in the end, she gets to be bad-ass and break free of her one-sided terrible relationship with the Doctor. 

But that's not really a great note to end a series on, is it? Or a great continuing theme.

I do, however, now feel less hatred towards Jack being the Face of Boe. So, there is that. Yay?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When Someone Asks You If You Want A Comic-Con Badge, You Say "Yes"!

Last week, I was suddenly asked by a friend if I would be interested in a possible Comic-Con badge. The decision had to be made fast so that registration for an ID and payment could be provided if the opportunity did come through.

I had no intentions to go this year. Just as I've never gone in previous years. In 2010, I had thought about attempting it briefly, but missed the window (and had no money) for badges. But I've never really had an actual opportunity to actually go before. It has just not been feasible.

But... it is a "bucket list" item. And would mean that I'd get to spend time with two of my favorite people- one of which that I haven't seen in two years. Plus, I've just been so miserable lately and need something fun to look forward to.

First things first, I checked that it wasn't the same week as my summer conference- and, somehow, it wasn't. It's the week before, which is cutting it close, but doable.

But then I remembered that I'm moving in July. And have already been freaking out about how I'm going to afford the move, let alone afford going on vacation in the middle of the move. I'm supposed to be paying off debts and saving for the move, not planning to run away for a little bit. Plus, there's the prep for my conference that's the next week that needs to be considered. It takes at least two days immediately before the conference. And there are conversations and stuff that need to happen in the weeks leading up to the conference that I have to be a part of.

Not to mention the fact that C2E2 overwhelms me to the point where I never make it the third day. How the hell would I ever manage Comic-Con International if I can barely handle Chicago? I'd need to get a prescription for anti-anxiety medication.

And fly across the country. Because it's too close to my own conference to drive back. I hate flying.

But... Comic-Con. Being offered to me.

And, really, what were the odds that he'd actually be able to get me a badge? I mean, this is me. These things don't work out for me. And I've heard so many stories of people being so close to getting a badge and then something falling through. So, I said "yes", just to be able to say that I didn't back away from an opportunity for happiness for once.

The next day, I found out that I'm going to Comic-Con.

And, a week later, I'm now finally coming to terms with the fact.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Back To Who: Day of the Doctor Tiny Error I Can't Ignore

I just rewatched The Day of the Doctor for the first time in several weeks and for the first time after having a major nostalgia trip back to the Tennant era (which included finding copies of Doctor Who Confidential and some of the podcast commentaries- damn, that era was good to fans!).

While there are definitely big giant plot holes in the actual plot of the special, there was one little mistake that keeps bugging the hell out of me:

That picture of Rose is from Turn Left. It takes place in an alternate timeline and therefore didn't really happen in this U.N.I.T.'s reality.

I guess it can be reasoned away that Rose was working with U.N.I.T. in multiple realities, but I don't know if it makes sense for her to do so in timelines where the Doctor was alive. She was working with U.N.I.T. because there was no Doctor to find and she needed their help harnessing the Tardis's powers.

They should've used a picture from The Christmas Invasion, if they wanted to use a picture from a U.N.I.T. episode. Bah.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Post Polar Vortex

As is typical in the Chicagoland area, after our 12+ inch dump and -40F windchill lows, we're expecting to reach 40F as the high tomorrow. The upside is that everything possibly froze so much that we won't have massive flooding like we did when a similar large-snow-followed-by-sudden-warm-up back in November.

But there are still issues. Like these ridiculous icicles that are everywhere this week. I had the pleasure of having a leak in the ceiling above my cubicle this week, leading to panic about all the computers I'm constantly working on possibly being destroyed at any time by future other ceiling leaks.

And, while I'll be happy to see the snow and ice go, I realized last night that most of the snow everywhere is still pure white and undisturbed. As it was too cold for people to be out in it as much as usual- fewer children playing in the snow, fewer cars out (still) to turn the snow on the sides of the road a coal-like black. And just being so cold that the snow doesn't seem to be picking up as much dirt as it usually would. It's a shame to lose such pretty snow.

But not that big of a shame.

Mister Sandman? Bring me, Dream.

When I was growing up, trips to the bookstore with my mother were a regular treat. No sarcasm.

I would ask her how much I could spend, she would give me a limit, and then we'd part ways for at least an hour.

There were difficult decisions to be made. $25 could be split so many ways. It could be one to maybe even two hardcover books. It could be up to 5, if I played my cards right, paperback books. Maybe more, if I was feeling Dover-Thrift-y.

Or it could be one graphic novel.

As I didn't have a driver's license until I was almost 19 and didn't have money until I was in my twenties (and not much at that), I relied on my mother's bookstore trips to get the bulk of my graphic novels and comics.

When I was about 15 (maybe a little before I turned 15), I discovered Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, which, the time, had just recently finished its original run. I picked up the first volume collection, "Preludes and Nocturnes" and immediately fell in love. 

It was so perfectly paced. So delicately worded. Everything about it was so precisely... meant. The only issue I ever had with it was the quality of the art at times. Which is my major qualm about most comics most of the time.

But the story... the story is the thing.

I continued to read the series, but was only able to buy about one volume per year. Yeah. One per year. 

Once I did have a license and some money, I then relied solely on finding the next volume in person. No online purchasing. I'm not sure why I did this, as I love to buy stuff online, but there was something great about walking into a bookstore or comic store, finding the Vertigo books, and looking for the right volume. Often, the one I needed would be the only one missing (currently, this is my issue with Y: The Last Man). But the day I saw it and had the $20+ to buy it? That was a great day.

But then came my super-broke years, coinciding with the heart-breaking realization at the end of Worlds' End, which then I was just stuck with and unable to read the follow-up of. 

And I couldn't buy The Kindly Ones for ages yet, because it was so freakin' big and expensive.

The day I got my first big paycheck, I bought it. And read it.

And then I became overworked and at some point forgot that I had already bought and read it. For I bought it again last year. And read it again, saying, "Hmm, I've clearly read this before..." and then noticed there was already a copy (of a different edition version, at least, on my shelf).

But then, this year, I finally bought The Wake. And then proceeded to stare at the cover of my copy of The Wake. I knew what was coming- but would it measure up? Would I be heart-broken to see it end? I know there have been additional stories by Gaiman and others, in more recent years- but this was the original intended story. I knew it was going to have AN ENDING. But I wasn't ready for the ending, despite the thirteen years of build up.

In the end, I spent New Years Day, a terrible blizzard-y day anyway, reading The Wake. And it turns out, really, most of the story was actually already told. Which shouldn't be a surprise, as there had been 9 volumes worth of story the preceded it. But have you ever realized how many long arc multi-part stories often leave ALMOST EVERYTHING IMPORTANT to the last installment? I was expecting that. Instead, I got a well crafted story that had been wrapping things up all along. Something all stories should do but never actually do. Except for this one.

In some ways, it was a little too wrapped up. Half of the issue was indeed the ending and a respectable ending at that. But the rest was... added fluff. I know others will disagree, but I cared a lot more to see the actual wake and fall-out than to read about Shakespeare's life again or about a man and a kitten in a desert. And it made me appreciate those stories less because they came after the fact. I don't know why, exactly, I feel that way.

I thought I would have so many more thoughts on the subject once I finally finished the story. I thought I was going to have my mind blown and fucked with one last and very hard time. But, instead, I was given a lovely story with a lovely end. And I almost feel like I understand what it is to sit side-by-side with Death as you realized "Oh, this is it? Huh." but she continues to sit with you while you come to terms, quite and accepting of everything about you.

Okay, maybe that's not exactly what it feels like. Finishing Sandman was not like meeting Death.

But I don't really know where to go from here. When I finished the previous volumes, my mind would be reeling and I'd be both hopeful to soon pick up the next volume while also cautious of getting one step closer to the end, ending an experience that started when I was a very different person, and through various different versions of myself, I continued to love this series. What would happen when it ended? What would happen when I reached that book with the ominous title of "The Wake". 

I don't feel the need to pick up any of the spin-off or follow-ups. Not yet. It's too soon. But I feel like something needs to happen to signify that it was a major thing to finally finish the series. But I don't know what.

Because I don't know what I feel like, having finished it. What do I do now?

I mean, other than continue to think about how to put together an amazing Death costume for C2E2, that is.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Movie Palooza 2014

Thanks to the Polar Vortex, a scary snow-slip, and a well-timed lack of work, I spent several days in a row in bed just watching movies. And some TV shows. And reading a lot of fanfic, something I haven't done in years and feel like it's a dirty habit I've picked up after years of being clean.

But the point is the movies! In no order at all:

- Frozen. There are no words for how happy I am with Disney for finally, in recent years, thinking a bit more about the concept of "true love". Between Frozen and the first season finale of Once Upon a Time, I'm very impressed with how much the Mouse-produced stories are growing up. In addition to that: great singing (middling quality songs, to be fair- just catchy enough not to forget them all) and a great story (that, in a good way, has almost nothing in common with the Ice Queen fable, other than ice shards to the heart). The only story it could really draw a lot of comparison to is Wicked, also starring Idina Menzel, but Frozen is not nearly as depressing or disturbing. My score: A-

- The Heat. Another movie with two strong female main characters! Made in the same year! It's a miracle! It's a little over-indulgent in its own wackiness and runs long due to it, but ultimately a great buddy-cop movie with a great cast. My score: B

- Kings of Summer. There are some truly amazing lines in this movie, incredibly funny moments, and some great cinematography but it fell a little short emotionally for me. I just didn't like Joe or Patrick enough, to be honest, and felt that Kelly was little more than an object that could talk. This movie is all about the supporting cast and the dialogue, though, which are both fantastic. Especially Offerman. But when isn't Nick Offerman fantastic? My score: B

- The Way Way Back. This hit me in a spot where Kings of Summer just did not, for whatever reason. I loved seeing Duncan's change over the course of the movie. I loved that there was no easy fix to his relationship with his mother or her relationship with Trent. I love that the relationship between Duncan and Susanna actually has substance behind it, where they see common ground between each other. While not as packed with great lines as Kings of Summer, this feels more consistent and the supporting cast is given more to work with emotionally with their characters. My score: A

- Gravity. One of those movies where you keep checking the time because you can't watch someone be in misery for that long. Which is to say: IT'S AMAZING. But also: so, so stressful. The camera work is beyond impressive, making the long shots from Children of Men look like child's play. And, most importantly, I'm very distressed by how in the first set of credits, George Clooney has equal billing with Sandra Bullock. Which is ridiculous, as he's gone for most of the movie! It's her movie! Get the fuck out of here with that, George! My score: A

- The Dallas Buyer's Club. They went a little too far with making Ron as homophobic and shitty as possible in the beginning, but it is a good story. And while it may be a story that feels like it has been done before, there was an excellent topical angle to it: the corruption of the FDA, the high price for necessary medications, and healthcare rights in general. But without going "LOOK! This is just like NOW!" every five seconds. Amazing performances. A little too long. My score: B+

- World War Z. Made me want pancakes. And then made me bored and wish that Brad Pitt's family would die already so that the movie would start. Then I made pancakes and the movie still hadn't gotten interesting. How do you make zombies so uninteresting? When you have that many good script writers getting credit for their doctoring and you have one of the best books of the past twenty years as source material? How does it go so boring?! My score: N/A as I didn't finish it.

- Carrie. I gave up 9 minutes in when the locker room scene was a disaster. No one's reaction to the situation makes any sense. First off, from the amount of blood shown, Carrie clearly is actually hemorrhaging and not just having a period. Why didn't any blood show in the pool if she was bleeding that heavily? And the other girls seem to be in a completely different movie, as they are clearly not reacting to someone as worked up as ChloĆ« Grace Moretz was playing the character. If you can't make reverse shots seem to take place in the same universe, you're doing your job wrong. Especially when you're doing a scene as iconic as that one. My score: N/A as I didn't finish it.

- Behind the Candelabra. OMG, you guys, ROB LOWE'S FACE. Seriously. It is the greatest thing ever. You have to see it in motion, though, don't just look at pictures. As for the rest of the movie? It's a little bit better than your average HBO biopic. Michael Douglas is great. Matt Damon shows off his body a lot. My score: B

- Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story. Your average VH-1 biopic. Distressingly, most of the movie was recreating footage rather than filling in the gaps between footage, which results in very little character development other than on the surface. More than anything, it's a cautionary tale about signing contracts without looking at them and not having a clue about money. But I wonder if it's even relevant in this day and age, as the music industry is completely different now from how it was then. But also: I love TLC. My score: C

- The Great Gatsby. It's like a parody of a Baz Luhrman film. But way too freakin' long. Holy crap, is it long. After an hour and 40 minutes, I couldn't take it anymore. My score: N/A, as I didn't finish it.

- The Butler. It's good, but it could've been better. I'm so proud of Danny Strong for writing such a high-profile movie but... I feel like even the personal events in Cecil Gaines's life had all been seen before. The only interesting thing to me was all the stuff about how the wait staff functioned and interacted in the White House. And while I do think it's important to remind people of the horrors that happened during the civil rights movement, nothing shown was new nor was it very profound. Also, LBJ on the toilet will haunt me in my nightmares, but Yaya's black panther 'fro is the stuff of dreams. My score: B-

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Greetings From Inside The Polar Vortex

The picture shown here is actually from before the Polar Vortex. This is from last Thursday, also known as "We Were Idiots To Come To Work Today" Day. That was taken about an hour and a half after the sidewalks had been snowplowed. Yeah. To guess what it looks like today, add another foot and a lot of scary icicles.

I fucking hate winter weather.

This has been my sentiment for years, but the two hours I spent shoveling my car out of a snowdrift this morning certainly hit that point home for me again.

Thankfully, some "Shoveling Angels" came by and pushed my free in time to escape a parking ticket (although, odds are that the village is giving a grace period on our 8 AM to 10 AM mini-ban on Tuesday and Wednesdays and I didn't need to worry) and make it to work only an hour and a half late.

Are "Shoveling Angels" a thing for areas outside Chicagoland? Or is it up there with marking your parking spot with old furniture once you've dug it out?

Shoveling Angels are people that walk or drive around after (or during) extreme weather in the means of helping anyone they see that needs help. Often, it's a couple guys walking around with shovels thrown over their shoulders. The folks that helped me were a bit more prepared- they were in a big mother-effin' truck with several shovels. They may had also had a plow on the front of the truck, it was sturdy enough.

After they got me out of my stupid snowdrift, the man did politely ask for a couple dollars in return as I was already reaching for my wallet. I gave him most of the cash I had on hand, wishing I had a spare gift card of some sort to give him as well, but I did not. At the very least, I wanted to help cover the gas they were using to get around, not to mention something for the mere fact that I was terrified I was going to drive over the poor gentleman's feet at some point.

It's pretty typical to tip or gift the Shoveling Angels. It's basically an extended and more urban version of the boys that go around shoveling the driveways of everyone in the neighborhood. Yesterday, I saw a couple guys walking dow the middle of my street with shovels and then when they were walking back, they were shoveling the sidewalks in front of any buildings that hadn't had their walks already shoveled enough. Our walk was already shoveled, but I sort of wished I could quickly make some water or coffee to take out to them. They were out for hours and it really wasn't safe conditions- not to mention the lack of safety of walking down the middle of an icy road.

I'm so thankful for the existence of nice people like this, but at the same time, this past week has definitely soured whatever kind feelings I may had redeveloped about winter weather. If it wasn't for needing to be close to my family and being committed to my lease for another six months, I'd be dropping everything to find a way back to Arizona right now.

Hell, by the time I got to my office (a whopping hour and a half later than planned, as it took more than twice as long to make the drive for some reason), I had to really remind myself that I couldn't just drop everything and head for warmer climates.

Really, really remind myself.

I'd be heartbroken to not be able to see my sister's family as frequently as I have in recent months. My roommate would be shit out of luck if I left. My two retail jobs would be okay, but my office job would require at least several weeks of transition work and would struggle to cover for me at the upcoming conference at the end of this month.

But I want to leave. So much.

If I could get a really well paying job that allowed for me to live anywhere at any moment, allow for frequent trips to see my family (like, twice a month) while also letting me live where ever I wanted to be the rest of the time.. That would be lovely.