Wow, this weekend was long. Friday night the Roommate, Fortitude, the Tower, the Juggler, and I all played Bananagrams and Dominion for about four hours before the Roommate and I pleaded exhaustion and kicked them out. It was really fun, though; more fun than watching Sherlock or Merlin together, I think, so I wonder if we're going to watch any movies at all this year.

Then, Saturday, I spent pretty much the whole day doing readings for this week. I literally read seven articles on Saturday, I think, and another four on Sunday morning; I haven't been this efficient in quite a while. It was awesome to just be finishing everything.

Saturday night we went ice skating, which we've been meaning to do for a long time. It was really fun, but also quite painful, because I fell down three times. The first two times I knocked my funny bone, once on each arm, and then the third time I got the wind knocked out of me a little and started to feel faint. At that point, I decided I'd had enough and the Roommate and I quit; everyone else stopped ten or fifteen minutes later, and since we'd already been on the rink for about two and a half hours, it was fine.

Sunday morning, the Roommate and I met with the Emperor, which was interesting. She showed up late after having "not made it" to church, and then left half an hour later to go to the lab. She told us about her life, and then asked what we'd been doing; I got a few minutes through ... something, I don't even remember, when all of a sudden she just had to up and go. She clearly didn't care about the Roommate's life at all, and only marginally about mine. I don't know why we even try, but I guess she's a friend?

Then Sunday afternoon, I spent a long time hanging out with Other Me, who was having a rough weekend, even though she seems to be doing better over all.

Sunday night, all of us except the Roommate went over to the engineering and physics building for an astronomy lab, where Fortitude and the Juggler got us into one of the astronomy lab sections for the evening. We went up to the roof and looked through telescopes and saw constellations and Jupiter and Mars, and learned how to use a star chart. It was awesome.

Phew. It was fun, but long, and now I am covered in bruises and tired. Also, I did nothing on my thesis, which I had been intending to work on; so now this week is going to be exciting.
The third Sherlock of season 2 was much, much better than A Scandal in Belgravia, but I'm not sure yet what I think of The Hound of Baskerville. I want to watch that one again before I make a judgement about it, because I'm not sure I really got it the first time.

Anyway, back to The Reichenbach Fall. I honestly thought it was quite good; Watson was great, Sherlock was great, and I thought they pulled off the emotional stuff fairly well. Sherlock even managed it on top of the roof of the building, when he was about to kill himself—or pretend to, anyway. I wasn't completely sold on Sherlock's emotional meltdown, but then again, he was faking it anyway; so in that sense, Benedict Cumberbatch did an even better job than most actors would have done, who might have made it even more realistic.

I am slightly worried that Steven Moffat won't be able to explain what happened in a satisfactory way, and I am mostly worried about this because of A Scandal in Belgravia—"I am Sherlocked"? Really??? Who on Earth thought that was a good idea? Much better to have just not told us the secret to Irene Adler's cell phone, rather than give us such a horrible, horrible pun.

I am so glad there is going to be a third season, Steven Moffat has done quite well with Sherlock, even if A Scandal in Belgravia was a total bust. I didn't even know that there was a question about it not continuing, so I wasn't as surprised as I might have been to hear that the third season has already been commissioned. I just kind of assumed it would be.

I am determined to read all the Sherlock stories this year, now. I will! I will! That and Lord of the Rings.

In other news, I also watched the new season's episode of White Collar. Um ... it was pretty terrible. They went a little too far towards cheesy for me—really, Neal picked up a shield while hiding in the van? Really? That was just too much. And I may have forgotten what had happened in the earlier episodes, but I can't believe that Keller would just take credit for the treasure recovery—he would want to take Neal down with him.

In completely other news, we had dinner with the cousins today. They were less unbearable than usual, but I could see (slightly ... not that much) how my cousin had lost weight while in India. It's not that obvious, though, I don't know why everyone's so worried. She did just eat rice for two months, after all; anyone would lose weight on that.
So after we went to Ise, and I dragged a huge suitcase up the mountain because my brother and his girlfriend could fit theirs into lockers in the station, but mine was too big. It actually wasn't too big, it was just that the lockers large enough to accomodate mine were already taken, because there weren't very many of them. Anyway, Ise was really cool, but I was sick and carrying my luggage, so it could have been a lot more interesting if I had been a little less put-upon.

We got in to Kyoto that night (three days ago) and checked into our hostel, which is SO much better than the one in Nagoya. It has lots of space, comfortable futons, and our own private bathroom. It's a little annoying because my brother and his girlfriend are both here, and they keep rolling over and sleeping next to each other—which isn't a problem, except last night they almost rolled on top of my futon, which was a little annoying.

Two days ago we went to see Kiyomizu-dera, an enormous temple; it was awesome. I have tons of pictures. We also ate sesame ice cream, which was delicious. And had really good parfaits, which in Japan involve ice cream and cake and whipped cream. I have decided that matcha ice cream is good, but pure matcha ice cream is a little too strongly flavored on the bitter end for me ... Anyway, Kiyomizu-dera was amazing. It had lots of little shrines, and a jumping wall where people jump off and pray (and die, unfortunately), and a water fall with separate streams that were supposed to give you wisdom, love, or longevity depending on which one you drank from.

Yesterday we went to Nara, which was AWESOME. There were sacred deer everywhere, and they were very friendly, in general; you could just reach over and pet them. We also saw the largest wooden structure in the world, Toudaiji, which was basically an enormous temple with a massive Buddha in it (and a pole with a hole in it that was the size of the Buddha's nostril, which you could climb through if you fit!). It was really cool, and we also walked around a lot afterwards and saw many, many tiny shrines, including one devoted to breast cancer and ovarian cancer (which was a new thing for my brother's girlfriend).

We've walked at least 70 miles since we got to Japan, which is pretty awesome.

Also, we watched Sherlock last night and the night before ... A Scandal in Belgravia. It was ... extremely weird, and I felt like Irene Adler had no character and no independence, and was basically a Sexy Damsel in Distress rather than someone who could actually do things for herself. Oh well. I hope next week's episode is much better, because that was pretty pathetic. This is my least favorite episode by far.

New policy

Dec. 11th, 2011 08:59 am
I am thinking about installing a new policy in my life: no TV except, once a month, when I take an entire day for myself and don't interact with people. I think this will help me stay emotionally happy (wow, I can't believe I just wrote that), but will also let me keep up with my TV shows. Hopefully this will let me waste less time hunting around for episodes, and will make me feel better about myself because I spend less time just wasting away.

Hopefully it will also make me feel less bad about watching TV all the time, because I have planned it that way.

There will of course be two or three shows I don't mind watching the rest of the time, only when new episodes are on: Doctor Who, White Collar, and NCIS, I think, for the moment, anyway. Burn Notice is starting to make me a little unhappy, especially this week's episode, where Vaughn tells Michael that Ansen (?) is trying to rebuild the organization that burned him. 1) I still don't really get what the organization is, or what it is trying to accomplish, or why Ansen is trying to do anything that he's trying to do. 2) I wish that a new storyline would happen, rather than the same things over and over again. Jesse is a great addition to the team, and possibly the only reason I still watch it—and I like him because he's new.

Covert Affairs is interesting, and has gotten better this season, but it has its problems. Warehouse 13 is a lot better than I originally thought, but I am not devoted to it (despite all recent evidence to the contrary). Psych is still good, but like Burn Notice, I am getting sick of the same story over and over again—it's refreshing that Psych and Julie have gotten together, but we hardly ever see them together, so it doesn't have a huge impact on the episodes. What else ... NCIS is still good, as it Merlin, but I mostly feel like I watch them because I don't have anything better to do. I want to get something better to do, except I don't want that something to be stressful.

I kind of want to watch Legend of Korra as it comes out, but I also feel like I will like it a lot more if I watch them all at once—I love it, and I don't mind that it's a kids show (it's even better because of it), but I worry that I won't be able to buy the cheesiness if I don't saturate myself in it.

Sherlock is the only other exception to the policy, I think, and that's because even though it is a "TV show" it is still more like a series of connected movies. Plus, there are only three of them, so it hardly counts.
Astoundingly, the leaves this weekend were not anywhere near peak; apparently there's been a lot of rain, and there have only been a few frosts, so although most trees were starting to turn, they were still mostly green. It was nice and chilly in the morning, but got up to 80˚ (or so the weather forecast said; I didn't actually see a thermometer) during the day.

I stayed at the Hermit's house (technically in Vermont, but close enough), and it was really nice to be back in a real house, with cats, and a fridge with food in it, and to sleep on a real bed. I stayed in the Hermit's sister's room—she has a big creaky bunk bed, which took some getting used to, but the second night I slept pretty well. (The first night, half of the problem was the cat: he came to sleep with me, but I haven't slept on a twin bed with a cat in a very, very long time. When he moved down to my feet there was a lot more room, but when he was wedged up against my back I kept worrying that I would either fall off or crush him; luckily, neither happened, but it kept me up for a while.)

We watched a fair amount of TV, and went on a few walks, and it was generally very relaxing. I did NO homework, which sounded like a good plan at the time but now that I am back on the train I am starting to wish I'd tried a little harder. Brief comparison of Sherlock-the-miniseries and Sherlock-the-Christmas-Day-movie. )

We also watched The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which was terrible. One clich after another, plus Hiccup. )

We started to watch Phone Booth, but no one got shot in the first fifteen minutes, so we stopped. Lack of shooting = uninteresting. )

And finally, we also watched GalaxyQuest, which was basically a parody of Star Trek.  It was hilarious, but I think I would have gotten more out of it if I knew anything about Star Trek.  Still funny, though.

Kayaking was a lot of fun—we went down the Ompompanoosuc and then onto the Connecticut, got blinded by the sun, saw a bunch of monarch butterflies (which have been scarce lately), got wet, paddled around, talked fic. I thought I was starting to understand fanfiction, but I still don't really get it. My first experience comprehending crossovers, though, happened this past week (where I thought to myself, "what Merlin really needs right now is for Sherlock to come in and help!" or something to that effect, I can't remember what exactly), so perhaps I just haven't found my fandom.

And, the Hermit's dog has finally gotten used to me, more or less. She barked a few times, and seemed to forget me every morning, but she had calmed down considerably, and sat on my feet, and jumped up next to me on the couch, and everything. It was an enormous improvement over previous visits, so that was good. :) And they invited me back for Thanksgiving or next weekend (or both!), so I guess I wasn't a horrible guest. (I always worry about being a horrible guest, because my mom never really liked to have people back to our house, so I always think I'm going to be a gigantic burden; but I am starting to come around to the idea that they might not actually mind having me over a lot.)

Now, off to finish Merlin's The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part I, or really to wait for it to buffer because the train's internet is terrible.
In order to induce a greater degree of sanity into my life, I am going to list below the TV shows that I have watched since I got to college.  Beware:  this is a lot longer than I wish to admit.

Shows I watched the entirety of:
  • Monk
  • Gilmore Girls
  • 24
  • Prison Break
Shows I started but am no longer up to date on:
  • Psych
  • House
  • Bones
  • Royal Pains
  • Covert Affairs
  • Switched at Birth
  • Torchwood*
  • Fairly Legal*
Shows I currently watch:
  • White Collar
  • Burn Notice
  • Suits
  • Doctor Who
  • Merlin
  • Sherlock**
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender**
*These are shows where I tried to start watching them but only got a few episodes in before I abandoned them—unlike the others, which I watched for at least a season, these shows never really grabbed me.

**These are shows that are not divided up exactly into the same season 1, season 2, etc. thing, but which have second parts that I intend to watch when they finally come out.

Okay, that actually wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.  And on the plus side, I watch a lot fewer movies now—I pretty much only watch TV at the moment.

In order to add a bit of nerdiness to as many posts as I can, I note below a few trends:
  • USA has a lot of shows that I like.  I watched Monk and Psych for a long time, but no longer like them as much; and I don't think I'll keep watching Psych when it starts up again at some point this fall.  Unfortunately, USA also has a lot of shows I don't like—mostly, shows that seem like "lite" versions of other shows.  Namely, Covert Affairs seems like a softer and less realistic version of Burn Notice, and Royal Pains seems to be trying to imitate House.  White Collar and Suits, however, are new twists, which might be why I like them more.
  • Fos is definitely not my favorite station.  Both Bones and House have their moments, and they can be quite funny; but they're a little disgusting and best watched at a distance.
  • British TV would have amazing ratings if everyone watched exactly what I watch.  Torchwood is the only British show that I don't like.  I wish I could say it was because the lead is American, but it isn't:  Captain Jack Harkness is serious instead of funny, there are a lot of chopped off body parts, and the supporting characters are boring.  It's a little unfortunate, because I think it's great that Jack is basically gay in Torchwood—but the original Jack actually hit on women, too, which made it a lot more entertaining.  In Doctor Who, iinstead of being a sort of gay angst type of thing, it was just a Jack thing; but the moment Jack got serious, Gwen became an important character, and everyone talked with a Welsh accent, I got lost.

Flop flop

Oct. 4th, 2011 10:55 am
Unfortunately, I have an exam this afternoon, and my Plant Evolution class has a field trip. Technically, I can go to the field trip—it's supposed to end before my exam starts. But it's going to be a close one, and I'm more than a little afraid of 1) forgetting about the exam and missing it, 2) getting lost, and 3) biking down the side of the road. I am not a confident biker, and probably won't ever be; biking is fun down bike trails off in the woods, but I honestly think the last time I road a bike was in Florida ... my junior (?) year of high school. Basically, I really don't want to go to the field trip, but I probably should. So I have no idea what to do.

I finished Sherlock and started Merlin. I should really not watch too much TV. Anyway, Sherlock:  Comments. Spoilers. The usual. )

Merlin. It's kind of cute—Magic and dragons, oh my! ) Not sure if I'll keep watching it, but it's nice to have a TV show to watch that is moderately good. (And the accents are cool—I even heard Morgana use a great slit [t]! Her accent sounds kind of Irish, but doesn't have much of the Irish intonation ... I sort of think I might have been placing too much emphasis on the Irish intonation.)
Six hours until THE LAST DOCTOR WHO EPISODE!!!!!!!! I think my brain is going to explode. I have to TA this afternoon, because the evolutionary bio students have a test on Monday ... not entirely sure how this is going to turn out. Hopefully I won't burst out with "TARDIS!" or "STETSONS!" too often.

In other news, I started two new TV shows—yeah, sounds like a lot, but both of them are very short. Switched at Birth, which Ting has been trying to get me to watch for a long time, is about two girls who were—spoilers!—switched at birth. The only twist is that one of the girls is Deaf. I've been really impressed with their portrayal of Deaf people, Deaf culture, and ASL. The main character who's Deaf (the daughter who was switched) does speak, and very well; that definitely facilitates the plot a LOT. But there are plenty of conversations entirely in ASL between her and her best friend, who is also Deaf. The plot of the show is kind of stupid, in my opinion—there's a lot of whining about how My Life Sucks More Than Yours, How Could This Happen To Us, etc. But the signing is good enough that I watched it while crocheting the Roommate's birthday present.

Also started Sherlock—doesn't really count as a TV show, I suppose, but close enough. It's pretty funny, but I can't understand Sherlock half the time when he talks. It's like he talks at chipmunk speed when he's just talking, except that his voice is really deep. But it's funny, and I loved the conversation between Watson and Sherlock where Watson is asking whether Sherlock has a partner, and Sherlock (in his eternally egotistical way) thinks that Watson is showing some interest in him. I haven't watched the last two parts, so I'm definitely going to do that soon!

And today is theoretically going to be the Day of the TARDIS, in which I give the Roommate her birthday present / scavenger hunt thing.



July 2012

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