Tuesday, December 31, 2013

You Can't Pick Your Cereal Based on Prize Any More

So this one is going to start with 'In my day' and make me feel like an old man, just talking even if no one is listening.

Here we go...

In my day they had prizes in every kid cereal.  Most everyone I knew picked their cereal based on the prizes. I know I did. Prizes were the number one aspect in the choice, then you worried about if you actually liked the cereal or not.

I still have all manner of cereal prizes from when I was kid. Yes, I am horrible when it comes to getting rid of things. Of course that means I have a really cool collection of such prizes covering all level of toys.

Over the last few decades the idea of prizes in cereal boxes have faded to the occasional promotion for some reason. It makes picking your cereal far less exciting.

So when they do a prize promotion, it is noticeable.

Movie promotions and such are the common way to go and can have a better level of prize than there used to be. A recent one they just did was for Star Wars Character pens. They had done a very similar one a few years back to promote the release of the movies on Blu-Ray. This time there was nothing to promote, which I felt was a little odd. And General Mills (The company whose cereals had the prizes) seemed to have done nothing to advertise this promotion. The promotion went so quick that you really might have missed it even happening. However it must have been popular, as in the short time they were available they sold through fairly well. I've seen some promotions that have lingered on the selves for months, yet here is one I was interested in and it runs out in no time at all.

I guess that shows that Star Wars is still huge.

Wish they would do more of this kind of thing.  Without the prizes, it just doesn't feel worth it to pick up the name brands. At that point there is little difference between the name brands and generics.

Okay, I think I have ranted on this subject long enough.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Hobbit:The Inflation of Peter Jackson's Ego

We let our boys choose the movie today.  It was between Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It was a hard choice, but the boys picked The Hobbit.

The movie itself was enjoyable, although the forced love story slowed things down and got really boring, feeling 100% out of place. It doesn't help that it was one of the many added scenes/stroylines that are not in the book.

One of the most obvious isseus with the Hobbit movies is this is Peter Jackson's ego gone wild. With the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it seems like Jackson really believes himself to be above it all.  We are getting a trilogy from him that should never have been a trilogy.

I understood going for two films, and that might have worked just fine. The story from the book could have been told in one film and expanded nicely for two. But here we are getting three.  With the end of the second, we are close to the end of the book.  So what are they going to do to flush out another three hour long film?

While the movies are enjoyable, the fight scenes are getting more and more silly.  Now that is saying something with how ridiculous the fight scenes got by the end of Lord of the Rings. It is a weakness that Jackson does not seem to see.  One can make such scenes exciting without over doing them to the point that they are cross that line and end up being just silly.

And there is no point at all in having Legolas in it.  That was as forced and pointless as it gets.

So the main issues with the movie as the aspects that were not in the book that felt forced on us.  I didn't mind the orcs being in a little more or that the dwarves actually go up against Smaug, although there are many parts of the battle that fit with my issue about how silly the battle scenes are getting. I understand the idea of adding some filler to make things a little more exciting and fill out the movie. Just too much of the filler here feels forced and unneeded. I am scared that the third fill will be nothing but pure needless filler, as there is less than an hours worth of story left if one is following the book.

If you know the story of Jackson having to push the studio to let him expanded the whole saga to three films, then you should be able to see where the problem started. Jackson's ego is getting too big and it may hurt the saga in the end. I really do have a bad feeling about the third movie. I predict some serious story issues to come before the saga is done.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Awkwardness That Was The Time of The Doctor

Warning, I am not going to try to be spoiler free in this post.  So if you have not seen The Time of The Doctor and are worried about spoilers, stop reading now.

Not sure where to start with this year's Doctor Who Christmas special, The Time of The Doctor.  For eight years now we have had a Doctor Who Christmas special, and now that we here in America get to see them on Christmas, it makes for an enjoyable end to the holiday.

The Time of The Doctor was Matt Smith's final as the active Doctor.  Yet for some reason it lacked the emotional impact of the last two departures, which includes Christopher Eccleston, who we only got one season to get to know. We have had so many emotional moments of actors leaving the series, so we know what it should be like.  There is something missing from The Time of The Doctor denying us the full emotional ride that should have been there.

We had a lot of throw away scenes that did nothing for the story, such as the Doctor needing to be naked to go to the Church. The focus was just not on the story. While we are used to Matt Smith's Doctor being silly and odd, this time it really felt more out of place than ever, wasting time that would have been better used for story. Even the Weeping Angles and the wooden Cyberman were not needed, adding nothing to the story.

The Doctor spends centuries helping to defend the town of Christmas and yet there is nothing given to make us really care about the town itself or the people.  All of the information we have been given suggest that millions will die in the battles during this time and it actually seems like the Doctor is making matter worse, possibly upping the lives lost by his involvement.  No reason is ever given as to why the people had to stay there. They were innocents getting caught up in a battle of gods and at no point did the Doctor seem to think it might be best to smuggle them out little by little over the long centuries.

We did get a few of the answers we had been promised, but they were mostly just throw away lines that held no real impact. So many mysteries that gave us nothing significant in the end. As with many of Moffat's drawn out storylines, it ended up lacking.

We also get yet another of Moffat's annoying rewrites of the timeline. Not sure why he goes back to this so much, but I think he thinks it is clever, even after it has been way too overdone.  This time the rewrite is the Doctor does not die at Trenzalore, which would invalidate all of Clara's time/storyline and make all of the last batch of episodes irrelevant.  So a 'fix point' in time where the Doctor fakes his death is so pivotal to the timeline that if it gets messed with time goes wrong, but his actual death is changed and there is no repercussions at all... No it can't work that way. Moffat is already really bad about not following his own rules, but it really felt to me like we crossed a line of justifiability here.

Moffat actually should have had the Doctor die and in truth complete the storyline that has been building up. Do a big funeral scene and let us see the creation of his grave that we saw in The Name of the Doctor. The Timelords have the technology to bring Timelords back from the dead, as they did with the Master. It would be easy as it gets to show a mysterious someone approach the tear in space/time that is the Doctor's remains and do something that would bring the Doctor back.  I actually have the whole thing in my head and can picture it scene by scene, which would give some real emotion to the end of Matt Smith's Doctor.

I will say that all in all I do not feel that Moffat has lived up to the expectations I had when he took over as showrunner and I do not believe I am the only one who feels this way. For me the failure that is The Time of The Doctor is a true example of this and only makes me feel that maybe Moffat should step down and go back to what he was brilliant at, writing one or two episodes a season. Maybe then we'll get back to having a regular season instead of this jumping around with the scheduling.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Doctor Who Day

This year Christmas in our house has been strongly Doctor Who themed.

I got two Doctor Who t-shirts, a classic Doctor adventure on DVD, a Doctor Who character encyclopedia and a random titans vinyl figure that ended up being the 8th Doctor.

My boys got a TARDIS that makes all the noises from the show, a TARDIS nightlight, a TARDIS pillowcase, a build your own sonic screwdriver set, they each got a random titans vinyl figure (One got the 11th Doctor and the other got a Silence).

There were plenty of other Geeky gifts, but Doctor Who undeniably dominated the gifts this year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

And His Time Is About To Come To An End

Twenty-Seven hours until the beginning of the end of the 11th Doctor.

Since BBC America started airing Doctor Who we have been getting the new episodes the same night as they air on BBC One back in the UK, instead of waiting months for them.  That means that we get the Christmas Specials on Christmas Day, making it so Christmas Day ends with a nice little gift.

This year's the episode is 'The Time of The Doctor' and will be the end for the 11th Doctor. Supposedly we will also get answers to just about all the big questions still out there from the last few years. We'll see how that goes.

We will also be introduced to the 12th Doctor, although most likely this will not give us much of an idea of the character.  We'll have to wait till fall next year for the new season to start up to see just what the new Doctor is like. It is going to be a long wait.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The General Lee Seems to be Missing Something

Looking through the displays of models at Wal-Mart I picked up the general Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.  The pictures of the model were very clearly missing some, as were the obviously photo-shopped promotional pic from the TV show.

They have removed the Confederate flag from the roof of the car.  Not really sure how I feel about that.

I understand the reasoning behind removing it, yet it feels odd for it to not be there.

As a child when the show was on I never understood what the flag was. It meant nothing to me, just a design. I don't remember the show beign racist, at least not directly as I do not remember there being any black characters in the show ever.  Of course the show aired when I was too young to understand racism, so if it was there or now I would not have noticed at that point. I doubt they ever dealt with racism one way or the other, as that was just not a theme you dealt with back then.

It seemed that Americans for the most part back then didn't think much of the Confederate flag.  It didn't elicit a response back then.

So here we are thirty years later and there has been a good deal of debate over the controversy that is the Confederate flag and the undeniable racial issues that will always be connected to it.

That still leaves any images of the General Lee looking off without the Confederate flag on top of it.  Just calling the car The General Lee is celebration of Confederate ideas and could be viewed as being of the same manner of offense as the flag itself, yet there was no effort made in changing the name of the car.

Not really sure if taking the flag of the car really makes a difference one way or the other. It just ends up being one of those things that gets you thinking.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

LEGO Rental Service...

Just found out about http://www.pleygo.com.  It is basically Netflix, but for LEGO building blocks.  I'm really not sure what I think about this service. Not fully sure what the point of renting LEGO sets is.  It seems a little counter to the greater idea of what LEGOs are all about.

The service works just like Netflix.  You make a list of the LEGO sets you want and you get them one at a time after you send the last set back.  They claim to sterilize the blocks in-between shipping them out, although I picture that would fade the painted on aspects or ruin the stickers that some of the pieces have.

Part of the fun of LEGOs is to collect the sets and reuse the pieces to build new things. Unless you plan it out ahead of time, no hope of doing that with pleygo.  When I do mess with LEGOs, it is unplanned for the most part. I also like having a great deal of various pieces available when I want to mess around with them.

I also like to collect the mini figures and find that to be one of the main reason as to why I pick up the sets I go for. Interestingly enough it would seem you could actually do this with the pleygo deal, as you can loose up to ten pieces per set. I get the feeling that very often mini-figures are the pieces that go missing.  In fact I could see the value of requesting sets with the rarer mini-figures and then conveniently misplacing them. This would also be a great way to get some of the more interesting pieces that are not found in any of the cheaper sets. Not sure if that would be worth the monthly fees, but for the free trail one could end up with a few nice pieces.

At $15, $25 or $37 a month (Depending on the size of sets you wish to rent) it seems to me it would be more fun to use that money on buying you own sets and building up a collection of them.  Outside of getting access to huge sets that you might not otherwise ever get to play with, I cannot see any advantage to this program. And while I would love to build the Death Star set (Normally about $250), I can't see the fun in building it, which could take a week or more due to the size, and then sending it back.  That would take a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me.

I guess it is partially the collector in me, but the idea of 'toy rental' for basic toys seems pointless to me.  I do wonder just who this manner of service is marketed towards.  It seems pricey to me for a family with limited income and rather extravagant if you just want to control your child's clutter.

But that could just be me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Today I finished rereading The Stars My Destination.  As it turns out today would been Alfred Bester's 100 birthday, the author of the book.  Interesting coincidence there.

For those of you not aware, The Star My Destination is considered by many to be the greatest Sci-Fi novel of all time.  There is a good reason for this.  It is an incredible novel.

The first time I read it about fifteen years ago or so, I enjoyed it then.  I remember how intense it was and enjoyed the fact that you didn't know where the story was going next. It was a wild trip. A good read.

Rereading was an even better experience. I saw it in a different light this time, as my sensibilities have changed. I saw the commentary that was clearly there, especially once you get to the end and the mortality question is straight our presented unedited. So much of what was said in the conclusion of the story very much applies to what we are seeing today with the privileged and their priorities. It is timeless in its commentary.

I also saw the great play on human nature and how contradictory we are.  The nature of inner struggle is so well done with Gully Foyle, as he fights his inner monster. It is great, believable character development, even is he is unlikable for most of the story.

I will say that the attitude towards women presented in the book is very much dated, but that can be said of most classic sci-fi.  Is it one aspect of story telling that has greatly matured over the last half century since the book was written. It is one of those things that one has to understand when reading classic sci-fi and not letting it ruin the experience.

The visuals in the book would lend themselves so powerfully to the big screen.  I guess there have been numerous attempts at turning it into a film, but nothing has come to fulfillment.  With John Carter and Ender's Game not having done too well in the theaters, that will make it harder for high concept sci-fi like The Stars My Destination to get the go ahead.

There is no doubt the influence that The Stars My Destination has had on sci-fi.  It was ahead of its time, presenting so many strong concepts that are still active in sci-fi today.  I've seen it said that The Stars My Destination is an predecessor to cyberpunk, and I very much can see that.

This is a book that should be on everyone's must read list. If you have not read it, go get a copy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Where You Can Find My Creative Endeavors

A collection of my writings, My delusions of Godhood can be found in the following formats-
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/My-Delusions-Godhood-Collection-Fictions/dp/1460996410/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1332009490&sr=8-3
Kindle: (http://www.amazon.com/My-Delusions-of-Godhood-ebook/dp/B004WOVZ3Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303161244&sr=8-1 )

My story 'Enforcers: All in a Day's Work' can be found in in Tales of the Talisman  (http://www.talesofthetalisman.com/ ) Vol. 7 Issue 3 (http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Talisman-7-3-Carol-Hightshoe/dp/1885093616/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4)

My story 'A Night at the Club' will be Volume 9 Issue 4 coming out spring of 2014.

My story "Naked Diplomacy" can be found in Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 9 (http://sdpbookstore.com/anthologies.htm )

My story "Brew of the Gods" can be found in Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 6 (http://sdpbookstore.com/anthologies.htm )

My story 'All  Things Being Equal' can be found in the anthology 'Say Goodnight to the Bad  Guy' from May December  Publication  ( http://maydecemberpublications.com/ ).
Print: (http://www.amazon.com/Say-Goodnight-Bad-Aaron-Garrison/dp/1936730065/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314209536&sr=1-  )
Kindle: (http://www.amazon.com/Say-Goodnight-Bad-Guys-ebook/dp/B0059JDXVU )

I am still active with the Amateur Skeptics podcast (http://www.amateurskeptics.com/ )   I am a founder of  this group and a regular co-host and contributor for the podcasts.

You can check out the short film Jack Staple and the Cubicles of Doom  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLZwdsemjRg&feature=related ).   This was done as part of the 48 Film Project for the Denver area.  I was one of the writers and I got to be 2nd unit director on it. It earned 'honorable mention' with the audience appreciation awards and was rescreened as one of the 'Best in Denver'.
I wrote the script for 'Birthright' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3gCP6p2LhE ) and my son starred in it. It was entered in the MockSides 72 hour Fall Film Challenge.  In finished 2nd place in the contest and won the audience choice award. 
I  also have a couple of supplements for the Sci-Fi Role playing game Ephemeris from Nomadic Delirium Press, 'Critters and Pests', available as both an e-book and now in print.  (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=64133&src=FrontPage ).
and 'The Secrets of Gladsheim IV' only available as an e-book

Obviously  for that to be of any use to you, you need to have the core rules for the system (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0980170311 ).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sorry Rachel Bloom, But You Are Mistaken

I recently finished Ray Bradbury's Sci-Fi novel The Martian Chronicles. While it might not be the worst book I have ever read, it is beyond a doubt in the bottom ten and is not even close to being worthy of the modifier 'classic' that seems to be attached to it.

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is pure crap.  The few interesting concepts, and there not enough to make it worth suffering through the garbage that is the rest of the novel, are not well presented or explored as much as they deserve.

I am not making these criticisms on the basics of the science in the novel. I very much understand the style of story telling fits in just fine with the age in which this was written.  I can appreciate classic sci-fi written in that era and not be bothered by ideas of a Mars perfectly inhabitable by humans or the simplistic ideas of interplanetary travel. When you get a good writer like Heinlein, none of that matters as the rest of the aspects are enjoyable and work together to form a good story.

With the Martian Chronicles there are just so many poor concepts, characters, situations and motivations that it does not work on any level.

To start with, somehow we are told that the sociopathic Martian race, which posses some form of telepathy that can create physical structures by pure will power (But only for the insane), are supposed to have been a great race of artists and dreamers. That is what we are told. What we are shown is a race of beings who greatly fear the unknown and the unusual.  They will attack indiscriminately anyone that is considered a threat to their way of life. This includes Martians killing other Martians for nothing more than having a prank played on them. When it is revealed that they had been accidentally taken to the brink of extinction by Chicken pox, I was relieved.  It meant they no longer could become the great threat to every other sentient race in the universe that they clearly were.  I was however surprised that they had not destroyed themselves long before this, as they seemed to lack the basic understanding of simple survival instincts that a society needs in order to function.

At one point we get a totally silly story where Earth born seeds will grow to full size over night in the Martian soil with Martian rain. The concept in itself is just ridiculous and childish.  It is made all the more pointless by not playing a role in any of the rest of the stories.  By simple logic this would mean that any time it rains on Mars, trees should pop up everywhere and basically destroy the local landscape.  All buildings would be in great danger as seeds have a habit of blowing around and ending up everywhere.  Yet even with these overnight forests that should provide more than enough building materials, that are easily replenishable with no actual cost, the humans still have to import lumber from Earth... Let that sink in.  There is not one bit of logic to the settlers importing lumber from Earth, even if they could not grow forests overnight. Long before these stories were written mankind learned how to build dwellings out of materials other than wood, yet that seems to be all they want to build them out now that they are on Mars. Bradbury seems to introduce various concepts like the quick growing seeds that are then forgotten and ignored in the greater storyline, yet such concepts actually would greatly influence the society in so many untaken directions. Just throwing up mid 20th century society, with no changes made to it, on to Mars is NOT good story telling.

The book basically ends with Atomic War breaking out on Earth and most of the human settlers returning to Earth for some reason.  No rational reason for this is ever given.  If one looks at history, never has anyone ever decided that it made sense to take your family and led them into a war zone, yet most of the population of humans on Mars do this. There is no rational motivations given for this action.  These are people who came to Mars to create new lives for themselves and their families and are now ready to give it all up and basically sacrifice their families (There is no doubt at all that they know it is an atomic war going on back on Earth) by foolishly returning to Earth. We are given a story where all the blacks in the Southern US went through a lot of trouble to get to Mars and escape the discrimination.  There is no logic at all that has them returning to Earth so easily. I will buy that there would be individuals who still feel a loyalty towards their home countries (Although it felt as though only Americans had journeyed to Mars) willing to return to Earth and fight as soldiers, but none of them would uproot their families to drag them to their deaths.  Mars should had remain fairly well populated.

The last few stories were senseless, lacking any real significance, although I believe Bradbury felt that he had given a sense of hope for the future in the last story.  We are supposed to believe that just two families would be enough to get the human race going again as they finally go with some level of logic and move into the Martian cities, which we have been told many time were well built.  For some reason even though humanity spent a lot of effort to clean these cities up, they never got around to using them.

There is no level on which I could recommend anyone read The Martian Chronicles.  It is collection of really bad Sci-Fi that would be best forgotten. I do understand that one bad book does not a bad author make.  However I have read Bradbury's other famous classic Fahrenheit 451.  While it is nowhere near as awful as The Martian Chronicles, I found nothing exceptional to it. Bradbury is at best a mediocre writer who hit on a few interesting topics and is for whatever reason granted praise far beyond what is deserving for the low quality of his writing.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hunger Games Candy Bars

As if the Subway and Cover Girls promotions for Hunger Games: Catching Fire from my earlier blog on the subject did not seem out of place and way off the ball enough, I saw these today at a grocery store http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4272038453339362685#editor/target=post;postID=3453757492217523926. So they made 12 candy bars, each themed to a specific district with truly unique flavors (beef jerky + smoked mesquite + 41% cacao milk chocolate for district 10).

The idea of the candy bars in and of itself is not what gets to me, it is the price. The ones I saw at the store were $5 a piece and this complete set of 12 is $65. A little pricy just for candy bars. At such a price point, it puts the candy bars into the realm of being an indulgence for the upper tier.

It is an impressive looking gift set, but it really gets me that such merchandising so goes against the concepts promoted in the books.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I Need $200,000...

I have a new reason to win the lottery now.  I really would love to add this piece to my collection:

Yes, the screen used DL-44 Blaster belonging to Han Solo, as seen in The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi.  No bids yet and the starting bid is only $200,000.

Now that would be one awesome conversation piece to have in your house.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Big Step for Episode 7

There is one area of Star Wars Episode 7 that is clearly headed in the right direction. They have built a full sized Millennium Falcon.


It is clear that falcon is needed.  It is a truly iconic ship. Lucas screwed up in the prequels by not creating a new ship that stood out.  Now it would be next to impossible to create a ship as cool as the Millennium Falcon, which as just too perfect and filled with personalty.  But ti felt as if Lucas didn't even try.

The Millennium Falcon itself is a strong character, stronger than many characters in the prequels.    The fact that the ship is a character and the usefulness of ships as characters is something I hope is something that Adrams understands.

It is a good sign that this was a priority for Abrams.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Day of the Doctor in 3-D

On Monday evening the family was part of the huge crowd of Whovians who got out to the theaters and saw The Day of the Doctor in 3-D on the big screen.  I have to say it was an awesome experience.

The program itself was truly something special for Doctor Who fans. The story, the cast, all the little extras throughout and so much more came together for a great television experience. To see it in 3-D in a theater with a crowd took it to a new level.

We got treated to a couple special extras before hand.

The pre-show was trivia from Doctor Who over the years, which I actually knew all of.

There was the standard theater announcement about cell phone, noise and recording devices given to us by Strax in his unique style.  It was very memorable and should be used as a regular opening for movies.

Then we had Matt Smith and David Tennant get us started off with our 3-D experience which included a warning about 'The chin' and a test using your 3-D glasses to see if someone next to you is a zygon.  Turns out my wife is a zygon in disguise.

Then we got the the big event. 

The Fall of Arcadia is just too perfect in 3-D.  You get Daleks coming right at you. The chaos and destruction really come alive in 3-D. They knew what they were doing in filming to give the audience the most for their 3-D experience.

Now while the special itself was enjoyable, there was an added level with the crowd of fans who were laughing and cheering together throughout. The crowd element really added to the enjoyment. There is something about being part of such a group that feeds back on itself to multiply the enjoyment of such and event.

I found it interesting that many of those in the theater had behaved themselves and not watched The Day of the Doctor before hand.  They wanted to have their first viewing to be the 3-D one.  Their reactions during the screening made it clear they really were surprised at the right points.

It finished with a short exclusive behind the scenes special.

It all made for a enjoyable evening for all.  If you have not seen it yet, go and watch The Day of the Doctor.  You won't regret it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

So if you have seen 'The Day of the Doctor', which is something no one should miss, then you know just how awesome it was to see so many connections to the past Doctors. With that final out of story scene with all 12 Doctors standing together even if only three of them actually were the real thing...

I talked about this a few posts back, but Peter Davidson, the fifth Doctor, put together a special little film titled 'The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot'. It is well worth watching and fits in with the 50th anniversary celebration.


While the story focuses on Peter Davidson, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, there were just so many cameos of people connected with Doctor Who.  In some ways it was a perfect way to wrap up the 50th anniversary.

We get to see John Barrowman hanging with the classic era Doctors and a shocking revelation about him that may change the way you view the man.

Davidson's daughter (Tennant's wife), Georgia Moffett had one of the more memorable cameos.

We got flashes of former companions swirling aorund Steven Moffet's head much like what was once part of the regeneration process back in the classic days. I cannot tell you all of who was in that part, but it looks like they got most of the living former companions for it.

Noticeably absent were Tom Baker and  Christopher Eccleston, the only two living former Doctors to not be in it.  Tom Baker at least got his scene in 'The Day of the Doctor' and there was a line that gave a reason as to why our trio of former Doctors didn't recruit him.

Eccleston is another matter.  He was a brilliant Doctor for his short time in the role.  It bothers me that he has such an issue with distancing himself from Doctor Who. I am not going to speculate on this though.  He has his personal issues and there is no point in trying to figure out his thinking process. It was a letdown to fans for him to not be part of the 50th anniversary celebration in some manner though.

The 'The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot' does end with the possibility that our three classic era Doctors may have actually gotten their cameos in 'The Day of the Doctor'. It will be interesting to learn if what is hinted at actually is true or not, even if we don't get to see their faces.

While things will settle down now after the record breaking broadcast (Simultaneous broadcasted in 96 countries) we still have a little bit more of the celebration to go. It is not over yet.

I still get to see 'The Day of the Doctor' again, but in a theater in 3-D on Monday.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Now That Was Just an Awesome Ride

I am not going to spoil it for those few poor souls who have not had the opportunity to enjoy 'The Day of The Doctor'.

It is full of a lot of surprises.

It starts off by telling the story from three different points of views, which I thought was great.  Then the three storylines merge and it just gets better from there.

A lot of play on various plot lines from past episodes.  We get so many classic references, making it clear that all that has come before is still relevant.

We get Moffet's timey-wimey  play on a story big time here, but it works better than ever this time around.

We also get a great, simple explanation as to why the Doctor does not remember the meetings with his other selves and why the actions of the episode would not rewrite the Doctor's timeline.  It was a highly needed throw away line that was well past time to add.

I'll wait a day or so before I write a more solid review of the special.  Might wait until after I get to see it in the theater in 3-D on Monday.

If you've not seen it, they are rebroadcasting it this evening and it is well worth watching.  A very well done 50th anniversary special.

Just Three Hours to Go

The day is finally here and we are down to the last few hours of waiting.

This is about as big of a Sci-Fi event as ti gets.  The special will be simultaneously broadcast around the world to what I remember being over 60 countries originally, but I saw an article that said over 80 now.

Google is all about Dr. Who.  Go to their site and check it out. I've yet to play the interactive game, but the graphics are fun.

My boys are wide awake and getting in costume, even though it is just going to be us watching the special here at home.

Doctor Who is bigger than ever all around the world.  It is a good time to be a Whovian.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Non-Doctor Who Post

Yes, I am about to write a post that is not at all about Doctor Who.

Just finished watching the end of Book 2 of The Legend of Korra.  Great series.  They did a remarkable job of with the last few episodes of showing connections and even some parallels to events that Aang was involved in his adventures.  It made for a conclusion that changed that world in many ways.

I have enjoyed seeing the progress of the world between the two series and then to have these new changes that really switch things up even more. It is a powerful thing to have a world that can evolve with the story.

There are still two more 'books' to go with Korra.  I am looking forwards to seeing where they take this world. It has just been a highly enjoyable ride so for.

With tomorrow being the big 50th special and right now The Adventure in Space and Time on BBCAmerica, there will be more posts on Doctor Who coming.

Less Than 24 Hours to go

One thought that helped me feel good with work today was that we are down to the last day before the big wait is over. There is a lot to live up to for this one special.

Tons of stuff out there right now.

Here is Peter Jackson talking about his favorite episode:


There are a greta deal of such clips out there now of various celebrities wishing Doctor Who happy birthday.

Let's hope 'The Day of the Doctor' lives up to the hype.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day of the Fish Doctor

There really is no end at all to the news about all the Doctor Who 50th anniversary surprises.

So here is yet another piece of Doctor Who news.


So it looks like all the classic Doctor will be involved in the celebrations.  My big problems that the special is to air in the UK, with no mention of a US air time. I may have to wait a little while until it ends up on youtube.com to see it.

Just more to look forwards to.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More and More At Every Turn

There is no doubt this is the week of Doctor Who. There are preview clips being released all over the place.  Most of them are real short, so we only have a few minute of actual footage and little clue as to the bigger story. These clips are from various UK talk shows that have been promoting the special.

Here is one.

Then there is the new mini episode 'The Last Day'.  My prediction of it forma  few days ago was wrong.


It is however a very interesting little piece that might give away some of what 'The Day of the Doctor' might revolve around.  We get to see the Time Lord city Arcadia, which we know the Doctor was there when it fell. Should be interesting to see how that plays into the bigger storyline.

Just 3 days to go.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Now That is a Big Announcement

Possible spoilers for the Dr, Who 50th anniversary special ahead.

Proceed with caution.

So if you are still reading, then be ready for a huge announcement that appears to not be authorized by the BBC.

In a recent interview Tom Baker straight out said he was going to be in 'The Day of the Doctor'.

That really leaves the it open for the possibility of any of the other past Doctors to be in it. I am sure there are sill many surprises yet to come.

Just four more days to go.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This is Doctor Who Week

Everyday this week BBC America is running a Dr Who marathon as we get ready for the big 50th anniversary events. That means that I should be able to find something worth watching all week long.

There just seems so much going on for the celebration. Every time we turn around there is another announcement being made.

Little by little we should be getting sneak peeks from http://www.doctorwhosavetheday.com/#/home as people use the #savetheday to build the TARDIS. Check out the website for that to make any sense.

There is another mini-episode that is known to exist titled 'Last Day'. It will be on the DVD release of 'The Day of the Doctor', if we don't get it released before hand.  Nothing is known as to what it will be about.  My personal guess is that it will be the end of the Time War and we'll get to see our missing regeneration, giving Eccleston his 50th anniversary guest appearance that he has denied doing. It would so fit with everything else we have seen.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Geeky Collection of Boardgames

In this house we do not really have much in the way of 'common' boardgames. We have literally hundreds of boardgames though. Wish I had the time to play them more often, but we get them out when we can. It would take way too long to list them all, but we have a wide verity of them that cover all manner of themes and styles. They range from real simple pure luck games that got picked up more for other reasons than game design all the way to heavy strategy games that can take up a full afternoon.

As for the more common boardgames, even there they are not common version. Monopoly, Risk, Life, Stratego, we have, but they are Star Wars editions of the games. Instead of Clue we have Mystery at Hogwarts, a Harry Potter version of the game. Our Uno game is also Harry Potter themed.

A few weeks ago we picked up an Indiana Jones themed Life game at a thrift store for $4. Finally got a chance to play it tonight. It was not much at all like any other versions of Life I have played. It was simpler and quicker. There was a lot more freedom of movement as you go through areas based on the first three movies. You either pick up the artifacts or try to steal them from the other players if they got to them first. At the end whoever has the most wealth wins, with the artifacts being very valuable.

Still had the basic Life spinner that is always annoying and needs to be held oddly in order to be used. Not sure why that is what seems to be the main aspect that connects all version of Life.

The family enjoyed playing, so it was wroth picking up.

The Hero of Canton, the Man They Call Jayne

The Science channel is doing their regular Firefly marathon that they seem to do fairly often. Undeniably one of the top ten greatest sci-fi programs ever. You do not get tired of seeing the episodes over and over again.  They are just that perfectly done.

I won't go into a rant here about the show's unjustified cancellation.  Although I will give you this, at Myths and Legends Con someone sang 'What does the fox say' and local author Quincy J. Allen replied 'We're canceling Firefly'.

So the episode we started on today was Jaynestown, so now I have the song in my head. Most likely it'll be in my head for the day.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Geeks Who Drink, Don't Blink: A Doctor Who Quiz

Yes I am still on a Doctor Who ride and most likely will be for the next week or so as we get to the 50th anniversary.

So today there was a big events all over the USA called Geeks Who Drink, Don't Blink: A Doctor Who Quiz. Well, a big event for Doctor Who fans.  I was recruited into a team here in the Denver area.  My youngest son joined the team as well and I can proudly say he did help us a couple of times.

There were 49 teams total at our location.  For the first two scoring breaks when they announced the ranking, we finished in the top half of the teams. They didn't give specific placing at that time outside of the top three. The just read the teams off in order from last to first, so it was a little hard to hear just where we were at.

In the final scoring we ranked 9th place. While we won no prizes, it still felt good to rank that high.  To get in the top ten out of so many teams was a cool achievement.

So I am feeling good tonight.

Friday, November 15, 2013

David Tennant in a fez....

In the build up to the big 50th anniversary special, we get a second day of Doctor Who teasing. Today the BBC put out there a clip from 'The Day of the Doctor' that is going to be shown as part of the Children in Need event for this year.


In ends with David Tennant's Doctor in a fez.

Should be something to see what else the BBC puts out there over this next week as we get ready for the big day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Night of The Doctor

I have now watched 'The Night of The Doctor' several times today. Might have watched it more if I hadn't had to waste my time with a job. There is just a lot to it that really gets one thinking.

First off it looks like Steven Moffat may be setting us up for some future stories with reintroducing the Sisterhood of Karn, who would have knowledge as to how to extend a Time Lord's regenerations, which fits with some of what Moffat has hinted at. Moffat has shown he likes to set things up well ahead of time, so this all fits his normal patterns.

Now Paul McGann has said repeatedly he was not asked to be in the 50th anniversary special, but was willing to be included. Well he now has been included, in a manner of speaking. So that got me thinking about all the other past Doctors who have said they are not going to be in the 50th anniversary special.  It does not mean they will not be involved in it in a similar manner. Maybe we'll get the missing regeneration of Hurt into Eccleston as a short.

This being our first real look at the Time War is just awesome in and of itself.  We got to see a little of it with 'The End of Time', but that was all just the Time Lords and their POV on it all.  Now we have seen others who got caught up in the madness and see more as to why the Doctor needed to end it.  I have a feeling we'll see more of that in 'The Day of The Doctor'.

One odd thing is that the John Hurt's Doctor we see after the regeneration is a young man.  We know that in 'The Day of the Doctor' he will be an old man.  So it must take him a long time to end the war, even though it is stated that there is a need to end it soon in order to save the universe. So I am curious as to how this will be handled. Does the activities of the Time War end up aging the Doctor unnaturally? Or does it actually take that long for the Doctor to end the Time War? More hints as to  just what we can expect to see on the 23rd.

This one short is a great way to build excitement and give us fans a great little introduction into the bigger story.  It is going to be a long week for Doctor Who fans.

That Was Awesome, That Was Awesome, That Was Awesome, That Was Awesome

I have started the day in about the most awesome manner possible.  I just watched 'The Night of the Doctor'. If you can't tell by the title of this post, I thought it was fairly good.

'The Night of the Doctor' is a Doctor Who short prequels to the 50th anniversary special that is to air on the 23rd.

Well we get to see Paul McGann as The Doctor during the Time War... And that is something we've been waiting for.

We also get to see how the John Hurt Doctor comes to be.

You can see it at the link bellow. A must for any Doctor Who fan.


The site gives a spoiler warning, but I felt that was a little much as the short really does not spoil anything.  It adds to the over all story and creates excitement.  It is a great build up to the 50th anniversary special.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Hunger Games:Catching Fire and the Nonsensical Cross Promotions

I loved The Hunger Games. The books are just incredible on so many levels, so very well written.  The movie was great and I am looking forwards to seeing Catching Fire. Now I understand that the big blockbuster movies often get various promotional campaigns going, but what I have seen so far with the Catching Fire cross promotions is really bad. After how poorly the cross promotion connecting Dr. Seuss' The Lorax to SUVs went over, you would think these Hollywood people might stop to think before they make some of these deals.

The first one is the big Subway Sandwich promotions. I very much see the oddness of a fastfood restaurant promoting a movie that focuses on the harshness of people living on the edge of starvation. I will admit this is not too crazy, just feels inappropriate somehow.  At some point a fastfood franchise was going to pick up the rights to do something with The Hunger Games sooner or later.  That is just the way of things. If that were it, then I would not have been inspired to write this post.

So now to talk about the one promotion that I really felt was way off and as poorly conceived as it gets.

Last night I saw a Cover Girl's cosmetics commercial featuring various styles as seen in the Hunger Games movies.  They featured the over lavishly done styles of the citizens of the Capital.  You know, the really over done makeup that is really unnatural looking and about as unattractive as it gets.  The real ugly makeup styles which boarder on being clown makeup.  I felt it was a great style to see in the movie as it reminded me of the over done makeups I associate with out of touch royalty, which fit so well with the idea of a spoiled society that is out of touch with the rest of the world.  I thought that was just a brilliant use of makeup there.

So why in the world would Cover Girl actually think it would be appealing to promote their products with such undesirable looks? This is just about as poor of a cross promotion as it gets. Do they really believe that using such truly ugly styles of makeup in their commercials is going to increase sells? Do they just not understand how ugly what they are displaying really is? Do they not get what the point of the makeup in the movies is? Also, the basic fans of the Hunger Games are most likely not the best target market for cosmetics unless Cover Girl is going to start trying to market a line of cosplaying products. Although that might not be a bad idea, but they would need to change up the commercial I saw a little. For me it seemed like they were trying to glamorize the undesirable looks that no one in their right mind would go for.

Of course there is the fact that since it seems Cover Girl doesn't get what the makeup is all about, in some ways that gives the geek culture an in joke. It shows that those who run such companies are as out of touch with reality as the citizens of The Capital who they are trying to glamorize are.

The First Post: Epsiode 7

I figured I would start my new geek based blog off with my advice to J.J.Abrams and everyone else involved in creating the new Star Wars trilogy.

Now if they really want to do it right, one of the most important things will be to repair the damage done by the prequels.  Lucas really screwed the Star Wars universe over with a lot of junk that took away from all the was great about the original trilogy.

Episode 7 should start off giving the fans what they really want more than anything else. Open the movie on the ambassadorial ship from Naboo being attacked and destroyed. It needs to be made clear that the ambassador on the hip is none other than Jar-Jar Binks and we get to clearly see him caught in the explosion as the ship goes down. Make sure there is no doubt at all that the great mistake that was Jar-Jar has been corrected and there is no possibility of that character making any appearances in any future Star Wars storylines. Regretfully we cannot erase Jar-Jar, but at least we can get closure and put a true end to the character.  If they do this scene right and make it good, they could just replay it over and over again for an hour and half and it would tell a for more rewarding story than what we got out of the prequels. And the fans would line up to watch it.

A big easy to do fix would be to make it very, very clear that prophecies are dangerous and that the Jedi should never put much faith into them.  The whole 'Bring balance to the Force' prophecy was a piss poor plot line.  In general I find prophecies to be a sign of weak writing.  They are ALWAYS self-fulfilling and rarely if every do they add anything of value to the story.  Give Luke a simple throw away line as part of a conversation with one of his students about how his research has led him to believe that the faith the Jedi put into that prophecy played a huge roll in their downfall, so he refuses to allow the new Jedi Order to make the same mistakes.  I could go into detail on how it seems the Jedi knew better, since Qui-Gon even warns about how you need to be focused on the present in Episode 1, before he goes and throws his own wisdom out the window in dealing with Anakin. And in Empire we get Yoda telling Luke that a Jedi should not dwell on visions, since 'always in motion is the future', which I guess we can say is Yoda having learned from his great mistake in the prequels.

One thing that was missing from the prequels and is going to be needed for the new trilogy is a new Han Solo character.  They need to create a cool, interesting non-Jedi hero.  I really do hope that Ford returns to play and possibly finish the role of Han Solo, but they should not rely on Solo's return to give a powerful non-Jedi character for the full trilogy. So many of the various story lines have overly focused on the Jedi, yet time and time again the more interesting characters have been the non-Jedis.  Sure Mara Jade was one of the best expanded universe character and she ended up as a Jedi, but she was so much more than a Jedi and had a great storyline outside of being involved with the Jedi.  We also got the Rouge Squadron stories, which were very much Jedi light and were really exciting stories with so many great non-Jedi characters. What to avoid is the mistake that was a weak attempt to replace Han, Dash Rendar from Shadows of the Empire. The less said about that poorly conceived media-crossover event the better.  Rendar was a poor man's Solo. Rendar was a simplified, boring basic smuggler with the generic traits of Solo, lacking any real depth. Abrams needs to find the right actor and let that actor do what Ford did and create the character.  Don't force it or push the script as being the end all of it.  So much of what made Han Solo so great was Ford being allowed to alter the dialogue to fit the character he knew was Hand Solo.

So now we get to my last piece of advice I have for J.J. and his team, for now at least. One thing Lucas has never been good with is dialogue. The big scenes in the prequels were greatly ruined by really, really bad dialogue.  The light-saber fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin would have been so much more intense if it had not ended with some of the WORST dialogue I have ever seen in any movie. "From my point of view, the Jedi are evil" is just about as bad as it gets. The problem was with the prequels is that no one really challenged Lucas.  As I mentioned already, Ford created Solo through his own unscripted dialogue and it worked. Lucas obviously was not as much a control freak with the original trilogy as he was with the prequels and it shows. They need to let the actors be relaxed and have some real control over their characters.  Abrams needs to give the actors the flexibility that Ford had.  It has been proven to work. There were just so many times when good dialogue would have made the scene noticeably better in the prequels.

So there is my advice for J.J.Abrams and the team that is going to bring us the new Star Wars Trilogy. I may add to this in future posts, as I still have more to say on the topic.