The good news is, this set's precedent -- why stick your loved ones in a lame old box when you can be having them do awesome stuff? I'm working on a shortlist of ways I'd like to be presented at my funeral.
Sitting in my underwear, eating Fruity Pebbles. This one's probably the most lifelike, and also among the more unsettling. I'm guessing my family will pass on this one.
Playing a guitar, one foot on the edge of the casket, possibly throwing up horns. They'd have to figure out how to get me to stand up (complicated wire system), but it would be totally worth it.
Just sitting in a chair in the corner. Preferably near a table with some food or something.
One arm frozen in mid-air, giving a sideways hug, while the other arm points at the person next to me. That way, you could just sidle up to my dead body, have a picture taken like we're chums, and move on. Now that's a unique funeral memento!
All right, here we are again! Time-traveling Austin writing again from 4/10, but since regular BBCA doesn't get the new Doctor Who episodes until two weeks later, I'm post-dating this! Hello future world!
So this week's episode was 'The Beast Below'. From the beginning of the episode, it had one thing going for it:
Those Smilers are very, very creepy.
Anyway, this adventure sees The Doctor and Amy in space, in the future, aboard Starship UK. What mysteries hide in the ship? Well, a giant space whale. It's sorta meh, I guess. But I digress! Let's do some episode notes!
AWESOME: Amy is fantastic. It seemed like, for the Tennant companions, it took a few episodes to adjust to them. Even two or three episodes in to the first season of the relaunch, you didn't have a steady bead on who Rose was. Was she a working-class girl on an adventure? Did she like anything, other than her mum? There was a definite learning curve. Not so with Amy. Already in the second episode, the writers have made it clear that Amy is designed to play off The Doctor, and act as both support and foil. Amy in this episode was great, and even ended up saving the day with her own 'zoom in the eye' thing (which I'm hoping doesn't become a recurring thing, because come on, twice has been enough).
NOT SO AWESOME: More Moffat tricks. This isn't a huge complaint, but it does raise a couple concerns that I had hoped we could ignore. Like I had mentioned in the previous week's review, it seems like Moffat is interested in replaying a few themes over and over. Again, his love of children as driving forces is in effect, but this time he's taken another story element from a previous episode. An entire colony/planet supported by a thankless, childlike creature hooked up to a machine? Are we talking about the daughter from the 'Library' episode, or the space whale from this episode? It's not huge, and it is kind of a stretch, but it still seems like a Moffat motif. Not really troublesome, but it doesn't bode well for future episodes being 100% original.
ON THE FENCE: There seemed to be some very sloppy plot elements in this episode. I'm pretty sure I was paying close attention, but there are a few things I couldn't figure out. Where did the Smilers come from? Further than that, why did the Smilers arbitrarily try to kill kids with 'zero' marks by throwing them into the space whale? I guess the Smilers were working for the good guys, but there didn't seem to be a ton of explanation regarding them (at least, that I picked up on). And the half-Smiler, half-people people? Who knows. It just seemed like it was playing fast enough with the story that some sidelines got dropped (like, how did Amy leave a recording for herself to tell The Doctor to leave). Maybe I should watch it again or something.
AWESOME: The Doctor is a dick again! One of the things that the writers did with Tennant, that I don't know how successful they were, was play with the idea that The Doctor can be a real dick. It was flirted with during Tennant's run, but it often got pushed to the side to make The Doctor super awesome. Not so with Smith; here The Doctor is brash, a little arrogant, and impatient. Telling a room full of humans that no human has anything to say to him today? Awesome. It's delightfully curmudgeon-y, and it's definitely very interesting. This is the second time The Doctor's been a bit of a dick, so I hope they keep the trend going.
NOT SO AWESOME: Some of the dialogue was awful. I watched with four other people, and absolutely every one of them predicted the "Help us, Doctor, you're our only hope" line. When delivered by a member of a royal family cloaked in a robe? Come on, a little too Star Wars. You're Doctor Who, stand on your own laurels. That, and repeating the "HEY LOOK THE DOCTOR IS LIKE THE SPACE WHALE LAST OF HIS KIND HURRR" thing three times? A bit much. This is redeemed slightly by the fact that some of the dialogue (the 'missing fish' joke) was awesome.
ON THE FENCE: Guns. Why did the ninja assassin Queen of Space England wield a gun? Hell, why did she wield two guns, arms akimbo, to shoot some aliens? Doctor Who of the past has always shied away from guns (except when absolutely convenient), so a bullet-shootin' space Queen seemed a little out of place. Cool excuse for an action scene, maybe?
This is strange, gentle reader, in that the blog you are reading right now, this very one, was actually written on April 5th. In true time traveler fashion, I'm jumping to the future to tell you about the awesomeness that is the new season of Doctor Who. Actually, that's simply not true; I'm just watching the shows on BBC1, whereas I'm sure most everybody else is going to be watching it two weeks later on BBCA. So to simplify, I'm just post-dating my write-ups! Exciting!
So the new season of Who starts off with a bang, literally -- the TARDIS crashing into the garden of young Amy Pond. Even from the opening minutes, it's clear that there has been a shift from the Russell T. Davies-style Doctor Who to the Moffat-style Who. Even two or three minutes in, 'The Eleventh Hour' displays more clarity, complexity and focus than 'Rose', 'Smith and Jones', or 'Partners In Crime'. Perhaps in the case of 'Rose', it's the benefit of not having to just put something on the air to start the series, but 'The Eleventh Hour' feels overall better as an episode. It's rewatchable, at least, which is more than can be said about some of the other 'new Doctor/new companion' episodes. Since I'm all about lists, let's make a list of what's great, and what's not so great.
AWESOME: Matt Smith as the new Doctor. Following the immensely popular Tennant run, being the new Doctor seemed like impossible shoes to fill. Fortunately, Smith does it effortlessly. He maintains some of the goofy charm that Tennant had, and even some of the dickish qualities that were hilariously endearing (such as the whole 'food tasting' scene, which was fantastic). I'm sure he'll lose some of the Tennant mannerisms as he goes along, but as it stands now, the new Doctor is fantastic, and is definitely worth watching to see which direction he'll be taken.
NOT SO AWESOME: The new theme. The Doctor Who theme has never been fantastic, but the current version is even more lackluster than the previous one. It seems as if Murray Gold, the track composer, simply took the previous version, scrambled some of the notes up, and called it good. It's not memorable, or particularly exciting. It's just meh.
ON THE FENCE: The legend of The Doctor. Once a tentpole of RTD's run (i.e. 'I'm The Doctor, be afraid'), it led to some sloppy storytelling. At the end of this episode, The Doctor even calls back an alien to tell them who he is, and then tell them never to come back. It didn't feel right, and seemed like an excuse to show a montage of previous Doctors as well as a relatively neat introduction of the 'official' new Doctor.
AWESOME: The new companion. It's sort of a running joke that every new female companion is 'strong willed' and 'defiant' and 'not in love with the Doctor', before immediately derailing into 'listens to the Doctor', 'in love with the Doctor' and 'trusts the Doctor'. I have hope that maybe this time they'll actually follow through and have a strong, independent companion, and Karen Gillian as Amy Pond seems to fit that mold. She is displaying dangerously Rose-level Doctor love, but hopefully that'll be something that gets wrapped up early on, and we're not subject to another 'great timeless love' angle that we saw in Series 2. The new companion is funny, somewhat capable, and definitely easy on the eyes. A good pick.
NOT SO AWESOME: The CGI. I mean, even by BBC standards the CGI is awful. This was the season where Doctor Who transitioned to HD, and it's increasingly apparent that the special effects department didn't follow. The bad CGI is endearing, and it's definitely understandable given the show's budget. It's just distracting, like the enormous space eyeballs, or the awful monster-of-the-week worm.
ON THE FENCE: Steven Moffat. I approach Moffat with cautious optimism at this point. On one hand, it's immediately apparent that his touch will be a great bonus to the series. The episode is absolutely fantastic, and is one of the strongest 'new Who' episodes PERIOD, let alone after a changeover like the one from RTD to SM. That said, the episode was a little too familiar. Like seeing the same magician perform a year apart, the tricks are still fantastic, but they're also awfully familiar. The creepy repeated phrase used to great effect here originates in the two part 'Library' episodes. The hospital of creepy chanting people? 'The Empty Child'/'The Doctor Dances'. The part about not looking at something or you're in trouble? 'Blink'. The Doctor meeting a child, and then again as an adult, and being somewhat enamored? 'The Girl In The Fireplace'. It feels like Moffat was revisiting elements of his 'greatest hits' to make the episode, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe he can get all those tropes worked out now so the rest of the season is completely original. Until more information is in, I'm withholding judgment.
Overall, the episode was awesome. It definitely restored my faith going into the new series, and I'm absolutely excited to see where the rest of the season goes.
I would write up a full blog, with all the hilarious anecdotes, but A) it would take too long and B) I'm pretty sure it would violate some non-disclosure agreements. But I will give you some highlights!
Someone (Sarah) decided to not clean out their bag before we went through airport security. So of course, there was a pink Swiss Army knife in her bag. Cut to Sarah grumbling, looking irritated, and mailing her knife back to herself while writing her name on a government watch list. Nice.
Another same someone forgetting their ID to get into a 21+ party, and having to take a taxi cab ride of shame back to the hotel to get a drivers license.
Eating bacon on the balcony of a posh Italian hotel. The bacon was fantastic.
Meeting all of the people I'd only ever spoken to over the phone. Turns out I work with young, beautiful people. Bizarre.
Eating panini in an Italian bistro with Sarah while discuss psychoanalysis.
The rest of my highlights can best be conveyed by these awful photos that I took. Exciting! It's like a slide show that you can ignore and pretend to have watched!
This was my swanky Italian mod hotel room. The bed was really uncomfortable, but there was a fantastic chair that was perfect for reading in. I almost finished Mr. E's autobiography in that chair.
The party we went to the first night was held in this really swanky night club. They closed off an entire city block, and Cheap Trick played outside while people danced inside. It was pretty cool. I have an awful video I took from my phone of Cheap Trick performing; unfortunately, the quality is pretty crappy, so I don't think I'm going to upload it. I mean, it's nice to get a sense of scale and the moment, but it's painful to watch. I've learned my lesson there.
That same block party also had a creepy person dressed up as a butterfly dancing around to the music. The giant butterfly danced to 'Tainted Love' with me; I think DJ has a picture of that floating around somewhere.
Our second party, the next night, was also held in the same place. This time, it was a sexy mermaid party, which meant that there were scantily clad mermaids dancing inside cages (you can see one there), as well as bubbles in the air. This one was delightfully risque, and quickly turned into a dance party. Some fat dude danced behind me in a creepy way at one point while Sarah and I were dancing with one of my reps. It was pretty sweet. Wait, who was all there?
Partner in crime Sarah, of course, the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Parker, and of course, this guy. I tried to get a picture of Tim, but he was relatively elusive. I do have a picture of him sitting next to the cage dancing go-go girl smiling, but I've elected not to post that one. It was kind of a weird party that way.
The third party was on top of an aircraft carrier, the USS Midway. There's pictures of me in WW2 fighter plane cockpits, and other exciting stuff, but I don't have those yet. Instead, accept this picture of a fighter. Yay!
Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to mention it was also a Beach Boys concert on that aircraft carrier? Yes, this was as awesome as it sounds. I never knew that I had always wanted to go to a concert on an aircraft carrier, but now that I have, I have no idea how I survived this long without having done it. It was amazing, eating BBQ between WW2 aircraft and listening to surf music. I also have a video of this, but it's the same as the other -- interesting to me, not to anybody else. Que sera, sera.
Oh, and then they launched fireworks off the aircraft carrier. YESSSS.
All in all, it was pretty awesome. I only talked about the fun stuff, but we got a lot of work done too (I just can't really talk about that, I think).
So, what I'm saying it, awesome!
[UPDATE: Oh, also, Tim just called me. We won 'Best In Show'. We rule.]
As many of my long-time friends know, I have something of a history of getting injured while eating. There was that time I broke my front tooth eating chili at Training Table. And that time I sliced my face open eating a milkshake at Crown Burger (go ahead, figure out the logistics on THAT one).
So in the proud tradition of those shining moments, I injured myself yet again while eating yesterday.
Once a month, we have my Grandma down for Sunday dinner. Since Isaiah is seemingly now part of the family, he was there too. All in all, there was seven of us enjoying some baked chicken with honey BBQ glaze, funeral potatoes, corn and cauliflower. Not exactly a tough to eat meal.
Well, right towards the end of dinner, I bit down hard on what I can only assume was a piece of bone in the chicken. Sure, the chicken was boneless, but it certainly didn't come from anything else, and I was eating chicken at the time. It was a chicken bone.
Instantly I froze. I still had food in my mouth, but I could feel something sorta dangling. Out of place.
At this point, since I had just suddenly frozen with a quizzical look on my face, my family assumed I was choking to death (?) and started to panic. I quickly let them know, nope, not dying, but I think I messed my tooth up.
First thought? I broke a filling or something. I'm not very good at teeth, I don't know how these things work, so it seemed likely. The real truth is even more sucky, though.
I broke some enamel off of my tooth. This part in particular:
One of the four little ridges on your molars. I think I broke a part of that off. As a result, my tooth and jaw has hurt since yesterday afternoon. It went away a little through the evening, but I had a drink of water before bed, and it started to ache again, keeping me from sleeping too restfully last night. This morning, when I brushed the rest of my teeth, I gave that guy a gentle scrub, and that hurts too. I know there aren't any nerve endings in enamel (since it's bone), so I can only figure the pain is because A) I bit down hard or something and just temporarily hurt my jaw and the area around there (this is the one I'm hoping for) or B) I cracked the tooth further down, and I'm in trouble.
I guess what I'm saying is, teeth suck. Maybe the founding fathers had something with that whole 'wooden teeth' thing? Probably not. Maybe I need to be less reckless while eating (that's a weird sentence). Or maybe this is nature's way of saying, Hey, fatty, stop eating so much and you'll stop hurting yourself. Or something.
So recently I entered a contest held by X96 (an alt. rock station in Salt Lake, for my international readers). The contest was simple -- design a solid tour poster for the band MUSE, and maybe you can win some tickets! So I mustered some ideas, and came up with this:
I mean, it's not amazing, but it's pretty cool! Sarah also came up with an awesome one that looked like a vintage concert poster, with a hand-drawn literal muse, and psychedelic colors. Also real neat looking!
A couple weeks later, we're waiting to find out if we won. Long story short, we didn't. I mean, not a big deal, it would have been cool or whatever. What perplexes me is the posters that DID win. Let me demonstrate.
So the Rick is the last thing on my 'Hey Austin, save up your money and buy something awesome' list. And I'm getting the feeling it's almost time.
The passion reignited last week when Sarah, Brandi, Kira and I went to see Vampire Weekend. Their bassist was rocking a Rick 4003, and all I could think was, that bass line is fantastic. You know, it does now occur to me that I should probably feel bad about purchasing lavish instruments, but come on, look at that thing. Besides, once I get all cozy with a girlfriend, or fiancee, or wife, I'll never have the kind of disposable income I have now.
What I'm saying is that the 'Rick Savings Fund' is about half-way there. We're close. I'm going to be rockin' some thick sounding bass lines before you really know it.
To celebrate this, we should watch Lemmy Kilmeister play on his Rick. If the Rick is awesome enough for a guy whose last name is 'Kilmeister', it's awesome enough for me, dangit.