Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Thankful Stormtrooper, 2013 Edition


Thanksgiving is upon us once again, which means it's time for another installment of my annual tradition of a brief post of the things I'm thankful for this year.

As always, the list starts off with Jameson Irish Whiskey. Because how the hell could you not be thankful for that wonderful libation?

I'm thankful for having the best year in terms of employment that I've had in a good five years. I worked pretty steadily all year long until now. Sure, they were all temp jobs, but temp money is just as spendable as perm money, right? If nothing else, a much more up-to-date and current resume is so much nicer and more attractive and convincing than one full of employment gaps. Of course, I really need to find something more steady and lucrative now as we approach the next thing on my list...

I'm thankful for having found a wonderful woman to spend my time with. I'd list all the reasons I'm sort of crazy about her but I don't want her to get a swelled head or anything. Plus, if you all know me, you know there's a limit to just how verbally nice I can be to somebody without getting apoplectic, so suffice to say she is the aforementioned wonderful. And it doesn't hurt that she's beautiful. Uh oh. I feel apoplexy coming on.

I'm thankful for all the things in entertainment I enjoy; all the varied TV shows and movies and books and comic books and games and everything else that divert from life and bring all kinds of thoughts and emotions. And I'll throw in this category how thankful I am for writing, even though I don't do enough of it and especially not enough of the kind of writing I should.

Lastly, I'm thankful for the family I love, no matter how annoying and unbearable they make life sometimes, and for the friends I love who make it bearable again. Y'all know who you are.

So that's it. In this season of Thanksgiving that kicks off my favorite time of the year, I urge you to share the things you're feeling particularly grateful for in the comments below, and maybe next year I can add "reader participation" to the list!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - Ragtime

RagtimeRagtime by E.L. Doctorow

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I could see a lot of brilliance in this book, but I'm afraid I couldn't get into it through my hatred of the author's particular style enough to actually enjoy it. I hate the overly long paragraphs that compose the book; they make for intimidating blocks of text full of run-on sentences and asides that seem to have very little bearing on the story. I also didn't care for the author's lack of conversation and dialogue as a storytelling device for the most part or for the exclusion of quotation marks on the rare occurrence when he did use dialogue. I can enjoy the sort of co-mingling between fiction and history that goes on here (personally i think Ken Follett does it much better) but for me the book didn't get interesting until the last third where it became mostly about the author's own created characters, but by then it was too little, too late to really make me like this book.



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Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 Favorite Doctor Who "Oh, the Feels" Moments: Countdown to the 50th Anniversary 1...


The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special is a scant nine days away now, and I figured what better day for me to drop the last installment of my special countdown series than on the day after the premiere of the special prequel minisode, "Night of the Doctor," right? So far, this series has seen me countdown my five favorite stand-alone episodes, my five favorite two-parters, and my three favorite specials. This final installment is all about the feels; any Whovian knows ours is a show full of feels, some of them happy but most of them almost devastatingly sad. This, then is a look at the five moments in NuWho history that have given me the most feels. And yes, there will be spoilers.

5. Eleven and Amy Take Vincent Van Gogh Into the Future to See His Legacy (Vincent and the Doctor, Series 5)

The Doctor, left, and Van Gogh, right

After befriending him in an adventure involving an invisible monster, The Eleventh Doctor and his companion Amy Pond take Van Gogh to a modern day retrospective of his art where the painter learns just how great his place in history is. It's a particularly touching moment to me as Van Gogh is easily my favorite painter, and it's a beautiful scene. It's also the only happy moment on my list, so i thought I'd start you off easy. Enjoy this moment, because here comes the rough stuff.

4. Ten Says Goodbye to Rose (Doomsday, Series 2)
I could describe what happens in this episode and tell you about the Daleks and the Cybermen and alternate dimensions and all that. Or I could tell you about how the end of it all sees the Doctor saying goodbye to the woman he's loved... or I could just let a picture say what a thousand words couldn't.


3. He Will Knock Four Times (The End of Time Part 2, 2010 New Year's Special)
Sometime during the course of the fourth season, the Tenth Doctor receives a prophecy of his death, that "he will knock four times" and that whoever this mysterious "he" is, his knocks will precede the Doctor's demise. Immediately after that prophecy, every knock is suspect. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Christmas 2009/New Year's 2010 two-part finale of David Tennant's run, where the return of the Master heralds the four drumbeats he always hears. Are those the four knocks? Or are the four knocks the beating of Rassilon's staff as the Time Lords return? No, they are not. The Doctor triumphs over everything and believes he has survived, until...


...Wilf knocks from the chamber he's locked in, a chamber he can only be released from by the Doctor's final sacrifice. Every time I watch this episode, even knowing what's going to happen, Ten's face hits me in the gut. This moment, which includes his farewell tour to all his loved ones, would be even higher on the list if not for the weakass final line they give him: "I don't want to go." You deserved better than that, Ten.

2. Goodbye, Sweetie (The Name of the Doctor, Series 7)
The Doctor and River Song. A love story told across two timelines travelling in different directions. It was a moment we always knew would come: River was always heading towards her death in her first appearance, but the sudden knowledge that between her last appearance in "The Angels Take Manhattan" and this episode, River passed away hits like a sucker punch to the nuts. But it gets worse! She's only in this episode because the Doctor has refused to say goodbye to her so her consciousness is lingering like a ghost until he says goodbye. Which he does with a final kiss, and even though River tells him they'll meet again, we know it will be from earlier in her timeline and for the Doctor, his wife is dead. River's final words to him are the mirror image of the greeting she's so famous for... goodbye, sweetie.


1. Raggedy Man, Goodbye! (The Angels Take Manhattan, Series 7)
You know what? I can barely even think about this episode and what I could possibly write about it without getting misty. So I'm not going to write about it. You can just watch. And for once, I'm not going to follow up with words, either. Because I can't. Oh, the feels.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - Rage of the Dragon

Rage of the Dragon (Dragonships of Vindras #3)Rage of the Dragon by Margaret Weis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


When I picked this up I thought it was the final part of the trilogy, so imagine my surprise when I realized it was instead the third part of a quartet. It does explain why a large part of the first half of the book feels like filler, though. While the main character, Skylan, has grown a whole lot since the first book and has grown into a very enjoyable character, the novel spins its wheels for the first half, especially when it switches POV completely in Book Two. Once it switches back, however, the story picks up, as the intrigue between the various sects of gods is interesting, as is the subplot of what exactly the dragons know and what they intend to do. The climax is very thrilling; the book barrels on through its last hundred pages at a rousing pace, but the ending is a little abrupt. In short, it would have been better with a better first half, but is still a good book.



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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hatewatching

From Urban Dictionary:

"Watching a TV show or movie that you hate because you hate it.

Usage note: hatewatching is distinct from enjoying a guilty pleasure, wherein you like something despite its obvious badness. A hatewatched show is one the viewer genuinely despises but cannot stop watching. This could be because it is so "important" they feel they have to, because it has enough promise that they hope it gets better, because it's so well-crafted in it's terribleness that the badness itself is noteworthy, or because they enjoy the adrenaline that pure revulsion can bring. Whatever the reason, the hatewatcher can't look away from the trainwreck."


As the 2013 Fall TV season has progressed and I've eliminated most of the new shows from my list, it's dawned on me that there quite a few shows that I'm watching not because I'm enjoying them but because, for whatever reason, I feel like I can't stop... shows that I'm hatewatching. And because I'm all egotistical and think that you people out there give a crap about what I think and stuff, I thought I'd post the list and the reasons why.*

Dracula
I gave my thoughts on this show in a post last week covering its first episode, and I'm here to tell you this absurd bastardization of the legend of Dracula got even worse in its second episode. Yet I'm still hanging around because it's Dracula and it's only ten episodes total and there's no way in hell this show is getting renewed past that and there's fuckall else on Friday nights so why not, right? I'll tell you why not: because gouging out my own eyes and then eating them mixed into a bowl of cut glass would be more fun.

Revolution
I enjoyed this show for a few weeks after it debuted last season, but it went downhill fast. When the season finale revealed that the American government, which had been missing since the start of the blackout apparently, was alive and well in Cuba and ready to retake the country, I dropped it like a sack of manure. Then I did something I know I'm better than and I fell for the off-season hype and hints about how there was more to the American government than it seemed and how the show's title would take on a new meaning and I tuned back into the new season. What did I see? The worst character in the whole show dying off in the first episode... only to be revived by nanites who also apparently give him the power to have visions and set people on fire with his mind and stuff. I'd drop it like a sack of manure again, except now I have to see just how ludicrous it can get.

Once Upon a Time
For two seasons, I loved this show. I loved the way it balanced fairy tales with reality, flashbacks with the present, drama with comedy, main characters with quirky supporting characters. This season, it lost the magic of that contrast with a storyline taking place entirely in Neverland with nothing but the show's main characters. Gone is the town of Storybrooke and the fun ways reality and fantasy blended. Gone are all the charming background characters like the dwarves and Red Riding Hood; all we get now is the neverending drama of the Charming family. Rumpelstiltskin is still great, but even he's gone full emo now and isn't enough to bail out this show. I should have known this would happen after the way the abysmal spinoff turned out, but still. Now I'm stuck wanting to know what happens just because it got two years of my life already and part of me is hoping for a comeback.

Homeland
A show that started out a brilliantly written character piece about crises of faith and identity has turned into nothing but another plodding spy drama full of "oh my god what a twist that no one saw coming except anybody with even half a functioning brain" moments juxtaposed with a completely boring depressed teen's suicidal dramafest. The character the show was built upon has only been in one episode out of six so far. The one saving grace of the show is Mandy Patinkin, and the closer his Saul Berensen gets to full asshole mode, the less interested I am.

And now we get to the two biggest offenders...

Supernatural
For five years, Supernatural was one of my favorite shows. The mythology and plotting was tight beyond belief, and there was a perfect balance between shows that advanced the main plot and done-in-one episodes. The stakes got upped every season as every time the Winchesters won a battle, they lost more of the war. It was a perfectly executed show... because it was planned that way from the beginning. Five seasons, starting with monsters and demons, ratcheting up the stakes until the apocalypse was pretty seriously nigh and only the death of a Winchester caught in the middle of a battle between the archangel Michael and Lucifer himself could save the world. The show ended perfectly. Except it didn't end. Now it's just a mishmash of plots we've seen endlessly about one of the brothers keeping a secret from the other one while the make a deal with a demon/angel they shouldn't have made while they're outsmarted by Crowley, the only reason to watch the damn show anymore. Every episode without him bores me to tears, and not even he could save last week's abortion of an episode involving Sam and Dean and the ultra-annoying Charlie helping Dorothy stop the Wicked Witch from returning to Oz. Yes, I just typed that sentence. Sorry, Crowley.


How I Met Your Mother
I don't even know where to begin with this one. It's clearly been drawn out much longer than anyone planned, and along the way the characters that were all so lovably real and well-rounded when the show started are all caricatures of themselves that are just about impossible to like. The mother's long overdue reveal at the end of last season was just about the most anticlimactic thing I've ever seen, and since then she's appeared in two episodes this season, a season that is just chock to the brim with filler nonsense like stunt casting and ridiculous fantasy sequences that would even be too ludicrous for Scrubs in its decline. And even though Ted hasn't met her yet, we get a flash forward to how he proposes to her, which is the first time we've seen them together and is just a total cheat to the show's main conceit. It's been a long time since I enjoyed this show on a regular basis, but I stuck around because after watching to long I have to see how he meets the mother, which apparently even though we've met her, Ted won't actually meet her until the last episode. And as if all of this isn't absurd enough, apparently there are talks of a spin-off with a whole new cast of characters, with the very original title of How I Met Your Father, that might be set up in the finale. You know, because that finale won't have enough to do and a hard enough time not sucking already.


*It's less because of that and more because I would at this point do anything to avoid working on the NaNoWriMo project I am to date failing so hard at.