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Archive for August, 2012

Remember how I told you that Insomnia and I had recently become the best of friends?  Well… I have to tell you something.  Something… important.

We started dating a few weeks ago and now… well, now we’ve decided to go steady.  Honestly, it’s difficult to say no to someone as attentive as Insomnia–he’s always around somewhere, and no matter what I do, I just can’t get away from him.

…and I’m gonna kill that metaphor right there, because I can’t extend it much further.  But needless to say, insomnia (or something like it, I don’t know, I’m not a sleep doctor nor do I know one) has decided to stick around, no matter what I do to deter it.  I’ve tried going to bed early.  I’ve tried drinking tea.  I’ve tried listening to soothing music.  Nothing seems to work.

So I just stay up, hour after hour, trying and failing to get comfortable, trying to relax but getting distracted by various things that don’t matter.  Trying to tell myself that I can sleep now, that the day is over, that I don’t have to do anything anymore.  It never works.  Instead I just lay there, tossing and turning and trying to calm down, and even if I get myself to stop worrying about all the things I worry about, I then start on worrying about getting to sleep.  I think about how long it’s been since I last looked at the clock, what time it might be now, and so on and so forth.

It’s honestly kind of maddening, and I’m going to try (once again) to get things settled here over the next few days, enforcing a bedtime if nothing else.  (I am terrible about getting up to an alarm.  I seem to have recently fallen into the habit of turning my alarm off in my sleep, and in the past week I’ve had two conversations with my mom that I don’t even remember being awake for.  I’ve been keeping track of my recent sleep habits, and I suppose if this keeps up I’ll try and see a doctor, though honestly it seems like there isn’t much I can do about this except to keep trying.

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As we (hopefully) draw closer to the premiere of Doctor Who’s seventh series on the BBC and on BBC America (and on SPACE in Canada), more and more tidbits of information are being released to the general public.  In fact, it seems like every tidbit of information except an airdate is being released to the public.

“Asylum of the Daleks” had its first public screening today at the British Film Institute in London, and with the episode’s premiere came a whole slew of new promotional pictures and information about the first half of the series (just take a gander through the official Who Tumblr here).  For example, the long rumored title of the fourth episode, “Cubed,” turned out to be completely wrong–the episode is in fact titled “The Power of Three” and the episode that follows it is not  “Bye Bye, Pond” (as a section of the fandom has long been insisting, based on a very inaccurate title and summary someone put up on IMDB months ago) but actually “The Angels Take Manhattan.”  Trust Steven Moffat to give what is likely one of the most emotional episodes of the show to date a rather ridiculous title.  And knowing him, he’ll make it resonate in unexpected ways, so we wouldn’t dream of calling it anything else.  (Ask me sometime about how “Let’s Kill Hitler” is the perfect title for that particular episode.  Even though Hitler is barely in the episode, it’s by far the best title I can think of, for so many different reasons.)

The promotional pictures are mostly for the first three episodes–the already confirmed “Asylum of the Daleks,” “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” and “A Town Called Mercy”–and they do not disappoint, to be honest.  There’s dinosaurs and Daleks, a couple dashing pictures of Matt Smith’s Doctor wearing a Stetson, sheriff’s badge, and gun belt, and enough tantalizing details to make the excitement for the show’s return all the more palpable.

Now if only they would release a date

(In equally happy news, Matt Smith also confirmed that he was going to be staying with the show for another series, through the 2013-2014 series.  Needless to say, I am extremely happy about this, because he’s a fabulous Doctor and I really don’t want to think about the day when he leaves the show.)

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Which, if you don’t know, is a very funny and therefore perennially struggling comedy on NBC about former lawyer and forever narcissist Jeff Winger taking classes at Greendale Community College after he gets disbarred for having a fake college degree. He starts a study group in an attempt to get into a fellow student’s pants, which backfires spectacularly when a bunch of other people join the group as well. What follows is a lot of heartwarming hilarity as the new friends help each other through the occasionally strange goings-on at Greendale.

Basically: it’s a really fun, awesome show, packed to the gills with nerdy references and a very meta awareness of what kind of show it is. I’m only ten episodes into the first season, and I’m already enjoying myself immensely. I’m already somewhat familiar with the show through gifs and videos on Tumblr, not to mention the Doctor Who parody “Inspector Spacetime” introduced in the show’s third season (really looking forward to getting to that). The characters area all interesting and endearing in their own ways, and Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger is just likable enough that I don’t hate him for being a selfish jerk, which is a huge testament to his comedic ability. (There is a fine line between being a lovable asshole and just being an asshole–if you’re on the wrong side of it, then almost no measure of character development will make your character likable. This is probably much more important in movies than in television shows. Anyway, tangent over.)

So overall, I’m really enjoying Community so far, and I can’t wait to delve into the rest of the episodes (I’ve heard/read that Season 3’s “Remedial Chaos Theory” is really good, not to mention Inspector Spacetime in general).

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I’ve written before about my love for the Portal video games, and I’ve recently been on a bit of a Portal kick (though instead of replaying the games I just watched through a series of Let’s Play videos for each game). And so, with GLaDOS and portals and Aperture on the brain, I went to YouTube to seek out some of my favorite Portal remixes, which means they’re basically electronic/dubstep/whatever songs with dialogue from the games worked in, and they’re generally all quite awesome, so I thought I’d post a few of them here for your listening enjoyment. Most of them are available for free download if you check the descriptions on YouTube (a few have broken download links, but that’s what ListentoYouTube.com is for). Enjoy!

(more…)

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Yes, I started a bit later than I said I was going to.  Frankly, I think it’s a miracle that I started at all.

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Stargazing

As mentioned previously, I have recently been having a lot of trouble sleeping. Last night marked the second night in a row where I’ve been awake from sunset to sunrise (I did take a six-hour nap during daylight hours, though, don’t worry). I’ve mostly been keeping myself awake by dint of the internet and watching various television shows, both online and on my actual television. I watched a few series 1 episodes of Doctor Who on BBC America last week, for example, because Christopher Eccleston is a wonderful and highly underrated Doctor. And this is getting off the subject.

One of the things that kept me up last night was finding out that the Perseid meteor shower was happening. I had been considering going to bed–an attempt that would likely have proven futile–when I read a tweet or a headline about the Perseids, and after some quick research on peak times and which part of the sky to look in, I decided to stay up and take advantage of my insomnia. I stayed awake with episodes of Community and Portal dubstep when the internet died at 4:30 in the morning (which is actually… later, but I’m starting to think that AT&T does maintenance or something then, I don’t know, this is the second night in a row this has happened).

At 2:30, I finished my current episode of Community (which is something I will be talking about here soon; I’ll probably be done with Season 3 here in the next couple of days) and then put on my rain boots and grabbed a flashlight and headed outside. The rain boots were mostly because I was wearing rather short shorts and also because I didn’t know if I was going to be traipsing through the fields around my house, which… I wouldn’t have enjoyed as much in tennis shoes or flip flops. Nature is nice, but it needs to stay outside. Particularly those parts of nature like ticks, fleas, and spiders, which might feasibly hitch a ride (maliciously or not) on an exposed sock or bit of flesh. This is a bit harder to do when you have to crawl over several rather sturdy inches of rubber plastic first.

The rain boots ended up being kind of beside the point, since I found myself standing on a part of the driveway instead, craning my neck to get a good look at the sky. Which I immediately decided just wouldn’t do, so I went back inside and got a beach towel I could spread out on the cracked and slightly overgrown blacktop. I lay down, and while it wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, I still got to see the stars.

I don’t think I saw more than twenty meteors–I’m going to blame the nearby light pollution from town and also from the coal mine down the road–but it was still nice to just stare at the universe that is forever and intently staring at us. The meteors didn’t stay to one particular part of the sky. They fell everywhere, drawing my attention one way and then another, looking at the spaces between the stars for bright flashes of temporary beauty, admiring the brightest ones for the temporary contrails they left in their wake, and wondering sometimes if I’d seen some of the others at all. (There’s a metaphor for life in there somewhere, but it’s honestly too depressing to contemplate right now, so forgive me if I refrain from profundity.)

Overall, I rather enjoyed the experience, and I spent an hour out there with the stars. It was time away from all the things that drive me mad in my life, away from the taunting red number of late-night Tumblr, away from infrequent tweets and never-ending television shows. Never mind the time away from the constant and persistent worries I have about my own life, about whether the things I do every day have any value, whether I am doomed to failure in life now that I have succeeded in the one thing that I am really good at, whether I will ever be able to get over my mental problems and start to function “normally.” I watched the stars. I strained my eyes for some sign of our galaxy. I watched the moon and a few planets rise slowly in the east. (I assumed one of the planets was Mars and waved to say hello to Curiosity, even though Curiosity’s looking at a lot cooler stuff than the night sky right now, honestly.)

I relaxed for the first time in ages, and it was worth it.

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It’s called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  I didn’t know much about it except that it was awesome.  Or at least that’s what all the people on the internet–mostly dudes around the same age as me–were saying when the show hit Netflix Instant a few months ago.  I had heard over and over again about what an excellent show it was and so, after going back and forth about it several times, I finally sat down and watched the first episode.

And it was fantastic.

I’m a sucker for well-written and well-animated TV shows, and MLP:FiM is no exception.  Yes, it is based on Hasbro’s long-standing My Little Pony toy franchise (which itself spawned a cartoon or two back in the ’80s and ’90s).  But it’s a funny, heartwarming show, and it’s written intelligently enough that it can touch both its intended audience (young girls) and those outside it (their parents and the self-proclaimed ‘brony’ fans).

Honestly, one of the things I love the most about the show is that it has a cast dominated by female characters.  There’s only one main recurring character who is male.  The main six cast members are all girls, and the show refuses to cast them all as stereotypical girly girls.  They have individual personalities and interests, and the show even goes out of its way to show that they’re not limited by their main personality traits.

In short: it’s a great show.  It portrays its female characters as people (or ponies, as the case may be), and that’s just amazing, in my opinion.  And it’s also funny and heartwarming and imaginative and totally worth your time.  You can watch it on Netflix Instant if you’ve got that, and the episodes are available elsewhere if you poke around the internet long enough.

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