Sunday, May 30, 2010

Guest Post : Mia the crazy one

*Zombie hands drag Nick away*



*Mia coughs*

Guess I'll have to step in. I'm not that bad am I?

(I DID NOT tell the Zombies to do that, they just did… *shakes head* bad bad Zombies)

So *ahem* kind of weird writing for a blog I gave an award to but I'll give it my best shot because I'd like to think this could become say maybe a fortnightly thing or something. If we do well that is.*whispers* Please help me do well.

This is an honour because Nick is like one of the first bloggers I started stalking so I'm not certain how to do him justice. I mean, I gave him awards and everything.

So, he reluctantly admitted I could write about AGE after I bamboozled him with words and begging and promises and then offered cookies. So

Why Age is just a number baby

(from h's profile at    

Age, it's a thing we put great emphasis on in our culture. Whether it be for age restricted purchases or breaking world records, for some reason those numbers beside our name are given great significance. Especially on i.d.'s. Which I find irritating because quite frankly I can't remember my exact age. I told somebody I was eighteen the other week. 


And they believed me, which sort of hurts because I'm twenty this year.

Anywaddles, age is something we pay attention to because we sort of have to. In societies where counting the passing of time is important, you're kind of lost without an age. Or, maybe I should say, you feel lost without an age. You've got to have somewhere to start counting from.

But I guess I'm here today to tell you that those numbers they don't mean squat. At least, not as much as you think they do.

Those little number ticking away beside your name, next time they wave menacingly at you say it. Say what you should have been saying all along. You know, twirl round and say something like

"OMG stop waving, would you?!" 

and then


but really

"You can't hold me back."


"Also I sort of dislike you. Sorry about that."

(from m's profile at

Um, so I respect age. Let's get that straight. I love to talk to people with stories, with tales you wouldn't believe but that you can see they treasure as much as you do. The possessing of wisdom is something to be respected but it strikes me sometimes that some people don't understand the general concept of life. We don't accumulate it at the same rate as other people. Some people live a whole lifetime in a year and some don't do that in 50. It's different for different people.

I recently read a comment on a post referring to the fact the author was perhaps too young and inexperienced to write a novel. Now, outraged young and naive little me actually understood the argument. 

Life gives us experience and experience provides the ability to write. 

So I could see that maybe some people think that means the higher the number from the day you were born the more insight you have into the world around us. If only. If only it were truly that simple.
(from h's profile at

I'm going to go ahead and speak from the heart here. I know I'm new at this game, I'm a noob and I respect that. I look around and I see old hands toiling away and helping me through things I don't quite get yet. I can only express my undying gratitude towards those people. I'm so lucky to know them, to know you. No really.

But I gotsta be honest here and say young writers aren't all bad. 

I see some really amazing ones out there today and I don't sit and think "Gah, they haven't lived" because I realise that that number beside their name is pretty irrelevant. In truth I usually think "Gosh, think how much THEY HAVE SEEN to be able to write this. THAT'S SOME CRAZY LIFE"

Also I hope I'm not thought of as inexperienced. We all go through things, we all live. I'm nineteen but sometimes it feels like I've lived an age.

Equally, you don't have to be young to start a career in writing. Why do you have to be young? Who says you can't have had a long and fruitful life before you pick up the pen? My dear, wonderful, and would you believe it, more adventurous than me OMG we get on like a HOUSE on FIRE though, Gran writes the most haunting and sometimes shocking short stories. She's 72.

So next time you start to panic,next time those numbers get rowdy, just remember that Mary Shelley was 19 when she wrote Frankenstein and Agatha Christie 85 when she wrote her last book. Both of them are considered classics, both of them are great. Neither of them gave a toss about those silly numbers.

(I researched, yes actually researched for this post and found extra reading material. Here's an article that suggests "50" is a good novel writing age, and here's one about Oyeyemi who was 18 when she wrote a haunting tale considered very powerful.Comments, ideas and thoughts are most welcome. These are only my nonsensical ramblings...ALSO, if you comment then maybe I'll be allowed to come back. SAVE MY GUEST BLOGGING FUTURE! *coughs* Or, you know, just be honest)

It's a threesome!

No, not that sort. Get your mind out of the gutter. Instead, what we've got, is a three-way review of this week's episode of Doctor Who. If I remember correctly, the States is two weeks behind the UK on transmission this year, so that means Amy's Choice has aired at some point tonight, or will air, or something. I don't know the schedule. Point is, if you're watching the US broadcast and are not up-to-date with the UK and us netwatchers, my thoughts may be found here.

Doctor Who: Cold Blood
Review by Nick

So, the Silurians continue to look more like green Jem’Hadar than Silurians. They ought to have painted those masks green and not made them masks. Face like that really works better, though they would still be quite too human.

It’s nice to see Cretaceans who aren’t the rabid bloodthirsty beasts we got last episode, but I’m still not wild about them. In Doctor Who and the Silurians the Silurians were existing in relative peace in the caves, and even getting along relatively fine with the humans. In fact, it’s really not until the Brigadier and the Doctor arrive and begin probing that things begin to go awry. And Warriors of the Deep, interesting invention of the Myrka aside, involved Silurians and Sea Devils uniting to defend their corner of the sea from two opposing superpowers locked in a cold war. Whether or not either of these stories is “good” is ultimately up to you, though personally I quite enjoy the former and while the latter is by no means my favorite, it has its moments.

The Silurians here are painted as being a bit like those in Doctor Who and the Silurians, with one faction wanting to eradicate all humans, and the other faction wanting to attempt coexistence. The difference is, while the Silurians were never exactly the most developed characters in the world, both factions had some degree of depth in the original. Here, they mostly come across as fairly one-dimensional in their goals, like last week.

That said, Cold Blood is a big improvement over last week.

It still feels like a holdover from the Russel T Davies era, and the Eleventh Doctor still doesn’t feel like the Eleventh Doctor we’ve come to know, but it’s better. In its weakest moments, this feels like it belongs in David Tennant’s one good season – his first. The rest of the time, it feels like Christopher Eccleston should be inhabiting this. Thinking on it, the Silurians seem like the perfect enemy for Eccleston’s Doctor as well. I know they say this was penned because Moffat was like “Hey, how about we bring back those Silurians?” but I can’t shake the feeling that this was at least outlined during the RTD days and brought up again, in one way or another, when the Moff came on board.

The Hungry Earth is definitely the lowest of the season so far (no pun intended) and Cold Blood doesn’t bring us back a lot, but it does offer some degree of redemption, in terms of story. Not at all wild about the narration, though. Really, seriously could have done without that. Bad flashbacks to Timothy Dalton (who, bless him, does the best he can with the material; fortunately he knew exactly what sort of story he was in).

So, back to the niggles for a mo:

Meera Syal is still the weak link in the cast. While none of the guest performances are genius, and teary-Ambrose is bordering on narm, Syal comes across as a lightweight in both parts. Screams of stunt casting if you ask me. The music is for the most part good, but not Gold’s best. Often too noticeable, which may be in part the fault of the story for being totally engaging, but some blame must go to the music. Plus there was that awkward lack-of-transition in cues when the Doctor leaves Meera and Tony.

Also, kind of wasted opportunity by making Ambrose be the one to kill Alaya. Obvious choice. Tony would’ve been a safe bet, too, given his condition. I was really hoping one or both of them would come in with intent to kill and Rory would come in to stop them and end up accidentally killing her in the process of disarming the would-be murderer. Still, it works.

And that’s really all I have to say in either direction about this episode. Big improvement over last week, but not big enough. I do have one more complaint in mind, but it’s not specific to this episode, and I kind of want to hold out until the season finale before I voice this piece which has been digging at my brain, because there may yet be a very good reason behind it (and I hope so).

Very much looking forward to next week’s episode. Have been since it was first announced actually. Favorite painter? Check. Great writer? Check. Fantastic looking trailer? Oh, you bet your sweet can. Title may not be the greatest in the history of history but, please, bring! It! On!

Review by Amy
Like Nick, I’ve only been a fan of Dr Who since 2005, but i went back and watched the classic series on DVD and online after i started getting into it. Ever since i started watching the classics, the Third Doctor has been my favorite. For me, the classic Silurian story is one of the best episodes of Pertwee’s very solid era (tho i have noticed Malcolm Hulke seemed to love dinosaurs). So my feelings about this week’s episode, and last week’s, are less than grand. I won’t say much about last week, just that i didn’t like it. This week is deffers a leg up, but not a big leg up. Eldane is pretty much a carbon copy of the original Silurian leader. Restac is one dimensional ape hate, which not even the original kill-all-humans Silurian was. There’s the scientist who wants to coexist because humans have evolved from being stupid monkeys. And Matt Smith again turns in a great performance, but he feels kind of weak in the scenes where he’s behaving as the mediator between the sides because…really because he lacks the sense of gravitas Pertwee managed to bring to similar scenes. Pertwee made it feel like there was real seriousness to the discussions. Smith makes it feel like a game. Unfortunately, this is what happens when you ape a forty-year old classic. I’m sure the kids will all love it, but i just can’t get into it when it was done so much better in 71. At the very least they could’ve done a better job of hiding it. Last complaint…i did not care at all for squeaky bum time. Fergie quotes belong with Nine and Ten not Eleven. Much as i rag on it, it was fun tho. A good way to kill an hour but no chance of being viewed as a particularly good episode by me.

Review by Mia
I am, in no way, very well versed in Doctor Who facts. I'm a fan, yes, but am incredibly bad at retaining facts. Please keep that in mind as you read my initial thoughts on the subject of this week's episode.
So it was better than last week, that was my first thought as I watched Matt Smith gallivant around in front of me. Much better. But then again maybe I have forgotten what last week was like.

I stayed interested in the plot throughout and even cared during the tense moments. Perhaps not as much as I should, I mean when the Humans yet again failed the Doctor I sort of felt a little bored. They're always doing that you know. I wouldn't mind but that was clearly a trap.

Even the script was mildly better with moments like "FAB" during the peace talk obvs making me giggle a little because Matt's version of the Doctor ticks all the buttons for me. I don't know, maybe he was being himself this week. None of that silly David Tenant scripting?

The ending was the best part, and by that I mean the Oooh crack appeared and Oooh a piece of the Tardis NOT the let's send them to sleep for 1000 years because clearly by then the ALIENS YOU'RE SENDING TO SLEEP (well, into suspended animation but whatevs) will have stopped being aggressive by then. Sure.

No, it was the reoccurring theme I was interested in. And, shamefully, the "next time" sequence appealed to me more than the whole episode did. Don't get me wrong, t'was a good'en it's just that next week looks to be better.
Robbie dying? Not so much. Don't want to sound like the harshest most cynical person to ever have existed ever but, um, it was like they needed him out of the way to continue the Doctor-Amy relationship. She chose him, so he had to go otherwise the Doctor did. And they're never going to kill off the doctor. Well, at least not yet anyway.


Just pointing out the obvious.

So, um... that's all. Better get back to my supposed Guest post :S

Friday, May 28, 2010


Sorry about the title. Habit I picked up from Data.

Anyway, I have an idea -- sort of an expansion of an idea, actually -- and was wondering if anyone was up for it.

Remember how a little bit back I suggested Writerly Skype Chats out of a combo of boredom/revisiting Skype for the first time in a while? Don't worry if you don't. Not overly important.

This, however, has spawned New Idea.

Last summer, a friend and I were going to run a weekly podcast of reviews, discussions, whatever. Just kinda the two of us talkin about stuff. Got all the necessary websites and everything set up, and we even contacted (and got the okay from) the person we wanted as our first guest. The plans never finalized for a variety of reasons I shan't go into here.

But, my dear writerly friends, this is where New Idea comes in.

Audio interviews with you writerlies.

I could set up another account on the site where we were gonna host stuff last time (completely lost all my old info, alas) and get the old recording software and everything, and all you would have to do is like, Insider the Actor's Studio it via Skype, (so I guess Inside the Writer's Studio?) and then I could embed it here, or if the site won't let me embed, provide streaming and/or download links. Maybe a combination of whatever it lets me do.

If New Idea sounds worth pursuing, scheduling matters and stuff can be worked out later. If not, that's totes awesome too.

Now pardon me while I strive for six-ish hours of sleep.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Worlds to get lost in

Every day when I walk home from school, I cut through a field behind a little local radio station. There are narrow patches which are neatly mowed, running from the back door to a radio tower and from there to the next tower and so on. Everything else they just let grow. What has resulted is wonderful to walk through. (and no, that's not it. I wish it were. That was borrowed from flickr, but I now cannot remember the account. whoops)

One has to wear long pants to walk through there because of the underbrush. Razor grass and poison ivy make up pretty much the whole of it, with a few branches of thorns sticking out here and there. There's a lot of wheat that grows in brief expanses, and so far as I can conclude it along with the thrust of the field probably were crapped out by birds. The most prevalent plant in this field, however, is a combination of maize and millet. There's about knee-high budding maize plants all the way through, and then sticking up in the gaps between the maize plants are breast-high plants of millet. I don't know what kind of millet it is exactly, just that it's not common millet.

It really is a beautiful little place. It's just a shame it's so little. It takes eight minutes to walk through there, and that's only because the plants are growing so thick together, and I refuse to trample down a path. Some people might even call it an inspiring place.

But I do not.

I do not even think when I walk through that field. I just turn off my brain, hold out my arms, and let my fingertips brush over the millet and the wheat as I force my way through this field.

And what about you, writerlies? Any such places for you?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is the greatest nerd project in the history of nerd projects

And here's a trailer some chaps edited using the above material:

The BBC needs to commission this guy. Immediately.

And yes I said this guy. Dunno about the original voice work (some audio has plainly been ripped from episodes), but all of the animation is just one man.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

Doctor Who: The Hungry Earth

Okay, first things first. The new Silurians are rubbish. The new Daleks are slightly awkward in proportion at first, but you get used to them. Making them giant was awesome and the being the Classic Who lover I am, the deliberate nod to the Peter Cushing films (aka Amazing Technicolor Daleks) make me quite happy. The Cybus Industries Cybermen are a nice update while maintaining a Mondasian look. And the new Sontarans actually look like Sontarans instead of funny men in rubber suits. The point, ladies and gentlemen, is that up to this point, Doctor Who has had a pretty good track record of updating the looks of its monsters. The Silurians, however, look nothing like Silurians.

What happened there? The Silurians are supposed to look fish-y not like something out of Star Trek: Voyager. Standard “humanoid lizard” is lazy. And just not Silurian. Not. At. All. I would say Jon Pertwee would be ashamed but he was against reviving the series after it was put on indefinite hiatus in 1989. Also he’s busy being dead.

Yes, yes, I get that these Silurians are meant to be a different branch of the same species and all but really that’s just a hand wave. Point is the new Silurians look bad.

Anyway, new Silurian-dislike aside, it’s official. We have our first piece of crap of the Matt Smith era. Like I said last week, The Beast Below and Victory of the Daleks may have been undercooked and The Vampires of Venice definitely wasted an opportunity to see the return of the Great Vampires, but they were still damn entertaining outings.

Not so here. In fact, my video stopped working at 29:32, and I was indifferent. I was indifferent. Never in the history of Doctor Who have I been indifferent. Even during the godawful moments of the Russel T Davies era, even when it was so godawful I would rather suffer all the torments of Hell than sit through his shite, if my video stopped I would have been shouting all manner of obscenities and desperately scrambling to make it work again. I tried twice, and when it didn’t work, I closed the window and went on to something else. (I did come back about ten minutes later, and then had to wait forever for it to buffer enough to get to where I was, and by the time I hit play again I was considering going to bed and just starting over in the morning)

That is a big problem.

And speaking of the Russel T Davies era, this whole episode feels like a holdover from those days. For one thing, the Eleventh Doctor is behaving wildly out of character. Sure, we’re still new to the man, but at this point, he’s settled into his body and his basic behaviors are pretty much set in stone. The only way those should change is if there’s a very radical situation that demands it. Instead, what we get is the Tenth Doctor. I see nothing whatsoever in the writing of Eleven. Many times it deliberately takes from Ten, and other times the dialogue feels like Chibnall wrote Ten and then simply toned down the manic. Everything about this episode, though, feels like it belongs with David Tennant. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn on Confidential that Chibnall originally wrote this for those days and it was one of many scripts RTD disposed of. If not…

The worst part, really, is that I didn’t have particularly high expectations going into this. I have seen one thing – only the one – written by Chris Chibnall before this. You know what that was? 42. Yeah, that episode. On paper it sounds brilliant. Spaceship about to hurtle into the sun with 42 minutes to get things up and running and stop the solar monster thing that is quite literally vaporising people. How can that possibly go wrong? But it did. Initially I just chalked it up to the Third Series. I thought DT was good – not great, but good – in Series Two but in Series Three his acting defaulted to Large Ham and the already shaky writing went down the tube, and so began a period of ever increasing desire to see Tennant’s era end. In all seriousness, by the time Tennant announced his departure, I was practically praying for the show to go back on indefinite hiatus instead of carry on as it was.

And then of course we find out from RTD himself that he rewrote everything. And I mean rewrote everything. Not just a bit of touching up to keep things in line with his vision. Oh no. According to RTD, at least 60% of an episode was rewritten, and in often cases he completely rewrote episodes and left little to nothing of the author’s original work. So after that revelation I was willing to chalk up 42 and the other non-RTD stinkers to being mediocre-at-best at first and then having been utterly raped by Davies.

This episode puts that to death. I know nothing of Chibnall’s work elsewhere, but for the love of god keep him away from Doctor Who. In terms of writing, I can find nothing about this story to praise. Not even vaguely.

Of course, some of the problem comes from the marketing itself. We’ve all known for ages the Silurians/Eocenes were coming back. Unfortunately, this whole episode is pretty much contingent on us not knowing. I mean, once we know, what the hell is there for us to enjoy? The view, and that’s about it. Thank god for micro-shorts and the Welsh countryside.

I’ve seen some people say it’s a very Classic Who story, but it isn’t, friends. It just isn’t. This is RTD Who hamfisting as many Jon Pertwee references as it can into an hour. Add to that characters behaving out of character, utter pointlessness (why have future Amy/Rory standing on a distant hill? Guarantee you that will not come up again, at all), lack of suspense, or really anything else, and what we have, friends, is forty-three minutes of hot air.

Thank god for the performances. Matt Smith, as always, is utterly brilliant, although he comes off a bit worse than usual here – probably because of the Tennant-ness of the script in an episode where he isn’t meant to be acting like David Tennant (although how brilliantly did he do that, eh?). Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan do equally well with what they’re given, but it’s not much and what’s there isn’t particularly good.

I will say this about the story: It is a two parter, and often with these kinds of shows, the second part is the stronger of the two. Judging by the setup here and the Next Time, though, it’s not going to be one for the history books. Anyone else getting the whole Star Wars vibe from some of the shots in the trailer?

Going back to the redesign thing for a sec, you know what my biggest issue with the new Silurian look is? It’s not even the fact that it’s just so extremely very not good. These Silurians are too damn human. The whole point of their species if that they are what came before. They should be as far removed from humanity as possible. And now we have humanoid lizards. Massive misstep indeed. I mean, how can you take a she-Silurian hissing about killing damn dirty apes seriously when she looks like one of the apes she wants to kill?

It boggles the mind, friends, how the ball could have been dropped so hard. Even with The End of Time – the ridiculous big ball of everything that made the Russel T Davies era bad – I found things beyond performances to praise. Even in the so-incredibly-bad-why-did-you-make-this-a-standalone-opener End of Time Part One had things beyond performances to praise (although not many). Not since the Series Four finale have I been so put off by an episode of Doctor Who.

And I’m just repeating myself. Over and over and over. Because unfortunately that’s all I have to say and I feel like this should have some degree of length.

Verdict: The script is clunky at best and a holdover of one of the weaker RTD episodes at worst, the new Silurian design is just bad, and another episode that had the potential to be a great Classic-style story has been wasted (let’s face it, Cold Blood won’t be picking up those pieces). If you haven’t already watched it, avoid at all costs.

Oh, and one last minute addendum: While this episode definitely would still have been quite very bad, they made a mistake by scheduling it after the brilliance of last week's episode. Putting the Silurians after Venice and then having the Dream Lord probably would have worked out better in the long run.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Elections & Cowboys

I realize even though I said I would be quiet I'm posting fairly regularly here still, but really I am being quiet. You're just (un)fortunate enough to be in the place where I'm making the most noise.

Anyway here's what's up lately:

I realize just about all of you are apolitical *angryfist* and it's really nothing super fantabulously special but on Tuesday I did vote in the primaries. I had to delay my voting because of the rain, which upset me a bit. See, originally, we had off on Primary Day, and the plan was wake at 7, shower at 11-ish, walk up to polling station, vote, walk up to Gamestop, come home and play Red Dead Redemption for rest of day. Then they said we had school and the plan became go to school, walk across street to Gamestop, walk down to polling station, come home and play Red Dead Redemption for rest of day.

But it was raining, Writerlies. Like, hurricane force raining. I seriously thought I might die whilst I walked home. Also I got covered in like ninety feet of water. Sure, they can't turn people away but I felt like if I turned up that drenched it would just look bizarre. And crazy. Mostly the crazy. So I went home and had to wait like four hours and I didn't have Red Dead Redemption and the anxiety, Writerlies, is fatal.

But then I finally did I go to vote at like six-ish and I felt like such an idiot. I'd gone with my mom into the polling station when I was a little kid, but I was like five and I just followed her and got to push the buttons and then our neighbor, who works the polls, gave me a cookie.

This time I'm going in on my own having no idea of what I do prior to going into the booth. There's an old guy out front with green papers, and people standing in the doorway on opposite flanks (who turned out to be representatives of each party and you could talk to the people from your party if you wanted, and I did though mostly because I had no idea of where to go or who to talk to) and then there's like six tables in different ends of the room and none of them are labeled so I had to spend time finding just where I was supposed to sign in. And then when I did all that they gave me a little pink slip that said DEMOCRATIC PARTY VOTER and the lady told me to go room 118, which I totally walked past like four times in the process of looking for it. So by the time I actually got into the booth I felt like an idiot, and then I felt really awkward just walking out of the building. All in all it was just kind of awkward. Also in the midst of shaking rain off my hat I accidentally sent it flying across the room and nearly hit one of the polling people in the face, which didn't really help matters.

Afterwards though I did run across the street and buy Red Dead Redemption, which is AN ASTOUNDING GAME AND YOU ALL NEED TO BUY IT RIGHT NOW. I've been playing it as much as I can, but it hasn't been a whole lot because right now I have a history project that was due last Friday that isn't quite complete, I have a history essay that was due yesterday that's nowhere near complete, I have a math project due tomorrow which is nearly complete, I have an English project that was due like two weeks ago that I still haven't finished, and I have a graduation project which is not really even vaguely finished but I gotta roll with what I have because today is the absolute last day I can do the presentation. Good news is it's pretty much impossible to fail.

So right now life is a swirl of chaotic schoolwork and election awkwardness punctuated by the kickassery of cleaning up 1911 Arizona (okay, so the game doesn't name a state, but I like to think it's Arizona).

And no, I'm not telling you who I voted for, you nosey bastards. All I'll say is no one I voted for got the ticket, which is kind of agitating in a weird way. But on the plus side, I know who I'm voting for governor come November.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Music is beginning to agitate me.

I've always preferred classical music because it is just so much better. My problem with lyrical music has always been that there's only so much you can actually say, and to add insult to injury, musicians only ever seem to focus on five or six of the possible avenues. When you do find someone who takes a wild path, sometimes you get something ridiculously awesome like Banana Phone but most of the time it's just as bad -- if not worse -- than the stuff that keeps to three roads. Classical music, meanwhile, affords one the ability to say anything, even things which are impossible to encapsulate with words, and forces one to think of much more clever ways of expressing them.

But even classical music is beginning to drive me up a wall.

Chopin has always been, and very much still is, my favorite composer. Yet I find I can hardly stand to listen to Chopin most of the time anymore.

Or Brahms. Or Cui. Even composers I wasn't usually much fond of, like Mussorgsky.

I just cannot stand music. Of course, irony likes to play a hand in everything, so I can't stand silence either. Never could, which is why I almost always had some sort of music playing in the background.

I suppose really it's just a temporary thing. Right now, though, music irks me.

Monday, May 17, 2010


My towels are fucking evil.

Wait, what? How can towels be evil? That's just ridiculous.

But they are evil. Even moreso on days like today when they've come fresh from the dryer and are all nice and toasty and warm. And that friends is why they're evil. Think for a sec: when do we use towels? When we've come out of the shower.

Now, you might think I don't need toasty towels at this time of year, what with highs in the eighties, but you're wrong there. I wake up at a bit before quarter six on school days. Ten minutes under scalding water, five minutes under freezing water (a habit I picked up from James Bond and I've no intention of going back to my old system). So by the time I've finished showering, there is no light in the sky and I am naked and covered in very cold water.

And so I grab towels. I grab like six of them and turn them into a Tibetan mountaineer's coat. But see here's the problem. It's very very cold in the morning and although I will be not-as-cold once I've dressed, it's really fucking cold while I'm in the process of dressing. So I don't want to leave my towels. Especially when they're fresh from the dryer.

Take today for example.

I clamber into the shower with a pounding skull (thanks to having only gotten about four hours of sleep due to my own stupidity) and am done by about six, maybe a few minutes over. I am sitting here now at 6:43 in the morning still naked, still buried under my pile of toasty towels. Okay, so they're not exactly toasty any more. And what have I done? Play around on twitter. And now stall by writing this.

Fuck you towels. I fucking hate you.

It's because of the blasted towels I'm late whenever it's cold. I think from now on I'm going to keep all of the towels elsewhere and just put one in the bathroom before I get in the shower, so I can't be all wrapped and toasty. That or I'll just sprint in the buff to my room and that'll definitely force me to dress in a hurry.

We'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, fuck you, you damn towels!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Although I wiped most of the old stuff, there's still a couple of reviews on here, and I keep meaning to come back and do some more reviews every now and again. And I don't. And I've really been meaning to do one for Doctor Who, and pretty much every episode since The Time of Angels I've been working one out in my head and then never writing. But, Writerly Friends, this week's episode was just too good to pass up. So I have finally done it, Writerlies. I have gone and reviewed something for the first time in a while. And for anyone who cares, there are some spoilers here. This may or may not become a regular feature; the reviewing of Doctor Who. Reviews in general will pretty much come up whenever I feel like it.


First off, I have to admit. I had mixed feelings coming into this episode. So far this season, the first of the non-Moffat penned episodes was under baked (and really could have done with a two-parter, or the good old fashioned serial format), and while the second non-Moffat episode was entertaining, we’ve seen it so many times before (and, I think but don’t quote me on it, most of them coming 2005+) it just could never be totally enthralling. Also, it was slightly undercooked in places as well. Guido had the potential to be a great supporting character, and instead we got grumbly black man with an itchy-looking beard who eventually goes boom (in fact Guido was such a non-character I didn’t even know his name until I read reviews of TVOV). So there was that to worry about. In addition, from the moment the first trailers and info starting hitting the web, I saw the ending coming. Not the specifics, but I figured from the get-go that either both worlds were reality and the Dream Lord had some kind of crazy powers that let him do that, or both worlds were dreams and the Dream Lord was having fun tormenting the crew.

But even in spite of that last point, this episode proved to be brilliant. This is another episode I would almost certainly use in a case of “Doctor Who really needs to go back to the serial format”. Because it does, ladies and gentlemen, and it doesn’t need to go back to 25 minute episodes; they did 45 minute serials back in the 80s for a short while. Serials allow more time to tell a more complete story, so in the case of the weak episodes, it provides them a chance to be less weak, and in the case of episodes like these, it allows them to be even more brilliant.

But all things-need-to-be-serial-again aside, this episode was brilliant. Coming from Simon Nye you would expect something more in line with what The Lodger is very likely to be. But no, friends, what we get is a good-old fashioned adventure. And I mean old-fashioned. This episode harks back to some of the best stories of the 1960s (the decade in which Doctor Who saw most of its best stories) – The Edge of Destruction, The Mind Robber, and The Celestial Toymaker (as well as something of a nod to the piece of mid-80s gold, The Trial of a Time Lord) – while remaining firmly its own tale.

The cold open is done beautifully. The initial meeting of the Doctor and friends five years after their travels is great. Were this the RTD era, we’d get a lot of pouty lips about being left behind. Instead, we get three old friends. And the whole Upper Leadworth scenario is utterly believable given what little we know of Amy’s home life (another bonus over the RTD era; by now we would have paid many a visit to Aunt Sharon) and Rory. Same goes for Eleven’s reaction to Amy’s pregnancy. The whole scene – hell, the whole episode – is massively helped along by genuine chemistry between the actors, which is almost certainly in part due to the fact that this was the last episode to be filmed.

The best case for a serial format comes during all that “tweet tweet, time to sleep” business. It is played brilliantly here, and especially as things carry on, the quick flashes work wonders. But the beginning is almost crying for an episode in itself of the Doctor and company snooping around Upper Leadworth because something’s amiss, and then right before cutting to credits show a brief shot of the TARDIS crew waking up around the console. But what we get works geniusly, too, and the serial thing is a brief niggle. And while we’re on the subject of brief niggles, I realize the title probably came after the fact, but in both instances of a character saying “Amy’s Choice” it sounds really hamfisted, especially Rory’s. It’s like that “star trek” line in First Contact. You just want to groan and hit your head.

The direction on this episode is no less genius than the writing. This episode could have been shot a million ways. Further the nod back to The Edge of Destruction with fairly stationary camera work but some clever lighting inside the TARDIS so it feels more like a death trap than our heroes’ home. Turn into Adam Smith (who is a genius and I hope Steven Moffat brings him back at least once every season) and bring out bizarre camera angles and clever turns mid-shot and all of those sorts of genius tics. But instead, instead my friends, director Catherine Morsehead does something quite even more genius. Aside from the odd shot that seems like it belongs in a zombie movie, such as the four pensioners half-staggering across a field towards our heroes, the direction is about as conventional as it gets. I realize to some people that sounds like it should be a criticism, and coming from some people it is – I’ve seen one review where they thought the direction never achieved the right balance between absurdism and nightmare.

Me, though, I think the way direction in this episode is done works brilliantly. You could go for the absurd zombie movie style when we get the rabid pensioners. You could go freaky and nightmare-y inside the TARDIS. But that’s just too easy. Instead, play it plain. Contrast the absurdity of the situation with the simpleness of the camera. It may not have been the director’s intent (though I hope it was), but it works fantastically.

Oh, and one more brief niggle, the music. For the most part, the music is fine. There’s nothing particularly standout about it, but it’s not exactly terrible either. Except in one place. There is one sappy cheesetastic cue which feels more like it belongs in a Nicholas Sparks film than in Doctor Who. I can’t, at the moment, remember where it was. I want to say Rory turning into dust but I’m not entirely sure that’s right. But like I said, brief niggle. In fact, really all I’ve had so far this season are brief niggles. Yes, Victory of the Daleks could have stood by more time, and I would have preferred if Vampires of Venice hadn’t been a rehash, or at least had been a little better fleshed out, but I am more than willing to take what we’ve received, and what we’ve received works fine.

Everything about this episode just gels wonderfully. The marriage of a classic-style story with new series insanity. The simple direction. Everything. It’s not something you would expect from a man whose previous writing credits consist pretty solely of comedy, but it works so wonderfully. Simon Nye did an interview about a week ago with Digital Spy where he said he thought he wouldn’t be asked back. I really, sincerely hope this proves to be false, because Nye’s episode was great. Would I want him back next season? Probably not. In fact, I’d like it if Moffat only wrote two stories (two-part finale and one other episode) next season, and every other episode was written by writers we have yet to see under Moffat’s care, or writers who we have yet to see on Doctor Who (like Neil Gaiman, who has confirmed he’ll be writing something for the first half of the season). But I do still hope Simon Nye returns some day. Comedy may be his career, but that man knows drama.

Coming up in a week: Silurians! Excuse me while I go break out the Jon Pertwee.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Quick Lesson in Safety

Always stretch. Always. As I mentioned earlier this week, I managed to injure myself while working out. The large part of this injury comes from something you should never ever do: Use a weighted jump rope barefoot on hard concrete flooring. But! It's also because I didn't stretch. In fact even if I had been smart and used shoes it's possible (though not horribly so) that this would have happened anyway because I didn't stretch anything. So make sure you wear well padded shoes and you stretch before you exercise, folks. Because now I have shin splints. And they hurt like a bitch. Granted, shin splints are nothing overly serious. They're a fairly common injury, especially among sportsfolk. But they hurt. A lot. And they make life difficult because you need to pretty much just rest them and can't run or jump or anything. And then your goddamned cat gets out and you have sprint up and down the poorly-paved very long driveway barefoot trying to catch him, aggravating the injury, which means it'll take longer to heal, at best, and at worst, you may have stress fractures now, which could again be worsened into a fully fractured tibia. Be smart, Writerly Friends, when you exercise. Because just doing is painful. Very, very painful.

But on the plus side, you'll finally have a reason to walk around with a cane that isn't "Because I can, damn it."

Plans, Ideas & Such

Okay, first of all, here's a bit of fun: Click around. The order of the Amelias changes constantly. Sometimes they flip. Sometimes they're in a row. It's weird. And kind of cool. And yet why is it I never turn up on top?

Right, now, on with the plans and stuff.

Firstly, remember how a while back I said I might do an about me tab and things like that? Yeah, planning to get on that one. Question now is...nope, no need to trouble you with that. All you need to know is it's coming. Soonly-ish. I promise this time. If it's not up by the end of September feel three to throw a brick at me.

Okay, secondly, and this is the biggiekindasortaokaynotreallybutstill an idea occurred to me earlier today while tittering about on my computer. Mentioned it on twitter but not here and I will very probably bring it up over at the Bransforums. Logged into a thing which I have not logged into for a very very long time pretty much just because I good and ding! lightbulb of idea-dom. That lightbulb, writerly friends, is #writerlyfriendskypechat. Yes I did just copypasta my hash tag. To split it up into words: Writerly Friend Skype Chat. Bad idea? Good idea? Thoughts? Cares? Cupcakes? I like cupcakes. If you have any, please find a way of sending them through the computer that doesn't involve a transdimensional vortex. Last time we tried that...well, let's just say the neighbors won't be too happy.

Thirdly, remember my post from yesterday? Of course you do! It's right there below this one. Screw what I said before. I haven't written anything in a long time and my brain is all ker-splat for ideas so we are gonna do it, people. And by we I mean me. Unless you want to be weird with me in which case jump on the gravy boat! Just make sure you bring a biscuit, because if you fall in I am not saving you. So next dream I can even vaguely recall is getting done up into something because I feel like I need to write something ASAP or that part of my brain will asplode forever. And I swear even if it's the crappiest thing ever put to words I will post it here, because I am just that nice. totally masochistic like that. your best friend ever? GOD. Yeah, let's go with that one.

Soze...yeah, that's about it folks. Enjoy your weekend or I shall turn you into a pillar of salt! rabid old folks will turn you into dust. I will hunt you down and love you to death. There we go, that works.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Dreams as a springboard?

I don't think so. Mad props to you if you can do it, but here's three recent dreams I can recall.

1. Friend and I went gallivanting about the universe in a Type 40 TARDIS identical to the Seventh Doctor's with elements of Five's deeper interior. I'll spare the finer details for one could write an entire era of Doctor Who with our adventures.

2. Driving about the north of England while there's a blizzard going on in a hippie minibus. Wound up in some city I can't recall the name of that looked a lot like LOM-style Manchester and Paris had a baby. Part I remember most clearly is I was just sort of walking along, and a couple of tourists were following me because I knew my way around, and I made polite conversation only because they started it. Come to a river/canal thing that somehow overlooked another part of the city without turning into a waterfall (stopped in mid-air, didn't just come to a dead end before the cliff) that I think was meant to be covered in snow. Anyway I decided to screw the bridge and leapt over it easily, and hear a splash, and see the tourists in the water, only it looks more like frothy beer now. Then there are some gaps in memory and I find myself at a small train station, where my now ex-girlfriend from Langholm turned up out of thin air. And I mean, literally out of thin air. Blink-and-you'll-be-teleported-to-the-past kind of thing. Admittedly this would probably be the most readily adaptable into a story.

3. Back when teachers were on strike, dreamt strike had ended, and for some reason we were all getting out of school crazy late at night. It was raining hurricane-level and I missed the bus and was effectively stranded, so my friend Zach and I went back inside. Not to use the telephone, though. Oh no. We went to the library, which for some reason had a slide in it, which lead to a non-extant lower level gift shop, and while I tried to work out since when the school library had a gift shop and why, my friend was complaining that they used to have these toy shark things. Dream then randomly cuts to David Cameron making a campaign-style speech about why the sharks had to be removed, something about them being dangerous, encouraging violence, etc. And mid-speech out of nowhere come like two dozen kids who just bum rush him and start beating him up.

I got some trippy dreams, man. Anyway finally getting round to adding people to the blogging team, and it amuses me so. I'm going to find some way of making a joke about it before the end of the month, mark you me.

And now that the obligatory bad post is out of the way, time for the obligatory Doctor Who:

Makes me want fish custard. Again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And now the news, at six o'clock...

Okay, first of all: Wow! What an election that turned out to be, eh? First hung Parliament since Heath, first coalition since World War II, days of intense negotiations, and in the end, David Cameron ended up Prime Minister as he should have. A Conservative majority would have been nice, but I can live with this coalition, and the first full day has given me confidence. Anyone else catch the conference Clegg and Cameron held in the gardens? Whether this coalition holds for five years or five months, you just know it's going to be something special.

Anyway here's what's been going diz-own, and what's on the roll for days to come.

Firsties, the incredibly bonkers Amy asked me to make her part of the blogging team so she can guest from time to time. I still haven't got round to adding her to the list yet, and since she hasn't said a thing I'm assuming she's forgotten. But if/when it does happen, she will be posting here, so if you see a post that's weird in a not-my-weird kind of way, it's either her, me while incredibly sick/intoxicated/none of the above, or we've been hacked. I'm probably going to ask her to post in a different color, just to help differentiate. Again this is all a big if. Now that I've remembered I'm willing, but if she's up and forgotten or has lost interest or whatever, I'm not going to add her. So watch this space.

That said, if at any point any of you want to guest anything at all -- and I mean anything at all. For all I care you can rant about how much you hate soggy cereal (I'll let you work it out) -- feel free to get in contact with me and we'll work something out. Not sure I'm going to be adding anyone to the list of blog team persons blogger lets me form, but as the past week has shown, anything can happen.

In other news, I'm a moron. Just in case anyone speaks Welsh out there, no, I did not just call myself a carrot. To get back into shape I follow a very rigorous routine, which for the most part stays the same, just some additions, subtractions, or modifications at different times of year. For example, it's hard to run outside when there's a foot of snow on the ground. So I hit the treadmill for specific time periods depending upon if I have school or not that day. Also there's possibly going to be the addition of skinny dipping this winter, as TR went skinny dipping in winter and if TR did it, everyone should do it, for TR was the epitome of Man. But yeah, one of the things I do is bare knuckle boxing. Used to do it all the time. Got out of the habit (just like all my other exercises, hence why I'm out of shape) and hands aren't quite as tough as they used to be. So I went back to it, and five straight nights of practice, my hands finally can't take the abuse. Been getting cuts and bruises all along, that's to be expected, but I managed to wreck my right leg with the weighted rope last night (for the record, the handles are 10 lbs each and the "rope" is 5 lbs of cowhide, so I'm sure you can imagine how that feels when you misstep) and so as I go to give a right hook, my leg flares up, I flinch, and completely tear open the back of my hand on the punching bag. Much swearing and blood loss ensued.

But my hand's all better now (aka not bleeding and is now wrapped in bandages) so hopefully I can get back to it soon. More concerned about my leg, as I can't lift weights, because we don't have a bench press so I has to rest the weights on me person. Can't run because of obvious problems; same for tennis and cycling. Can't swim. Or jump rope. Or much of anything. Why is it all exercises are so contingent upon the mobility of my legs? So, yeah, going to try to find a way around that little snag while I wait for leg and hand to get better, but exercise quotient is definitely going down in the coming days, which is a shame because weekend means I finally have the time to do stuff.

And now to maintain the crappy news motif, let's see what the weather's like for this weekend. Hereabouts, things are still going to be feeling like March tomorrow, but things will warm back up to May temperatures starting Friday. Unfortunately, a lot of thunderstorms Friday, but after that, warm and sunny until Wednesday, when it will be warm with thunder storms well into next weekend. Down south we're going to be seeing a lot of rain as well, though temperatures will be consistently maintaining in the eighties well through next week, so dress comfortably and just don't go outside very often. Overseas, it's going to be a bit nippy and very rainy, but nothing unusual there, as I'm quite certain the only place with a higher annual rainfall is the Amazon. Sunday and Monday will be fairly sunny, however, and should be the only times over the next ten days there is no rain. Temperatures will maintain themselves in around the lower-tens of Celsius, so make sure you've got a hoodie (or an epic tweed coat).

Looking into the future, I'm afraid nothing's really on the agenda. In the closing days of this week I'm quite tied up with very important projects that need to be done if I'm to graduate, so after scheduling this post I'm going to rescind into silence. After that, who knows? I will be disappearing again after May 18th, because that's when Red Dead Redemption comes out and that game will be like heroin for me. But I will try to keep around, somewhat. Really the biggest factor going against my presence is being busy, though it has been largely coupled with nothing really to talk about. So until I think of something and/or have the time to post, I'm going to open things up to you. What do you want me to do? Let me just say right now: Contests and anything else involving prizes are off the table. I would love to but I am more broke than my old refrigerator, and we rode that thing down the driveway like a toboggan. In the middle of July.

Oh! Not that any of you care, but absolutely made my day: Went out to dinner tonight just kind of for the sake of it, and ran into old friend I haven't seen in five years, who is now working as a waitress at one of my favorite local digs, so I shall definitely be going there more often. Sometimes I wonder why my friends and I ever drifted apart. Just really, absolutely made my night.

So, sorry there hasn't been much of anything to discuss. Slow news day. More than anything I'm just writing this to let you all know I haven't suffered a massive coronary. Blog should resume session at some point before the end of the month.

P.S. I have been checking out all of your blogs when I get the chance, I just haven't been saying anything either because of aforementioned being busy or just not being able to think of anything. This, too, should be remedied in the near future.

And now for something completely different.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

They grow up so fast

Two weeks from today, fellow Doctor Who nerds will be settling in to watch Amy's Choice. I bring this up for three reasons. Number one, Doctor Who is fantastic and if you're not watching it you should be. Number two, Amy's Choice sounds like it's going to be one of the best episodes this season. Number three, there are rumours afoot!

DWM takes a long time to get over here so it's not really worth subscribing unless you want to collect them, especially as people upload scans. I have yet to see scans for the latest issue, so I can't verify, but supposedly Simon Nye was interviewed in the section about Amy's Choice. In it, the villain of the piece apparently began as a virtually mute evil genius; spoke rarely, succinct, terrifying, threatening lines, and just kind of a creeper bugger. With each draft, the villain wound up having more and more to say. Still not sure he has a lot to say, as it seems like the villain won't be directly in the episode for the bulk of the narrative, but he has a lot more to say than he used to. Also the villain looks like Capote, which amuses me.

Within my own WIP, the protagonist has undergone quite a lot of changes. I haven't edited anything yet, so right now it's woefully inconsistent, but that will all be sorted in the end. Originally, Daniel was an unhappy guy with incredible acting talent which he didn't fully embrace because of his contempt for his family, but he still used it to great effect within his police life to manipulate people and events precisely as he saw it. Then Daniel was just an unhappy guy. Then Daniel was the fresh-faced new kid on the block with no idea of what he's doing. Now he's an unsure fresh-faced new kid who decides to act on impulse and backs up his decisions tooth and nail, in spite of always doubting himself while carrying out a decision, and doesn't take shit from Beckett or anyone else when they call his methods into question, and he often refuses to follow through with the methods of fellow officers blindly; seniority means nothing to him. I like current Daniel, actually. I think he's the best, most padded out, and really most realistic of all his iterations so far.

The point is, don't try to pigeonhole your characters. If you start out writing your villain or a side character in one manner, and halfway through you decide you want them to be different, don't force them to keep behaving the way they did originally. Humans grow. Me of November is radically different from me of now, and even more radically different from me of last spring. Now of course, unless your book spans a long time frame, there shouldn't be major inconsistencies of character, particularly if your character isn't a child or teenager, but during the drafting stages, who cares? If you switch halfway through the first draft, write the second to be consistent. If you change during the second, generate consistency during the third.

Yeah, during the early phases your character is probably going to look ridiculous. Wearing eighty different hats at once kind of does that. But when you find the one hat that not only fits perfectly, but looks perfect too, your character will thank you for it, and your mind will almost certainly thank you for allowing your words to flow naturally again instead of trying to force the story to carry on. And if neither of them do, you might want to look into getting a new one.