Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011!!!

It's been a momentous year. In many ways a tough one, but with its own surprises and joys along the way.

Thank you all for continuing to follow me here at Elenatintil.Blogspot.Com. Your readership, support, comments and likes mean so very much to me. And I cannot say how incredibly encouraging and uplifting all of your prayers have been. Thank you. Again and again.

Wishing each and every one of you God's joy and blessings in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fighting off a Migraine with Doctor Who Special Features

It may seem strange but it was actually pretty comforting. I curled up in bed after taking my asprin and put on my brand new copy of Doctor Who Series 3. The lovely thing about the BBC is that they subtitle just about all of their special features on DVDs. Americans don't tend to do that so for most movies I have to ignore the special features. However with Doctor Who it really is worth getting all the extras. Series 3 has a very lovely long feature (actually broken up over four disks) that actually are David Tennant's video diaries from the series.

Most fans know Doctor Who Confidential as their backdoor into the series, but honestly I found the clips edited for the DVD release to be quite unsatisfying. The video diaries, however, were a delightful, hilarious and very personal look into the filming of the show and I vastly enjoyed them. Even with a migraine.

It's also pretty fun to see all the actors out of character. Surprisingly I found that Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones) reminds me a ton of Sharayah Bunce, who played Rose Brier in my film "The Shadow of the Bear." Also fun to see was the appearance of Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith) in the segment on the Doctor Who "Weakest Link." I've always loved the character of Mickey and it was fun to see how hilarious he is in real life.

Plus, of course, it's no secret that I adore David Tennant and it was brilliant to see his lovely self hosting the thing. So anyhow, this is a fun special feature that all DW fans should take the opportunity to watch.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Too-Absent Hero

Have you ever noticed while writing a story that when certain characters walk into a scene the whole tenor of your project changes?

I've been working on a sequel to my first novel (which has had a lull in querying with all my health issues and the holidays). There was a certain way the plot had to go that kept the hero from wandering in until about page 65. I knew I missed him, but I didn't realize just how much I needed him until he finally appeared and started talking to my heroine.

The whole story takes on a new depth when he arrives. Not that there aren't other characters that bring plenty of their own goodness to the tale, but it really doesn't feel truly 'alive' without him. When he's not there, it's obvious that he's missing.

It doesn't even have much to do with Romance because that whole element hasn't come strongly into play yet (I'm a fan of drawn-out romances). It really is that he is a character that adds a needed edge to the story.

So now I need to figure out how to handle this lack when he's not around. I think there is a certain part of it is that is good. The readers need to miss him when he's not there and feel what an important character he is. If my pre-readers tell me that they missed him, I'll count that as partially a good thing.

But I also think that a complete absence of my hero for the first 65 pages is a problem. So I need to determine how to bring him in or strengthen the other characters to hold the weight better. Actually I need to do both.

That's why we have second drafts.

Anyhow, I wrote eight pages today and I feel immensely satisfied with the fact. I've been in a rut where I haven't been able to write more than a page or two at a time and it has been very frustrating. My writing retreat really forced me to sit down and write for a long period of time and got me back into the groove.

It also helped that my doctor identified one form of caffeinated tea that my body can handle. Which is lovely because it gives my brain that extra jolt and focus I need to sit down and seriously write some quality focused material for two or three hours.

Anyhow, draft one is currently 79 pages and 23,000 words long. Considering how long I've struggled to start this sequel, I think that's a pretty significant start.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Twelve Days, Broomball and Doctor Who

It's always strange when Christmas ends, isn't it? So much hype and then... over. I much prefer to embrace the twelve days tradition and spread out the festivities. With New Years, a dance night and a bridal shower planned, it's not hard to continue on in the festive spirit.

I am, however, perfectly glad to give up all the sugary sweets because they make me feel absolutely miserable. If any of you see me sneaking any chocolates or such things, do come up and slap my hand away, won't you?

Overall Christmas was extremely lovely this year. We had a good time with family, lovely music, and some really heartfelt presents. After supper us young adults, my mother and grandfather went out to the pond where we proceeded to build a bonfire and play broomball in the dark. It was absolutely splendid. I haven't been able to play a physical game like that for a long time, so it was wonderful to be well enough to do that yesterday and to spend the time with my cousins.

Then my sister and I settled down to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special which, while not quite as wonderful as last years, was nonetheless extremely good. There was more humor and quirkiness than last year, and a happy ending which I always felt was rather lacking in RTD's years.

And on a spiritual front, I've been reading and pondering Lauren F. Winner's "Mudhouse Sabbath" which is a fantastic book that I hope to blog about at some point in the near future.

I hope that you and yours had an absolutely lovely Christmas. :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On this the eve of our Savior's birth...

Two thousand years ago a young girl, nine months pregnant, was told there was no room for her to lay her head. Her husband, a young carpenter, searched out the only shelter available for them... a dark, dirty stable cave. Their child, God incarnate, was born not to the anxious audience of a court, or even the loving circle of a family, but rather under the dark quiet eyes of the animals of Bethlehem. What humbler entrance to the world could there be for the Prince of Peace?

Now every year humanity gathers in an attempt to make up for this shunning of our savior at his birth. We'll never achieve it fully, for we are always distracted by presents and food and our own selfish vanity... but the grace of God is that he loves and desires us always, no matter how imperfect our love for him might be in return.

May the love of God surround you and may you feel his presence tonight, no matter how you are celebrating.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I was Jane Austen's Best Friend

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up with Jane Austen? To be her friend, her confident, her sharer in adventures and the recipient of the first drafts of her stories?

Well wonder no longer. In Cora Harrison's novel "I was Jane Austen's Best Friend" we are given a peek into the life of Jane's cousin, Jenny Cooper, and the year she spent living with the Austen family.

The scene is set with Jane Austen dying of a terrible fever in Southampton. With a schoolmistress too cruel to send for Jane's parents, her only hope of survival rests in the hands of her cousin Jenny. But to save Jane's life, Jenny must venture out into the dangerous seaport to secretly post the letter summoning Mrs. Austen. In doing so she risks her own life... or at the very least, her reputation.

Jane and Jenny both survive, thanks to Jenny's courageous actions and the assistance of a handsome young Navy captain. However Jenny must carry her secret with her as she travels with the Austens back to their home in Steventon and joins society there. For now she is safe, but if anyone learns that she wandered the midnight streets of Southampton unescorted, her future will assuredly be destroyed.

It's easy to push these fears to the back of her mind in the midst of the boisterious Austen family. Jenny quickly makes friends with all of the Austen boys, and helps Jane teach her deaf and dumb brother George sign language. They put on a play with the help of the glamourous and worldly cousin Eliza, and take great amusement in older Austen sister Cassandra's hidden romance with student Tom Fowle. But then Captain Williams reappears and Jenny's secret is in danger of being discovered...

With a full range of characters from which we can see the seeds for many of Austen's literary creations, this well researched but light-hearted and appropriate look into the past will be enjoyed by every Austen fan.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What temperature do you write best in?

It's a weird question, but we all have different body types and different situations under which we can write best. I have a hard time writing or focusing on anything when I'm cold. I reallyreallyreally hate being cold.

Being hot can be problematic too, but I don't think it's such an impediment to my writing.

Or maybe I'm just all focused on the cold because it's December and it's the midwest and it's freeeezing in my bedroom.

Anyhow. I think temperature is relevant to the creative process. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writing Retreat Weekend!

It just so happens that I'm heading out of town with a couple of friends for our own writing retreat... on the weekend of Jane Austen's birthday... to write a book about Jane Austen.

No, this was not planned. The dates just happened to align this way.

So anyhow I packed up a ton of books on writing and Jane Austen and then a novel or two and a book on drawing. Possibly overkill, but just looking at the books inspires me. I'm also bringing along my favorite writing movies. By which I mean:

Sense and Sensibility (the new BBC)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Bright Star
Miss Potter
Becoming Jane

I can never watch these movies without feeling in a writing mood. I figure if I get writer's block, I can just pop one in and get those juices flowing.

I should have internet access so I do hope to write a few blog posts about the experience. Should be pretty fun! I'm hoping to really get some serious work done on my sequel and also get the final edits into the first novel, because they've been sitting around for a YEAR waiting to get finished.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

To Judge a Book by its Cover

That's one of the earliest sayings we learn. "Never judge a book by its cover." And yet we do. Why else do publishing companies work so hard to package books attractively? Why else is one of the biggest pieces of advice to self-publishers "hire someone else to do your cover?" 

Because an intriguing cover is going to catch our eye and a boring cover is going to turn us off. Unless someone has recommended it to us or the title really draws us in, we're not going to look further at a book with a boring cover. But a book with a well designed cover with interesting and informative graphics? Yeah, we're going to pick that up and check the back or inside flap to see whether the synopsis lives up to the promise of the picture.

Unfortunately it is rather hard to properly enjoy covers at libraries. Sure they have a few out on display, but never nearly enough. So what do I do? I go to the bookstores where they fully realize the importance of a cover and lay their books out on tables. Then I browse among the lovely spreads of awesome and pick up the books that catch my eye. If it passes cover, title and synoposis test, I write the title down in my notebook and look it up at my library later.

 Yes, I do actually buy books. However I'm extremely poor and can't buy all the books I read. That's what libraries are for. However if I read a book and decide I want to reread it a year or two down the road, then I will purchase it. I simply have been burned too many times to buy a book without reading it first. That's why I don't ever weed out my bookshelf. I have chosen its inhabitants carefully and loved them long before I bought them. They're not going anywhere.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Once Upon a Time -- Let's Discuss

Well before getting hit by this flu bug, I did manage to properly enjoy last night's episode of "Once Upon a Time." I've been meaning to do a mid season analysis post, and with the holiday break commencing this seems the right time to do it.


Properly warned? All right, lets carry on.

While each episode has had it's own surprises and revelations, I think last night's episode might be the most shocking yet. From the moment Sheriff Graham kissed Emma and started getting flashbacks, I knew we were in for a crazy ride.

For a show that is about fairy tales, we really haven't had much for kisses yet. I should have known that Graham kissing Emma already meant that bad things were going to happen...

Yes folks, he's dead. As in Storybrooke dead. It's been confirmed by the actor that he will not be reappearing as Sheriff Graham, although he reminded us that there is still plenty of room for him to show up in flashbacks. Considering the heavy influence LOST has had on this show, I think we can count on seeing him again. (In LOST it didn't matter if someone died, the actor ALWAYS came back for SOME reason.)

Still... what a shock! I always liked Sheriff Graham. When he first appeared on the screen I was livechatting with my friend Amanda about the episode and we both went -- "CUTE BRITISH GUY! WHO IS THE CUTE BRITISH GUY?" My first instinct was that he was the big bad wolf, but considering how the writers denied any connection to the comic book Fables (where the sheriff IS the big bad wolf) I realized they would likely give him a very different fairy tale origin. The huntsman/woodsman from the Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood tales struck me as most likely.

(Interestingly enough, the writers originally wanted a different origin for Graham, but had to change it, citing rights issues. Hypable theorizes Robin Hood, but I think it is far more likely that they originally DID want his backstory to be the big bad wolf and had to change that to avoid similarities with Fables)

So he's dead. And at the very moment when Emma was finally about to open up her heart to him. What does this mean for her? Will it make her harder or will it break open that wall she's built around herself? We're due for an Emma-centered episode soon which I am very much looking forwards to.

Also last night we learned a bit more about why Regina hates Snow. Apparently she entrusted Snow with a secret... and Snow told someone else. I suspect this has something to do with Snow's father. Snow felt it would be betraying her father to keep Regina's secret, so she told her father. Whether Snow's father is Regina's lost love, or whether there was someone else in the picture is another question entirely.

What about the show as a whole thus far? I'd say overall I'd give it a B, or B-. It's lot a lot going for it, but the writing could stand to be a bit tighter in places and it shows. Some episodes are pure gold, whereas others stray too close to bland. However, overall, it's doing a pretty good job and has lots of room for the future.

Coming up in January we'll be getting an episode centered around Mr. Gold, which should be fantastic as he's been a well acted and intriguing baddie. I'm looking forwards to learning how his brand of evil came to be!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

14 Days until Christmas

Time, where did you go? Wasn't Thanksgiving just yesterday? Now suddenly I don't know if there is enough time to get all of my Christmas work done!

Being sick all fall means my finances are in a sadly depleted (read 'non existent') state, so I have to rely on my artistic abilities to provide much of the gift material for my loved ones. Thankfully I've spent enough years perfecting these skills that I can actually create some pretty cool things.

Okay, not going to lie, some of the presents I am seriously going to have a hard time parting with. Bother my skills of coolness!

Anyone else here the crafty sort that creates rather than buys gifts? What sort of things do you do?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Photos for Little Smiles

We can't always focus on the big things in life. That would just get way too intense. Lately I've been taking pictures of little things that make me smile, and I thought I'd share them with you all. 

I have a pretty extensive necklace collection. I can get about half of it onto hooks on the wall, but my smaller fragile necklaces are not to be trusted there. Several years ago I figured out that I could take an organizer intended for sewing supplies and use it for my jewelry. It works like a charm!

 Everyone else went crazy with Black Friday shopping. I just picked up a few deals on Amazon. To my surprise they arrived just four days later -- excellent service, especially when you get four films and a TV show for a mere $30!
 I love pretty lights. It's one of my favorite things about the holiday season and I love the chance to add a bit of extra sparkle to my own room as well as the world in general.
 Did I mention sparkle? How about this bit of glitter in my favorite color on this card?
 The perfect breakfast. I mastered the art of creating mashed potato pancakes at last. The trick? Mix in an egg white with the potatoes before frying them and everything will stick together a lot better!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Painting of Jane Austen?

Thanks to the good ladies at Austenacious for posting about the recent discovery of what may be a painting of Jane Austen.

For those of you who are Austen fans, you probably know that there are only two authenticated images of Jane in existence (so far as we know). So this is pretty exciting news! Check out the whole story here:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Screenwriting Challenge

We like to give screenwriters a lot of crap for writing shoddy scripts - especially sequel scripts - that we hate. We criticize their plots, their character choices, their dialogue...

So here's a challenge. Write an outline of 1-5 pages, including some indication of character motivation and bits of dialogue, for a film or film idea that you think you could do better than the film studios.

It can be as much or as little work as you want. It's a chance to stretch your writing and adaptation skills, but it's also a way to have fun that is maybe not quite as much work as a full blown fanfic.

Extra motivation? Send me your outline and I'll post it here on the blog! For my favorite one I'll even do a bit of concept art. ;) elenatintil [at] gmail [dot] com

Some Suggestions

The 'official' movie is coming out next year. Do you have issues with the direction they're taking? Want a different line up? How would you do it?

Doctor Who
Write your own episode. Fit it into an existing season, or write your own one-off Christmas special.

Harry Potter
(Honestly I can't think of any good prompts here, but I'd be interested to see how someone else would structure one of the harder books like 5 or 7)

The Hobbit or Beren and Luthian
How would you do it? Would you make the Hobbit as one movie or two? How would you turn Beren and Luthian or any of the other Silmarillian tales into a film?

Prince Caspian has gotten the most criticism... how would you write it? Or try your hand at one of the other books. (Silver Chair or The Horse and His Boy being my suggestions)

Pirates of the Caribbean
You know they'll always find room for more movies. So how would you do it? Do your own sequel to any one of the films, 1-4.

Star Trek
Write your own episode/movie based off the TV series (any version), or write ideas for a sequel to the newest movie.

Star Wars
You get a chance to write a story set between episodes 3 and 4. What would be the plot? Who would you focus on?

Rewrite X3. Or work on a sequel to XMFC. Or write your ideas for X4. Or an origins movie based on the character you are most intrigued by.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Letter to December

Hello December.

Been awhile since we last hung out. 11 months, to be exact. That's kind of a long time for friends to be apart, isn't it?

We have an interesting sort of friendship though. You always like to bring stress in my life. At the very least there is all the hustle and bustle about making food for the holidays and finding the perfect gift for everyone (Okay, I do like gift shopping, although it helps when I'm not sick and unable to make money!).

But what I like least of all is the commercialism you bring with you. I know it's not your fault, but it's still true. America has turned Christmas into a big marketing scheme and it drives me nuts. I mean, this year Christmas decorations and songs started showing up with your little sister, November. She seemed excited to get in on the fun, and I swear, October was looking jealous.

Yeah, that's right, your little siblings want in on the Christmas fun too. Please tell them no? One month of religious sacredness turned commercial is more than enough for a year (Yeah, March and April are in trouble too with their Easter shennigans, but that's another letter).

No, don't run away now. We're still friends, December. I just have to be honest about these problem's we've been having. Now comes the good part.

I love your music. Christmas carols are some of my favorite songs ever. And since we only sing them when you're around, I'll always love you for that alone.

First snow. Okay, November says she gets this one, but honestly? Her snow never says. You, my dear December, always get the honor of the first snow that stays.

Christmas trees. Remember when you and Prince Albert got that tradition set up back in the 1800's? It's one of my favorite. The smell of pine... the twinkling lights... the ornaments with years of memories...

But most important of all? You're leading up to the most important birthday celebration of the year. The one all the other months are jealous of. The one that so much of the world celebrates even if they don't really know the birthday boy himself.

So... December... I guess we'll keep on going with this friendship, since the pros outweigh the cons by far (though we still can't ignore them).



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Romance in Doctor Who

It's one of the most controversial issues of the New Who series. Should the Doctor be written in a romantic sense? Should his companions be allowed to fall in love with him? Could he ever fall in love in return? The fans are hotly divided on this issue.

In Old Who it wasn't an issue because the BBC had very strict rules on the subject. There were actually written guidelines for how the Doctor could and could not touch his companions, to avoid even a hint of anything happening behind the scenes (i.e. the bedroom).

However when the made for TV movie appeared, it featured a very prominent romantic subplot. So when it came time to revive the show in 2005, there was a whole new range of possibilities for the writers to play around with.

The question is... should they?

[SPOILER WARNING -- If you have not yet watched ALL 6 seasons of New Who, I can guarantee there will be spoilers.]

[...I did warn you about spoilers...]

[Still here? Okay, read at your own risk.]

To Romance or not to Romance, that is the question.

There are a lot of fans, probably not a majority, but a very vocal minority, who believe that the Doctor should absolutely always be asexual. These tend to be those who were introduced to Old Who first, and therefore have the idea of a non-romantically-inclined Doctor firmly in their heads. I understand this. If I'd watched a show for almost thirty years (or seen a good chunk of that) without any romance involving the title character, I'd be pretty thrown for a loop if he suddenly started snogging people.

However, what has really kept the show alive over the years is its ability to change and adapt to the times. I mean, the most iconic feature of the show is that the Doctor regenerates any time they need a new actor in the part. It's a show that is not afraid to change, and that change has lead it through 48 years of intense fan love.

On the other hand, should the show become entirely focused on Romance? I don't think that's a good direction either. After all if you change something too much, you lose the core essence that has drawn people in for too long. So some change is good, but not too much.

But some fans do think any romance is too much. Is it really? Is the Doctor really that incapable of romantic love and sexual desire?

Absolutely. Kind of hard to end up with a granddaughter if you aren't into those things. Let's not forget that the Doctor's very first companion was his granddaughter Susan, and later on he mentions that he once was married and a father.

(Yes, I know, the novels do posit the idea that Time Lords are grown to adulthood on looms... but this isn't official canon, and anyhow, the show itself shows the Doctor and the Master as small children on Gallifrey, so I think that kind of debunks that myth)

Russell T Davis, the head writer who oversaw the relaunch in 2005 was obviously in the romance camp. He created the young girl, Rose, who became the Doctor's companion and eventually fall in love with him.

Her first Doctor was Christopher Eccleston, who played the doctor with his traditional quirkyness. And more importantly, he was rather homely to look at, which helped keep him in the 'eccentric professor' category instead of becoming a sex icon.

Then David Tennant appeared and quickly became the most popular Doctor ever according to fan polling, besting out even Tom Baker. This is certainly largely because of his huge talent and charisma... but it's undeniable that his appealing looks were also part of the picture.

And right away the romantic element of the show started amping up. "The Girl in the Fireplace" by Steven Moffatt was the first Doctor-centered love story on the show. Coming close on the heels of "School Reunion" which featured much tension between Rose and Sarah Jane Smith (who was now revealed to have been in love with the Doctor), this solidified the Doctor's position as a dashing romantic (I here mean romantic in the classic sense, ironically).

Then we got the very climatic and intensely romantic ending of season 2, followed by season 3 which thematically centered very strongly around Martha's unrequited love for the Doctor. He is now a recognized desirable hero and does Martha ever know it!

After such a romance laden third season, everyone was ready for a return to a more classic approach. With Donna as his companion, the Doctor was once again able to fall more into the eccentric professor role, and surprisingly enough, the platonic chemistry between David Tennant and Catherine Tate resulted in the strongest Doctor/Companion bond of 10's run.

Not that season four lacked romance. Steven Moffat once again took the lead on the romantic front and introduced us to the mysterious River Song, a woman who seems in every way the Doctor's equal... from his future. Is she his wife? His friend? Something else entirely? Viewers went slightly insane trying to figure it out (See my Doctor Who archive in the Geek Portal for my own crazed ideas).

And of course the grand finale resolved Rose's love story, but creating a Doctor duplicate, a move that even RTD himself admitted might not have been the best idea. However it satisfied a lot of fans and properly closed that door.

So the Doctor is off to a clean start when he regenerates into Matt Smith.

There are fans who find Matt Smith hot. Kudos to you. I'm not saying a word against that. He's a fantastic actor. And as the Doctor I find him perfectly odd, eccentric and fun. Really not romantic. Which is really what the show needed at this point.

Romance didn't disappear, far from it. If anything it became more prominent with Amy and Rory, an engaged couple... with Amy having a thing for the Doctor. Sort of. For awhile. Actually after season 6 the whole "Amy in Love with the Doctor" thing doesn't seem nearly as prevalent to me. I mean, now that we know she's his mother-in-law and all. ;)

In season 6 we got the full scoop on River Song. And we also got what I think is really the perfect romance for the Doctor. The Doctor remained his odd, eccentric, not traditionally attractive self... and yet he fell in love and a woman fell in love with him in what I felt was a very believable and appropriate way. They became equals, and while their story is incredibly romantic, it didn't make the Doctor a 'romantic hero.'

(Okay, he and River have insane chemistry and their scenes are really incredibly hot, but they manage this without taking away from the Doctor's 'eccentric old professor' persona which I think is amazing. Alex Kingston and Matt Smith for the win.)

So I'd say there have been some solid wins and also some misses on the romantic front. I believe romance can work in Doctor Who, but I also think it's been used a bit too much in the New Series. I think, however, now that the Doctor is married to River, the dynamtic is going to change and that will be a good thing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Belle due to join 'Once Upon a Time'

A few weeks ago they announced that the character of 'Belle' would be joining OUaT. Today the first picture was released and it looks fantastic! Unfortunately we won't be seeing her on our screens until Valentine's Day... still, that'll be a lovely way to celebrate the day! (And it's only the cream on top that this princess will be played by the beautiful and talented Emilie de Ravin)

We've also learned that Aladdin will be popping into the show as well, which I think is fantastic. So far we've only seen characters from western fairy tales, so I'm delighted to know that the show plans to branch out!

You can read the full story here:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm now on Tumblr!

So many times I run across pictures that I want to share with all of you... but it's much, much easier to post them on tumblr than on this blog. Besides, I like to keep the posting to less than seven posts a week here because that's what you all have indicated you prefer!

So my tumblr is going to be where I put pictures I find online that I think are worth sharing. Humor, art, beauty, mindboggling... they will all be there. The primary emphasis will be on my favorite fandoms, so things like X-Men and Doctor Who will probably show up the most.

Do you have a tumblr? Follow me and I'd love to check you out in return! :)

You can find me at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy 48th Birthday, Doctor!

Today the British Show "Doctor Who" turns 48 years old. That's positively ancient by television standards and it's still growing strong. Just this year we saw a major explosion in U.S. growth. A year ago I could count on two hands the number of friends I had that even knew what Doctor Who was. Now? It seems like a third of the people I'm friends with on Facebook love it. (And I have 352 friends at last count, so that should give you a pretty good number).

If you haven't already, may I suggest celebrating the day by watching the mini-episodes that were released earlier this week? You can find them online by searching "First Night" "Last Night" "Bad Night" "Goodnight." Fans of River and the Doctor will not want to miss the first two, and those who love Amy and Rory will cheer over the second two. WARNING. Do not watch unless you  have seen all of seasons 5 & 6, as well as "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead."

So, Happy Birthday Doctor! May you stay around for another 48 wonderful years and more!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's a Fairy Tale Heroine Day

I don't mean "Happily Ever After" sort of fairy tale where you ride off with your prince into the sunset. I mean a day full of little trials, adventures and coincidences that are quite common to fairy tale heroines.

  • Left Skype at midnight telling my friends I had to do a Cinderella and leave. - Cinderella
  • Last dream of the night involved lots of little animals who were crazy about me. - Snow White 
  • Had trouble waking up. - Sleeping Beauty
  • Friend made a picture of me and her that unintentionally looked like "Snow White and Rose Red." - Rose Red (Which Disney needs to make a movie of. ASAP.)
  • Singing. Constantly. - Every Disney Heroine under the sun. 
  • Made quite the tasty breakfast. - Tiana
  • Completely unmanageable hair. - Rapunzel
  • Nose stuck in a book. - Belle/Beauty
  • Surveyed all of my stuff, and though I think it's quite a neat collection, my parents want to clean it out. - Little Mermaid
  • Cleaned up the ashes from the fireplace and got rather dirty. - Cinderella

And it's only 2:00 in the afternoon! I wonder what other escapades the rest of the day will hold...

And yes, okay, fine, these are all pretty ordinary occurrences, but a normal day seems so much more interesting when you look for the literary connections. 

Any fairy tale allusions in your life today?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hunger Games Trailer

Have you seen "The Hunger Games" trailer?

I have to say, it really doesn't matter whether you are a fan or not. This is one trailer you really do not want to miss.

Sadly, I didn't watch it the moment it came online. I waited. A few days even. And then I finally 'found the time' to look at it. And kicked myself furiously for not watching it sooner.

You see, it's rare that I see a trailer for a movie adaptation of a beloved book that so completely captures the story. And I don't just mean plot and lines, I mean casting and locations, and tempo and costumes. Oh my. Even the costumes were fantastic. Every single frame felt like it really was the book come to life.

Of course, a horrible movie can still be proceeded by a fantastic trailer... but I'd say right now the odds are that we're going to get a pretty fantastic film come March.

So go watch it. Even if you're not a fan. Fall in love with the story all over again. Read the books if you haven't. "The Hunger Games" as a movie is set to be just as fascinating and moving as the book.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Of Time and Adventure

Sometimes it feels like the older you get, the faster time flies. Has it seriously already been five days since I last posted? Has it been two weeks since my surgery? Has it been two months since I came home from school?

God's been challenging my heart a lot lately. I've been wrestling with hard questions and hopefully growing stronger because of that. This year has just been a year of growing in understanding in ways I never thought I'd have to. Funny how God works, isn't it?

And hard. I improve, but it's like two steps forwards one step back... and sometimes it feels like one step forwards and three steps back. I've learned that doctors really like my blood -- so much so that my new theory is that they're all vampires. I mean why else would they keep insisting on taking the red stuff? And by red stuff I don't mean the kool-aid.

I think it's really at the holidays that we notice how much we have - or haven't - changed. We compare ourselves to where we were a year ago. What bugged us? What didn't? What were our hopes then? What is the reality now? What has improved? What has gotten worse? Who has left our lives... and who has joined?

When I hit the holidays I normally always think at some point "I wonder what it'll be like a year from now." So it's only natural that the opposite is true as well.

I'm not at all where I thought I would be a year ago. All those plans went the way of the dodo bird. Well, maybe not all of them, but a lot. On the other hand, other people in my life are pretty much exactly where we would have predicted them a year ago. So what's different about me? Am I just too stubborn in my own plans? Or does God really have something that different and unusual planned for me?

Honestly? It wouldn't surprise me. I don't mean that I'm special or unique anymore than anyone else is... but I do seem to get my plans upset quite a bit more than average. It really makes life quite the...

...well, adventure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A bouquet of my favorite comic book panels

Over the past three years I have come to immensely appreciate the talent and craft behind the comic book industry. From an under appreciated medium, it has come to the point where strong characters, deep and moving plots, and fantastic art make many graphic novels a sheer pleasure to read. 

That doesn't mean that there aren't bad apples. Like anything, there are some not so great pieces to weed out. But overall I've found a lot of joy and inspiration from delving into the comic book world.

As most of you, my dear readers, know, the past two months have been filled with a lot of personal hardship in the form of my health issues. God has sustained me in many ways, with a supportive family and amazing friends. However I believe he is also behind motivating me to join the tumblr roleplaying group that my friend Alicia had raved about all summer. I finally caved, joined the group... and have never regretted it. I've met some amazing people who have become very dear to me in a very short time, and I've also had the chance to share my love of comics and characters with those who appreciate them just as much as I do. 

Because we RP (short for roleplay) on Tumblr, we use a lot of graphics. I've started saving my favorite clips and panels, some humorous, some heartrending, and I thought it would be really fun to share some of my favorite pieces with all of you. 

First off is a gorgeous picture of one of my characters, Alison Blaire/Dazzler. She's a singer and channels sound into light/plasmabolts/serious stuff to be afraid of.  This particular picture is drawn by my absolute favorite artist, Sana Takeda, who makes every single page a gorgeous masterpiece. I think Ali just looks breathtaking here, and the rose is a gorgeous touch.

Next we get to see Ali's powers at work, aided by another favorite of mine, Theresa Cassedy/Siryn. These girls should always work in tandem.

The artwork for this cover is not my favorite, but I love it because of the emotion behind it. The most recent Marvel event has been the controversial SCHISM which has torn the X-Men right down the middle. One of my main characters, Rogue, must choose which side to join. Her two love interests, Magneto and Gambit, are on opposite sides. Which will she choose?

I'm a secret Rogue/Magneto shipper. For that reason I love the image of Magneto carrying Rogue off the battlefield. My Gambit utterly loathes this pairing and I have far, far too much fun teasing him about it... (Yes  Chris, this is here to tease you... ;) )

But I will forever remain a loyal Gambit/Rogue shipper, which I will prove by sharing one of my all time favorite pieces of art ever. Below is the cover to one of the only decent Ultimate X-Men comics ever. It's not just beautiful, it's breathtaking. My dream is to someday have a really nice large-sized version of this hung and framed in my home.

One of the reasons I love the X-Men is their willingness and ability to portray strong girls. I'm not in love with the art below (c'mon, you can't move in stuff that tight) but I do love the sentiment behind it.

Another kind of girl power below. The green haired woman is Lorna Dane/Polaris, youngest daughter of Magneto, and one of my main characters. Here she is seen spending some quality time with her niece, Luna (daughter of Quicksilver). We do have a Luna player on Tumblr who is absolutely adorable! 

I lovelovelove the ship of Lorna and Alex Summers/Havok (younger brother of Scott Summers). They're adorable and sweet and have a really long and enduring love story. One of the things I find utterly adorable about Lorna is how enthusiastic she always is about kissing Alex.


I love her priorities. XD

Moving away from the lovey-dovey stuff, this panel is sheer fun. Piotr Rasputin (Colossus) has been pining over his lost love (Kitty Pryde) and his friends are trying to distract him. A couple of the younger girls think Twitter might be an appropriate distraction. (The black-haired girl is a precog --- she can see the future. ;) )

Oh these Gambit/Rogue/Magneto pictures! I just can't get enough of them! Chris, I'm sorry. Shannon... join me in ALL THE ANGST EVER.

 Did you know there was a team of YOUNG Avengers? They are the children of the original Avengers and it's actually a pretty well written story. Two of them are Magneto's grandchildren, and he is helping them track down their missing mother, the Scarlet Witch. They are undercover in Germany... and Billy (the magical one providing the disguises) goes for a Sound of Music theme...

So that's an insight to why I love comics so much... and some of the moments that are worth reading again, and again, and again...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Date a Girl Who Reads

A friend of mine posted this quote on Facebook today and it is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a long, long time. For every girl who loves to read, and for every man who is in love with a girl who reads.

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
- Rosemary Urquico

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let's examine "Snow White and the Huntsman"

I'm really torn about "Snow White and the Huntsman."

On the one hand
-Ultra Revisionist
-Kristen Stewart

On the other hand
-I love new twists on fairy tales
-Chris Hemsworth
-Awesome sauce costumes.

So far the pros are outweighing the cons. And this very cool poster with a good look into the art design is very intriguing. Could be a really interesting good film... or an utter bomb.

What do you think? Will you go see it? Does it interest you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hello Internet! (and all my dear readers)

Thank you all a hundred times over for your prayers and get well wishes. I know I had a LOT of heavenly intercession going on because things went very well. The surgery went even better than I expected, and the nausea was far less overwhelming than I dreaded. Staying horizontal for three days was really, really hard, but I became pretty adept at typing on my side. (I hope I never have to go on bedrest, but if I do, I'm all of the prepared!). I had so many friends making me smile and sending good well wishes --- I couldn't have asked for a more supportive time.

I can get up and walk now, although I am battling a low grade flu that is making recovery slower than I expected. Also there's just discomfort from the incisions that pop up from time to time and make life less fun.

However I'm not complaining. I am so thankful for the answers the surgery gave us and am looking forwards to hopeful future relief.

And I feel so blessed with all the love God has placed in my life. You all are amazing.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Surgery News

So. I'm in need of major prayer requests.

Without going into a lot of detail, I'm having surgery on Wednesday. It's a laparoscopy so it's minimally invasive and I can go home the same day, but it still requires cutting and anesthesia and such. I'll be dealing with pain and confined to bed for about a week afterwards.

Reassuring bits? I've had a procedure done before so I'm familiar with anesthesia and its effect on me. Laparoscopies are quite safe and I know women who have had them done, so I'm really not afraid. Also, my problem isn't life threatening, just life inhibiting, so if the procedure doesn't work I'm not in danger of dying or anything.

Not so reassuring? There is no guarantee that the procedure WILL work, and that's what I would like to ask for prayers for. That if this is the way God wants to heal me, the surgery will be successful. Prayers for a quick and complete recovery would also be appreciated!

Thank you all so much being so supportive and encouraging as I deal with these issues this fall. It means the world to me!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What is the plural of Fog?

Did you know it was possible to get 110 points on ONE Scrabble word? I sure didn't. However when my dad put down a 7 letter word, he not only covered two triple word bonuses, but he also got a 50 pt bonus for using all of his letters.

Yes, yes, I was very tempted to throw in the towel at that point, but figured a move that epic should be celebrated by at least finishing the game. And I did manage to close that gap so that I only lost by 60 points in the end. In fact, with 275 points, I think it might have been my highest scoring Scrabble game ever. Which was kind of cool.

We had a couple of words come up that we had to check in the dictionary. Okay, a lot of words. The most perplexing one was "fogs." I mean, that's not a word we tend to use. "There were a lot of different types of fogs settling down in the valley that night." We finally did figure out that it was the correct plural of "Fog" and could be counted in the game, but boy, that was kind of crazy!

Also, "Za" is a legal Scrabble word. "Az" is not.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time in a far away land, a prince awakened a princess with a kiss. But on their wedding day an evil witch appeared and cursed their kingdom, saying that she would send them to a place with no more happily ever afters. They search high and low for a way to deflect the curse, but the only answer they find is the little baby the princess carries inside her...

Once upon a time in a loud and cutthroat city, a young woman named Emma makes her living by lending and collecting bail bonds. Sweet and demure she is not, but apparently someone thinks she's a princess in disguise. That someone is 10-year-old Henry who claims he's the baby she gave away when she was 18, and that she, Emma, is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. His town, Storybrooke, is populated with amnesiac fairy tale citizens, and Emma is the only one who can set them free...

'Once Upon a Time' is exactly the show fairy tale fans have been waiting for. It's got princes, princesses, swordfights, evil witches, curses, prophecies, fairies, dwarves, mysteries, and yes, of course, true love.

It's also clean, well written, engaging, entertaining, well orchestrated, beautifully costumed and populated with some really cool and well developed characters.

So tune in on Sunday night, 8/7c, on ABC. You're in for a treat!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Secrets of Larger Families

Have you ever wondered what it's like to raise a large family? How does that even work?

I certainly have! Granted, I have a bit of experience since the families I nannied had 4 and 6 children. Still, there were plenty of days when I thought "how could I ever handle this many kids?"

And yet I would like a larger family. More than three, for sure (which is what my parents had). I always wished for more siblings growing up and since I'm planning to homeschool my future kidlets, I think having a family on the larger side makes quite a bit of sense. In the end though, it really depends on what God calls me to.

Anyhow, I believe in being prepared, so I love articles that deal with the logistics of raising more than the typical American two. I came across a pretty good one today that sums up a lot of what I've heard from other sources.

No, I don't plan to have eight children. But I do have quite a few more domestic skills than this blogger, so if she can do it with 8, I would think I could manage with 4, 5 or 6...

I know many of my readers come from larger families. What are your thoughts on this? Any tips the writer didn't mention? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Secret Klutz? Or not...

Some people are just prone to klutz attacks. It's not a bad thing, as long as they don't hurt themselves. Sometimes it can be fairly funny. For instance, my sister and I always joke that when she falls in love it's going to be a regular rom-com with the coffee spills and other crazy heroine tripping attacks.

I've never really fallen into the klutz zone. I'm really good at catching myself if I trip, and spilling stuff just about never happens.

Well, until this year. Now my number of scars has gone up to 5 (from 2 previous to this summer) and there was a really spectacular incident with a cup of tea the other day that should have been caught on film and sent in to "America's Funniest Home Videos."

So anyhow, I'm now really mystified as to what caused this change. Did I get dropped into "The Princess Diaries"? Are 22 years of suppressed hurts coming out? Have I always been this klutzy, I just kept away from dangerous things?

Actually I suspect it's really just that I'm tired all the time and lack of concentration causes issues like that. Hopefully that'll get better after my surgery in November because today's incident was way too close to leaving me toeless.

But, you know, I wouldn't turn my nose up at the "Princess Diaries" option either.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Women and Comics

(Today's post is guest written by my good friend, C. M. Miller. He and I have been chatting quite a bit about girls in geekdom and he was inspired to write up some of his thoughts for my blog. Enjoy!)

I will wholeheartedly admit to the fact that I am a huge nerd. The biggest source of my nerd-dom comes from my love of comic books, and it’s because of this love that I find myself drawn to situations such as roleplaying via social networking sites. I myself am a fan of it because it draws both players and followers alike in and gives them a sense of connection and familiarity to their favorite heroes. And it’s within this world of fantastical realism that I’ve made quite an eye-opening discovery.
            It’s sort of a given that comic fans are generally going to be male. This has kind of been the given since the invention of the superhero. But you can probably imagine my surprise when I found that Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Wolverine, and many other pillars of machismo from the comic book world were being played by girls. This trend is due mainly in part to the rise of the comic book movie. Because of the success of films like Thor, Captain America, and X-Men: First Class, females are finding themselves drawn into the world of superheroes that, for the longest time, was quite a sausage fest. I personally believe that this trend will move beyond just online roleplaying and into mainstream mediums such as actual comics and films.
            The idea of a strong female comic character that could carry her own series has long been considered a misguided idea perpetrated by supporters of women’s rights. But this rise in female readership will, in my mind, undoubtedly cause an up-swell in demand for more strong female characters. Personally, I hope this does become a reality, as I am quite a fan of these kinds of characters. However, I sadly cannot predict the future and can only sit back and see what lies in store for the female comic audience.

(What do you think? Are we girls making our voices loud enough for the big companies to hear us? Join the discussion in the comments below!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Downton Abbey

It's easy to write off Downton Abbey as just another BBC Miniseries. Yet to do so would be to miss out on a beautiful gem of drama and a deep and insightful look into the social hiearchy and psychological journeys of the citizens of 1912 Britain.

Downton Abbey is the story of an entailed estate currently belonging to Lord Grantham. However, he has no sons to inheirit, which means the property and money will pass to the nearest male relative upon his death and leave his daughters penniless. Eldest daughter, Lady Mary, has been engaged to the current heir, but when that heir is a casualty of the Titanic wreck, everything changes.

Now the estate is due to go to a distant cousin. Who works. As a lawyer. And doesn't use a valet. Horror of horrors! Mary certainly won't think of marrying him, and he isn't interested in middle daughter Edith. And matters just become more difficult from there.

Meanwhile there is another world beneath stairs. The lives of the servants are given just as much screen time and sympathy as those of their employers and Downton Abbey paints a compelling and empathetic picture of the lives of the working class. Never before have I so clearly felt that I understood what it was like to work as a servant in the Edwardian/Victorian age.

Technically this show is probably the finest piece of work I've ever seen from the BBC. Costumes, writing, acting, cinematography -- it is all fantastic and a definite cut above past dramas.

But what really sells the story to me is the heart behind it. The characters are not stereotypes and one dimensional. They are living breathing people who genuinely care about each other and the future of Downton Abbey. They have their flaws, but they also have their virtues, something which I feel is often lacking in television and period drama these days. I don't just want to see scandal and rivalry... I want to see love, trust and sacrifice as well.

The show (at least the first season) is fairly appropriate. There is one footman who is a homosexual and there are two brief subplots that deal with that, the most obvious being in the first episode but nothing graphic. Then later on one of the women has a love affair, but again nothing is seen and there are clear and disastrous consequences.

Over all I would say this is a top notch show that I would highly recommend. I will be eagerly looking forwards to watching subsequent seasons when they're released on DVD.

Oh, and did I mention that it's quite funny? Maggie Smith plays the hilarious matriarch. I've borrowed some quotes to share with you all and whet your appetite for more:

• Cora: "I hope I don't hear sounds of a disagreement."
Lady Grantham: "Is that what they call discussion in New York?"

• "What is a weekend?"

• "Last night! He looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house."

• "One can't go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We'd all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper."

• Cora: "I hate to go behind Robert's back."
Lady Grantham: "That is a scruple no successful wife can afford."

• Lady Grantham: "Why would you want to go to a real school? You're not a doctor's daughter."
Sybil: "Nobody learns anything from a governess, apart from French and how to curtsy."
Lady Grantham: "What else do you need? Are you thinking of a career in banking?"
Cora: "Things are different in America."
Lady Grantham: "I know. They live in wigwams."

• Lady Grantham: "You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal."
Mrs. Crawley: "I take that as a compliment."
Lady Grantham: "I must've said it wrong."

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Avenger Trailer Analysis and Transcript

I could hardly call myself a geek if I didn't comment on the new Avengers trailer, now could I?

I'll admit, I haven't been terribly enthused about the movie because I wasn't too keen on the line-up, particularly in the girl department. I mean, of course I was delighted that Joss Whedon was directing, but still...

Anyhow, the new trailer has gotten me very excited about the movie. It looks like it's going to be a ton of fun, but with some really good character development. And Whedon is a brilliant, brilliant man when it comes to ensemble cast characterization.

I'm glad they're keeping the team fairly small, although I'm still a little ticked that we've seen five guys on the team (plus Nick Fury) but only one girl. And I like Black Widow just fine, but I would rather have seen a more traditional Avenger woman -- Wasp, Scarlet Witch, or even Ms. Marvel.

I also feel that the trailer focuses a little too much on Tony Stark, and I'm really hoping he doesn't dominate everything the way Wolverine dominated X-Men. However I know he's their strongest property right now so from a marketing standpoint it makes sense. I just hope we can see more from the others in future trailers.

Anyhow, it looks like it is going to be an epic and fun movie and I'm looking forwards to next summer!

My friend Matt was awesome and typed up a transcript of the trailer for me! I'm going to post it below in case any other hearing impaired viewers need it. :) (We're a little uncertain about the identity of a few of the offscreen speakers. Please let us know if you can identify any of them!)

Loki: "You were made . . . to be ruled."
"In the end, it will be every man for himself."
[Stuff blows up]
[random helicopter]
"What do we do?"
Fury: "We get ready."

Fury: "There was an idea . . . to bring together a group of remarkable people. So when we needed them, they could fight the battles that we never could."

[Iron Man flies through the city.]

Fury: "Gentlemen . . ."
Fury: "What are you prepared to do?"

Stark: "No offence, but I don't play well with others."
Cap: "Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away, what are you?"
Stark: "Uh . . . genius billionaire playboy philanthropist."

Thor: [laughs]

[stuff blows up, people punch things, Black Widow poses for the male audience]

Stark: "If we can't protect the Earth . . . you can be damned sure we'll avenge it."

[Iron Man flies out of the water and into the city]

[Avengers title]

Stark: "Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled, and I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage-monster."

[Banner loses control and turns into an enormous green rage-monster]

Banner: ". . . thanks."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pan Am

Imagine a time when regular airplane travel was still new. When the idea of zooming through the air was terrifying and strange. When Pan Am Airlines decided to encourage and lure in more travelers by creating the perfect stewardess. A classy, elegant lady with a reassuring smile and a kind voice ready to fetch whatever you need.

ABC's new show, Pan Am, tells the story of four of these stewardesses and the rest of the crew on their jet. These spunky young women represent a wide demographic of the changes going on during this period.

Maggie is stubborn, sassy and full of spunk, the girl you call at the last minute when your regular doesn't show up.

Collette is French, sophisticated and charming, capable of handling any situation with grace.

Laura is naive, shy and the new face of Pan Am after a LIFE photographer snapped her face and got it on the cover of the magazine.

Kate is Laura's big sister, capable, determined, adventurous, and with a huge heart for helping others. Oh, and she's also a courier for the CIA.

And while the core cast spotlights the women, the pilot (Dean) and co-pilot (Ted) are great supporting characters as well and add some masculine interest to the show.

The show is about relationships, politics, intrigue, and social change. It has wonderful characters, great writing, beautiful cinematography, and fantastic costumes (see my sewing blog for more about the Pan Am costumes!).

It also has gorgeous locations, with episodes taking place in London, Paris and Berlin so far.

I started watching the show skeptically, but was absolutely blown away by how good it has been. So far it's been the strongest premiere of the year, and I'm including the summer shows in that statement as well. I can't wait to see where it goes and I highly recommend it!

As far as appropriateness goes -- there has been a total of one implied sex scene and one inappropriately behaved passenger. Both situations involved appropriate consequences and were discretely handled. Kids won't be interested in the show because it's written for adults, but as far as adult shows go, it is very clean.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Update of Unexpected Things

Oh my poor neglected blog! I'm so sorry. I've been working myself up to post some pretty difficult news.

Despite all of our hard work, my health has continued to be debilitating. It finally became clear that there was no way I was going to be able to make school work, so I made the decision to withdraw from college.

It was a hard decision, but I've had a lot of peace and calm about it. Just as I knew I was meant to go to NDSU, I also know that withdrawing was what had to happen. All the whys and hows aren't clear, but I'm able to believe that God has a plan (something that I definitely struggled with for awhile).

And surprisingly enough, things have been going pretty well despite being very sick. My family has been absolutely incredible. They all deserve medals for being so supportive. My friends have been pretty amazing too. And God has brought some other kind of lovely things into my life as well.

Anyhow, it's been a really insane and totally unexpected turn of events and I appreciate all of you being patient as my attention was drawn away by all of this.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wedding of River Song... the review.

It's time for the Final Installment of this week's Doctor Who fest. Afterwards I promise I shall return to posting things that will appeal to non-DW fans as well. ;)

First off, if you haven't seen "The Wedding of River Song," do not read past this paragraph. There will be spoilers, and if this review spoils the episode for you, I shall be heartbroken. So have compassion on my heart and just watch it. Thank you! :)

----Spoilers Abound---

Remember how I said there were two lines I wanted explained in this episode? And as long as they were explained, I wouldn't care what else was left hanging?

Well they were explained. Perfectly. And more lovely lines, lovely characterization, and awesome stuff made this episode very nearly perfect for me.

(It was too short to be 100% perfect, but it was very close).

Some of my theories were right, and some were wrong. We didn't have a ganger, but we DID have a tesselecta which fulfilled the set-up and pay-off requirement brilliantly, and fooled us all with the ganger red-herring. So kudos, Moffat.

The eyepatches were perfect, and gave us BAMF moments for both Rory and Amy. ("I'm Pond. Amy Pond." So awesome!)

The parenthood aspect was subtle, but there, in its significant role in the wedding. Parental consent on behalf of the brides parents is evidently the main part of a Time Lord wedding.

Well, that and bowties. ;)

And River was wonderful. For a few days I struggled a bit with her overdramatic line that she would suffer more than the entire universe if the Doctor died... but then someone pointed out that she is a very, very young River. And I remember what I felt even a few years ago being in love, and even now I could see myself saying that line. Because when you contemplate someone you love dying (even in a non romantic love way), it's the most terrible thing imaginable. In fact it's not imaginable. The Doctor, of course, is ancient and mature and can sacrifice loved ones for the good of the universe. But young River? No. She can't. Because she's only just begun to live.

The question was perfect. Definitely guessed by fans, but so obvious that most didn't take it seriously. But it is perfect, and I expect that will be a major role in the 2013 50th anniversary year.

And then we've got the Doctor going back to being the shadowy adventurer. The lone rescuer. No longer the focus of every major force in history and space, but someone who slips into the background and performs his heroic actions in secret. This was a necessary turn, and I'm so glad they're setting it up so well.

There is so much more I could say about this episode. And yet I still find it hard to be coherent about it. My reaction when I think of it is to smile and laugh and dance and cheer... because those are the feelings Moffat made me feel. Moffat the master. Moffat who doesn't care about tying up every single scientific little detail, to the annoyance of many. Moffat who brings us the wedding of the Doctor and River Song in an alternate reality on top of a pyramid, involving a robot and a bowtie.

I loved it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Doctor Who Finale --- are you Ready? And Predictions

The Doctor Who season finale airs in America in just four hours. Are YOU ready?

This season has been a wonderful adventure for me. My first time following Doctor Who as it aired, and being able to share the experience with family and friends, both virtually and in front of the TV. I owe my grandparents a lot of thanks for welcoming us over every Saturday night to camp out in their basement while we took our adventures in Time and Space.

And I really think this season, more than the previous ones, was meant to be watched as aired. It was so plot heavy that waiting week to week and theorizing was really a vital part of the show. I can't imagine future audiences will have quite the same impact when they can watch all 13 episodes in one day (should they so wish).

So what do you think will happen tonight?

My predictions are fairly simple and some of them are extremely popular on various fan sites right now.

  • I think we'll see a ganger. Either the Doctor, or River, or Rory. But the flesh was too well set up in the first half of the season not to reappear. Plus there have been far too many clues that all is not normal with the Doctor at least half of the time. (If you're not in on that secret, I'll give you two clues. Apple. Rubik's Cube.)

  • Following up on this, I think a ganger will play a part in the wedding. Either it's not the Doctor, or it's not River, or the wedding is just for show.

  • The eyepatches have to do with avoiding control by the Silence and allowing the wearers to remember the existence of the Silence.

  • A lot of people have wondered why Amy and Rory didn't seem more distressed earlier this season about not being able to raise River. I think we're going to find out why.

  • Both in the opening two parter and the mid-season finale, many of us felt as though they were only seeing half a story. I think we're going to learn about the other half tonight.

But at the end of the night, there are only two things I want answers to, and they're both based on lines of River Song's.

"I'm sorry my love." ~ River Song as the Tardis explodes

Who is her love? Is it the Doctor... or is it more complicated than that?

"Are you married, River?"
"Are you asking?"
"Hang on, did you think I was asking you to marry me, or asking if you were married?"
"No, but was that yes or yes?"
~ The Doctor and River at the Wedding of the Ponds

Is she married or not? And if so, to whom?

The episode is called "The Wedding of River Song." If we don't get the answers to these questions, there is something seriously wrong with Steven Moffatt's brain.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doctor Who Confidential Cancellation - Can YOU complain?

So most Doctor Who fans have heard the news that they are canceling Doctor Who Confidential. After next week it will be done and won't be released anymore. They're citing budgetary reasons.

I'm not entirely sure I believe this, because it seems like the cost of producing DWC would be a lot lower than any other show. Possibly they just haven't had very good viewing numbers. I don't know.

What's bothering me is the number of fans protesting this and demanding it be brought back. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, but I want to make a point.

Producing a TV show isn't free. It takes money, and the money has to come from somewhere.

The BBC gets no money when you watch any of their shows illegally.

If you don't get BBC America, you can buy the season pretty inexpensively on iTunes or Amazon.

I get that a lot of you are broke. I totally am to. This isn't a post about illegal downloads.

My point is simply this. If you're going to protest the cancellation of DWC, first check and see whether you're giving the BBC any source of revenue. If you're not, then you're not a customer and you can't complain about the cancellation of one of their shows.

If you are? By all means. Write the BBC and let them know your wrath. It's totally your prerogative to do so.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Terra Nova - The Pilot

At the beginning of the 22nd century, Earth has used up its resources. Mankind's only hope is to escape through a timecrack to colonize the prehistoric earth.

Sound like an interesting set-up? I thought so. Then was surprised and thrilled to learn just how much more there is to the show.

The story revolves around the Shannon family. In the present, dad Jim is a cop and mom Elisabeth is a doctor. They had two kids, Josh and Maddy, then decided to ignore population laws to have a third child, little Zoe. At the beginning of the show they're caught, which puts them on the wrong side of the law and makes escaping to a brighter future in Terra Nova a lot harder than just walking through a time crack.

Once in Terra Nova they learn that the bright past has problems of its own. Like rebel teens, killer dinosaurs and a splinter group not afraid to use guns to prove their point.

There's a lot of fun elements here that will help it appeal to a wide demographic. However there is enough dinosaur violence and high intensity that will keep at least part of this show from being appropriate for the younger kids. Still, there's no language or sex so far, which gets this show off to a pretty good start.

We still have to wait and see whether the show can pull off everything it promises, but it's got a really good start and I have high hopes for it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Parenthood in Doctor Who Season 6

Does anyone else feel surprised by fall? I feel like I was just lugging books around in 85 degree weather, and now I'm shivering and bundling up against the cold.

I spent the weekend out at my grandparent's cabin which was a really lovely treat. I don't often get to go out there without my entire family coming along, so this was a rare chance to have a bit of peace and quiet out there. It's the most beautiful time of year too, with the leaves just changing, yet the flowers still in bloom.

Who else enjoyed this week's "Doctor Who" episode? Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All! I laughed so hard... Matt Smith is brilliant with babies.

It's interesting that this season has such a strong theme of parenthood. I was thinking through, and really the only episodes I could come up with that didn't have a strong subplot of parenthood were "The Girl who Waited" and 'The God Complex.'

Think about it.

The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon - Amy deals with possibly being pregnant and the discovery of what may be her child

The Curse of the Black Spot - All about the Captain and his son

The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People - the father and his ganger, both who loved their son and how that affected their acceptance of the reality of the flesh's identity.

A Good Man Goes to War - MelodyMelodyMelody

Let's Kill Hitler - More MelodyMelodyMelody

Night Terrors - A father's love saves the day

The Girl who Waited (and) The God Complex - there are not overt parental themes here, yet at the same time there is this theme of the Doctor being responsible for Amy in a very fatherly way.

Closing Time - STORMAGEDDON. And Craig. and Craig being the Doctor's baby, lol.

I'll be very, very surprised if "The Wedding of River Song" doesn't have some pretty strong themes of the safety in a parent's love. OR, moving beyond parental love, to romantic love. But I think it would make a lot of sense for the Doctor to accept his responsibility for his companions and stop running away from his mistakes with them. We need to see this. I think, in a way, the Doctor walking up to his death could be a way of doing this. He did fail with River because he didn't rescue her in time. So he doesn't run from her, but faces down the doom that he engineered himself by taking Amy Pond onto the Tardis.

Thoughts? Conjunctures? Theories?