Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Dress Shopping

Last night I went to my seecond Wedding Dress appointment.

I wasn't expecting to be trying on dresses this soon because, well, I'm  not getting married for over a year.  But a particular dress caught my eye, and it happens to be a Spring 2013 dress, and when I called a few salons and no one had it I started to panic.  Then I found a place in Burlingame (Paper & Petals) who said they could have it shipped to them, but I had no idea they meant they could get it so soon…  So I found out last Monday that this place is holding my dream dress, and last Wednesday I went to see if it's the dress.

Honestly, the dress has been something that I have been stressing about since the day I got engaged.  I figured finding a venue and setting a date would be fairly straight forward (and it was!), and then after that the rest would more or less fall into place.  But, as I was browsing online for dresses, all I could think about was that I hate all of them.  There are no real trends or styles out there right now that I like (well, that is to say, within a reasonable budget). I just fear that I will end up with something that looks dated and embarrassing, with puffy sleeves like Ginny Baker's dress in Sixteen Candles.

I don't want to say much about the appointment, except that I got to try on a few different dress shapes. Figuring out what shape I like and what looks best was the important part, I realize this, but some of the actual dresses were awful – one looked like Morticia Addams on the top and Moulin Rouge on the bottom; another looked like Cinderella's dress after her step-sisters have torn it to shreds.

The other problem is that I watch too many shows like Say Yes to the Dress.  I am a very emotional person, but at no point during the appointment did I feel like I was going to burst into tears.  Even in dresses I really liked, I felt no emotional attachment to them.  Maybe normal people don't cry in bridal salons?  Maybe it's just a TV thing?  While does feel a bit anticlimactic that there were no tears shed, I'm not sure what I would have done if my mom and the bestie started shedding tears in public.

So, anyway, because Bear was out of town, and it was really important to me that my sister be there for part of this, we went back last night.  I just want a few key people to love it and think it's perfect for me and then surprise everyone else with it on the big day!

Of course, I figure as long as I don't poop in a designer gown during the appointment, I've done something right…

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reflecting on Doctor Who Series 7…

So, I've posted this elsewhere, but I thought I would add it here after my review of The Hobbit.  It's mostly a collection of thoughts, and not so much a review, but I had a lot of feelings at the break in Series 7 and I needed to get those feeling out somehow... So here it is.  And feel free to ignore if you are not into Who...
As a whole, there is something very refreshing about Series 7, especially after series 5 & 6.  It reminds me more of RTD era Who, and I mean that in the best ways possible. 
I am a big fan of Series 1–4 of (new) Who, but I will be the first to admit that during the RTD reign, some of my favourite episodes were written by Moffat.  So, when he took over, I was excited to see what he would do, and where he would take the writing.  But that’s where things got complicated…  Series 5 & 6 are hard to watch because Moffat has these grandiose ideas that work amazingly well constrained to an episode (“Blink”) or a two-parter (“The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances”), but when given a whole series to flesh out an idea, I’m left with a severe case of what the fuck.

For most of Series 5 & 6, I feel like I was alternatively being bashed over the head with obvious hinting (the crack in the wall) or with bait & switch misdirection (River Song’s story).  This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy both of these series – I did! – it just was so full of story arcs and multi-part episodes it got exhausting.

As Series 7 started, I realized that there was a dramatic change happening, specifically with The Ponds. This was progression felt so naturally done, I didn’t feel like they were being written out, or cast aside.  It actually felt like character development…

Which brings me to “The Power of Three,” which I just adored.  This, to me, felt the most RTD-eqsue: the Doctor hangs around on earth, in present time, and using weird gadgets to investigate; UNIT is involved; there is an international crisis that The Doctor fixes at the last possible moment.  It felt like “Aliens of London” meets “Army of Ghosts,” with a hint of "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky" thrown in for good measure.  This honestly may be one of my favourite episodes ever, just based on the way that all the characters interact with each other (I love “Boom Town” for the same reasons).

And can we just stop for a moment and talk about how wonderful Brian Williams is?  He is like the best parts of Jackie Tyler and Wilfred Mott rolled into one.  His amazing acceptance of Amy and Rory’s life with The Doctor, is summed up perfectly in two scenes:
1) when he rattles off all the suggestions he can think of for what the Cube might be, and
2) when he watches the Cubes for nearly a year.
He isn’t envious of Amy and Rory’s adventures, he doesn’t hate The Doctor, he just wants to help in any way he, as a good person, can.

In “The Power of Three,” Brian asks The Doctor what happened to the people who traveled with him before.  When The Doctor mentions that a few of them had died, my heart nearly stopped.  NO.  I refused to accept that was going to be The Ponds fate.  But Brian insists that they travel on, and asks The Doctor to take care of them…

I have so much I to say about “The Angles Take Manhattan” but I’m having a hard time articulating anything.  Like the previous episode, this one, to me, was reminiscent of RTD’s series 2 finale, “Doomsday.”  Both Amy and Rory have to make impossible decisions, and both choose, in the end, to be with each other no matter what the cost.  Their decision to jump reminded me of Rose staying behind to help close the Void.  But much like Rose getting trapped in a parallel universe, when the paradox doesn’t work, Amy and Rory get stuck back in time.  It’s heartbreaking and beautiful, and I’m still tearing up just thinking about it.

I will really miss The Ponds… or should I say The Williams’ as that’s how their names appear on their grave – and that just felt like Amy’s way of finally moving on from needing The Doctor to fully accepting her life with Rory.

To avoid crying again, here are my (hopefully) brief thoughts of the other episodes, in list form!

1. Asylum of the Daleks.
  • A huge opening, and I worried it was going to be like “The Impossible Astronaut”/”Day of the Moon” again.  It was a nice surprise that it wasn’t.
  • I am fascinated by the concept of the planet Asylum. I wanted more.
  • Due to Oswin’s work, does no one know who The Doctor is anymore? Is this the arc?
  • Speaking of Oswin – as soon as The Doctor knew there was something wrong, I thought she was going to be a highly evolved AI, like Jane from the Ender’s Game series.

2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
  • I think they underused The Silver Fox Rupert Graves.
  • This episode was fun, if not all that dramatic, or plot heavy.
  • How many HP Actors can we fit in an episode is one of my favourite Whovian games.
  • The Doctor was a bit scary here, like how he gets when he doesn’t have a companion.
  • Oh, and I’ve already said it, but Brian Williams is amazing.

3. A Town Called Mercy
  • I loved the misdirect in this episode, thinking that the town was referring to The Doctor as their savior until the very end
  • I really wanted The Doctor to talk about The Time War, and I was really bothered by the fact that he didn’t.
  • Jex reminded me a lot of Professor Yana (“Utopia”), so automatically I didn’t trust him.
  • Interesting, but ultimately my least favourite of this series so far. 

4. The Power of Three
  • The Doctor can paint a fence in less than an hour, just FYI
  • Brian’s willingness to help is precious
  • The strain that Amy & Rory’s time with The Doctor puts on the rest of their lives and friends is really amazingly well shown
  • The Doctor says the Shakri are Gallifreyan legend, much like the Toclafane (“The Sound of Drums”).
  • I don’t care that the resolution was weak, the character development was amazing!

5. The Angels Take Manhattan
  • Film Noir episode, yes please
  • Holy Shit it’s the motherfucking Statute of Liberty
  • We don’t get much Father-Daughter alone time with Rory and River, so that was a silver lining during some dark moments
  • If River is already a professor in this, then we are near the end of her Timeline, and the Doctor will have lost all the Ponds (which is sad, even tho he’s already witnessed her death).
  • The leap of faith broke my heart

I am still not ready to accept the fact of the Pond/Williams family, so I haven't watched the Christmas special yet.  Also, because I haven't had a ton of time and I have been catching up on other things. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Soundtracking a Road Trip

When Vicious and I decided to go on our trip last summer, literally the first thing I did was open up iTunes and start making a Road Trip Mix. 

A Road Trip Mix is a wonderful and magical thing.  For me, there are a few criteria that need to be hit to have a successful Road Trip Mix:
  • You want music that makes you want to drive (and probably drive fast)
  • There need to be a few sing-a-long type songs
  • You need to mix in quieter songs so that you can actually talk over the mix
You also have to consider the person that will be your co-pilot.  Luckily, Vicious and I have very similar taste in music – even when I'm not familiar with a song or artists she's playing, the style is usually something I am already into.  So, instead of worrying about picking songs she won't like or will want to skip, I had to worry about things like "How many Iggy and The Stooges songs are too many?*" or "Do you think she's get that this is a reference to my favourite episode of LOST?"

Instead of just putting together a good collection of "driving music," like I usually do for a Road Trip Mix, I constructed this one a little differently.  The fist half of side one is the opening songs to our favourite films ("Reservoir Dogs," "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," "Trainspotting," and "Layer Cake" – notice a theme here?) and the rest are songs from our past or new songs I wanted to share with her.

Anyway, if you are going on an aimless road trip adventure, you're welcome to use this mix.
Listen on Spotify

Side 1
  1. Little Green Bag .. George Baker Selection
  2. Hundred Mile High City .. Ocean Colour Scene
  3. Lust for Life .. Iggy Pop
  4. She Sells Sanctuary .. The Cult
  5. American Slang .. The Gaslight Anthem
  6. You Make My Dreams .. Hall and Oats
  7. Shambala .. Three Dog Night
  8. It's Thunder And It's Lightening .. We Were Promised Jetpacks
  9. Tell 'Em .. Sleigh Bells
  10. I Wanna Be Your Dog .. The Stooges
  11. Where Eagles Dare .. Misfits
  12. Personality Crisis .. New York Dolls
  13. Constructive Summer .. The Hold Steady
  14. This Year .. The Mountain Goats
  15. Point/Counterpoint .. Streetlight Manifesto
  16. Stop .. Jane's Addiction
Side 2
  1. Stuck In The Middle With You .. Stealers Wheel
  2. Intro/Sweet Jane .. Lou Reed
  3. Peek-A-Boo .. Siouxsie and The Banshees
  4. Bang A Gong (Get It On) .. T. Rex
  5. Man Machine .. Robbie Williams
  6. Tall Cans in The Air .. Transplants
  7. Holiday In The Sun .. Sex Pistols
  8. California Über Alles .. Dead Kennedys
  9. Gimme Danger .. Iggy & The Stooges
  10. Animal Nitrate .. The London Suede
  11. Yeah Sapphire .. The Hold Steady
  12. Oh My God .. Ida Maria
  13. Nice Day for a Resurrection .. Nekromantix
  14. A More Perfect Union .. Titus Andronicus
  15. English Civil War .. The Clash
  16. Keasby Nights .. Streetlight Manifesto
  17. Younger Us .. Japandroids
  18. Sons & Daughters .. The Decemberists 

*the answer to this question is that 3 is apparently an appropriate amount on a 24 song mix... go figure.