Friday, October 31, 2014

100 Themes Challenge: Eyes

A/N: I've been saving this one up for Halloween. Seems appropriate.

    Mrs. Tacy was 95 years old and blind. That’s what Jan’s mom told her, anyways. Every day, when she and her friends walked home after school, they’d see the old woman sitting out on her porch, rocking in her chair, the rhythmic creaking causing the children to fall silent as they approached. Jan didn’t know what it was about her that was so scary, though. She had never snapped at them as some old people did, or live in a rundown house, or own dozens of cats. She was, by all appearances, a harmless old lady that liked to sit on her porch in the afternoon. But Jan was still frightened of her.
     Her mom said it was loneliness.
     “Sometimes we can tell things about people without really thinking about it. Mrs. Tacy has been alone for a long time, and sometimes that can do strange things to a person. Maybe you should say hi to her.”
     So far, Jan had not. But her friends kept daring her. It was a big thing, being dared. If you didn’t take the dare, you were a coward. And Jan didn’t want to be a target for bullies.

     One afternoon, after a particular long bout of teasing about it, Jan finally worked up the courage to approach the old woman. As the three girls drew closer to the house, Jan could feel her heart speed up. Her legs moved stiffly, as though unwilling to go near. When she tried to speak to her friends as though nothing was wrong, her voice sounded very far away. But she held her head high, and when they were right across from the porch, Jan turned and walked partway to the stairs.
     “Hi, Mrs. Tacy!” she said, hoping she sounded cheery. The rocking chair stopped creaking. But the old woman made no sound. Her dark glasses continued staring off into space, and the old woman was still. The girls on the sidewalk huddled together, and Jan, fighting the urge to run, tried again.
     “I hope you’re having a nice day!”
     The old woman reached up to her glasses, and suddenly, Jan felt a burst of panic. She ran back to her friends, who promptly fled down the road with her.
     “That was weird!” Liz said after they slowed down. “What was that about?”
     “Maybe she’s hard of hearing too?” Jan looked back at the distant house, where she imagined the rocking chair had begun once more.
     Mel giggled. “Why don’t you run up and take her glasses off tomorrow?”
     Jan was horrified. “No! Besides, that would be kind of mean. She’s blind.”
    “She’s creepy,” Liz said quietly.
     “So? Let’s just…leave her alone. She’s really old. She’ll probably die in, like, a month or something.”
     “My grandparents said she was old when they were kids.” The other two girls looked at Liz, who shrugged defensively. “That’s what they said!”
     “Your grandparents like telling scary stories.”
     “Yeah, but some of them are true! Remember the creepy doll Granny said moved on its own? And we found it on the floor after we put it on the table?”
     “I bet your granny did that herself!” Mel said. “She likes freaking us out. Anyways, Jan is gonna take the old lady’s glasses tomorrow.”
     “I am not!”
     “I’ll tell everyone you were too scared.”
     This was an effective threat. Jan sighed, and adjusted her backpack.
     “Fine, but I’m giving them right back.”

     All day, Jan fretted over the approaching ordeal. She could barely pay attention in class, got snapped at several times by frustrated teachers, and finally given lunch detention. She sat alone in the office, munching on her sandwich and trying to convince herself she was just going to play a harmless prank. She’d give the glasses right back. Maybe Mrs. Tacy would laugh! Then they would find out there was nothing to be afraid of, and she’d invite them in and give them cookies, like old people do on TV. Although Jan wasn’t sure how you could make cookies when you were blind. Practice?
     After school, Mel and Liz seemed to walk far too fast for Jan’s comfort. She didn’t want to go near Mrs. Tacy again, and part of her hoped something would happen to prevent it. Maybe she died overnight! But that was a terrible thought, and Jan mentally kicked herself for it. It wouldn’t take long. She’d just take the glasses off, then put them back on, and tell her it was a dare from her friends. Surely Mrs. Tacy had been a girl before. Didn’t they have dares back in…what, the 20’s, or something? Girls back then couldn’t have been that different.
     Then her friends stopped, and Jan realized they were at Mrs. Tacy’s house. The old woman was there, as usual, and Jan turned to her friends.
     “This will be really mean. We shouldn’t do it.”
     “I already told everyone at school you were gonna,” Mel said.
     “Just…do it really fast.” Liz looked over at the porch and hugged herself. “Then we can get out of here.” At least Liz understood Jan’s nervousness.
     Jan took slow steps toward the porch, heart pounding once more. She paused at the stairs, and looked back at her friends. Mel made a shooing motion, but Liz was half hidden behind the other girl.
     The stairs were thankfully silent as Jan climbed them one by one. She crossed the two feet to Mrs. Tacy, who stopped rocking. Then, taking a deep breath, Jan reached out and grabbed the glasses off.

     Her friends could not see what was going on, but they were confused to find Jan standing there for so long, apparently staring at the old woman's blind eyes. It was supposed to be quick! What if Mrs. Tacy called out for help, and some neighbor came to tell their parents? But then, Jan replaced the glasses and walked back down the stairs. Her step was quick, and she held her head a bit high, looking down at the other two smugly.
     “Well, that was not so bad, was it?” she said. “Shall we go?” Liz and Mel looked at each other.
     “Shall?” Liz said.
     “She thought it was a childish thing for us to do. We oughtn’t do it again.”
     “Oughtn’t?” Mel added.
     A thin, high sound reached their ears. When they turned back, they saw it came from Mrs. Tacy. She was clutching at her head and wailing.
     “Oh, dear, she must be having some sort of fit. We ought to get help. Come on girls!” Jan gestured for them to follow, and started down the sidewalk. Liz and Mel looked at each other for a long time as Mrs. Tacy continued to wail.

     Later that night, both girls got the news that Mrs. Tacy’s heart had simply given out, as though from a great shock.
     “That’s rather dreadful,” Jan had said when Liz called her with the news. “It must be terrible, growing old.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

     It all began with some social commentary.

     See, the Lord and Lady Greystoke were on their way to Africa to investigate some abuses of the colonial system when the ship they were on fell under mutiny and marooned them on the farthest piece of jungle possible.

     You would think two people, having grown up in the lap of luxury, would probably die a lot in this situation. You would be wrong, because they are ENGLISH NOBILITY. Being ENGLISH NOBILITY is very important in this book. Despite not doing much manual labor at all, somehow Lord Greystoke builds a house that keeps out the vicious wild animals whose main motivations are to kill anything that happens to move a bit. (Word is out on whether or not the incredibly lost lions were chasing leaves.) However, an attack by an ape colony leaves the two dead, and their infant son alone. Luckily, he is adopted by the ape Kala who promptly names him Tarzan (which means “Whiter Than Vanilla Ice”).

     These are special apes. They have their own language and weird drum rituals. As Tarzan grows, and realizes he’s basically the wimpy nerd of the tribe, he starts using his special ENGLISH NOBILITY intelligence to compensate, first by devising traps for vicious animals, then by stealing weapons from some of those abused natives mentioned before. (Despite being abused natives, they are still a mad cannibal tribe. Well…E for effort, Mr. Burroughs.)

    He also finds the house where he was born, and learns English by reading children’s books.

   Meanwhile, yet another group has been marooned by Death Jungle. This includes young American woman Jane Porter, her father whose Alzheimer’s is played for laughs, his beleaguered assistant, and the young William Clayton, who, due to Tarzan being presumed dead, is set to inherit the Greystoke estate. He is also not an egotistical big game hunter, despite Disney’s insistence to the contrary. Also there is Jane’s hilariously offensive black servant who screams and faints at literally anything. (Including confused lions chasing leaves.)

    You can see it coming a mile away: Jane gets into various troubles, including being kidnapped by an ape (because the apes were AFTER THE WIMMENZ in those days), and falls in love with Tarzan because…um…he’s strong and pretty.

     While Tarzan goes around doing AWESOME THINGS, Jane frets and broods over her love for Tarzan versus societal expectations (while the author frets and broods over the natural man versus the socially constructed man), her father wanders off dangerously into the forest, and the helpful Frenchmen who arrive to rescue them get kidnapped by the evil abused native cannibal tribesmen.

     Tarzan is also awesome at this point, and while he helps D’Arnot overcome his wounds, he learns French.

     No, not English, he learns to speak French.

     What follows next is the most surreal sequence ever: Tarzan easily incorporating himself into civilized society because he is ENGLISH NOBILITY and can speak French, a race to Wisconsin (presumably to root on the Packers), and a helpful forest fire to prevent the Evil Suitor Who Wasn’t Mentioned Until Last Minute from Enacting His Evil Plan.

     I’ve been flippant in this review, but it really was a fun, wild little ride. Despite some cringe-worthy moments (you know, the cannibal natives and the horrifying portrayal of Esmeralda the servant), the book is good escapist fantasy. I will probably read the next one just to see how much more surreal it can get.

     Also, it led to one of the most fantastically cheesy 80's songs ever.

Enough cheese for the whole of Wisconsin.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cool Internet Things

I ran out of my blog buffer, and then I did not write any blog posts this weekend, because I am a lazy, lazy person. So, today, we're just going to look at random stuff I found on the Internet. And by "random" I really, genuinely do mean random. There is no logic to this list.

1. Speaking of logic, our first link is about good ol' Lewis Carroll. The dear man got the bright idea to put titles on the spines of books, so we don't have to flip through twenty pages to find the title. (Seriously, the title page is getting farther and farther away from the actual cover. What's with that?) Thank you for your logic, Mr. Carroll.

2. Moving on about writers, there are some things you should never say to a writer. Don't tell me we're out of coffee. Never tell me that.

3. and 4. Get yer webcomics right here! We got Darths and Droids, which is what would happen if roleplayers had never heard of Star Wars and turned it into a game.I CAST SUMMON BIGGER FISH. Also, Hark a Vagrant, which I have linked to the one about the highly insecure King George IV and George Washington dropping the Constitution. Completely by accident. Totally.

5. Mark Reads Stuff.. You are not prepared. It all started when Mark decided to read Twilight to see what the hype and counterhype was about. The attempt at a fair and objective look ended as Mark spiralled ever downward into madness. Next, he decided to take on Harry Potter, and we get to watch him start out cynical and embittered (Twilight has that effect) to descending into shameless fanboying. Reviews contain an astonishing amount of swears and liberal politics, but the main part is ALL THIS EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE STORIES YOU GUYS. (No, really, there are lots of all-caps parties.)

6. You know, Jon Pertwee? That oldster that played the Third Doctor? And how he has that tattoo? Yeah, he really did get the tattoo in the Navy. He deeply regretted it.
     He was also a spy for the British government.
     Best Doctor ever.

7. Speaking of the Doctor, have you ever wanted to see Cybermen do the Harlem Shake? No? Too bad, you get to see it anyways.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Twitterature: October 2014-GAME OF THRONES WILL NEVER END

I have a lot of books going on right now. A lot. I have a tendency to play around on the Internet for hours (who doesn't, really) and having more books around is a good way of stopping that.

1.) A Dance of Dragons by George R.R. Martin


Seriously, I love these books, but they just don't end. On the up side, I'm finally getting more of Bran's story, which is, in a couple words, TOTALLY AWESOME. The politics are just as wibbly wobbly and confusing as they've always been, but several seemingly independent threads are starting to come together. There have been surprisingly few deaths...which, of course, means he's just saving them up for the last bit of the book.

2.) The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Initials, initials everywhere! I've been trying to take my time on this re-read, in order to catch things I haven't caught before. I've also been making note of quotes that catch my attention in particular. Can I just say that Bilbo's poem right before Frodo leaves Rivendell is one of the most bittersweet things I've ever read? "I sit beside the fire and think/of people long ago,/and people who will see a world/that I shall never know."

3.) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I thought this would be a good Halloween read. My only exposure has been bits and pieces, and Count Fosco time-traveling to the 20th century to be in Brimstone by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I'm really looking forward to seeing the original here. Thus far I've been introduced to a comical Italian and the main character, and also Sarah doesn't like it when her tea set doesn't match. (I know that feel.)

4.) Shouldn't You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket

I've been eagerly awaiting Snicket's next chronicle of his days in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. I'm still convinced that S. Theodora Markson is either a double agent or will become evil, because no one in their right mind puts a helmet over their curly hair like that. I'm also looking forward to finding out what Hangfire's actual plot is, because I'm slow at this sort of thing. Snicket's dry humor goes nicely with the noir motif, but I enjoy it even more when everything gets downright ridiculous.

Now, I have to go wash the dishes so I can get back to reading. I might finish A Dance of Dragons before the next book comes out.

Also, per usual, it's Twitterature time for EVERYONE. Go have a looksie at all the entries on the Modern Mrs. Darcy website!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Song Saturday! Redux

OH LOOKY THAR. I changed things up a bit!

I found this song while prowling through the comment section of "Mark Reads Fellowship of the Rings" (more on this delightful Mark fellow later). It's a lovely rendition of the song of Beren and Luthien that Aragorn quotes on Weathertop.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

100 Themes Challenge: Precious Treasure

     They said the planet was chock full of minerals, jewels, and fossil fuels. That’s what they said, at least. Xander wasn’t sure he believed it.
     It didn’t look very special. Just a place covered in water. Supposedly it had been inhabited long, long ago, but it didn’t look like anything lived there now. Once they hit atmosphere, it was smooth going. The ship landed on the water, the underside inflating, allowing them to drift along the sea.
     It was silent, except for the sound of waves lapping against the ship. Xander was among the first out to see this strange world. Above them, the sky was a uniform grey, clouds signaling a coming storm. Wherever he looked, he saw the sea, and the grey clouds. It was as though this world had lost its color.
     The engines broke the eerie peace. Xander looked over at the captain, who was even now descending onto the deck of the ship. He looked utterly calm; but they said he’d been to more worlds than any other captain. If anything happened, they could trust him to know what to do.
     “Beautiful place,” he said. “You know our oldest ancestors started out sailing on the seas? We moved to the stars, yet here we are again. On the sea.”
     “I’ve never seen an ocean this big.”
     “Not all of it is ocean. Geographic readings show shallow places where land exists just under the surface. Kylie calls them wading pools.” Kylie was the chief geographer, a brilliant little thing with twice the energy of the rest of the crew. Then again, she would have that energy. All her people did. Outcast or not, nothing seemed to dim her enthusiasm.
     “We make landfall in three hours. We’ll take some readings, then it’s time to wade.” The captain smiled, and left Xander to his ruminations.

     It was less than three hours. Xander had zipped up into his wet suit, a mask hanging at his side, just in case they had to go under. Kylie was already on her triple check of the equipment, making sure the waterproof casing would hold. The whisker-like tendrils along her body twitched sporadically. He could sense her growing excitement. She caught his eye and gave him a thumbs up.
     The crew consisted of Captain Miles, Kylie, Mirrell, the oceanographer, and a few “grunts” like Xander himself. They were all four on their first trip, with promise of promotions afterward. Apparently this planet was extremely important to the alliance. Should the readings be positive, they would bring more scientists and more crew in. This was merely exploratory.
     The water ended right around Xander’s knees. The captain was right; they were on some manner of elevated land. Mirrell was collecting water samples, while Kylie set up equipment. She was the only one without a wet suit; but she could breathe underwater. The rest couldn’t. Xander watched as Corina fit a mask over her face. She and Kylie ducked their heads underwater, apparently taking samples of the top layer just beneath the water.
     “Xander,” the captain called, and Xander moved to his side. He was nudging at something just beneath the surface. “You know a bit of history, correct?”
     “One of my better subjects, sir. Why?”
     “Whatever I’ve kicked with my foot isn’t natural. I’d like you to take the first look.” Xander felt his heart speed up. A relic? Some ancient tool used by the creatures that once lived on this planet? Xander slipped his breathing mask on and ducked his head under the water.
     Things looked strange under the water. Distorted and unnatural. His eyes took a moment adjusting to the water and the soil that had been inadvertently kicked up. Then he saw what was by the captain’s foot. It took a moment, because he suspected he was imagining things. He blinked, then touched it with one gloved hand. No, it was exactly what he thought it was. He dislodged it and pulled his face from the water.
     “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” the captain said, fierce eyes narrowed on Xander. But Xander merely held up his find, and the expression changed. The eyes widened, the brows went up, and the captain’s mouth fell open.
     “That’s not…it can’t…”
     “Captain! There’s something down in the water!” Kylie’s voice drew them, and Captain Miles rushed to her side. Water was sliding off her pale, slippery body, and the whiskers twitched manically.
     “I saw it too,” Corina said. Her voice shook. “It was looking at us.”
     “Probably a water creature.”
     “It looked at us. It didn’t just see us, it looked at us.” Kylie’s voice held utter conviction. Xander forgot about the item in his hand.
     “Singh, James, watch the water while we finish up here.” The two men had been standing at a distance the whole time. They came over only hesitantly.
     “Captain…” James looked over at his compatriot, who nodded. “Captain, we found a skeleton. One of our own.”
     Xander felt the breath go from his chest. The captain looked at his find, then nodded.
     “Right. Let’s get back to the ship. I have calls to make.”
     “Is that…?” Singh began, pointing at what Xander carried.
     “I saw it again!”
     Kylie stumbled back toward them, and now Xander saw what she was talking about. A pair of large, protruding eyes stared at them from the water, before disappearing back under. She was right; there was intelligence in that gaze.
     “They’ve sent us to an inhabited planet…” Captain Miles said. “And we’re not the first…”
     “What do you mean? Wait, that…” Corina pointed at Xander’s find.
     “A body like our own, a breathing mask like our own? Someone was here before, and they sent us on without telling us!” The captain’s eyes darkened again. He was angry. “They must have suspected the planet was inhabited, and sent us anyway! Come on, to the ship, now.”
     A splash arrested them all. Then another. The water around them seemed to be boiling.
     “Go! Now!” They ran clumsily toward the boat that had carried them to the piece of land. But when they arrived, Xander saw it was too late. The engine was destroyed, the oars were broken. They were stranded.
     “Swim for it,” the captain said. “If we die, at least we die trying. Go!”
     The water felt so deep beneath Xander. He had dropped the old breathing mask somewhere during the run. Someone had come here first. Someone had died before them. The ship was in sight, and they must merely arrive there. There they would be safe. There, they would leave this place, and make their report, and no one need come here again. But why didn’t the alliance just tell them…
     James disappeared beneath the water. It was so swift, so silent, and Xander pumped his arms harder. Corina squealed once before she too disappeared. Kylie was far ahead of them, but she stopped after the second person disappeared, and began to swim back.
     “Go! Kylie, don’t wait, go!” Captain Miles shouted. Then he, too, disappeared. Singh was flailing, his sobs filling the air even as Mirrell next to him let out a shout. Kylie tried to reach for him, but his head was pulled under by strange fin-like hands before she could. She headed for Xander.
     “Keep swimming, Kylie!” he shouted, but she wouldn’t stop, she grabbed him underneath his arms, her streamlined body pulling them farther.
     Something tugged on his legs, and for a moment he was underneath, and he saw…he saw…
     Their eyes protruded, and their hands and feet bore fins for swimming, yet their faces looked so human, so horribly human, and then he saw one carried a faded alliance flag, arms tugged at him, tugged him farther down, and those strange human mouths moved, saying something, he suspected he knew what it was…
     Kylie’s strong legs began kicking at their assailants. Xander felt himself released, and they burst onto the surface, Kylie dragging him along toward the ship. He saw crew dancing on the deck, saw a rope dropped down. He didn’t know how, but somehow he was climbing the rope, and he saw lying on the deck, his limbs shuddering, and Kylie was shouting his name, but he was so tired, so very tired.
     They kept him in medical for a long time. It was peculiar, but they all looked slightly afraid of him. Kylie alone seemed unaffected, but she gave him long, pitying looks. He didn’t understand.
     Then he noticed the lack of reflective surfaces. The mirror had been removed from the bathroom. Time passed, and Xander also noticed they kept his hands well bandaged. One day, he grew tired of it, and took his bandages off so he could properly eat.
     Then he knew what those things under the water had been saying, and why they had an alliance flag.
     “Brother, become one of us. Brother, become one of us.”
     He stared at the fins on his hands for a long time. He thought of history lessons, how his species had gone to the stars long ago, and never returned to their home planet. There was a reason for that. The last crew to return to their home planet had been claimed by the ocean.
     And now Xander had too.
     That night he made plans with Kylie. They would return to his home planet. They would join the others.

     It would be nice to see Earth again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ClassicWho Reviews: The Terror of the Autons to The Daemons

The Terror of the Autons

     The Master makes his first appearance, reviving the Autons BECAUSE WHY NOT THAT’S A GREAT IDEA RIGHT? While he does…whatever he does for fun…the Doctor is getting used to his new assistant, the adorably clumsy Jo Grant. Naturally, we have to get the new companion broken in quickly, so when Jo is sent to investigate a plastic factory, the Master promptly hypnotizes her. ALSO HE KILLS SOMEONE WITH A SQUOOSHY CHAIR. And plans on killing more people with TOY DAFFODILS, BECAUSE WHY NOT. See what happens when you look into the Time Vortex? You come up with these wacky and entertaining schemes.

     The Doctor responds by stealing the Master’s dematerialization circuit, who then counter-responds by stealing Jo and attempting to summon more Autons, until the Doctor points out that THEY’LL ALL BE ATTACKED BY MANNEQUINS NOW. Because the Master hasn’t gone completely off his rocker yet, he realizes that death by mannequin is a bad idea.

Yeaaaah they are kind of creepy, aren't they?

     Which doesn’t stop him from escaping and planning to cause more problems.

     This was a great introduction to the Master. I had a little trouble with Jo at first, compared to the extremely competent Liz, but she started to grow on me as the series progressed.

The Mind of Evil

     Which is exactly what he does here. The Master is pretending to be a professor of Criminology, working at Stangmoor prison. He claims to have a device that removes evil from the mind (THE MENTALIST TOTALLY DID THIS ONCE TOO), but given this is the Master, that clearly is not the purpose of the machine.

     When the Doctor arrives with Jo to investigate this “Keller Machine”, he discovers that odd deaths are occurring in its vicinity. All seem to be caused by one’s worst fears (a man drowns in the middle of the room).  When the Master arrives, he enables the prisoners to take control of the prison and forces the Doctor to help him contain the mind parasite that lives inside the machine.

     The Master has plans to take control of a nuclear weapon to set off a world war. Once the world is in tatters, well…you know the drill.

     The Doctor offers the Master his dematerialization circuit in exchange for the missile, but this being the Master, things don’t go as planned.

     I really enjoyed this one. I found the psychological aspect interesting, and of course, finding out the Master’s next wacky scheme is always fun. Also the revelation that the Master’s greatest fear is the Doctor, standing over him in triumph, is quite telling (and gets a wonderful call back during the Tenth Doctor era).


The Claws of Axos

     The Axons have crash landed on Earth, having run out of fuel. They offer Axonite to Earth governments, which can replicate any molecule, in exchange for fuel. However, the Doctor is suspicious, and when he starts exploring the Axon ship, he discovers…the Master! He got captured, probably by being a prat, and he has given them knowledge of Earth in exchange for freedom.

     The Doctor discovers that Axonite enables the Axons to feed off of energy, including all of the Earth.  When the Axons discover the Doctor’s time travel abilities, they plan on using that knowledge to feed throughout all of time and space.  The Doctor must find a way to stop them before they EAT ALL THE THINGS.

And also start the lamest disco band ever.

     This was a decent serial. I kind of like the idea of the Master being an ally when it suits his purposes. Makes thing amusingly complicated.

     Also, the final line. The Doctor is a galactic yo-yo. LOL.

Colony in Space

     The Doctor gets to use the TARDIS! But actually, that’s because the Time Lords have discovered an Evil Plot that is not one of theirs. The Doctor and Jo are sent to the planet Uxareius, where they find a group of colonists struggling to survive while being badgered by a mining corporation.

     But something even worse is happening-a giant reptile has been killing off the colonists, and the colonists’ uneasy truce with the natives is destroyed when the new arrival, Norton, claims that one of the natives killed the colony’s scientist.

    Jo discovers the colonists are ready to riot against the mining corporation, and the Doctor meets the adjucator from Earth…who is actually the Master. It’s clear something more is going on than a fight over a piece of desert, and the Doctor must find out before chaos breaks out.

Worst spelling bee ever.

     This was a nice way to introduce Jo to the TARDIS and show some more of the Time Lords wonderful bureaucracy.

     This wasn’t particularly exciting, especially as it felt like they were overusing the Master at this point. Still, it livened things up after having the Doctor exiled on Earth for so long.

The Daemons

     In this serial, the Master becomes a Satanist.

     No I am being completely serious.

"This year you bet I'm gonna get out of here! The reign of Master is drawing near! I'll have the greatest Time Lord career! And it's gonna be totally awesome!"

     An archaeological dig is about to uncover the Devil’s Hump, a supposedly cursed burial mound. The BBC is on hand to cover it and advertise for their popular sci-fi series, Doctor Who. The local Trelawney, Miss Hawthorne, is trying to stop the dig with the help of the Doctor. Unfortunately, the local vicar is in fact…you guessed it…the Master!

     The night of the dig, shenanigans invariably ensue as the Master summons up an alien entity called Azal. And also a gargoyle, because why not?

     As the demon alien starts killing people, the Doctor must figure out what the Master is planning to do, and the Brig and UNIT deal with the gargoyle.


     This was a really interesting take on the usual Doctor Who theme. It started out as being supposedly magic, but it’s revealed to have some sort of pseudo-scientific explanation (of course). The only annoying part is how Hawthorne’s magic seemed to work, but it was all coincidence. Cop-out!

     Still, it was a very entertaining serial, and definitely one for a re-watch.

"Look out world for the dawn of the day! When everyone will do whatever I say! And that Doctor won't be in my way, and then I'll be the one who is totally awesome!"

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Review: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

     What kind of book has the title “A Feast for Crows”? A George R.R. Martin book, that’s what.

"I'm just going to stand here and punch your feels repeatedly until you DIE OF ALL THE FEELS."

     Originally the book was going to be longer, but instead Martin split it into two books, with this dealing with the goings-on in King’s Landing and the southlands.

     Cersei has taken advantage of the chaos in King’s Landing to essentially seize control, with Tommen being king only in name.  However, Cersei is not as wise as she thinks she is, and starts destroying the economy as a result. In order to legitimize Tommen’s rule, she agrees to re-establish the Knights Templar Faith Militant, which will probably end as well as everything else does in these books. And, being how complex these books are, it’s no surprise to find Cersei was not always as screwed up in the head as she is now. In fact, as a young girl she was a lot like Sansa, dreamy and romantic. Ensuing events led to the embittered harpy she is now.

     While Cersei is being generally paranoid and insane, Jamie broods about his life and the fact that unlike the Doctor he couldn’t grow a new hand, Brienne wanders about looking for Sansa (and being generally awesome), and Zombie!Catelyn is crazy and homicidal. Jamie's character arc has got me interested. Far from being the 2 dimensional villain he appeared to be, it's clear he (like the rest of his siblings) have suffered majorly from his father's emotional distance. I also like to think the time he spent with Brienne sort of knocked some sense into his brain (figuratively and literally). He's realized that trying to get along in a world where everyone's out for themselves by behaving the same way isn't necessarily any better than trying to hold onto one's ideals. He seems to be trying to strike a balance between the two extremes.

     Meanwhile, at the Eyrie, Sansa pretends to be Littlefinger’s illegitimate daughter, while he acts creepy and generally lecherous. Elsewhere, the Greyjoys are being Vikings, and Euron sends his brother off to fetch Danaerys so he can marry her. Unfortunately the Dornish prince is also on his way to do the same thing, and Victarion has decided he wants to marry her just to spite Euron. Poor girl. But who needs boys when you have dragons AMIRITEAMIRITE

     Samwell has been sent away with Gilly and a baby who is really Mance Rayder’s son, to save the child from being burn by CRAZY MELLY. He sticks quite steadfastly to his plan and takes a few more levels in bad-ass. However, Maester Aemon, though dying, is determined to rally the maesters to bring Danaerys back to Westeros. At the beginning of the series, when Illyrio insisted to Viserys that people were secretly plotting to bring back the Targaryen House, I thought it was exaggeration on his part, some sort of scheme. I was surprised to find he was right-quite a few people actually would like the Targaryens back. (Or maybe they were just somehow meta-aware and knew Dany would be awesome?)

     Lastly, we see Arya wandering farther and farther away from home, just like her direwolf. She arrives on Braavos, and becomes a novice in the House of Black and White, the source of the Faceless Men and a group that worships death. Despite her attempts to estrange herself from her past, she knows deep down who she is (which I think is the point her mentors are trying to make; but they like being cryptic so who knows).

     We then end with George R.R. Martin writing “Meanwhile, Back At The Wall” for his author notes like we’re in a Batman episode. WELL-PLAYED SIR. WELL-PLAYED.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Parody 5: S2, E5: The Creepy Episode


Ivanova: Looks like a ship with one of those stupid “we come in peace” messages.


Amis: Judgment is here! We’re all doomed and evil things are coming! Evil bad things! Hi G’Kar, do you want to hear about the evil?

G’Kar: No.

Londo: Lol.

Amis: You look like someone who would be enthralled to evil!

Londo: …uhhh….


Sheridan: Huh, looks like one of those old crappy ships from 100 years ago, when we sent people out in cryo units to talk to aliens and hope they don’t shoot at us in rage.

Garibaldi: Like the Minbari?

Sheridan: ...


Ivanova: Cryo freezers!

Garibaldi: This guy’s definitely dead.



Amis: I had the most terrible dream! In space!

Token Japanese Guy: Stupid lurkers being crazy and stuff.

Garibaldi: He’s having PTSD!

Token Japanese Guy: …I’m sorry for being anvilicious chief.

Garibaldi: Just don’t do it again. God knows we have enough anvils around here.


Franklin: Looks like the guy’s organs got taken.

Garibaldi: I’ll talk to the woman.

Franklin: She was in stasis, and do you really think she would steal someone’s organs?

Garibaldi: Maybe she worked for Repo.

Franklin: …


Franklin: Call me Stephen, babe. What was with the ship?

Mariah: We were on a long-term deep space mission to go talk to aliens. It was epic. So how long were we out?

Franklin: Uhhhh…youweretherelikeahundredyears.

Mariah: Holy Space Squid!! Where’s my husband?

Franklin: UHHH…he kind of died…



Mariah: This is awesome! Aliens, aliens everywhere!

Franklin: Yeah, just a few years after you left we got jumpgate technology. You also missed several wars. We beat up the evil Dilgar and the Minbari were just kind of weird.

G’Kar: Hello Hot Girl.

Mariah: This is cool!

G’Kar: The future sucks, basically.


Evil Thing: *hovers over cryo tube*



Franklin: I brought you here because it’s closer than MedLab.

Mariah: That’s not sketchy.

Franklin: So what was your terrible violent dream, since your husband was murdered?


Franklin: So, wanna make out?


Garibaldi: Your food is moving.

Drazi: I know, right? Want some?

Amis: The Soldier of Darkness is here!

Garibaldi: Bully for you. What are we talking about?

Amis: The Evil Thing came from the ship. It did the same thing during the war. It’s like EVULLLL.




Franklin: No entry or exit wound, it just got its organs taken.

Garibaldi: So Amis the Crazy Guy had his entire post taken out by something evil. The ship passed by the moon where that post was. Maybe Mariah is possessed by something evil.

Sheridan: I don’t care if you’re sleeping with her, Franklin, I want her watched. And the League of Idiots has started whining.


Markab: She brought a soldier of darkness! The evil thing that works for the evil Darkness! And now all the evil things are being called back.

G’Kar: We should consider that since evil things are happening on the Rim and all.

Sheridan: So the Evil Things are awake calling other Evil Things to their Evil Planet on the Evil Rim?

Londo: This is boring. And way too relevant to my life. Farewell.

Markab: We’ll deal with the problem then!

Sheridan: Soldiers of Darkness can’t possibly exist though, no more than Death Spiders.



Amis: It was right there. It looked like the past.

Garibaldi: That makes sense. Quick! Something puttering about!

It’s only some random guy, who runs away screaming.


Garibaldi: We had a guy during the war that told us the perimeter was weak but we checked and laughed about it but then when someone actually came to attack us they actually succeeded. Kind of sucked. So crazy people can be right too! What happened to you guys?

Amis: The evil thing came through the walls and began slurping up organs.

Garibaldi: That’s disgusting.

Amis: It was a big creepy thing of doom. And it left me alive so it could snack on me every so often.

Garibaldi: That’s also disgusting.

Amis: It established a telepathic linky-thing and I think it’s looking for me. So I’m gonna go find it now.

Garibaldi: I, wait…you can’t…that’s not…aww, Dammit.


Garibaldi: The listening post wasn’t attacked by Minbari even if official reports say it was.

Sheridan: So we’re being hunted by an invisible organ stealing being?

Garibaldi: I think I saw a YouTube series like that once.


They keep finding dead guys, or at least wounded guys. It’s not particularly encouraging.


Sheridan: I shoot at you too evil thing!

It does basically nothing.

Sheridan: Ivanova, have everyone shoot at the thing at once.

Ivanova: That’s your plan?

Amis: I’ll be the bait or it won’t come out. Yo evil thing!

The Soldier of Darkness KICKS AMIS, but then people shoot at him. He looks like a giant gremlin, FYI. And then it dies.


Franklin: Don’t worry, Amis will be fine, now that the evil thing is gone. SO MARIAH I CAN HAZ DATING?

Mariah: I think I’ll go back to Earth.

Franklin: *sigh*


Ivanova: So I found out something terrifying.

Sheridan: Oh God.

Ivanova: When it passed by that moon base the ship lost some oxygen. And then it altered the course.

Sheridan: Where did it alter course? *sigh*

Ivanova: Z’Ha’Dum, the Evil Planet on the Evil Rim.



G’Kar: *looks at picture of Soldier of Darkness…ON AN INVISIBLE UNICYCLE*

Like so.