Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today is the Day: So, Where's The Book?

I am a huge Michael Moorcock fan. I've been avidly reading the Elric stories and finished Hawkmoon in April. As an official fan of Michael Moorcock--and in the process of making this blog one of the many places for his fans to read about his work--I just have one question for the bookstores out there: where is the book?

I ask this question on release day, mostly because it doesn't make much sense for a book to come out and bookstores not carry it for weeks after the fact. Why is it that when I need a book (Gail Z. Martin's new one,  or Katherine M Valente's new masterpiece, God forbid a new Lumley doesn't make it into my hands on release day), the bookstores don't stock it? Tor.com announced Moorcock's new one, The Sunday Book, to be released today. Well, here it is, release day, and not a single bookseller can provide me with a copy of the book.  I know I keep repeating it, but it just doesn't make any sense? If they're not going to order any copies of The Sunday Book, why even have it available on their sites? Why advertise selling a book if do not now, nor will you ever, have the intention of selling it? Okay, maybe I shouldn't say that because I don't know the first thing about selling books (nope, just everything about buying them). If what I learned at Horror Con. is true, then I'm way off base. I suppose that, if B&N and Borders don't think a book is going be as popular as, say, the crap already littering their shelves, then I don't suppose big name bookstores will waste valuable (?) shelf space on it.

At least I didn't get to a bookstore and yell at some poor soul who has no control over these things. In my *searches for word* eagerness to purchase the new book currently being released, I have a tendency towards bookstore terrorism. They see me stalk up to the door and shudder. Oh Lord, its release day. In a perfect world, booksellers can read my mind and just know what book I want before I get there, then have it ready for me in a bag and then not charge me full price for it. As it is, the poor person usually taking care of my needs begs to be spared, cringing as they deliver the bad news.

"We don't have your book in stock," they squeak, "Please, don't hurt me."

I currently have The Sunday Book on order from the expensive big name bookseller I chose to purchase it from. Unfortunately, if it takes a week to get here, like the little clerk told me it would, then I may not have time to read and review it for "The Ninth Day of the Month". July 9 happens to also be Mervyn Peake's birthday, and since this book is dedicated to Peake, you can see why it is so vitally important that I have The Sunday Book by that day. 

Why didn't I pre-order it? Well, in my eagerness, I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that an author as popular as Michael Moorcock would definitely be in stock on release day. Apparently, the booksellers do not share this opinion, perhaps also wrongly. Usually, I can just make one trip to the bookstore and not have to worry about it. When I have things ordered, however, I have to ask myself: do I ever truly want this item? If I have the book sent to The Squealing Nerd's current base of operations, I'll likely never see it. My apartment complex has an odd habit of sending my packages back to their respective stores. I must, therefore, have  my packages delivered elsewhere, where I must then drive to, wasting valuable time and gas, not to mention getting raped on shipping, as if paying the store mark-up on my purchase isn't bad enough. At least at B&N I have a membership and get a discount that takes care of the tax if nothing else. Every little bit helps you know...

So here I am, waiting at home, reading Star Trek, hoping The Sunday Book doesn't take too long to get to the store. All I have to say is thanks to the big name booksellers for wasting my time. Now that I have to wait a week, I have get a job to fill the time gap, because it won't take me a week to finish To Reign in Hell, even if I drag it out way longer than it should go. I guess I should also fill this time with packing up my things and moving them to Austin, writing my fiction and otherwise making myself useful. I lay the blame for all of this on corporate fascism of the type that doesn't order books for in-house sales on release day.

Angrily Waiting,
--The Nerd

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To All the Women that Went Before, and After: Star Trek "Space Seed" and The Eugenics Wars (Part 1)

Though I was not surprised with the outcome of Greg Cox's second installment of the Eugenics Wars, I was emotionally unequipped for the end of the novel. The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh vol 2, also known as Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars, foreshadows, very well in fact, all of the events of "Space Seed", and to a certain extent, The Wrath of Khan. Several arguments can be made in terms of both stories that reflect both the times of the novel and the episode when they were written and the times they were meant to portray. What I want to know, and hopefully will attempt to answer is: why the hell do we keep giving Khan "second chances", and why is it that the women of Cox's novels could have kicked Lieutenant McGiver's ass at any given time despite all of her Star Fleet training? The answer to those questions lay, as always, in the writing. We'll cover the women that came before now, and move on to Marla McGivers in "Space Seed" and To Reign in Hell in part two.

Khan: His Second and Third Chance


The character of Khan leaves very little to like. At the end of The Eugenics Wars second installment, Khan is a megalomanic bent on revenge. Unable even to attain the superior world he desperately sought, and in the face of sheer annihilation, Khan fires up his coup de grace, Morning Star, a satellite capable of wiping out Earth's slowly receding o-zone layer. However, thanks to Gary Seven's timely intervention, Khan takes a different route, choosing instead to take the cream of his genetic equals aboard the sleeper ship, DY-100 class, the SS Botany Bay (ah ah, don't say it yet). Khan's second chance at a different life on another planet is not exactly dashed, but definitely derailed once the ship was lost in space and drifted into "Federation Territory" two hundred years later. Of course, Khan does not take being rescued easily, nor does he humbly acknowledge the course set before him two hundred years previous. After trying to kill Kirk and take the Enterprise, he is eventually defeated, and instead of jettisoning him from the air lock, Kirk sticks him back on his original punishment, placing him under "house arrest", so to speak, on Ceti Alpha V. Khan goes along with it. He's off the hook (again) and Kirk gives him a woman to boot. We'll discuss Khan's fourth chance at a new life at a later date.
Startrek.com

Why does Khan keep getting let off with a slap on the wrist? Why, after all the things he's been able to do, does he walk on every count? Khan escapes annihilation with his mother at the Chrysalis Project as a little boy. Gary Seven lets him walk again after his defeat in the Eugenics Wars, for which Khan was the primary instigator. Instead of sending him back to Earth with the traitorous McGivers and the rest of his crew, Kirk lets him off almost scott-free on a class M planet devoid of anything he might be able to use against anyone, including sharp objects. No jail time. No torture. Just him, his cronies, his girlfriend and a planet all to themselves.

It could be argued that no one is really willing to punish Khan because, ultimately, Khan is a product of something we have not yet been able to fully grasp, much less constitute a crime. Khan falls under Eddie Izzard's classification as a "Pol Pot". He killed so many of his own people that we actually had to reward him, "Well done, very well done. We've been trying to kill your people for years." Essentially we stick people like Napoleon, Pol Pot and Khan behind glass and watch them until they die, trying to figure out what makes them tick. Thanks to Greg Cox, we don't have to do that with Khan. Khan is cut and dry by "Space Seed". We may have been sorry for him when his mother died, and even when he started taking over the countries he conquered we might have hoped for the best. By "Space Seed" Khan is deplorable wreck of a despot whose desperation leads him to even more deplorable acts, like pitting the woman who loves him against her own captain and fellow crew members. Even as he is committing what could possibly termed acts of terrorism on the Enterprise, Kirk is still willing to let him go, provided he go far away, where no one could actually be affected by his influence. There is also the problem of containment. Short of plasma beams and lasers, no prison could have held him. Better to put him in a position where he can't hurt anyone than try and imprison or kill him.

The Women of Khan's Life


I suppose we should start with the woman who started it all: Dr.Sarina Kaur, head doctor and director of scientific research at the Chrysalis Project. In secret laboratories beneath the Great Thar Dessert in Northern India, Kaur first began her genetic experiments by splicing chromosomes in order to weed out genetic defects. She did not stop there, though. By combining these new gnomes with DNA constructed to be stronger, healthier and more intelligent human beings, she created the first race of super-humans. They were test tube babies to be sure, birthed by women within the project who volunteered their bodies for science. Kaur also participated. Khan Noonien Singh was the issue of Kaur's experiments. Unlike Sephiroth, whose only mother was Jenova and Shinra, Khan actually had a mother who could influence his early conscious development, as well as a slew of governesses and instructors filling his mind with "superior" ideology. In addition to the genetic experiments giving birth to a new race of improved man, Kaur had a lethal ace in the hole: a stockpile of warheads designed to spread a deadly strain of streptococcus fractiis--a flesh eating virus--to entire populations of the world. Fortunately, she also made the children of Chrysalis immune to the virus. The strength of Kaur's convictions and the height of her vengeance carried her to destruction, pregnant with Khan's genetic brother or sister. She was killed in a nuclear explosion.

Roberta Lincoln was another of the women in Khan's life who was neither weak nor inferior by any means. Roberta and Gary Seven were responsible for the nuclear explosion that killed Khan's mother. As Supervisor #368, it was Roberta's job to assist Gary Seven in the growth of human development that did not involve world war three, which would ultimately mean the deployment of nuclear bombs. No matter where Khan turned, Roberta was always there to stop him, especially as Gary Seven grew older, leaving most of the work of saving the world to his second in command. Khan's respect for Roberta lessened as she became more tiresome.

Ament, albeit an agent of Gary Seven's (the light-footed under cover cat, Isis) was another powerful woman with great influence over Khan. Once one of his most trusted advisers, Ament's conscience and her interpretation of events often led Khan down a more noble path...until that noble path no longer served his needs. For obvious reasons, Gary Seven never revealed Ament's real identity even though it cost him one of his best agents. Khan killed Isis in one of his many acts of vengeance. Her betrayal was unforgivable even if she was never allied with him to begin with.

In part two of this discussion, we'll review and compare the character of Marla McGivers to her twentieth century counterparts.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Who's Who of San Antonio Tattoos: Alamo City Tattoo Expo

Like the Slingin' Ink Tattoo Festival, The Alamo City Tattoo Expo is a great place for tattoo shops in San Antonio to get some exposure. Its also great for San Antonio patrons, since, if you ask me, good artists are hard to find in this town. I had to go to Austin to find an artist that seemed even halfway interested in designing my piece. Of course, the thing to remember with any tattoo artist is that its definitely a seller's market. An artist will immediately pick up on your discomfort. Finding the right artist takes time and conversation. You test the waters with an artist as much as they test you. After all, they pen their reputation on you, in a manner of speaking. Its important, especially if you are getting a complicated or large piece, to find the right artist. This is where the tattoo festivals come in handy. In addition to the perks for the artists' exposure, patrons get to collect cards and stickers from potential artists, look at portfolios and talk to people while they have the most gratifying experience: getting tattooed. Here are some of the best shops in San Antonio to look into, as well as other shops of interest in Texas.

But first, I digress...


I was lucky to have made it to the tattoo expo at all. As chance would have it, we blew a tire in my sister's car and spent an hour on the side of the road. The digital sign across Highway 1604 said that it was ninety-two degrees, and there was not a single speck of shade. My little sister had just had her tattoo worked on. She tried to stand in such a way as to keep her skin out of the sun, which only made dudes driving by honk at us.
Jamie McGee getting honked at on Loop 1604
A nice touch, but seriously, no one wanted to help two sexy tattooed chicks stuck on the side of the road. I had neither a shirt or sunscreen to put over my left arm, and had to stand in a bar ditch in full sun. Sun kills tattoos, as anyone with a tattoo will tell you. I will likely  have to wait until the winter, when my tan fades, to have the green and yellow on my outer forearm touched up. Frustrating and expensive, but fixable.

When we finally got to the tattoo expo, the wondrous, most beautiful sound in the world reached my ears: the sound of the tattoo gun. My tattoo artist, Rachel, has a special silent gun. Its the most disturbing thing I've ever experienced. I get tattooed with two conditions: that I can see everything within reason and I want to hear the gun. Fortunately, we were not lacking in either.

In addition to the greatest shops in SA, including Tattoo National, Calavares, Mr. Lucky and Absolute, here are some of the best shops to see if you're looking to get tatted up in San Antonio.

Element Tattoo:
Jedi hard at work with what he does best.


Anyone not familiar with Jedi and his band at Element haven't been on the tattoo scene in San Antonio for very long. I was first acquainted with Jedi's bright colors and inspired art on my friends Haley and Jake, most notably the "Haley's Comet" on Haley's shoulder. Bright greens, blues, purples, yellows and reds dominate Jedi's masterful portfolio. While sitting in line for Pirates 4, I met a girl who had gone to Jedi for her Nightmare Before Christmas tattoo. Stark black and deep blues coalesced on her skin, making the little shading done to my inner arm look sad and pathetic. Jedi worked for three hours on a Japanese horimono, and had almost completed it by the time we left. Element Tattoo is a regular fixture in SA and can be reached at 210-979-9877

Inception Tattoos:


Blake Isaac was breakin' my heart while
he was getting tattooed by Stephanie.
Some of the most amazing artwork could be seen at the booth for Inception Tattoos. I'm not sure if this is a new shop in San Antonio, but I am definitely getting ink from them on my body at some point. In fact the sight of their artwork made me completely rethink the direction I was taking with my right arm. Blake, the guy seen here, was getting his right arm done by Stephanie while I marveled at his left arm. Full of blues and purples, it was exactly where I had wanted to go with my left arm. He commented rather nicely on my Final Fantasy VII tattoo, easing some of the jealousy I was feeling. I was proud that he thought my arm was cool. However, I was once again reminded of the bright colors of my left arm, and I felt better about the whole thing. Inception does custom work. No cookie-cutter tattoos for Miss Stephanie, whose artwork is view-able at the shop. To get store hours, call 210-653-9118.









Ink Therapy and Tattoos by BoneDaddy


Chris Pearson, a.k.a BoneDaddy's artwork falls neatly into the macabre. The guys had set up a bicycle covered in shrunken heads where Chris was doing his work. Traditional motifs covered the table (for $10  a pop), while Chris' artwork came to life on the skin canvas before us. As the name of the shop implies, getting tattooed is one of the greatest sensations you will ever feel (except for poor Rachel Kolar, who hates getting tattooed). One thing that always happens to me while I'm getting tattooed, like when I'm getting my hair done, is that I get the irresistible urge to spill my guts to my tattoo artist. I've often considered just giving Rachel Kolar money to let me talk. Ink therapy, then, is probably the best way to describe my reaction to getting tattooed. The endorphins released during the inking truly relaxes and comforts me, despite the fact that I grip the chair on the elbow and inner arm parts. Chris Pearson owns and manages Ink Therapy. You can contact him on his cell at 210-710-0098.

Prick:


The artists at Prick are anything but. They are obliging and respectful. Prick specializes in custom work, though I would be prepared to shell out a healthy sum when it comes to designing and receiving a genuinely custom tattoo. When getting pricked by Prick, it would behoove you to look at the artwork and tattoos by Butter, one of the shops most popular artists. Butter does everything from portraits to aztecs, and can reasonably assure everyone that most of the work is hand drawn. Get in touch with the Butter down on Starcrest and at 210-545-3886.

Dandyland 


Dandyland is looking much improved since last I was there to get my Dracula D tattooed on my back some time ago (2005). All in all the experience was unfabulous, and oddly enough, the reason I chose Dandyland was because I had seen a picture of the Necroscope skull off the front of the first Necroscope novel (the piece is called "Thibor Rising"). Not the greatest reason to chose a place. The guy that worked on  me was a butcher. The red did not take to my satisfaction and the artist wasn't even true to the picture I handed him. Of course, the piece was on my back, so I had little chance to look at it while it was being done. When it was finished, it was a far cry from running blood, and I've been unhappy with the piece ever since. My philosophy is that the D is more functional than cosmetic, showcasing my love for all things Dracula.

Dandyland has come a long way. I was truly proud of the portfolios available for perusal. Cheese Perales at the booth assured me that their custom tattoos were cheaper than most places, though how true that is remains to be seen. Hop on down to the little shop on Bandera road inside Loop 410 or call 210-432-5747. Cheese Perales has a his own blog at thesightofblood.blogspot.com.

Randolf Custom Tattoos and Matt Attack
Jericka gettin' tattooed by Matt Attack


A little shop down on Pat Booker road, the closest store to the convention, has amazing custom work. Matt Attack was on hand at the shop's booth working on Miss Jericka (that's right, the most awesome female name ever). He had just stenciled the piece on to her leg when we walked up. Randolf Custom Tattoos specializes in custom work--as the name implies. Being as close to Randolf Brooks Air Force Base as it is, it is probably not going to come as much of a surprise to see a great deal of military artwork for your perusal. Get to know handsome Matt Attack at 210-778-9762.

The Best Shops in Texas


Of course my first choice in shops is always going to be True Blue Tattoo at Red River and 7th in historic Austin, Texas. But True Blue isn't the only shop. Dovetail Tattoo is also fabulous, as well as this glorious shop.

Horimasa 


Horimasa Tattoo is hand-done traditional Japanese horimono the way it was meant to be done. The artists at Horimasa employ the traditional Tedori tattoo technique, a four pronged needle on the end of a rod. Using upper body strength, the tattoo artist engraves the ink, following along with the stencil. This, understandably and statistically, the most painful tattoo technique on record. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the name of the artist and the guy getting tattooed, so I cannot place the picture I took here. If you'd like a picture of the Tedori in action, send me an email at ashley@btw-services.com.

The Costley Brothers and the Traveling Freak Show
Tattoos by Miss Jazz Ashley and her gorgeous mum.


The Dallas based store owned and operated by the Costley Brothers (Clynt and Woody) has some exciting artwork, including the artwork done by Jazz (Tattoos by Jazz). Jazz Ashley is a specialty tattoo artist, working in the only medium available to tattoo artists under the age of 18: markers. Jazz's marker tattoos are adorable and incredibly affordable. At a dollar a pop, Jazz is probably my number one artist to date. As always guys, remember to tip your tattoo artist. If you are in the Dallas/Arlington/Wyilie areas, feel free to check them out.






That's all for this  year's Alamo City Tattoo Expo. As I continue to debate my next big tattoo, what, dear readers, are some of the best shops you have been too?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

300 Views and Counting

Thanks to all of those peeps out there on Facebook, Reddit.com and the Internet, as well as everyone in RL, for helping The Squealing Nerd to get on its feet. As of June 20 The Squealing Nerd hit over 300 views, and the numbers are rising! Thanks to all our viewers, The Squealing Nerd has extended its demographic from that little blog on Facebook in South Texas to Germany, Canada, England and Australia. This is due in part to both the regular followers and those guys out to get cool Doctor Who intel. As I mentioned before, its not about the numbers, its about making sure you guys are getting what you came here for: good quality nerd stuff written by a self-proclaimed--though publicly lauded--sexy geek. I am personally looking forward to another great 300 views.

Speaking of the future, here's what's in the works as The Squealing Nerd strives to be the best nerd it can be.

X:Files Re-Watch


I lie about a lot of things, but I was not lying about this. An X:Files re-watch is in the works, though I'm still trying to find a way to justify re-watching season one when I'm so far into season two. I guess I'll just have to suck it up. I'm rethinking my tattoo idea, as well. I'm  not sure if I want to devote so much necessary real estate (and by that I mean skin) to a few small pieces of text. I may have to instigate a pole on this one.

Doctor Who 

Doctor Who is currently on summer break from the BBC. BBCA is re-running episodes from "The Impossible Astronaut" through "A Good Man Goes to War". New episodes will begin September 3 on the BBC, which should also bring them to The U.S., since they are airing on each other's heels (Tor.com). Doctor Who returns with "Lets Kills Hitler."

"A Warlock's Work" Chapter 2

Interest is mounting in my Elric/Moorcock tribute, "A Warlock's Work is Never Done". I'm happy to say that I haven't had any hate mail, but no feedback is bad feedback. As I mentioned, it is a fan fiction, and a work in progress. Anyone willing to give me a little advice in areas they feel are weak or problematic should not be afraid to speak up. So many people are unwilling to say that something sucks. Trust me, my tattoo artist says I have thick skin. Its okay, you can tell me it sucks--though several nice English major friends of mine have assured me that is not that bad.

The second chapter is in the editing and polish process for online publication. You should be seeing it relatively soon. Possibly when I get out of work today.

Speaking of Work: Gainful Employment

As I mentioned, The Squealing Nerd will be officially based in Austin, Texas as of August 8, 2011. I had an interview with an Austin company yesterday that, provided I don't blow chunks on the technical test and follow-up, may decide to hire me. There are no promises and I am not hedging my bets. I'm still taking technical writing and editing contracts via my email address and btw-services.com. The website is currently under re-design, so don't be surprised if its a little icky. I take everything these days from spreadsheets to full length manuscripts to technical manuals to proposals and grant writing. I am also easily found on the oDesk if anyone is interested.

Khan's Reign of Terror: The Eugenics Wars

A full review of The Eugenics Wars volume 2 will be up and available by the end of the week. Interest in this article came from several sources, so I'm not just doing this to further my own ends. However...

Apparently the Germans take this very seriously.
Uncharted Territory : 

Indeed, this is exactly the sort of thing I would do. The idea came to me while I was driving today--like they do--that I might take the story of Subspecies and reboot it. After all, it is 2011, the zodiac Year of the Reboot. Between Superman, DC Comic's new start and X-Men Origins, I feel like vampire fiction is getting left out. In the spirit of the reboot and in an attempt to find a voice as both a writer of new fiction and a lover of the old stuff, I am proud to announce my official attempt at contacting Full Moon Pictures to gain permission to write, and perhaps re-write, what I feel like is one of the best and worst vampire stories ever told. My attempt to write the novel versions of the movies comes as sort of ass-backwards, but hopefully adding new blood, so to speak, to the current lore will enhance the stories' standing in the genre.

My own screen shot from the first Subspecies
Enter Radu Vladislas. 

Radu Vladislas is more than an ugly dude with a rich daddy. Radu represents everything that vampire lovers have come to hate. As a vampire he is everything we fear: cunning, ruthless, decadent, and seemingly unstoppable. He is also loathsome, hideous and he has the worst table manners of any vampire I've seen since Starside. He is neither sexy nor lovable, and the market, I fear, has moved away from this sort of monster. The evil vampire has no place in fiction any more, according to Club Edward's recent press release. I beg to differ. I think the monster vampire needs to come out of exile and reclaim his/its former glory.

The rebirth and reboot of an entire section of genre does not come without its cost. As many people in the industry know, in order to begin soliciting manuscripts, one must first have permission to make changes to the existing product. This will most definitely involve purchasing some, if not all, of the rights to Subspecies before turning around to re-sell those rights in the form of a finished novel or novels. In the interest of raising money, I am not sure of which would work better, proposing a program on Kick Starter or linking a donation button here via Paypal. I will announce the official start of the project when I have more information. Anyone wishing to voice concerns, please do not hesitate to comment. All feedback is welcome.

Alamo City Tattoo Expo

The Squealing Nerd will be on hand at the Alamo City Tattoo Expo June 25 to review and discuss tattoo artists in and around the San Antonio area. Looking for a review of an awesome shop you saw or heard about? Come here first. I've been researching the tattoo scene in San Antonio for years. Don't waste your time on Google. I will be back on Monday with a review and break down some key shops in San Antonio that you won't want to overlook.

That's it for the nerd news. I'll be back later today and tonight to go into further detail about some of my on-going projects. As always, thanks for reading.

--The Nerd 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cataclysm Patch 4.2: Rage of the Firelands

uk.pc.ign.com
And I am once again in a serious tizzy over the health and welfare of Thrall. The Horde leader, after trying frantically to search for a way to heal Azeroth, discovers that their problems have only just begun...

After lying to you about my involvement with Rise of the Zandalari, I feel it only prudent to withhold any gloating I might do on behalf of the ill-fated Mozenrath or his Alliance counterparts, Zak, Cthullhu and Nestor (that's right, all of my characters are men and non-human. Three out of four are DPS specced. Classist. Racist. Sexist. That's how I roll...no pun intended). Moz has made no discernible progress towards reaching 80. He sits at a woeful level 78 waiting for me to stop being irritated at the Wrathgate quests, come home from my six-week furlough at the in-laws (who are in possession of cable television and my kitten), and stop working thirty to forty hours in a sweltering Greek kitchen hell. Sadly, most of my procrastination stems from lack of fast internet connection and the irritation. At the rate I'm going, he will be level 80 and ready to move on before he even explores Icecrown. Of course, when I was leveling Cthullhu--in the good old days of WotLK--battle grounds did not yield so much experience. These days I'm tempted to just quit the grind on Moz altogether and opt for the honor-gaining, rep building, gear scoring alternatives.

Moving back to 4.2, though. If the trailer is any indication of what we can expect, the trials will not be for the faint of heart; the Molten Core will rise again. The warlord turned shaman, Thrall, begging the spirit world to hear him and accept his aid, gained an audience with Ragnaros. That sounds so journalistic. Contact was made, hearts were turned to ice in wave after wave of fire as Ragnaros showed Thrall a hideous future: the Horde sundered, the world drowned in flame. The message was clear: when Ragnaros returns, we will have no choice but to defend Azeroth as we know it, and the way we know Azeroth has been changing quite a bit lately. The rise of the Zandalari Empire and the destruction wrought by Deathwing are now coupled with this threat. Azeroth now faces a new challenge as an old hatred has finally reached cataclysmic levels...
tentonhammer.com

Fear and valor resonate in the trailer. Excitement at encountering unheard-of enemies in a new, terrifying domain permeate the in-game teasers from Blizzard. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is heating up in this latest breath-taking content patch. Still reeling from Rise of the Zandalari, I'm not sure how long it will be before I have a chance to embark with my old master, Thrall, as we endeavor to do battle against an old foe bearing and even older grudge.

To see the full trailer, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsXglDs81FU. I can assure you: you are not prepared.

Why I go to Starbuck's

What is it they say? My relationship with the aforementioned coffee house is purely physical.

Starbuck's is expensive. I waste $3.65 every time I walk into one. I walk into a Starbucks almost every day. When I don't actually go to Starbuck's, I can get any style Starbuck's Frappucino (trade-marked) I want. Its only $2.88 that way, and I still get all the carbs, calories and dehydration that comes with that twice-daily coffee. When I said I went into a Starbuck's every day, I didn't say how many times.

Why do I go to Starbuck's?

Quite honestly, I have no idea. What is attractive about an expensive, unhealthy drink? Other than the headaches I get from not getting a tall one in the morning and the sick feeling I had last week from three in one day, I can't think of anything. There is, however, one thing I find attractive about Starbuck's.

I love going to Starbuck's, or possibly a little coffee house called Aspen's Brew, because of the human contact that I am often so incredibly, terribly, starved for. My husband and I work disparate schedules. Sitting around our cozy apartment, with its all-too easily accessed Netflix and World of Warcraft, gets boring and lonely. I've often been known to go into work on my days off just to talk to my regular customers. I substituted making an idiot of myself last year for hitting the coffee shop to listen to people other than myself carry on conversation related to business (mostly medical or school related, considering how close I am to both UT San Antonio and San Antonio's Medical Center). Once I settle in to enjoy the great conflagration moving around me, I immediately tone it out. The idea behind getting out of the apartment is being able to work on whatever contract I'm working on, whatever story I might have or whatever picture I'm drawing without being distracted by all those mindless indulgences likely to consume my health and attention.

Once I can get my head clear, I can usually concentrate on whatever needs to be done. I do some of my best work at coffee shops. I've studied for extremely hard tests at a coffee shops. There's only one thing I can't do at coffee shops and that's pour over archaic texts--like the original Tristran and Isolde. That was about the only text I could not wrap my head around at a crowded coffee shop. Homer, Boccaccio, Chaucer (all of whom depending on the translation) and Shakespeare I've read so many times there isn't much that can distract me easily. There is the potential for  me to be completely absorbed when I'm drawing. I started drawing the first few cells of a comic (which, if things continue to hamper me, may never see the light of day) in charcoal and I spent more than nine hours combined at a Starbuck's in Barnes and Noble working on it. A testament to the fact that I should practice more is that I never even got to the complicated stuff before being forced to move onto to the all-important task of making ends meet.

If I used to subscribe to the popular school of thought among writers that only exposure at a coffee shop would truly land me that huge contract, I don't anymore. Last time I checked, nobody's looking and nobody cares. Quite frankly I like it that way. Besides, I draw enough attention to myself without looking like I need it. I never truly understood the drive for people to be seen while writing. I've been writing my entire life. I'm not exactly impressed when I see someone else furtively glancing about them while they punch the keyboard and repeatedly glance at their phone even though no one is trying to call them.



(So, wow, the quality of that video really sucked). Truthfully I like the look of someone reading more than I like to see someone writing. Anyone can write (whether or not its decent is the question), but for someone these days to sit down with a book in front of them--or attend a book club in my presence--is more encouraging. It shows remarkable discipline, at least for me, and I don't feel so bad for spending several hours at a time nursing the same tall mocha Frappaccino while finish a long novel. There is that embarrassing time of day where I look up and realize I'm the only jack-ass customer still sitting there after closing time...

So that, readers, is why I still go to Starbuck's, though it is rather occasional now that I have to save my pennies while we look for a house in Austin. Unable to pursue my favorite hobbies, I have little reason to go to Starbuck's to escape the apartment that I've been trying to get back to for the last six weeks while my kitten is getting potty trained. Hopefully, when everything settles back down, my creative self will be back at the local coffee shop, getting my drink on and working my butt off on my next unique project. Until then, I have to work this Frappaccino-butt off. See you all at the gym!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In Response to Google Searches

Just for giggles, I looked at some of the keyword searches people have accessed my humble site with. Actually I had to give a couple of them some thought.

The first one was probably the funniest one for me, probably because no one got disappointed. "Are horror conventions nerdy?"

My only response to that without much insight was: "well, are they?"

My husband at a writing workshop, Horror Conn 2010.
That's Nancy Kilpatrick down on the end.
Actually what really makes me confident about the answer is that, fundamentally, no, horror conventions are not nerdy in their purpose or function, at least not the one I attend every year. The World Horror Convention is open to the public and fans, but it is a publisher's convention on a mission to connect horror fans with publishers, offer advice and solace to potential new writers, and offer some  unique opportunities to discover new artwork and literature from both small and large publishers. People are not exactly encouraged to come in costume, but appreciation of the genre is welcome. I probably got more attention from my large tattoo than from anything else. Makes me wonder about my supposedly Nerdy title. Girls dressed in Gothic attire (probably Halloween costumes, but still, nothing too ugly or sexy); guys sported tattoos. Publishers and writers were often in casual, though Peter Straub was in a suit. The only truly odd thing about the Horror Conn when it went to Brighton was the surprising--or at least for me at the time--number of cross-dressers and transvestites in vampire regalia. Then I found out Brighton is the Gay Capitol of England. This was, and is, not exactly unprofessional. After all, Anne Rice began a tradition of cross-gender vampires that persists. It is no wonder, then, that some writers prefer to capitalize on the trope at a convention designed to foster that sort of mentality. As far as being nerdy goes, any industry has what Dr. Ken Burchenal at UTSA likes to call its "nerds". Everyone is "nerdy" about something: poetry, computers, music, bureaucracy or what have you. Its not nerdy in the derogatory sense, just nerdy in its target audience.

Something truly awesome came up in people's random Google searches, and that is that someone out there was looking for reviews of my tattoo artist, Rachel Kolar.

Rachel at The Star of Texas convention.
More pictures of her work can be found
at truebluetattoo.com
Rachel is a wonderful person and a fabulous artist. She works out of True Blue Tattoo on Red River and Seventh Street in Austin, Texas. She is probably going to be a famous therapist one day because of her exemplary listening skills. She lets me talk her ear off for all of those three hours she stabs me with the tattoo gun. Actually, should she ever take it into her head, she'd probably charge me more just because of how much she puts up with me. In addition to letting me ramble about nothing, Rachel's ability to cull amazing artwork from  your head is unprecedented. Thanks to Rachel, I am now of the belief that a tattoo artist should know more about what you have in mind than you do. Rachel has never played FFVII. One time she asked me to describe it. I said, "Well, its a long story. Do you really want me to, or would you rather I condensed it."
"You know," she said, "Never mind."

Going off of the game guide I gave her to Crisis Core and a few pictures from VII  and Advent Children, she constructed one of the most beautiful tattoos I have ever seen, much less had the privilege of sporting every day for the past year. So, for anyone out there looking for a review of Rachel, just go up to any of my regular customers and ask them if they've seen the girl with the left arm sleeve. A testament to Rachel's artwork and skill with a needle is that random customers will stand next to my register and take pictures of me. I was once caught on camera at a convention getting tattooed. I chose Rachel because she fit the style of what I wanted done, her word of mouth reviews were glowing, and she is a mother, which I totally respect. Rachel is the best of the best, and I hope to continue advertising her skill in the future.

This one really got me: someone Googled gear scores for Rise of the Zandalari and viewed my page. Unfortunately, I only mention that my gear score is low and only list the requirements for the new dungeons. I suppose I can't blame myself for lack of information. It was an introduction to my character and the fiction that I write, not a game guide for building gear scores or managing equipment. I hope whatever I do is informative if not entirely useful.

Another cool thing is that people often steal my screen shots from Doctor Who. This is cool because the ones that I put captions on are not mine. I usually site where I've gotten those. I take my own screen shots when I can, mostly because they are more original and likely to make people happy (I know that's I how I feel when I come across original stuff); however, I have not overlooked the strategic aspect of this as well: people with original work get more foot traffic. If people want my screen shots, they may have them; after all, in many ways we're all violating the terms of Fair Use when we post them since we don't have permission from BBC to post pictures and hardly anyone bothers to site where they take their pictures from. Basically, its safe to assume that if my screen shot does not have a caption, I took it myself.

I like to keep my people happy. Anyone is free to comment on my stuff even if you don't have a Google log-in. Actually I'd love to see more comments, even if its just, "hey, write about something else," or, "Wow, no body cares."

Feedback. Marketing's most unreliable resource. Can't live with it, can't function without it.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Demons Run When A Good Man Goes To War...

"Demons run when a good man goes to war.
Night will fall and drown the sun
when a good man goes to war.

Friendship dies and true love lies
night will fall and dark will rise
when a good man goes to war.

Demons run but count the cost
The battle is won, but the child is lost."

--River Song, "A Good Man Goes to War"


Tears still fresh in my eyes, I watched the end of "A Good Man Goes to War" in stunned silence. Excitement and surprises abound in the last episode until the end of the summer break. My only regret, as usual, is dealing with the return characters, as I may have mentioned that I haven't seen all of the other five seasons.

Basic Plot


At the end of "The Almost People", we discover that Amy is not actually aboard the Tardis, but her Flesh doppleganger has been on all of their adventures to date. Amy is in reality being held by Madame Kovarian and her allies, the Order of the Headless Monks (a group devoted to destroying the "demon" that is the Doctor). Amy and Rory's baby, Melody, conceived aboard the Tardis on their wedding night, contains both human and Time Lord DNA, something that Kovarian hopes to use against the Doctor. As the fight draws to a head, the Doctor begins "calling in favors", as Dorium Maldovar put it. Strax, the Sontaran Commander (nurse), Madave Vastra and Jenny, along with the combined effort of Silurian and Judoon footmen, wage an assault on the base called Demon's Run. Kovarian and the Doctor show down at a distance, where Kovarian blames the Doctor for the war. Kovarian has the baby, giving Amy the impression that they are in control by providing them with a Flesh baby. After Bucket (an old acquaintance of the Doctor) tries to warn them of a trap, battle ensues. Strax and Bucket are mortally wounded and Kovarian decomissions the Flesh Melody. River appears to explain to all her origins. River Song is the Gamma Forrest people's name for Melody Pond.

Cut, print, wipe your eyes, moving on!

Shockingly Sensitive


botisrpg.wordpress.com
As I mentioned in the Doctor Who Double Whammy, I am a little sensitive about babies. The sight of Melody in her crib, with her name stenciled on the side, was enough to elicit small tears of joy at her healthy appearance. Kovarian's cruelty at separating her from Amy was enough to break my heart, and Amy's stalwart resolve for the sake of hear daughter buoyed my spirit. I felt so relieved as Rory and Amy seemed perfectly able to hang on to Melody despite Kovarian's obvious threats. One can then imagine my horror at discovering, along with Amy, Rory and the Doctor, that Melody was only Flesh, just as Amy had been all season long. However, all sense of horror and disgust dissipated as River Song tries to explain the name on the side of the bassinet is her name in Gallifreian. Suddenly, the thought that a very evil force was in control of her child did not seem so bad. Apparently, she would be all right and eventually meet the Doctor and fall in love, but most importantly, she would never fulfill the purpose put to her by Kovarian. She would never be a weapon to fight the Doctor. Now all that is left is to fill in the details. Unfortunately, we'll be waiting a while.

Another shocker, or something of a shocker: it seems that the Doctor has an unusual, perhaps even neurotic, sensitivity to unnecessary death, which is to say, all death is unnecessary. Each and every time someone has to die, the Doctor displays even more shock and dismay than those around him, even at times of war. In "The Almost People" he said, "Yes people die, but don't let that be in vain." However, with each death, there is always another way. Bucket's death, though she is a soldier by trade, comes as a heavy blow. An old friend, he is reluctant to think that she died for him, even if she wanted to. If I had to venture a guess as to why this is, I'd have to say its linked to the destruction he wrought on his own people. Life is sacred, even to a man who can't die. 

The Writing


There is some amazing writing in this episode. Early on, Maldovar tries to warn Kovarian and her goons that they all had reason to fear the Doctor if he began collecting on the debts owed to him. The Doctor's character is ugly as his usually good-natured humor and temper turns into outrage, then despair. His contempt and resolve are both evident as he confronts the colonel on Demon's Run, staring him down, challenging him, forcing the Headless Monks to turn on anyone firing a weapon--which is everyone. The Doctor takes an emotional roller-coaster ride in this episode, punctuating his moments of despair and anger with his usual spunk and attitude, along with a healthy dose of duplicity, as usual, for the good of his friends--or so he thinks.

botisrpg.wordpress.com
Rory, The Centurion, also gets several good lines. The demand, "Where. Is. My. Wife?" goes without saying as one of Rory's shining moments. However, his fantastically relentless facade is wiped away when he first lays eyes on his child. "She's beautiful," he says, with tears coming immediately. He sobs and laments,

"I wanted to be cool. Oh God I wanted to be cool and look at me."

Strax's offer to nurse the baby, since he is a nurse, numbers among one of the best and worst Doctor Who moments, ranking as probably the most awkward moment in the history of British television.

The Phrase of The Week


is easily Maldovar's warning to Kovarian, foreshadowing the small poem recited by River Song,

"Demons run when a good man goes to war."

Knowing the phrase to hold the key to poetry as we know it, I tried for an hour to find a reference to it outside of Doctor Who. If its out there in a book or on the Interweb, I can't find it. However, the phrase adds a weight to the already very heavy atmosphere of the episode. Demon's Run is the name of Kovarian's base of operations, but the base is given the name is a moniker almost. Maldovar plays on this, and the Doctor takes advantage of Kovarian's army's fear of him, which leads us to the most important idea to be culled from Who lore.

The Word "Doctor" is changing.

Fanpop.com
To the people of the Gamma Forrest, doctor means "mighty warrior". The Doctor has both adopted this title and coined it. His seemingly magical devices and unstoppable wit makes him ideal for getting out of insane situations, and into even insaner (is that a word?) ones. River's point, however, is that the Doctor has spawned this new definition himself by his lifestyle. He cannot, and should not, be confused that the universe is afraid of him. He wiped out his own people and can wreak havoc if he chooses (and he often does). River does not say this to bring the Doctor down, rather to buoy his spirits, because if she is part of that war, then it can't be that bad.

Next Episode


Though not for a while, the next time we set eyes on the Doctor, he is on the hunt for Amy and Rory's baby, without the duo. Alone on a quest he blames himself for, the Doctor takes off in the Tardis in pursuit of Kovarian and the child she intends to use as a weapon against him. "Lets Kill Hitler" is the next must-see of the season.

The Doctor is a Time Lord of Gallifrey. Is he a monster responsible for the fear and terror of the universe, or an eccentric extraterrestrial with a time machine that knows him better than he does? In an effort to undo all the damage that he has done, the Doctor faces the greatest challenge: saving the future of the ones he loves. Killing Hitler will be icing on the cake.


Want Doctor Who reviews on time? Give the Nerd a job. No seriously, if I stop working Saturday nights, this would all be a lot easier. Or you can donate to the Doctor Who Cable Televsion fund. Proceeds go to purchasing cable television with a 300 gigabyte DVR hard drive. 




Friday, June 10, 2011

In Favor of Khan: Why I Put Down Glenda Larke's The Last Stormlord

My goal this last Christmas was no different than any other goal (that's right, my Christmas list has a goal): procure more books. Having acquired more than nine this year, it was my honor to peruse them at my leisure. After rapidly consuming Cathryn M Valente's Deathless and Gail Z. Martin's The Sworn, having moved onto Elric and Hawkmoon, it was finally time to pick up The Last Stormlord. In my haste and anticipation, I failed to heed some of the mixed reviews following the release of Glenda Larke's first novel in the Stormlord series..

Stock photo, Amazon.com
I am usually a good judge of character when it comes to books, but in this regard my instinct has failed me. My frustration began upon opening the book. One of the main characters, Terrell, had almost a sixty page stint before moving onto the next character, someone I thought could have used less exposition. For me, the true beginning of the book came almost seventy pages in, when we finally meet Shale, a boy with what we suspect could be some kind of water sensitivity (the allure of Larke's novels is the basic structure of the dessert economy and magic). I felt like this was what I like to call "the natural beginning" of a story. Basically Larke could have taken the first seventy pages of the novel and cut them, moving pertinent information into dialogue and action rather than through narration and pointless characterization. Sorry, but to me villains get fleshed out later, since their psyches tend to be somewhat complex. You cannot sum up an entire character's motivations in one chapter in a single conversation with childhood friends and parents. Action and introspection often define a villain, as for all characters.

Since I had no further intention of finishing the novel at the time, I took the liberty of skipping ahead in the novel and scoping out how long it would take to get to the main plot. Sadly, in a book of 800 pages and counting, the main plot does not appear until halfway through the novel. I read incredibly long books (the book I'm currently reading 520 pages. Gail Z. Martin's novels are longer than that.), but the task of having to read so much extemporaneous plot and sub-plot, in addition to weak characters, made my head hurt a little. I should probably back off a little. After all, its not like I've ever written a fantasy story that's been critiqued by several groups of people or submitted a bad story that got rejected...oh wait, yes I have. Sorry, Ms. Larke. I have a strikingly different opinion about what an exposition should do, even in a long work. I am a technical writer by trade and a creative writer by choice. I strongly dislike novels of length that could easily have been shorter.

In exchange for the weak-sauce, I chose a slightly heartier dish, though still fundamentally bellow my reading level. Also, I traded fantasy this month for science fiction. *Gasp* Did she just say that? Yes, yes she did. The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh has proven to be an excellent read despite its slow start and paltry attempt at espionage fiction. I've read good espionage fiction: this just doesn't qualify. Supernatural espionage fiction reads with a slightly more serious tone, though the character of Roberta Lincoln definitely takes the edge off of a what is, in reality, a dark future. Towards the end of the novel, not even her optimism for the future can stop the careening ball of chaos that is young Khan.

Star Trek Wiki
The story is essentially Khan's (the Khan's) origin story. Events of the story begin after he is born and include a strong portion of his mother. In fact the best part of volume one of this trilogy is the events at the Chrysalis genetic laboratory in India. We get a great idea of the mind and matter behind the tragically hostile personality of Khan. Turns out he came by the militant attitude legitimately. The genetically superior offspring of a certifiable megalomaniacal extremist knew without a doubt that he was meant for greatness, and the education at Chrysalis did nothing for his personality. Fundamentally good, Khan is, and has always been, lawfully evil in alignment. For anyone that plays D&D, essentially the end justifies the means. The willful torture and murder of anyone could easily justify Khan's sense of honor, vengeance and righteousness. First presented to us by "Space Seed" and expounded upon in Wrath of Khan, the character of Khan has been enhanced and the horror of what he unleashes on the planet in order to turn Earth into a sparkling utopia for himself and his superior brethren is made real by juxtaposing Khan's influence on real world events, including the fall of the Soviet Union.

I disagree with the press surrounding this novel: I don't think this novel was so great as to make The X: Files look "unsophisticated". However, there are more good qualities than bad to this book, which is why I'm ready to start the second volume and looking forward to the penultimate story, To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan. Anything that uses a line from Milton as the title can't be all bad, and Greg Cox puts a great deal of research into his novels. Not as much, say, as Dan Simmons or Elizabeth Kostova, but enough to truly ground the work in a foreseeable reality, should eugenics be followed to its logical end. The truly frightening part of the story is not Khan himself, but the fact that fundamentalists really do exist, and that major support for eugenics programs comes from people who truly believe that we can build a master race. Even without the use of molecular science, there has always been a society on this planet trying to build a better humanity. For some, the belief that the world will only truly be safe when it is occupied by an elite group of superior men and women is a true sentiment. The Third Reich tried and failed, but who will be next to try again? It just goes to show us, for some people, evolution simply isn't enough.

I will give Glenda Larke another chance just as soon as I don't have so many awesome books to read first. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Doctor Who Double Whammy: Episodes 5 and 6

Episode 5, "The Rebel Flesh"   

"A lot can go wrong in an hour."
--The Doctor, "The Rebel Flesh"
Basic Plot


In a half-hearted attempt to reveal Amy's negative/positive pregnancy, the Doctor and company are swept up in a solar storm, hurtling them back to Earth. Upon discovering a factory manufacturing fully programmable matter called "the flesh", the doctor, Amy and Rory have to rescue its crew before the solar storm hits. The crew is half human and half doppleganger, or ganger--the flesh employed to protect the real people from the dangers of the factor. The crew, heedless of the doctor's warnings, stay on, and in an extraordinarily colorful solar storm, remain plugged in with their gangers, giving their counterparts more than just a semblance of life, but real life, with real souls and real thoughts. Fully in control of themselves, but possessing copies of real lives and memories, the gangers rally in fear and contempt. The Doctor tries to reconcile them, but to no avail, especially when confronted with a fully functioning other half.

Matthew Grahame's Writing

Grahame lacks the stop-gap timing Moffat but continues the linear time frame style of narration. However, there is a period of time that cannot be accounted for by the doctor, the span of an hour, in which the gangers had ample time to try on their new lives,  memories and feelings for size. One of them, Cleaves--the leader of the crew---attempt to fool the doctor into thinking she is her human counterpart. Can it truly be an attempt to fool him, though, if Cleaves' doppleganger fully believes she is Cleaves. She looks like Cleaves. She talks like Cleaves, she even admits to acting like Cleaves when her human counterpart threatens her. Jennifer's ganger is also obsessed with the idea that she is the real Jennifer, a stronger Jennifer. Her human counterpart spends a great deal of time in hiding, lost and confused, more the opposite of her confident, self-righteously angry ganger.

This episode is full of fabulous one-liners, particularly the

Best Line:


"Trust me. I'm the Doctor."

"Trust me..."
This line is repeated three times. The first time for comic effect. The Doctor tells the ganger-Cleaves that to trust him, he's the Doctor. We know that; that's why its funny. Its also ironic. The smirk on his face is a clear example of that if nothing else. The second time the line is uttered is technically two times. After making contact with The Flesh, The Flesh begins to program itself as the Doctor. The first time it is  uttered by The Flesh, only a pair of lips speak as a form of foreshadowing. The Flesh speaks it again when Jennifer comes across a blobby hand in a corridor, which so horrified her that she ran in terror. The third time, The Flesh took full form. That was truly disturbing. I don't know what that was, but it was not the Doctor, and I did not trust him. Aaah, but how long can I hold out?  


Episode 6, "The Almost People"--Spoilers Ahead!


"I'm beginning to get a sense of how impressive it is to hang out with me."
"Do we tend say 'yowza'?"
"That's enough. Let it go."
--The Doctors "The Almost People"


I would just like to take a moment to reflect on this episode and its surprise ending. *End professional facade* What the Hell just happened? Really, I wish someone could have taken a picture of my face as I stared at the credits in horror, tears filling my eyes, turning to my husband and saying "What just happened?" The end of "The Almost People", while filling in a great deal of plot gaps, leaves this potentially crushed viewer wondering what the Sam Hill people like Moffat and Graham have in mind for poor Amy now that they've effectively killed the one we've been watching all season. Now Amy must give birth alone in a cold place without her husband or the Doctor. I'm sorry, ever since that episode, where they tried to take Scully's baby, I've been a little sensitive about pregnant science fiction characters. Lets move on.


The Writing


The one-liners keep coming in this fabulously touching and humorous episode. My favorite, other that the one above being, "We both where the same bow tie, which is cool."

"Because bow ties are."

"And always will be."

The two Doctors can finish each other's sentences. The genius behind the Doctor's conversations with himself is that the writing is seamless, as well it should be. However, my main problem with the Doctor's ganger is that just like himself, we never really know what he's thinking. As a fan, I'm befuddled and irritated. As a reviewer, I'm astounded and delighted. The Doctors have us completely fooled, right up until the end, when they reveal how they have tricked Amy into believing they were each other's opposite, teaching her a valuable lesson, and hopefully the other humans and their gangers as well: there is no point to prejudice.

But finally, I have come to what I consider to be a slight, slight, oversight by the writers, and that is the Doctor's ganger in general. Am I alone in this? We shall soon find out.

I agree with Amy: The Flesh Doctor cannot be the real Doctor. Why? The part where he is a time lord. Why is this relevant? Let us return to the first episode of the season, where River Song, Amy, Rory and Canton standing on the lake side. River said, "A Time Lord's body is a miracle." If this is true, how can The Flesh Doctor truly be a time lord? The Flesh cannot re-create the "miracle" that is the Doctor. Or can it?...If it can there is a distinct possibility that The Flesh can potentially re-build the time lord population. However, since I'm siding with Amy, I'm of the opinion that this isn't possible. The only time the subject of the Doctor's ganger difference is approached when Amy tries to tell the Doctor that she's seen his death.  If the ganger can die, then perhaps the Doctor that dies on the lake in 2011 is not in fact the real Doctor but his ganger. Something else that is not quite touched upon, but may have incredible repercussions, as I mentioned, is the fact that the two Doctors switched places while trying to teach Amy a lesson. If that is the case, then Amy may very well have violated the Prime Directive and accidentally revealed the Doctor's death in 2011 to the real Doctor, something she should not have done under any circumstance (at least according to River Song). This, I'm certain, will come back to play in the future.

Best Line


Not pain. Terror.
The best line in the show, arguably the most important is the Doctor's insistence that Amy, "Breathe." Little do we know that what appears to be a line intended to calm a very high strung Amy Pond is in fact a warning. It is not made fully clear to us until the end that the line is also very important to women giving birth. "Breathe," we say to a woman having contractions. I don't know about anyone else, but that had never occurred to me, and the genius behind that is that the question of her pregnancy is not exactly a secret. We are reminded that she is either shifting in and out of realities and that her pregnancy is in question. The connection she has to her pregnant self is not metaphysical, but a true Flesh connection, fluctuating in and out of Flesh and human state just like the other gangers. 


Next Week, "A Good Man Goes to War"


In the last episode before the summer break, River Song's identity will finally be revealed. Amy and Rory will be reunited in a battle meant to end the Doctor. In an episode that will surely test my resolve as well as the Doctor's, we will soon discover the significance of Amy and Rory's baby. I'm sure I'm going to cry. Saturday is only two days away...

The Doctor is an often imitated, but never duplicated, Time Lord of Gallifrey. In the coming days, his closest and dearest friends will be tested in ways we have yet to witness. So many questions remain: who is River Song? Where is Amy? Despite the impossible odds, why do I get the feeling this war is one sided?










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The Ninth Day of The Month...

The Ninth, didn't I say it was the Ninth?

Another Ninth is upon us. In the spirit of not working too hard, I electronically deposited my paycheck yesterday, postulating on the date in excitement. Time to explore all the wonderful things that make the Ninth Day of the Month interesting.

This year on the Ninth it is guitar legend Les Paul's 96th birthday, according to the Google homepage. Les Paul was famous as a jazz and country music song writer, plus he was inventor of the Gibson guitar. In addition to the awesome heart-breaker, "Tennessee Waltz" (played here by Patsy Cline http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRNdap-ioNM), the man freakin' wrote "Jingle Bells". All of this is courtesy of the Wikipedia homepage for Les Paul http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Paul#Biography.

Yall tell me that's not cute! I dare ya!
If today is the Ninth, then it is exactly ten days until my birthday, the 19th. I will be officially 26 years old. I've been telling everyone how old I am in slight exaggeration. Everyone at work thought my birthday was months ago. This year I've asked for a Sackboy from Little Big Planet (my character wears a crash helmet and fatigues), a combination electric-aluminum griddle for cooking pancakes, an Otterbox phone case for my HTC Inspire, and an encyclopedia of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.



In film, the movie Congo, based on the novel by Michael Crichton, was released in 1995. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier came out in 1985.

In the wide world of sports, Czechoslovakia beat the U.S. 5-1 in World Cup soccer in 1990.


On this day in 1983 Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party won Britain's parliamentary election.
Also in politics, Joseph Welch asked Senator Joseph McCarthy "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" during Senate-Army hearings.


All of these facts are courtesy of http://www.brainyhistory.com/days/june_9.html


Stock photo courtesy of Amazon.com
In other Ninth day of the Month news, Tor.com recently announced, via the monthly "Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing New Releases in Fiction" for June, that Michael Moorcock's latest masterpiece, The Sunday Books will be released June 30th. The stories in this collection have been based off (Vonn, are you listening?) of Mervyn Peake's illustrations. Mervyn Peake told his children swashbuckling stories of adventure and illustrated them. However, he never put those stories to printed word. Who better to do him such honor than Michael Moorcock?


In addition to the release of Moorcock's collection, July 9th marks centenary of Peake's birth. Tune in next month as we explore the life and times of Mervyn Peake in a very special edition of "The Ninth Day of the Month". There will also be a review of The Sunday Books in store for you as well. 


See you next month, and have a happy Ninth!