Saturday, July 18, 2009

This is Not Jim and Pam.

I think I've blogged before about Dorm Life, the brilliant web series about college floormates. The first part of the season 2 finale went up on Monday, but because this is a web series, and not something airing on TV, I've delayed watching it until just now.

And when I finally did get around to it, I found that, though I'd been rooting for Mike and Brittany since the first episode, because they were another take on the Jim/Pam not-exactly-unrequited romance, I was THRILLED with the way Dorm Life took the cliché, a cliché I was more than happy to embrace, and flipped it on its end.

Am I disappointed that Mike and Brit are really "just friends"? Maybe. But it's nice to see a show do something different.

I'll be excited to see what goes down in the second part of the finale (surely something hilarious with Danny B. and Lacey) on Monday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Over the Rainbow

I have a weakness for chick flicks/Romantic Comedies. I don't care if they're good or bad, really, I just enjoy watching them. The meet cutes, the chemistry, the awkward situations, the big spinning kiss at the end...they always leave me happy and swoony. They're an instant lift.

Which is why last night, when I was so physically exhausted that I literally could not fall asleep, I came to the conclusion that it was vitally necessary for me to watch You've Got Mail.

Now, I hadn't seen YGM in years...probably not since around the time it came out. There were several things I remembered about it (mostly the ending, with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" tinkling in the background and Meg Ryan, in full on RomCom swoon, saying "I wanted it to be you"), and some things I didn't (Dave Chapelle?!). I've seen Sleepless in Seattle countless times (a movie I don't even like all that much, and yet I can't stop myself from watching it whenever I catch it airing on TNT or TBS or USA or really any other three letter cable station), but for some reason this particular Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks chick-like flick always seems to pass me by.

But then the trailer came out for Julie and Julia, a movie I didn't even know existed, but instantly felt the need to see (the blog-turned-book it's based on is sitting next to my bed as we speak, as yet uncracked, but complete with movie tie-in cover). It's another Nora Ephron movie, sure to give me that lift I spoke of earlier.

And a few weeks ago I saw this on youtube:

Suddenly I wanted to see the movie again, wanted to see if it was as I remembered.

And it was, for the most part. Hate turned to love, random happenstance, not-so-strangers passing each other on the street oblivious to the fact that that man, that man right there, was their true love.

But the thing that struck me more than anything else was just how nineties it felt.

I am, without a doubt, a child of the millennium. I was using e-mail on a regular basis at age seven. My first password was "Peter Pan." I started begging for a computer of my own when I was nine. I discovered the wonderful world of online fandom when I was thirteen and I haven't looked back since. I'm writing about this on my blog for goodness sake.

So this movie, this movie where Greg Kinear's character is obsessed with his typewriter and thinks computers are leading to the end of civilization as we know it. This movie where the two main characters have laptops that can hardly be transported to the bed, let alone to a Starbucks or to class. This movie with dial-up internet and America feels dated. It's a window into a world where online dating wasn't profiles on, before youtube and wikipedia and even google, when we couldn't begin to imagine what we could do with the internet. It's only ten-ish years old, but it's already a snapshot of the Past. With a capital "P."

Which just makes me wonder...what does the next ten years look like? What's the next website we won't be able to live without, or the next fancy way to watch video? How long before it's movies about blogging that seem like they're from the dark ages?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Oh My God, that is a BOSS ZEfron poster!" - Ron Weasley

I've been on something of a Harry Potter kick lately. These aren't unusual for me, every two or so years I get the urge to reread and then it quickly becomes the ONLY THING I THINK ABOUT for about a month and a half.

This time I'm reading the series in reverse order (although I skipped Deathly Hallows--it's the one I most want to read at the moment, but my hardback copy is awkward to hold and the spine is cracked, so I've got to wait until the paperback comes out in a couple weeks). I'm about 100 pages into Goblet of Fire and spending all my time wishing that there was something new for me to read.

The thing is, JK Rowling created one of the richest parallel worlds I've ever seen. It's more than just Harry's story or Harry's years at Hogwarts, the books are just one small window into a fully formed universe that's just out of sight. When I read them I crave more. I want to dive into this world and then swim out past the edges of Harry's story to see what else is there.

There is nothing that I want from JK Rowling more than the opportunity to read Hogwarts, A History. And not some 50 page version like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them or Quidditch Through the Ages, but a big block of a book.

I want to know about those tertiary characters, the ones that floated on the fringe of Harry's life, but never came front and center. Occasionally one of them would step forward for a little while, give us their first name, maybe, or a piece of their story, but for the most part they existed, complex and complete, but just out of ear-shot.

I want to know about the Potters! About James's parents, because all we ever learned was that they were good to Sirius, that they were pure-blood. I want to know how Harry was related to Sirius, and to Ron, if all the pure-blood families are connected somehow.

I want to see Neville at Hogwarts during his seventh year, and I want to know Luna before book five. I want to see Ginny away from the trio, because she was always one of my favorite characters, and when she stepped out from behind her shell she just shined. I want Hermione at home with her muggle parents and Dean Thomas keeping secrets from his. I want to know what happened to the Dursleys!

Anyway, all this to say that I really, wildly love Harry Potter.

I also happen to love musicals.

Which is why this post on PopWatch this afternoon caught my eye. Harry Potter: the Musical!, you say? Why that sounds brilliant!

Which is how I ended up spending my entire afternoon watching the complete show.

It was worth it, though. Between the excellent musical numbers, the creative stage magic and Voldemort's tap number (yes, you read that right--apparently Voldy longed for his body just so he could tap out a beat once more), plus hilarious interpretations of Draco, Dumbledore and Snape, the musical is well-worth a watch. Ron as the sitcom-y best friend (always with a snack in hand, not to mention his own intro music) was also a treat.

My favorite thing, though, is, without a shadow of a doubt, the inclusion of a Zac Efron poster. I won't spoil it for you, but I encourage you to watch.

Here's the first part, and the rest of the show can be found on their youtube account:

Now, I'm off to learn how to knit, and to debate, once more, the pros and cons of purchasing my own wand.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our President the Nerd

I love John Hodgman.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I like it.

Loving the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. And this was the perfect way to get the ball rolling.

Friday, May 29, 2009

This just in...

I own too many books/DVDs. It's a little ridiculous.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I want love to love me back

I don't generally talk about music on here because...I don't know how. I mean, really, I could (and do) talk about television ad nauseam, but as soon as you ask me to discuss music I just get tongue tied. But my love for Mandy Moore knows no bounds, so a mini-review for her new album, if you will:

Amanda Leigh is gorgeous. Just folky, poppy goodness. Especially "Merrimack River" and "I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week" and "Everblue" and "Bug." And there are little tastes of Wild Hope and Coverage while still being an unique album. Two thumbs up!

Plus, it's on PopWatch's Must List this week.

This is what Hulu is good for.

Commercial Free Comedy Day on Hulu means...well...not all that much, actually, since I'm not all that bothered by the commercials on Hulu. (They're rarely more than 30 seconds long. That's not even enough time for a bathroom break.)

Never-the-less, I used my commercial free comedy day to watch Andy Barker, P.I., a show I had never seen before, despite its creator (Conan) or ties to Jane Espenson (one of my very very very most favoritest TV writers ever in the whole wide world). Or the fact that Tony Hale plays the side-kick. Turns out, I was missing out.

I wouldn't call it the greatest show in the history of comedy, but it makes me laugh. Jane Espenson snuck in a reference to Buffy's Doublemeat Palace (which originated in a Jane Espenson penned episode...she's just this side of Aaron Sorkin when it comes to self-referencing, and I love it). Andy says things like "Excuse my French, but I am P.O.-ed." Tony Hale is hilarious. Wally, the owner of the Kebab restaurant, is played by How I Met Your Mother's taxi/limo driver, Ranjit (Marshall Manesh). The jokes range from very broad (Tony Hale trying to unbuckle a seat belt) to just plain smart ("Slaughter Room 5").

And there are only six episodes, so it's completely digestible.

(Plus, Richard Alpert shows up in episode 5.)

Look what I built!

I didn't build it from scratch or anything (it's a full-sized black-brown Malm by IKEA), but I did construct it from several individual parts. Mostly by myself (Miranda helped in the very early stages). And I'm very proud of it.

I also spent the past two days pinkifying those walls. Just yesterday morning they were yellow, but my bedroom in New Jersey was yellow...I figured it was time for a change. Nevermind that I'm now a twenty-one year old college grad with "Shy Little Piglet" Disney painted walls.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer." The movie. Again?

This is pretty much the worst idea that I can think of. Joss Whedon and Buffy are one and the same, so while Fran Kuzui might have directed the original crap-fest of a 1992 movie (and while I might have written an A paper on said movie way back Freshman year), I can't imagine it will go very far.

Still...I fear for the future of the fandom and the franchise if this is where things end up. There can be no Buffy without Joss...let alone SMG and the Scoobies.

Should it happen, I say "boycott!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Graduate

It hardly feels like it's been four years.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The End of Another TV Era

Scrubs: The episode that will always be "My Last Day" to me, because I like parallels and I think it was dumb that they titled it "My Finale" instead...even if that was the only imperfect thing about the whole episode.

Let's just start with the end, because...because I'm a sucker for a good ending. I'm a sucker for any ending, really, good or bad, because I'm a nostalgic person and because the tiniest smidgens of nostalgia can make me totally, outrageously weepy, but whatever. This was a good ending. It was an ending that followed with the entire nature of the show (that we see this world through JD's eyes, that JD's got a wildly romantic imagination, that maybe what we wish for will come true and that maybe it won't, but we can always hope for the best), and that gave us hope for the best possible future. Plus, it was set to the perfect song (as Scrubs was always wont to do) and it was both nostalgic and funny (I'm talking about Sam and Izzie's engagement, here).

I thought at first that the song was Colin Hay (I mean, this is Scrubs after all...and he did make an appearance in JD's Hallway of Memories), but it turns out it was Peter Gabriel.

This was only the ending of the perfection, though. The episode was arranged to trace JD's goodbyes through the hospital, so we were treated to one of those goodbyes every few minutes, but it did a good job of reminding us that, though this is JD's story and JD's world, things at Sacred Heart will go on after JD has left. There were still patients to see, the interns (who I adore, btdubs) had their own issues to deal with, and new things were introduced to the canon (Ted getting stuck on a thought, for example, and Glenn Matthews)...though I'm in the camp that hopes the series really will end here, that they won't try and carry on without the MAIN CHARACTER, it is nice to know that this world is not entirely in JD's head. The image of JD pulling away in his Prius as another patient pulls into the hospital (and an instrumental version of "Superman" plays) was so perfect...a reminder that life goes on.

JD walking down that hallway was what really got me. I knew that several past guest stars would be making appearances and I was really hoping to see Brendan Fraser and Kathryn Joosten. I guess if I couldn't have the first one then I'm glad I got the second. "My Old Lady" was the first Scrubs episode to ever make me tear up--it's a perfect example of how a good comedy is about more than just making you laugh. That's something The Office does on a semi-regular basis.

And there were other faces that I'd practically forgotten about. Tasty Coma Wife, Jill Tracy, Hooch and Mr. Cropper among them.

It's always nice to see Tom Cavanaugh.

I guess what it comes down to is that I like a finale that acknowledges that it is a finale. Whether that's returning guest stars or some iconic final image or even a self-conscious narrative/fantasy about the sitcom finale being a sitcom finale. And Scrubs did all three. We had that long walk, we had JD's dream future actually projected before his eyes, we had his fantasy about turning out all of the lights and the pandemonium that ensued (another nod to the fact that things have to keep turning there when he's gone, really).

We even got a moment between JD and Dr. Cox that made me tear up. (Reminiscent of the time that he told JD that he was proud of him.)

There was a brief period during the summer of 2006 where I was mildly obsessed with Scrubs (and it was quickly replaced by my desperate love for Doctor Who...that was the summer of "Doomsday," after all), but since then I've been more of a casual fan. I adore it, it makes me laugh, and season 8 has been perfect, but I wouldn't say it was my favorite show of all time.

But that doesn't mean I won't miss it. I hope to miss it anyway, because I can't see a ninth season working the way it should.

Anyway, I probably have more thoughts, thoughts that would require a third and a fourth viewing...probably a rewatch of the entire series, but those will have to wait. Instead, some highlights:
- Glenn Matthews (if that is his name)
- Music choices/cues
- Both of JD's great love stories (Turk and Elliot) seen through to the end.
- His final scene with Carla
- The Carla/Elliot hug
- Elliot being so Elliot (all season I've felt like Stella might have taken Elliot's place a bit, but, no, she was here for real in the finale)
- Keith!
- The penny
- Muh Night. (Made me think of M'Fashnik and Mmm'cookies.)
- Sunny
- Jordan and Ted
- Kelso
- Have I mentioned "Book of Love"?
- Dr. Cox's big book o' rants
- The Cox/JD goodbye--and then the (almost) willing hug in JD's dream future.
- Elliot and JD's wedding
- The Christmas sweaters!
- A reminder of how Jordan and JD met
- Bill Lawrence as the janitor at the end
- Jo
- Ted's cup filled with dirt
- Sam and Izzie getting married (and that JD and Turk have barely aged)
- really just all of it. Really.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Planet of the Dead

Somehow, despite my well earned status as Rabid Fangirl, I was completely oblivious to the fact that BBC1 would be airing the first of this year's Doctor Who specials next Saturday (April 11). That was remedied yesterday when the trailer went live:

I'm excited for some new Who (with the fifth series not airing until next year, we have to take what little we can get), but it brings us one episode closer to the end of Russell T. Davies' reign, as well as that of the Tenth Doctor. And I am really going to miss Ten. He brings such light and joy to the series, not to mention his distinct style and delivery.

I can only hope that "Planet of the Dead" is better than the 2008 Christmas Special, "The Next Doctor." I was so disappointed by that episode that I didn't even bother to watch it a second time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dorm Life

So I have a new addiction.

Dorm Life, a web-series that's what I imagine The Office would be like if it were set in a college dorm. It's smart, funny,'s got a bit of Undeclared, a hint of Greek, and a whole bunch of crazy.

Watch the first episode:

And speaking of Greek, I should find last night's episode. I'm so excited that it's back!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Volume 6

Windy, approx. 3:00pm

76˚!, approx. 5:30pm

Storm Rolling in on Blue Skies, approx. 5:45pm

Self-Portrait, approx. 8:00pm

Homework, approx. 8:00pm

Evening, approx. 8:00pm

I haven't really got that much to talk about today. At midnight I watched most of the shows I missed this week, but they haven't had much time to percolate, yet (largely because I crammed so much into such a small amount of time), so I haven't had much of a chance to form proper thoughts. I did think that Dollhouse was outstanding, though. I'm glad it sees to have found its footing after getting off to such a weak start. (And "Echoes" is to Dollhouse as "Tabula Rasa" was to Buffy, absolutely, although where "Tabula Rasa" was all about forgetting, "Echoes" was largely about odd.)

This afternoon I finished The Writer's Tale. That book will definitely be in my top 5 for the year. The experience of reading it was both entertaining, heartbreaking and informative. I'm struggling to think of the last time I learned so much from a book–even a school book.

Now, I realized yesterday that I've still got $16 left from the amazon gift certificate that I used to buy The Writer's Tale, and the question has become: what do I buy with it? I'm thinking season 1 of E.R. With the season finale this week, I'm interested in seeing where it all started.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Volume 5 and Some Thoughts on "The Writer's Tale"

The Remains of my Lunch, approx. 2:00pm

This is what my desk looks like organized (you should see it messy!), approx. 4:15pm

A (delicious) snack, approx. 4:30pm

Reading The Writer's Tale in my Pajamas, approx. 5:45pm

Picking Up Dinner, approx. 6:30pm

Listening to Doctor Who soundtracks, approx. 10:45pm

I've been reading The Writer's Tale all afternoon, just throwing myself back into the end of series 4 of Doctor Who full force (a feat that would be significantly easier if I could actually watch the end of series 4, but that will have to wait for tomorrow), and I'm finding that, reading these scripts (almost as they happen, as they come in unfinished pieces, interspersed with the e-mails that make up the body of the book) is nearly as intense–possible equally as intense–as watching the episodes.

Not long ago I got to the reunion between Rose and Ten, at the end of the penultimate episode of series 4. Watching it was all giddy joy and pumping blood and bounce-off-your-chair happiness followed immediately by complete terror (as was intended), but I was not expecting the same feeling from the words on the page, not because I don't think that words can carry that kind of intense emotion (they absolutely can), but because I already knew what was going to happen; I've witnessed it several times. I think that says so much about the writing itself, the tiniest phrasings and details:
Far off in the distance, as far away as possible, on a cold and empty ordinary street...

A woman. Walking towards them.


And the Doctor smiles.

CUT to Rose. And she smiles. The best smile.
It's that "the best smile" that gets me. All of the emotion in their reunion is in that smile. Well, the happy emotion...

I'm also adoring this book because it's so much more than just teleplays. Last semester I was reading all of those Buffy and West Wing scripts, and they were wonderful, but there was no sense of the process in them, not like there is with this.

If I hadn't treated myself to this book, I'd never have known that they wanted Kate Winslet to play River Song in "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" (and if they'd gotten her I might have actually liked River Song...maybe) or that they'd hoped to bring Midshipman Frame back for the end of series 4 (and how amazing would that have been?!). It's an insight into the whole machine of television making (at least of British television making...I think a lot of it works differently over this-a-way).

Now, it's 40 minutes till midnight and the end of my self-imposed week without TV. I've got some more reading to do before I queue up Monday's How I Met Your Mother (followed by Wednesday's Lost and then last night's Dollhouse and then after that...well the list goes on and on. Some of it I'll have to save for tomorrow).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Volume 4 and Some Musings on Sci-Fi

A Zombie-Movie Fog, approx. 7:00am

I Finally Got a Picture of Erin (sort of), approx. 12:30pm

"Feminine" and "Polysyllabic" (Even Professors Misspell Words Sometimes), approx. 2:30pm

Spring Has Sprung, approx. 5:15pm

The Hill Dorms, approx. 5:45pm

Walking to Rita's at Dusk, approx. 6:30pm

I've had about a week now to muse on the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, and my initial thoughts on it haven't changed much. The episode, "Daybreak," was 2 hours and 11 minutes of crazy/awesome/action/insanity/hilarity/heartbreak/what-the-frak-just-happened! and I pretty much loved it. I've always been a sucker for happily-ever-afters and epilogues, and while I wouldn't necessarily call this ending "happy" (would it even be possible for such a dark show to end with genuine happiness? I doubt it), I would say that it's exactly what I was hoping for.

Of course, not everything about the finale was perfect. The running theme of the show–"all of this has happened before and all of it will happen again"–was kind of forced down our throats a bit at the end, there (though unlike Blane, I was rather thrilled with the epilogue, even if it was the exact opposite of subtle...there's something nice about the idea of Head Six and Head Gaius wandering around Manhattan, unseen...and the Ron D. Moore cameo was a nice nod to the pure brilliance he poured into these past six years, much like Aaron Sorkin's cameo in the West Wing finale, less-so Stephenie Meyer's in Twilight), and, like pretty much everyone, I found Starbuck's exit...unfulfilling. It smacked too strongly of Cordy's farewell on Angel (a final problem to solve/day to save, a fond goodbye to the great love, and then a vanishing act as soon as his back is turned), but not done as gracefully as with Cordy.

The thing about "You're Welcome" is, when you go back and rewatch it, it becomes clear from the beginning of the episode that Cordy's only got so much time left, and she knows it. She may be the corporeal, bubbly, shopaholic Cordelia of old (finally, after the literal monster that replaced her in season four), but there's also the Cordy in the hospital bed–"miss one-foot-in-the- grave"–and what we can later see as her farewell conversation with Wesley...we had none of that with Kara. Only frustration and angst.

This past week I reread Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, which I first read a couple years ago. Back then I had never read anything by either author, and I had no clue what to expect from the apocalypse-centered novel. I don't think I was expecting quite the level of hilarity it contained.

Of course, since then I've read several of Gaiman's books (Stardust, Neverwhere, Smoke & Mirrors and the first hundred or so pages of American Gods), as well as a smattering of Pratchett's Discworld novels. They are both hilarious, inventive and brilliant storytellers, with very distinct styles, and it was interesting to go back to Good Omens and see both of those voices in the novel. Gaiman's darkness tempers Pratchett's silliness, I think, except where such tempering is entirely unnecessary (primarily in the interactions between the Them), and while nearly every page offers up genuine laughter, the book is never trivial. This is a book that is rooted in both the now, with its highways, telemarketers and technology, and the then. This apocalypse hasn't forgotten the Bible.

It questions good and evil and the very dense gray in between.

And, as I've said about five times, it's hilarious:

"To the right collector, the Witchfinder Army's library would have been worth millions. The right collector would have to have been very rich, and not haveminded gravy stains, cigarette burns, marginal notations, or the late Witchfinder Lance Corporal Wotling's passion for drawing mustaches and spectacles on all woodcut illustrations of witches and demons."

Neil Gaiman is coming to C-town a month from today, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival (though why they would have an event in Chestertown is beyond me). (He actually tweeted about the event the other day, and then mentioned it in his blog today, which was pretty thrilling. It's nice to see our tiny college recognized by the rest of the world for once.) I can't wait for the chance to hear him speak–about writing, about reading, about the process. (Nevermind that I get about a bajillion updates from him every day, via Twitter.) There is something so uniquely special about being in a room with a writer. Writers create something from nothing, and no matter how many of them I meet (and it's a lot–I have been surrounded by writers, famous and obscure, published and unpublished, of all different mediums and genres, since infancy), I'm always fascinated.


Today has been the perfect first day of spring (even if it came a week late). Warm–but not too warm, not a sudden thrust into summer, just warm enough, hovering around 60˚–and bright enough for sunglasses after a full week in the miserable 40s. Chestertown is in full bloom at last, and this is my favorite time of year at Washington.

The weather couldn't have come at a better time. Today the campus is crowded with prospective English/Creative Writing students for our annual Sophie Kerr weekend. In a few minutes I'll head over to Norman James theater for a reading by Ted Kooser. I'm excited.

I remember my Sophie Kerr weekend (four years ago!) in snippets: the way the light filtered into Norman James before the reading by Christine Lincoln, everything starting to bloom, sitting around the Literary House with a crowd of current students–each entrusted with one of us, the prospectives–as they discussed changes to the creative writing minor and drank beer, a loud St. Patrick's Day party in the basement of Middle Hall. It felt like everything I expected college to be.

Of course, little of that connected with my own experiences here, but on days like today, after a one-on-one conference with a professor and a poetry workshop, it feels a little bit closer to what college is like.

(I'll post pictures later, as well as some thoughts on Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Volume 3 (a rainy day), and some thoughts on spoilers.

A Gray Sorta Day, approx. 2:15pm

Tattoo, approx. 2:45pm

Blane Before Dinner, approx. 6:30pm

I Accidentally Took a Nap on my Book, approx. 8:00pm

Mary Asked for a Picture of her Blueberries, approx. 9:00pm

Mango Tea in my Doctor Who Mug, approx. 9:00pm

I was reminded today by one of my roommates (the one that won't allow me to take any new pictures of her. Boo. But she does appear in this entry) that we read "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio" in our contemporary poetry class last year. Somehow, I completely blanked on this (though I did remember that I had read another of the poems we read in Forms of Poetry yesterday, "Traveling Through the Dark" by William Stafford, in my Freshman Creative Writing class...odd how that works), but apparently at the time I reached over, crossed out "Martins Ferry, Ohio" and wrote "Dillon, Texas" in it's place. It's nice to see that I'm consistent, at least.

Tonight I did not watch The Office. This is the first time since I got back from London last summer that I missed an episode as it aired. Generally, I have very strict rules about what I will and will not miss The Office for. Study Abroad? Sure. Meeting John Krasinski in person? Sure. But beyond that...

The thing about not watching a show when you know that, within a few hours, LiveJournal will be flush with posts about what happened in the latest episode (and I'm thinking possibly something big happened tonight, especially after the way last week's ep ended), is that it makes it a lot more difficult to keep myself from clicking on spoilers.

I used to be a spoiler addict. I've never been a particularly patient person, whether it comes to Christmas, baking or television shows, and, what with the internet, spoilers are generally pretty available.

But these days, I kind of prefer to wait things out. I generally have some sense of what's coming up on my favorite shows–especially since Entertainment Weekly gave Ausiello his own page–but I try and avoid the big things and the minute details. I want the surprise, the moment of visual and aural squee-worthy glee.

For example, last summer I knew that something big would be happening with Jim and Pam early on in the season, and that whatever it was (and we all pretty much knew), it would take place during a rainstorm.

But I didn't know that we'd be getting that rainstorm (or the gloriously well-played proposal it offered us) in the premiere. And it was so much better that way!

Or better yet, I knew that Billie Piper was returning for series 4 of Doctor Who last spring–as soon as she was spotted filming in November of '07 the entire fandom (and most of Britain) knew–but we didn't know that she would be popping up in the final moments of the premiere, "Partners in Crime," and I'm struggling to think of another cameo that has been so thoroughly thrilling.

In The Writer's Tale (yes, I did end up buying it, and it is just as brilliant as I'd hoped, but I haven't finished reading it, yet–it's over 500 pages of e-mails and script drafts, essentially, and after reading the first 250 pages in what was practically a single sitting, I needed to take a break to allow my excitement to subside a bit), Russel T. Davies actually talked about that moment a bit:
If a lot of Series Four is building up to Rose's return, I'm thinking, do we film a scene for 4.1, right at the end, a glimpse of Rose? End of 4.1, story over, danger past, the Doctor standing by the TARDIS, about to give Donna one of those classic 'come aboard' speeches, but Donna interrupts, 'Hang on a minute,' and runs off, leaving the Doctor stranded. That's quite funny. She runs over to the crowd--police, army, ambulances--looking for her mum, just so that she can give her the car keys. In a rush, a panic, Donna shoves the keys at a woman in the crowd--'Her name's Sylvia Noble. Give her these. It's that red Toyota over there'--and runs off to her new life. Reveal the woman that she gave the keys to: it's Rose! Just standing, watching, waiting. That could be nice. Or too inward-looking? But thrilling! There's an undoubted 'ooooh!' in that moment.
(I just spent about 5 minutes looking for that quote only to realize that I'd already typed it up in my LiveJournal, back when I first read it in January. *sigh*)

But what RTD says is so true. There is an "ooooh" in that moment. Or rather an "OMGSQUEE!" Before I could even form proper thoughts on the episode itself (a very good episode on its own, the first fifteen minutes of which are one long, brilliant gag), I had to run to my LJ and flip out at cyberspace. The post I made was all in enormous capital letters that ran together. It looked like the inside of my brain at that particular moment.

I don't know that that feeling would have been quite so intense if I had known ahead of time that it was going to happen. "Turn Left," the first of Billie's full episodes (and it's up for a Hugo Award, by the way, against four other brilliant nominees), was exciting, but it was also subdued a little. We knew that episode was coming, and we were ready for it.

I guess I have a lot to say about TV this week, now that I'm not actually watching it.

Small Towns

Today in my Forms of Poetry class we read "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio," by James Wright, and while I try to keep the TV references to a minimum in my actual classes (it's difficult to shake the feeling that it detracts from my brainiac English major image–nevermind that the professor herself once brought up Battlestar Galactica), I wanted to tell someone what it was that the poem made me think of/feel/je ne sais quoi, which is...

It's like every episode of Friday Night Lights has been compressed into 12 lines. Or the feeling that Friday Night Lights emits, anyway, of big dreams and desperation and the way the dust gets caught in the football lights. FNL is definitely a show that lends itself to poetry.

Here's the poem:

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
by James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace of Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginnings of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Volume 2

Starting to Look Like a Building, approx. 2:30pm

Mammojam, approx. 2:30pm

What I Do at Work, approx. 3:30pm

I Carried This Bowl Around All Afternoon, approx. 3:45pm

Popcorn Shrimp and Fries, approx. 6:15pm

Suitemate Art Project (Work in Progress), approx. 10:00pm

Tonight I finally got to see I Love You, Man. I am trying to think of a movie with a better cast and I honestly can't come up with anything. Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, JK Simmons, Andy Samberg, plus hoards of easily recognizable character actors whose names I don't know. Anyway, it wasn't quite the movie I was expecting, but it was laugh out loud funny, and entirely quotable.

And I'll watch pretty much anything with Jason Segel.

Actually, the same goes for Paul Rudd. I've loved him since Clueless, but his guest-starring role on Veronica Mars a few years ago was one of the few genuinely worth-while things about the third season (along with the Logan Logan episode and anything involving Piz).

I'm also currently trying to forget that, somewhere out there, there is an episode of LOST that I have not seen. And to think that, only about a month ago, I wouldn't have even thought of myself as a fan!

This has nothing to do with TV or books or movies or or or...

I'm taking a week off of TV. It's for an article I'm writing for The Collegian, one of our campus publications, and I'm finding it rather trying (no clue what I will do when I have to voluntarily skip LOST tomorrow. Have to skip? Something about this doesn't make sense), but I'm trying to occupy my time with other things.

For example, a "Week in the Life" meme, the goal being 6 photographs a day, with titles and times, but no descriptions (unless you can be sneaky, like me, and slip those descriptions into said titles). I figured I might as well post the results here as well.

Here is Volume 1:

Snooze, approx. 10:45am

Mary is Wildly Inappropriate in Toll, approx. 2:15pm

(George) Washington (College) is Under Construction, approx. 3:00pm

This Doesn't Even Include All of My Milo Posters, approx. 4:30pm

Last Light, approx. 6:30pm

What I Should Be Reading, approx. 10:00pm

And now it's time for me to go to bed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I cannot wait to see this movie!

I was already excited about this movie (the combination of John Krasinski and Dave Eggers alone!) but it's also got Allison Janney in it, and Allison Janney is one of the best things a movie can have.

I still refuse to call it anything but Farlanders, though. It was a much better title than Away We Go.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Check the Shirt!

I basically think Joss Whedon is a genius. He's a brilliant writer, a brilliant storyteller, he creates complex characters in complex situations and then tells complex stories with them, while still managing a general sheen of hilarity and a very dark undercurrent. He's just amazing.

And one of my goals in life has been, for the past several years, to meet him.

Which I got to do on Tuesday!

It was an event at the SoHo Apple Store that, by sheer luck, occurred during a week where half of my classes were cancelled, so my roommate and I drove up on Tuesday afternoon and back to school on Tuesday night (only about 7 hours roundtrip). Advertised as a "Meet the Creator" event, a discussion with Joss Whedon about his new show Dollhouse (set to premiere this Friday and you'd be crazy if you didn't think I was psyched), it turned out to be a discussion with both Joss Whedon and the star of Dollhouse, Eliza Dushku (who is unjustly gorgeous), followed by a very long autograph line.

And while I failed miserably at coming up with anything remotely original or spectacular to say, and while I thanked him maybe 15 times during the 45 seconds I had with him, it was an awesome experience (and something to check off on my "things to do before I die" list).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I am, at present, lusting after a new book.

This time around it's The Writer's Tale by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook, a sort of behind the scenes look at Doctor Who series 4, at the writing in particular. The reviews I've seen are excellent, it's supposedly jam-packed with goodies for those interested in Who and in writing (and there's no denying that I'm somewhat obsessed with both), and the foreward is by Philip Pullman, the author of both the His Dark Materials trilogy and the Sally Lockhart books. But it's also $29.67, and I'm trying to justify purchasing such an expensive book.

I do have the means to purchase it (a $50 amazon gift certificate I received for my birthday last month and haven't yet spent), but as a frequent customer in the amazon marketplace, I've clearly got a predisposition for books under $3 (or, better yet, books under $0.02), and this? Is not that.

I'll probably purchase it, though. My will-power is not that strong, and as my roommate just pointed out, I'll still have $20 left--more than enough with which to purchase a handful of penny paperbacks.

First, though, I'm going to take a shower, and get some dinner, and maybe watch an episode of the series itself, as a reminder of why a book like this would be worth it to begin with.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama: the 44th President of the United States of America

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
I watched the inauguration in class today. In my Creative Non-Fiction class, to be specific. I was incredibly worried that I would miss the inauguration, but rather than focusing on the syllabus or the book list today, we turned on the TV and watched the swearing in of the 44th President of the United States of America. On BET, at that, a network largely free from Talking Heads and (aside from an unobtrusive scrolling banner at the very bottom of the screen) network banners.

And since returning from class this afternoon (overwhelmed by what is clearly going to be an intense final semester) I've kept the transcript of the speech open in a word document, so that I could refer back to it, quote bits of it to friends, and just reread my favorite parts. I thought the language was elegant and beautifully phrased, and, had I been watching somewhere other than a classroom, I'm sure I would have been moved to tears. I did find myself tearing up, even in the public setting.

Anyway, I just wanted to quote my favorite part, the ending:
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
What an amazing day to be an American. I voted for this president, in the first election in which I was old enough to vote, and right now I am living in a country that's all about hope and change and new beginnings. It's not a cure all, of course not, but it's a step, even just a small one. It was a wonderful inauguration, I thought, and I kind of can't believe it's happened, now. Bush is no longer our president, he's moved on to his little piece of our nation's history, and now we're living in a whole new chunk of that history.

It's amazing.

Dear Bravo,

There could be no better programming today (on a cable network that's not showing the inauguration itself) than a marathon of the end of the seventh season of The West Wing. You win all the prizes.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Beginning of the End

So my final semester of college kicked off today with my Forms of Poetry class and a trip to the bookstore. $415.10 and one difficult trek across campus later, I have 4 big stacks of textbooks, novels, anthologies, memoirs and non-fiction books to read this semester and I'm really looking forward to getting started.

I have to say, though, the towering stacks are a little terrifying.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Books: The Best Medicine

Over the past few days, as I've recovered from having my wisdom teeth removed, I've done pretty much nothing but sleep and read.

I started out the week by finishing up Revolutionary Road. I picked up a copy last month when I got home for winter break, read about half of it, and then became distracted by various other books, tv shows and activities, so when I pulled it from the depths of my purse on Monday afternoon it was for the first time in about two and a half weeks.

I liked the book. I get a thrill out of language from a time before I was born, and Revolutionary Road is full of rhythms and slang that can only be found in the past. And I'm always surprised when I find novels written in the forties, fifties and sixties to be so contemporary, as I did with this novel. It was horribly sad, the ending even more so than I was expecting, but still beautifully written, and I look forward to seeing the movie.

The second book I read this week was Beginner's Greek. Dad lent me a copy over Christmas and the summary on the inside cover reminded me of the movie Serendipity, one of my chick flick guilty pleasures. The book itself was equal parts delightful (smart, funny, self-aware) and over-the-top. I came away from it certain that I had loved it and also certain that I hadn't. But I'm glad I read the book. It felt at times like reading Jane Austen as written by a man, and the characters, even those that weren't particularly likable, were charming and distinctive.

Finally, I've just finished The Reader, yet another book that's just been turned into a movie starring Kate Winslet (despite my general aversion to movie tie-in book covers, I'm often wooed by their low prices, and I now seem to own three different books with Kate Winslet on the cover: Little Children, Revolutionary Road and The Reader, and two with Leonardo DiCaprio: Catch Me if You Can and Revolutionary Road). It's a sad little book, and I don't know that I liked it or disliked it (or that it's a book that can be liked or disliked). The language is very abrupt, which could be a side-effect of translation, but I suspect it's got more to do with the original German. I did come away from the book with the distinct feeling that I did not need to, or want to, see the movie, though.

My next read, I think, will be Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby. It's the third and final compilation of his columns for The Believer about what he's been reading each month, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books like this (The Polysyllabic Spree and Homecoming v. the Dirt). Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors (if you've never read High Fidelity I strongly suggest that you give it a try) because of his incredible ability to be both hysterically funny and emotionally true.