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Eventfully

Posted on February 10th, 2015

Dave!Today was most definitely not a good day.

Try as I might, I could not seem to get ahead... and having to deal with boatloads of crap from too many people didn't help matters.

When I finally had a moment to catch up with the internets and what's been going on in the world, I was shocked to find out all the stuff I've been missing.

  • Jon Stewart Leaving "The Daily Show." Of all the things that went wrong today, coming home to find out Stewart is quitting hit me the hardest. He has some very, very big shoes to fill, and making sure they find the right person is critical to the show's continued success.
  • Spider-Man is Officially Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The horrendously bad news about The Daily Show was balanced out by Marvel coming to an agreement with Sony over Spider-Man licensing. Finally. Finally! Spider-Man will be appearing alongside Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk, Hawkeye, and Thor. Equally good? Marvel is going to oversee the creative for Sony's future Spider-Man films. IGN has the best coverage I've found on the news.
  • Brian Williams Suspended. I honestly don't know where to weigh in on this. Brian Williams has no need... absolutely zero need... to embellish his already stellar career and accomplishments. So I tend to want to believe him when he said it was poor recollection that caused him to lie about events that happened while he was covering the Iraq War. Hell, the guy has covered so much news that it's not inconceivable he'd start mixing things up. But, seriously, how could you forget whether or not your helicopter was shot at? I dunno. I like the guy, but this is not the first time he's been caught in an untruth, and I wonder if somebody who can't be trusted to tell the truth is fit to read the news.
  • Shirley Manson, front-man for Garbage and one of my favorite people on earth, has the absolute last word on Kanye West's utterly disgusting disrespect for Beck over his Grammy win. Meanwhile, Beck, whose music I'm not a fan of but still like because he's extremely talented, had a reply that was so typically... Beck. Thanks for being you, man.
  • Richard Sher, the guy behind Says You! on NPR has died at age 66.

As if all that was enough drama, new Matt & Kim...

Geez... can Kim cut a rug or what?

And lastly...

This happened last month but I'm just seeing it now. If you're a fan of David Tennant... and why wouldn't you be?... here he is being surprised with a rather prestigious award...

I really, really wish he'd return to Dr. Who.

   

Doctor

Posted on November 23rd, 2013

Dave!I have never been a big Doctor Who fan.

Not for lack of trying, mind you. My friend Howard was a massive fan, and was forever trying to get me interested in the show. He could never understand why I wasn't a fan given my love of science fiction and British television. Indeed, Doctor Who seemed as though it were custom-made for somebody like me. But, alas, it never made much of an impression...

Tom Baker as The Doctor

When the show was rebooted in 2005, I decided to give it my best shot. Christopher Eccleston made for an excellent modern incarnation of The Doctor and the stories were okay, but enjoying it seemed impossible given that Howard was no longer around to watch it. And so I passed.

But then it was announced that Steven Moffat (creator of one of my all-time favorite shows, Coupling) would be taking over Doctor Who with the fifth series and I was compelled to give the show another try. Wanting to prepare myself, I watched the entire fourth series. I ended up really liking David Tennant's take on The Doctor, so I had to go back and watch him in the third series. Then the second. And then I figured I might as well watch the Eccleston reboot series that restarted it all. At this point, I was enjoying the show quite a lot.

At last.

When Matt Smith took over the role of The Doctor in series five, I didn't care for him as much as Tennant. He was a bit too scattered and goofy for my tastes, but ended up being a part of my favorite Doctor Who episode of all time... Vincent and the Doctor. Over time, he grew on me, and I think his quirky demeanor ended up giving us an excellent Doctor.

And now tonight, after three series' worth of episodes and specials, we get Matt Smith's penultimate swan song on the character with a 50th Anniversary Special... The Day of the Doctor, guest-starring David Tennant!

The Day Of The Doctor

Given the time-traveling nature of the show and the fact that The Doctor "regenerates" into a new body when he dies, the concept of Doctor Who meeting himself is not new. Heck, for the 20th Anniversary Special, five incarnations of The Doctor appeared in the same episode. But in this case the meeting is far from from a marketing gimmick... it's intrinsic to the story. It's also part of Steven Moffat's effort to bridge the original series with the reboot series via a mysterious "War Doctor" (John Hurt!) while re-writing Doctor Who history at the same time.

The result is one of the best episodes of Doctor Who yet.

Well, kinda.

The special effects are stellar and the story is good, but things got a little goofy and slapsticky along the way which pulled me out of the show. Given the importance of this episode it would have been nice if they would have kept the silliness down to a minimum, but Moffat seemed to be going for laughs more than anything else and that's a shame. The serious stuff happening on-screen is trivialized in a way that undermines the entire plot.

I'm not going to recap anything here... because if you're a Doctor Who fan, you undoubtedly already know it... and if you're not, you probably don't care. But I will say that if you aren't familiar with the show or have been avoiding it for one reason or another, The Day of The Doctor may be worth your time. Sure, you may be confused (I know I was), but it's a pretty good way to see what all the fuss is about. And to understand why Doctor Who has endured for fifty years...

Who? All The Doctors!

You can get the 50th Anniversary Special... The Day of the Doctor on iTunes by following this link.

If you are new to The Doctor, I also recommend watching Doctor Who Explained, which will get you caught up.

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Categories: Television 2013Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 261

Posted on December 26th, 2011

Dave!A week and a day late with a Bullet Sunday... on Monday!

   
• Toys! The LEGO DC Superheroes site is finally live. Not a lot there yet, but it's a start. The good news is that some of the sets are starting to leak out... including an awesome Superman & Wonder Woman vs. Battle Suit Lex Luthor. Kind of lame how Superman and Wonder Woman look scary-mean though...

LEGO DC Heroes Set

All I can think of when I look at this set is how much I want a LEGO video game with these characters in it. I swear, the LEGO Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean games are the most fun I've had with a video game.

   
• Who? The Dr. Who Christmas Special was really done this year, as usual, even if it did drag in the middle with the silly trees and stuff. All things considered, the ending was surprisingly touching...

Dr. Who Christmas

It's been confirmed that The Doctor's companions, Amy and Rory, will be leaving the series next season. Given that they're the most entertaining thing on the show right now, this is kind of depressing. Even worse, show runner Steven Moffit has said that their relationship reaches a tragic end. I'm sad already.

   
• Fabulous! I don't know why, but the new AbFab Special is available in its entirety on Vimeo...

Patsy and Eddie

Not surprisingly, it's pretty darn funny. If you're a fan, it's worth checking out now since it doesn't "officially" air on BBC America until the New Year.

   
• Pano! When I went to Australia, I started taking panorama photos in HDR. The results have been pretty amazing. The HDR equalizes out the tones so that the individual photos blend a lot better...

Uluru Pano Photo

The above pano took 33 photos to assemble at full-resolution, but I think it was worth the trouble. Now I'm kinda psyched about finding new panoramic scenery to shoot!

   
• Scrivener. My favorite writing app, Scrivener, was updated to version 2.0 a year ago, but I never remembered to install it until this past weekend. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but it's an even more valuable tool than ever before. The upgrade to the notecard cork-board alone was worth the small upgrade fee. If you do any writing at all, you owe it to yourself to take a look at this amazing program. You can download a free demo for Mac or Windows at the Literature and a Latte website.

Scrivener Tools

As if that wasn't awesome enough... an iPad version of Scrivener is being developed for release in 2012.

   
Annnnnd... back to work. This is going to be a crazy week.

   

Bullet Sunday 235

Posted on June 5th, 2011

Dave!It's a Bullet Sunday alright...

   
• Stevenote Tomorrow is the kickoff of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. But it's not just developers who get excited, because this is when Apple customarily unveils new and cool stuff. And since nobody know what new and cool stuff there might be, Apple Whores such as myself tend to get a little bit excited. Will there be a new iPhone? What's this "iCloud" all about? Will the latest Mac OS (codename "Lion") be released? Will we finally get iToast?

iToast

Only Steve Jobs knows for sure. The rest of us have to wait until tomorrow. I'm counting on it being fabulous.

   
• Nutritional Redux. It would seen that the US government is going to take yet another stab at promoting healthy eating. Since their previous "pyramid" attempts were stupid as shit, I had high hopes that they'd get it right this time...

Old Nutrition Pyramids

And while I'd argue they didn't "get it right this time," I can say it's an improvement...

New Nutritional

The previous schemes wanted you to eat tons of breads and grains. The new scheme wants for at least 50% of your diet to be fruits and vegetables. That's very smart. What's less smart is saying that fruits and vegetables are exclusive of protein content, which appears to be discouraging a vegetarian diet. The dairy being on an optional saucer is nice... but I dunno. a part of me is wondering how much of this "new and improved" meal plan is geared towards supporting American farmers over promoting good nutrition. Of course, it's fairly obvious that a growing number of people are ignoring nutritional advice of any kind, so I guess this is all kind of a moot point. In any event, speaking design-wise, it sure looks better... and is a lot easier to understand. I guess that's something.

   
• Scarry! One of my favorite series of books when I was a kid came from Richard Scarry. In celebration of what would have been his 92nd birthday, Google was nice enough to use his "Busytown" characters for their search page today...

Scarry Google Logo

Scarry Google Search

Very cool! What would have been even more awesome would have been if you could zoom in and search for "Goldbug"... which was kind of a "Where's Waldo" search that Scarry worked into his storybooks.

   
• Who? I had exactly two guesses as to who the mysterious "River Song" might end up being on Dr. Who... one of my theories was right...

Scarry Google Logo

A part of me is very unhappy about that, because it would have been a lot more fun if they had come up with something totally out of left-field that I wasn't expecting. Oh well, the show is great fun, as usual.

   
Annnnd... that brings this episode of Bullet Sunday to a close. Now I get to spend the next several hours preparing for one of my busiest work-weeks of the year. Yay.

   

Bullet Sunday 230

Posted on May 1st, 2011

Dave!It's a "Holy crap it feels like somebody shot me in the back!" kind of Bullet Sunday this week. Fortunately I have really good drugs to put me out of my misery so I can (hopefully) get some healing sleep tonight. Let's see how many bullets I have in me before I drop off...

   
• Quandary. As somebody who attempts to live my life according to Buddhist precepts, it is not possible for me to take joy in the death of any living thing. So call me unAmerican if you wish, but all I can think of today is the chain of events which began on September 11, 2001 and the horrific loss of life which continues to this day because of it. One more death on the pile... no matter how much one believes it was deserved... is not going to suddenly make everything better in my head. And I'm not sure how I should feel about that. About the only thing I can feel right now is regret. Not that an asshole terrorist and mass-murderer is dead, but that humanity has failed so badly for us to have gotten to this point.

   
• Accomplished? I keep running across people on the internet who are amused that today's news falls precisely eight years after a banner above former president George W. Bush's head declared "Mission Accomplished"...

Mission Accomplished!

Am I a tin-hat wearing conspiracy nut if I admit that the first thing that came to mind after first reading this was "Wow. That's really convenient!" Because, seriously, if you wanted to (further) embarrass President Bush over the failure to capture Public Enemy #1 on his watch, wouldn't this be the ideal way to do it? Hmmmmmm. Nah, it's most certainly just a coincidence. Especially when you consider Hitler's death was also announced on a May 1st. Irony can be so ironic sometimes.

   
• Who? Can I just say that Dr. Who under the brilliant mind of Stephen Moffat has evolved to one of the single best shows ever to air on television? I'm not kidding. The two-part season opener was jaw-droppingly amazing in every possible way...

Doctor Who is Dave Approved!

If you have even a passing interest in really good sci-fi, this show is a must-see.

   
• Magnum! Another import that's well worth checking out? Magnum ice cream bars! It was just over two years ago I mentioned their advertising featuring Eva Longoria when I was in Germany...

Sexy Magnum Ice Cream Ad

And now they have arrived here in the USA! If you happen across the "Almond" variety, which is covered in chocolate with crazy-delicious large chunks of almonds, it is about the best-tasting thing you'll ever eat. Unless you're allergic to nuts. Then it's about the most deadly thing you'll ever eat.

   
Annnd... my meds are starting to kick in. That's kind of a bummer, because I didn't get to all the bullets I had jotted down. Oh well. Something to blog about tomorrow, I guess.

   

Spring

Posted on April 23rd, 2011

Dave!The past two weeks have been a blissful whirlwind of not traveling.

I had thought that I would be starting up again next Thursday... but just found out I got the date wrong. It's the Thursday after that. Ordinarily this would be a good thing. I've been killing myself to get caught up with life, and now I can relax a bit because I've got a whole extra week. Except... now I've got to be in two different cities on the same day, so I've got to reschedule a bunch of stuff. That's always makes for good times.

Guess I'll worry about that on Monday.

Anyway... today was set aside for Spring cleaning. I took absolutely everything out of my bedroom so I can dust, wash, vacuum, and scrub. It's a lot of work, but it makes living with allergies a bit more comfortable. My intent was to put everything back after cleaning, but now I'm tired and don't feel like it. This means there's crap piled everywhere. Except in front of the television. I cleared a path so I could watch last night's episode of Fringe.

And, of course... NEW DOCTOR WHO!!

I never much cared for the latest incarnation of The Doctor until that wonderful, magical, touching, amazing episode with Vincent VanGogh, then I became pretty much obsessed with the show. Again. It doesn't hurt that Steven Moffat is running the series now. I've been a huge fan of his since Coupling.

They filmed some of the episode here in the USA and it was a very good... albeit slightly disturbing... season opener...

Doctor Who in the USA!

Something about aliens which you can only remember seeing while you're looking at them (then forget about them the minute you're not) is a frickin' fantastic concept. The cliffhanger ends with a question... "How can you fight an enemy you can't remember?" A very good question! I'll be watching to find out next Saturday.

And now I suppose now I had better go at least put my bed back together so I have a place to sleep tonight.

What a fun way to spend a Saturday night!

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Categories: Television 2011Click To It: Permalink  12 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Vincent

Posted on July 12th, 2010

Dave!I am not a big fan of the new "Dr. Who" as portrayed by Matt Smith, but when I saw that last week's episode was pretty much being billed as "Vincent van Gogh, Monster Slayer" I had no choice but to set my DVR to record it. Vincent is one of my most favorite artists, responsible for my favorite painting of all time, and the idea of seeing him doing cool stuff in Dr. Who was too much to resist.

I was not disappointed. SPOILERY STUFF AHEAD, if you haven't seen it yet!

Admittedly, my expectations were pretty low... mostly because I fully expected van Gogh to be treated as a novelty throw-away character who was done all wrong. Imagine my surprise when a real effort was made to portray him in a sympathetic and realistic manner. Kudos to writer Richard Curtis for a great script!

The episode did indeed end up being a monster hunt, but that was almost secondary to Vincent's real-life story of torment and unappreciated genius, which was the real focus of the story...

Van Gogh Meets Dr. Who!

The casting was perfect, as they managed to not only find an actor (Tony Curran) who resembled Vincent van Gogh, but was also talented enough to play the more subtle intricacies of the tortured artist...

Dr. Who VanGogh Straw Hat

Van Gogh Straw Hat

The production values were amazing, as they faithfully recreated the world that Vincent inhabited, including his room at Arles...

Dr. Who Van Gogh Room

Van Gogh Room

No detail was too small, as the set designers even added a few touches to make everything seem like Vincent actually could have lived there. Like occasional glimpses of the irises and sunflowers that inspired so many of Vincent's paintings...

Dr. Who Van Gogh's Irises

Van Gogh Irises

Dr. Who Van Gogh Sunflowers

Van Gogh Sunflowers

And I thought it was utterly fantastic how they took the time to explain the wonderful way that Vincent sees the world. It was like an art appreciation moment...

Dr. Who Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night

Van Gogh Starry Night

But it was the ending that made the show so sublimely awesome.

The Doctor, feeling sad that Vincent lived a life of depression and pain in a time when his every effort as an artist was rejected, decided to show him a glimpse of the future. A quick trip in the TARDIS later, and van Gogh gets to see that one day he will be regarded as one of the world's greatest artists. It was a magical scene that righted a terrible wrong, and has to be my feel-good moment of the year so far...

Dr. Who Van Gogh

Dr. Who Van Gogh

Dr. Who Van Gogh

And then came Vincent's moment of vindication when The Doctor arranged for him to overhear what people thought of his work...

Dr. Who Van Gogh

Listening the museum curator (played by the ever-awesome Bill Nighy) talk about Vincent in a way that could have come from my own brain was an almost surreal experience...

"In a hundred words, where do you think van Gogh rates in the history of art?"
   
"To me, van Gogh is the finest painter in the world. Certainly the most popular great painter of all time. The most beloved. His command of color is magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray. But to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world... no-one had ever done it before. Perhaps no-one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world's greatest artist... but also one of the greatest men who ever lived."

Alas the ending was bittersweet but, where Vincent Van Gogh is concerned, it pretty much had to be...

Dr. Who Van Gogh

The entire episode was like a love letter to Vincent van Gogh and his beautiful art, and I loved every minute. Even when he was fighting monsters. Highest possible recommendation. If you didn't catch it on BBC or BBC America, you can grab it on iTunes (well, in the US you can... other countries may vary).

Many thanks to Steven Moffat, Richard Curtis, Edward Thomas, Tony Slater Ling, and everybody else who had a hand in this wonderful episode.

   

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