Monday, December 30, 2013

Time of the Doctor

The hills are alive... with the sound of Silence...

I should probably admit to recent troubles before delving into reviewing this show... which for me was an okay send off, not nearly as good as David Tennant's...

We didn't want you to go either...

...but anybody who still has any doubts about whether Peter Capaldi was going to make a great Doctor should check and make sure they have a pulse.  In just ten seconds, he pretty much wowed me and makes me wish the new season was here already.

The truth is, I fell off the wagon pretty hard recently because of a number of issues.  One is, I'm beginning to understand why my predecessor left for greener pastures.  Mainly because I have a very big pasture to mow and very little help doing it.  I am addressing this issue with my boss soon, because I have to stick to the caveat I came to the job with, which is:  commercials come first.  I produce commercials (not too fun, sometimes) and imaging (always fun), but imaging doesn't feed the bulldog.  But that means imaging gets the short end of the stick.  That makes me sad, imaging really is the fun part of my job.  Sometimes I want to go to work because of it.  ME.

I love it when I get to show off to my boss, and I bring him into my studio and he has no idea what I'm going to play, and it always gets thumbs up.  Usually with loud peals of laughter.

So, we'll deal with that when he's back from vacay.  I need help, an assistant, somebody full time.  Otherwise what happens if I need to take a sick day?  If there's no back-up... well, I guess, what, commercials just don't get produced and spots miss?  And I have to wait til the sun and moon and stars line up before I can take time off for even a day?

Also I'm still dealing with the break-up over a year ago.  Part of it is because it seems I was right... this guy who I thought the world of for years had his own, repeating agenda in life.   Basically, fleecing guys and then dumping them when he lost interest.  Shortly after the initial break up (actually I guess it was the second break up), I called him on his behavior, saying that I thought he had done this before and would do it again... Very BSG of me, I know.  

He didn't seem to like me pointing that out.  Recently I sent him an extremely nasty note, and I stand by that, because he'd already went and broken the heart of the guy he left me for.  It's not even been a year.  But now I climb back on the wagon before my acne returns.  And now...


hard to believe that's a wig...

Fitting ending, I guess, for Matt Smith's version of the Doctor.  As I said, there was no "I don't to go" moment to make us all bawl.  Matt's Doctor didn't feel like he needed it, I think.  His sudden abrupt change was well played, and another shock to viewers, I guess, but if you think about it, he'd lived many hundreds of years... Tennant's Doctor was even shorter than number Nine, so no, he didn't "want to go."  And then Capaldi's first words... "Do you know how to fly this thing?" Very much plus points on awesome.

The plot was convoluted and didn't make much sense.  I guess I could say they have more of a plan than LOST did... because we know now that they really just lied to ABC to get the show going.  I don't think Stephen Moffett had the whole thing planned out from the beginning as he's alluded to, but he'd better have Sherlock's return planned out.  If that goes off from the cuff I shall be put off in a very bad way.

But, I guess Matt Smith's run has always been hit or miss.  The best thing is, even when it's been a miss, it's still a hit, of sorts.  I admit I feel silly that my favorite 'sode was The Girl Who Waited, as at the time I identified with that story a lot.  I was wrong.  I did not wait.  Waiting implies that something was there for me at the end, and there was not.  I'll take the tears that come with Vincent and the Doctor from now on.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

GODZILLA 2014 is the new MONSTERS

I've never hidden being a Godzilla fan.  It's embarrassing as hell, but many other nerds still find it cool for some reason, even if they're not into it.  I guess it's like being a fanatic about The Prisoner but still finding respect for Dr. Who fans, as silly as that show could get sometimes.  "You like this, I like that... let's just play nice and put the switchblades down.  I'm the Sharks, you're the Jets, let's share the turf and get laid by some chicks."  

Yet I can't help but be a little let down.  My whole obsession with Godzilla began, obviously, as a child.  Once in a while, our TV antenna (a big proper one with a fence to keep us kids from trying to climb it) would pick up channel 41 in Louisville (WDRB) or channel 19 in Cincy (WXIX [see what they did there], both at the time independents, and now both Fox affiliates).  All life stopped during these moments.  We had fuzzy-screened access to monster movies, japanimation, and other imported goodies that the local national affiliates wouldn't touch.  The world was literally our oyster... until whatever atmospheric conditions were causing us to pick up the TV signals moved on, which was usually right at the climax.

Eventually I discovered that Maloney's, the department store that had opened across from Dad's Western Auto and was helping put him out of business (They were appropriately bought by "Heck's" within a couple of years), had not only cable (not even a chance of us having that on Hatton Creek) but they also had WXIX.  Which regularly showcased Godzilla movies!  Although not regularly enough.  Although I do remember a Sunday afternoon watching all the monsters in Destroy All Monsters while sitting on a golden-sparkle motorcycle helmet in the TV/45s and albums aisle, and i remember buying the   45 for Purple Rain in that aisle and the theme song for The Greatest American Hero there, I do not remember seeing another Godzilla movie there. 

So it was a great while before I was finally able to buy a real Godzilla film to watch on VHS, because I was fucking seven years old in Maloney's/Heck's, and I barely remember watching that, except when they beat the fuck out of Ghidorah's three heads.  I loved that.

The point is, when I finally got to watch this icon in his proper medium, which was in my teens when such things started to become available, I was shocked that it was pretty fucking stupid.  The scripts were insipid... they were just trying to match the "lip flaps" of the original actors, which, given the deleterious differences between our languages, naturally makes any lip-flapping mash-up sound ridiculous.  

That's when I really liked Godzilla movies.  The dumber they sounded, they more I liked it... especially when I began culling soundbites from them for my job.  They were insane.

Anyway, this post is getting too long.  The movie looks pretty serious.  Like Gareth's previous movie, Monsters, which I didn't care much for.   Far more serious than Pacific Rim.  I'm unsure I want something so serious from a Godzilla movie.

Rather have:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NuWhoReVue... but first, rape

I forgot the actual reason for writing about Christmas until just now.

The reason was because I realize that a cherished holiday song from the past is actually kind-of a song about date rape.  Seriously.

Baby, It's Cold Outside has been a holiday classic forever, and everybody from Dean Martin to CeeLo Green have covered it.  Recently, we did what's called "flipping to Christmas" at my radio station, which basically means a fairly popular station in our cluster "flips" its format to all-Christmas, all the time.  The first song we played was BICO.  I got there early to listen to the "flip" live and fix any small glitches that might appear... luckily there was only one, easily fixed, which is surprising because I had to build the imaging for it from the ground up... usually it's been our Soft AC station to do it (think James Taylor and The Carpenters... basically Doctor's office background music.  However, earlier this year we flipped that station to New Country, so the only one in our cluster who we could viably flip was our Hot AC (Maroon 5, Pink, Lorde etc).  This is a huge risk, but I think we were right to do it, because all of our other stations either had week signals or were too grounded in their audience to do it.  (In my eyes, anyway... I have no actual insight into these decisions.)

So this was the first time I actually paid attention to the song, and it was just so unsettling.  I'd only heard it as I've heard most Christmas songs, kind of in the background.  Now that I paid attention it was fucking creepy.

First, I had thought the guy was the one wanting the girl to let him stay because of the weather.  It's the opposite--she's trying to leave, he's the one trying to talk her into staying because of the inclement weather.

It just gets creepier and creepier.  He talks her into staying for just half a drink more, but soon she's asking, "Say what's in this drink?"  HULLO ROOFIES.  And he's having none of her reasoning for why she doesn't want to stay... never mind that her family might get worried or she might be shamed by spending the night with somebody she's not married to, he's got a peen going and he's too lazy to just fap it himself at his laptop on Fleshbot.  He eventually guilts her into staying, with a dismissal of her reasons, "get over that holdout."  Then presumably he shame-screws her and high-fives all the guys in the office over his achievement, while the girls in the typing pool tut-tut the woman's lack of chastity.



Monday, November 11, 2013

F*** you if you don't like Christmas

It's not that I don't like Christmas.  It's fine.  I remember plenty of great Christmases in my youth.  Like the one where I got the new re-vamped GI Joes, the SuperJoe line.  It was a sci-fi version of GI Joe, and since my older brother and cousin had moved on from GI Joe to titty mags, it was mine, all mine.  The Shield, the cyborg with a... well.  Shield.  Attached to one of his arms.  That he couldn't throw at Nazis like Captain America could.  But it had a tiny light in it to scare people!

Luminos, the see-through cyborgy looking thing that had light up eyes that, presumably, you could use your vast imagination to pretend were lasers cutting the enemy in twain, although I usually used him to pee at night.

Gor, King of the Terrons, who apparently were some kind of insect-lizards who fainted when you shone a light on them.

And of course there was SuperJoe with his1-2 Punch, his black friend because it was trendy in the 70s, and Darkon, the green-skinned version of SuperJoe who was also one of those almost naked villians.

That was a good Christmas for me.  As was the one where I got ROM.

What made me sour somewhat on Christmas was becoming one of The Poors.  Mom's mental breakdown when I was a kid happened at really a bad time for all of us, especially when Dad had to declare bankruptcy for the medical bills racking up.  (Badmouth Obamacare?  Of course I will.  It doesn't go far enough.)  After that, I got to see the real spirit of Christmas, which is, "What did you get?..."

Every year at school I'd be asked that, and when I gave an honest answer of "Nothing," I was treated to derision and ridicule, as if I was trying to engender sympathy for my situation.  What was I supposed to do, lie?  Say we got a Nintendo?  Everybody knew we were poor.  Why did they bother asking what we got, was it just to feel superior?  Whatever.

I don't hate Christmas, but I don't like what Christmas has become, some kind of tournament to see who got the best goodies.  Because we became poor for a while (strictly speaking we still are now), we stopped celebrating the holiday like that.  When possible we still gave gifts.

While both Kelly and I lived far from home, we would coordinate to visit all at once close to Thanksgiving to celebrate all the holidays and have (since Kelly's birthday was Dec. 8th and mine was Sept. 11th) what we called "BirthThankMas."

So now that Dad has passed, we will really appreciate the true meaning of this holiday.  It's about appreciating what you have and showing others you appreciate them, even when you don't know them.  It's not about what you get; it's about what you give.

I'd sure like that Absolute Top Ten collection though.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I am become Death, destroyer of worlds

I've noticed lately that I've been kind of obsessing over my death.
Notice that it's death, not suicide.  I don't remember ever having anything close to a suicidal thought.  I'm not that far gone, and I don't think I could be.
I've written before, somewhere, about the untimely death of a high school friend's younger brother.  It was the day after his birthday, they found him dead in bed.  The previous night he'd tried to do some fancy gymnastics into the swimming pool and cracked his head on the concrete side.  He went to bed that night complaining of a headache, and never woke up.
Later in life the memory of this would lead me to realize how close we almost accidentally kill ourselves all the time.  I had begun hanging out with Voldemort again, it was Christmastime, and we went shopping together at the Galleria, where he decided he wanted to go ice skating.  And wanted me to as well.
I should point out that I was probably sixty pounds heavier at the time and had never been ice skating.  My response should have been, "No, I don't want to snap both my ankles," but I'd been trying to be friends with V again because I didn't have any other friends in Dallas at the time.
V was not much better than me at skating.  Children routinely lapped him.  I myself clung with a white-knuckled fear-grip to the side, slowly inching my way around the rink.
When the fall happened, I immediately thought I was dead.  My head cracked on the ice and I actually felt what I assume was my brain bouncing around in my skull.  I was unable to speak and the only thing I could do is whisper "help" to the halo of faces looking down at me.
In the nurse's office I was told I should probably get some stitches, which I declined.  At the time I did not realize that my scalp actually ripped open a little, or that a small puddle of blood had pooled beneath my head.  All I could think of was how I was going to die like that kid did.  I did not sleep that night.  And ever since then, any headache, no matter how small, is met with the knowledge that I've probably blown a vein in my brain and if I go to sleep I will never wake up.
Since then I've been acutely aware of how close we all actually come to snuffing it all the time.  I think most people need that kind of experience before they also see it.  This past year has been a particularly busy one, as I've nearly died six times... or rather, came close to a life threatening injury, technically.
1.  Stroke-- It started with the stroke, of course.  In fact if Dale hadn't been there I probably would have died from it.  He convinced me to go to the hospital.  Nobody else in my life, aside from my little brother, could have done that.
The weirdest thing is, although something was obviously wrong, it didn't feel like it.  You expect something like a stroke to be painful:  it wasn't.  Aside from the fact that my arm and leg weren't obeying my commands, I didn't feel like there was anything wrong with me.  That's what I would tell potential stroke victims... yes, there are signs that can warn you you're having one, and it can also feel completely different or like nothing at all.  It's not a heart attack.  It seems most strokes are caused by lack of oxygen reaching the brain for some reason, which also happens to be why seizures often occur after a stroke as well... the brain knows something is wrong and is temporarily shutting down the system in hopes of getting more oxygen.
2.  Shower-- I've never been the most graceful person, but after the stroke I've had to remedy that and be more careful in my movements.  There are still the occasional hiccups.  One was, while still recovering, getting tangled up in the shower curtain and nearly plunging to the floor.  My bathroom, being tiny, affords me many ways to crack my skull open in such a scenario.  Luckily, my wet leg slipped free and I gained my balance.
3.  Shampoo-- I know they think it's clever marketing to give a shampoo bottle a distinctive shape, but if it's not shower caddy friendly it might as well be a land mine.  Luckily, the shower grip I grabbed onto after tripping on the bottle held. 
4.  Chuck Taylors-- My shoes slipped on a patch of ice after an ice storm.  Luckily I fell into a freshly plowed snowbank rather than the pavement, which otherwise would have split my skull open just as the ice rink tried to.
5.  720-- I really have no idea how I came out unscathed from this one.  I was making a sharp left off the on-ramp in Winchester when my little truck started hydroplaning.  I knew enough to let off the gas, but with my power steering out, my steering wheel couldn't right itself, and I continued hydroplaning in a doughnut WITH A LINE OF CARS BEHIND ME THAT DIDN'T REALIZE I WAS HYDROPLANING.  I have no idea how I  didn't plow into one.  I came to a stop after doing two full loops.  Jesus. 
The sixth one is frankly boring and another shower story.  Didn't have body wash, soap slips, I nearly slipped on the soap.  What a boring way to die that would have been.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nightmare In Silver - DWreview

Well, I wouldn't have believed it if anybody had told me beforehand.  Even though Neil Gaiman wrote it, I was still down about being out of a relationship and thought very little chance of being entertained by this past Dr. Who, but damn if it wasn't awesome.

So awesome I'm going to skip talking about the rest of season 7.2 except to mention that the thing that is making this half of the season terrible is Clara.  The companion.  The companion is integral to The Doctor.  Sometimes they stand up to him, question his decisions and choices.  Sometimes they save his life.  Sometimes they run.  But always, always you like them in the end.  Even that screeching harpy Donna turned enjoyable towards her tragic end.  Every one of them likable, except Clara.

I can't give you a reason why.  Maybe it's because she feels like a mystery shoe-horned into the Doctor's life just to be a different type of companion.  Or, maybe she just sucks.  Or maybe what she's been given to do sucks.  But I haven't warmed up to her yet.

I've made predictions about the show before, none of which came true (but that I think were very clever).  So I'm hesitant to do this, but I think we'll find in the next 'sode that whatever is causing Clara's "condition" is either directly because of the Doctor, or because he chooses to do something that puts him in danger and Clara steps in to save the day by sacrificing herself.

If you think about it, that's kind of Moffat's whole schtick:  the Weeping Angels are practically unstoppable, as long as you're not looking at them, but if they look at each other, they can be immobilized for eternity.  You can't remember the Silence, but they can plant post-hypnotic suggestions in your head that you will (unknowingly) obey... even if it's about killing the Silence themselves.  Take the enemy's strength and make it their weakness as well.

A fine and time-honoured trope that appears again and again in the genre, so I don't mind it.  Still, like the TARDIS, I don't like Clara that much, yet.

GIRL, werq!

Still, this episode did to amazing things.  It let me not dislike Clara, and it also made the Cybermen actually seem kind of threatening.  It also managed to not feel like a typical Neil Gaiman story (unlike The Doctor's Wife, which absolutely did).  I should note that, while I am a huge Gaiman fan, I have not placed him on an unreachable pedestal.  He can write boring but award winning stories about teens realizing the chicks they're hitting on at a party are aliens or something, and then he can write things like "When the Saucers Came" which makes me hate him for being an actual talent and able to give a twist to a story that makes M. Night Shyamalan blush with jealousy.

I'm sure you can find the whole thing online somewhere.

Anyway.  Two incredible performances in this 'sode.  One from Matt Smith himself, playing the Doctor and the Cyber-infected Doctor at the same time.  I kind of love these schizophrenic kind of performances, but I really wish more people would follow Peter Jackson's idea of filming the two disparate characters separately and jump-cutting between their perspectives.  I just think that's cooler.


The other incredible performance was from Warwick Davis.  Man, he would have been awesome in Game of Thrones.  As emperor of the galaxy, he was pretty fucking good.

Emperor Davis
So next up is Trenzalore and the question which must never be asked, and the explanation of Clara.  I hope it makes me trip balls.  Like this!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Doctor Sucks

"You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful and you actually talk to them and five minutes later they are solid as a brick. Then there are other people then you meet them and think, not so bad for ok. Then you get to know them and their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality is written all over it... and it just... turns to something so beautiful"

At first, I was absolutely sure I knew what was wrong:  I wasn't enjoying it because my partner wasn't here with me, and I kind of knew he wouldn't be coming back.  I had always enjoyed the show before we got back together, but now I had to re-learn how to enjoy Dr. Who alone, again.  It wasn't coming along.

I thought, maybe, like the Doctor, I needed a companion, to enjoy the show.  Since my brother had built his dream house after moving back home, I elected him to be my surrogate Dr. Who companion.  I go home most weekends, and we try to watch it together, although he usually falls asleep on the couch.

But that wasn't the problem.  This season, particularly the second half, has just plain sucked.

Asylum of the Daleks

This 'sode was not a knock out of the park, but it was pretty good, especially for setting up the Doctor's new status quo as an unknown variable, as opposed to the most feared being in the universe.  Also, the perfect couple being on the rocks?  And then seeing them grow together again?  That was pretty good.  If you've ever given somebody up because you know you'll never be able to give them what they truly want, Amy's speech about children was probably pretty touching and effective.

I'm not a big fan of westerns, aside from Tombstone (of course), but this sci-fi take on the genre was good.  But again, it was a western... I'd watch it again, but not go out of my way, necessarily, to do so.

A fun romp.  This kind of sounds like somebody came up with the title before having any idea about a plot, but it was fun.  Rory's dad was a good addition.

Apparently the power of three is to bore the audience to tears.  Ugh, how boring this was.  That's when the cracks started appearing in the Doctor's facade for me.  But we still had the big,  bad Weeping Angels appearance to get through....

...and "getting through" it was exactly what you had to do with this one.  At best, a mediocore 'sode that should have been an excellent one, seeing as how it was a supposedly farewell ep for Rory and Amy.  It was one of the few times that I would agree with friends who point out the illogical in certain tropes.  "Well, why couldn't they just arrive in Jersey and take a cab if the fabric of space-time was preventing them?"  Normally I'd dismiss this with, "Yeah it's so illogical that this time-traveling immortal couldn't figure that out, it's so unrealistic..."  but they took way too many liberties with time travel, paradoxes, Angels (honestly the Statue should have been a huge shocker but it was yawn-apalooza)... Just not really all that great.

to be continued soon with reviews of the second half of season seven

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A New Universe

In a few weeks the title for this post might have another, hidden meaning... but for now, it's just referring to Marvel's third revival of their New Universe line.

New Universe was a line of comic books put out by Marvel in 1986, in honor of their 25th anniversary.  It was pretty much a sputtering, gasping failure from the beginning, but for me it was really cool... something that wasn't your regular spandex-clad super-hero fare.  I especially enjoyed Star Brand, a book that seemed to have a story arc, but I'm guessing like most things back then they were just winging it.  In 2006, probably to keep the trademark alive, Marvel let Warren Ellis revive the concept with his newuniversal mini-series.  It has been said that a catastrophic hard drive failure left WE with none of his notes on the series, which smells suspicious to me, but it was a great mini anyway, updating a nostalgic concept for more modern and engaging story-telling.

And now this.  Jonathan Hickman has taken control of Avengers and New Avengers, and has brought the NU into 616, or at least the concept of it (meaning the concept Ellis had fleshed out), and I am fucking hooked.  It's like the Godfather, just when I thought I was getting out of comics, they pull me back in.  I don't know yet if they're planning on incorporating NU stuff into 616, and after today's issue of Avengers I think they might not. But still, it's pretty awesome.  

(I will always lament that Kickers Inc. never got a second chance... super-hero FOOTBALL players fore hire?  Awesome.)