Monthly Archives: October 2013

What, Why and…Doctor Who

images (24)Oh holy cow! I can’t believe I only discovered Doctor Who less than a year ago.  It seems as if it has been part of my life forever!  My mission, and I have definitely chosen to accept it, is to convert as many people to Whovianism as possible. Now, I promise no spoilers here.  Since I have promised no spoilers, I’m going to give general information here for non-Whovians, and I’m going to try to do it as logically as possible. (Whovians, stop laughing. Come on, really. Stop laughing!)

First, what is a Whovian?  Well, it is a fan of the British television show Doctor Who, of course.  We even get our own Urban Dictionary entry.  According to Wikipedia, it is a term that became common in the United States during the 1980’s when the Doctor Who Fan Club of America published their newsletter titled Whovian Times.  (You learn something new everyday!)  The fan club is no longer active these days though.

1383715_661960093837624_158818129_nSo what exactly is Doctor Who? To begin, Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction television show of all time. This year it will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a much-anticipated special that will air November 23, 2013.  Here is your own invitation to join the celebration.  The show originally aired on November 23, 1963…nice symmetry there huh? I made a comment earlier about Whovian’s laughing at me when I tried to apply logic to Doctor Who. It is not an easy show to explain logically. I’ve tried…a lot. I usually end up sounding like I’m mentally unstable. The plot is full of twists and turns throughout all of time and space. Doctor Who is rarely boring.

The show began in 1963 and ran through 1989 before taking a lengthy hiatus and returning in 2005 when Russell T. Davies revived the show as the head writer and Christopher Eccelston took on the role of The Doctor. The period before the hiatus is typically referred to as Classic Who and everything after 2005 is the New Who. As a disclaimer, I do have to admit that I haven’t seen much Classic Who (I’m working my way through them all) but I have seen all of the New Who episodes.   What do you do with a show with such a lengthy run that has the same main character?  Well, there have been 11 actors who have played the Doctor over the years.

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Christopher Eccleston & Billie Piper

Now how, you ask, have the fans rolled with those punches? See the Doctor doesn’t die, necessarily, he regenerates. William Hartnell got the party started and this year we will see the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith regenerate in the Christmas Special. In all his regenerations the Doctor is old and young; serious and sassy; wise and irreverent; trustworthy and a liar; in control and flying by the seat of his pants. There’s typically a sense of the ridiculous and fun about him, but he is not someone to cross because his wrath is ferocious.  Underneath all his many faces he is always the same man, and this point has been reiterated by the current head writer and general fan torturer, Steven Moffat, as recently as the 2013 San Diego Comic Con

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David Tennant

I have a recommended watch list for people who I indoctrinate addict encourage to join our little fandom.  Usually, I start them out with Blink an episode from the 10th Doctor (David Tennant’s) era that is exciting, a little scary, and it doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the show to be enjoyable.  Then I take them back to Rose which is the episode from the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) that rejuvenated the series, and then move through the “New Who” episodes from there.

There have been varying responses to fans hearing about my methods that have ranged from “you are brilliant!” (my favorite) to “are you crazy?” (possibly accurate, but not my favorite).  What are your thoughts?  I am open to suggestions.  So far, I’ve only lost one person (however, since she was playing CandyCrush on her phone the whole time…you know who you are!)  Well, my Dad fell asleep by the time Sally found the peeling wallpaper, but he wanted my Mom to give him a recap in the car…of everything. (Bonus, this time she got to sound like the crazy person, not me!)  Everyone else is hooked.  I had to reassure my nephew a couple of weeks ago that he did get BBC America at his house, and I promised to text him when each new episode came on.

Don’t let the rather cheesy special effects turn you off in the early episodes of the 9th Doctor’s tenure. The characters, story line, and acting more than make up for the less than stellar effects. It took me two maybe three episodes before I was completely hooked. I watched every episode from 2005-March of 2013 in like two and a half months…it is addicting. Now, I was also motivated to be caught up on the story line before the new episodes aired in March.

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Matt Smith

They say you never forget your first Doctor, which would be Christopher Eccleston for me, with his leather jacket and sarcastic sassiness were the perfect introduction for me. (Sarcastic? Who me? Say it ain’t so!) David Tennant follows, and I was a little worried for like an episode before I got behind the change in the Doctor. I loved his enthusiasm and exuberance that covered up.  The latest regeneration in Matt Smith, took me a little more time, but I’ve come to love him as well. He’s announced he is leaving the show, so we will see the 11th Doctor regenerate in the Christmas Special.  Recently, they announced that Peter Capaldi will be coming on board as the 12th Doctor in the series.

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Peter Capaldi

Since the announcement of Peter Capaldi’s casting as the 12th Doctor, people have asked me what I think. Only natural, it isn’t as if I keep my enjoyment of the show a secret. (Stop laughing, friends and family. Really, it could have happened!) With the direction Matt Smith’s Doctor took toward the end, I think someone a bit older is warranted. The Doctor feels older now with the weight of circumstances and events weighing on him. When the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, regenerated there was an almost childlike desire to stay as he was. His last words “I don’t want to go” reflect that. His end set the tone for, Matt Smith’s Doctor. Younger on the outside, but it disguises the same man who regenerated alone. The 9th Doctor, Eccleston, we meet as a man who is bearing the weight of the events of the Time War. He is the last of his kind, alone, and he believes that is the price he must pay for everything he’s done. At his regeneration, he’s healed a bit from that. He’s with Rose Tyler and at the end you see his dawning realization that he’s “fantastic” too. The exuberance in 9’s final moments is directly reflected in David Tennant’s Doctor. Enthusiastic, effervescent, and happy to be out there saving the universe again. I can’t wait to see what happens with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. As Steven Moffat has reiterated recently. He is always the same man underneath the different exteriors.

timthumb (23)Whovians have been known to loudly curse the name of Steven Moffat who took over as head writer when Russell T. Davies left. He is credited with the creation of some of the most frightening villains since the Daleks and the Cybermen arrived on the scene…Weeping Angles, Vashta Neruda, and the Silence have made people the world over afraid to blink, afraid of the dark, and … what was I saying?  He’s also credited with the emotional trauma of Doctor Who fans the world over. The Angels Take Manhattan anyone? (Don’t get me started on the emotional trauma caused by Moffat, Gatiss and Thompson in the BBC’s Sherlock. That is another post in and of itself.)

On the surface Doctor Who an alien who travels through all of time and space with a series of companion in a police phone box from the 60’s….that’s bigger on the inside….do you see the problem now? Really, that’s not what Doctor Who is all about though, those are just plot points, and while it is important it doesn’t explain why this show has held a fascination for viewers for 50 years. For all of us who are avid viewers and Whovians, hopefully it never ends!

images (15)So, if Doctor Who isn’t actually about a “madman in a blue box” what is it about? It’s about courage and friendship. The friendships and trust inherent in the relationship between the Doctor and his companions is just …it’s great. Life and death, guilt and forgiveness play a huge role in the newer episodes as well. Anyone who has lived as long as the Doctor, has seen more than his share of individuals pass in and out of his life…not all relationships end well, now do they. When you’re 900+ years old, you’ve made some mistakes as well, and learning how to forgive others and especially to forgive yourself. This show is about being human….sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. It is about realizing how small we really are in the grand scheme of things, and knowing that we will never have all the answers…no matter how clever we are. Doctor Who is about learning to see yourself clearly, and realizing that you are more than you realize. You’re brilliant. Shopgirl, med student, temp, impossible girl…there are no unimportant people and although, one moment you may be the most important person in the universe, the next you’re just a cog in the wheel. Knowing which to choose each moment is the important part. What you think is cool…is cool, at least for you, whether it is a bow tie or a fez…not everyone will agree with you, and that’s okay. Whether you yell Geronimo at the top of your lungs or whisper it as you take that leap, it’s about having the courage to do the right thing when everyone else is running away. Sometimes love conquers all…and sometimes…

Doctor Who has taught me one of the most important lessons of life (Pinterest):

Sometimes you fail, sometimes you screw up, and sometimes you try your very hardest, do your very best, and it still isn’t enough. And at those times, you just have to pick yourself up, adjust your bow tie, re-tie your shoelaces, dust off your jacket, loosen your cravat, shoulder your umbrella, polish your cat pin, straighten your celery, wrap your scarf a little tighter, throw your opera cape, pocket your recorder, grab your jacket labels, and

images (29)Now, typically, I am not an emotional person when it comes to movies or television shows. I didn’t shed a tear during The Notebook. Titanic didn’t make me misty eyed (Come on, everybody knew how it was going to end!). As a matter of fact, I can only count a couple of movies that get to me Ol’ Yeller, and Steel Magnolias are two of them. Let me tell you, that Doctor Who will get you though…repeatedly and frequently. There are still scenes that only have to be mentioned and I can feel the moisture gathering behind my eyes. It kills me, and I never saw it coming. It was supposed to be a show about a time traveling alien, for crying out loud. Now, ask me if I would change it….

‘Allons-y!

Jessica

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Halloween Costume Help From Sherlock’s Own Mark Gatiss

I came in from my company’s Halloween costume contest and found a link to this lovely video posted by Sherlockology.  On BBC Four’s A History of Horror, Mark Gatiss shows us how to make authentic 60’s horror movie blood.  Now my day is complete.  I can go come and complete my…whatever my bloody costume will be this year to scare the bejesus out of trick-or-treating children.

Happy Halloween!
Jessica


Just To Get You in the Mood…Frankenstein

Just in time to put people in the mood for Halloween, an ad came to my attention.

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I read about this National Theatre performance of Frankenstein a few months ago, and I longed to go see it.  Now, I see an ad that they are playing it in movie theaters in the UK.  I didn’t even know there was a film version!  Does that mean there will be a DVD?  Please let there be a DVD.

Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch both star in this production.  Two brilliant actors…who both play a brilliant Sherlock Holmes.  Playing both the creation and the creator from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  I’m fairly certain that some of the lines in the video below are directly from the book. (Although, please do not quote me on that, it has been years and years since I read it.)  Just watching this makes me want to read the book again, as I fervently hope for a DVD of this performance…of these performances, because the actors switched roles during the run of the play.  If you haven’t read the book before, I highly recommend it.

Can you imagine?  I can imagine…for right now I can only imagine.  Did I mention I need a DVD/Blu-Ray/iTunes Download…something?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 


Growloween! Lions, Tigers, and Bats!

Did you ever wonder if the big cats liked Halloween?  Well, wonder no more!  Here’s a video of what happens when you mix pumpkins (and some Halloween pinatas) with the big guys.  They do seem to enjoy their treats…and some are just as possessive over them as some of the children I know.  No worries.  It is all yours, sister.

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Why?  Because, today is Monday.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Doctor Who – The Day of the Doctor

Doctor Who - The Day of the Doctor

John Hurt in a new Day of The Doctor poster.  I can’t wait!


It Is That Time of Year, Candy…A Few Fun Facts

Have I mentioned lately that I think John Green is awesome?  Well, I think it has just been far to long since I’ve made that announcement.  He is the author of The Fault in Our Stars which I read a while back and reviewed here.  This is being turned into a movie, which I am very excited to see.  I’ve been following @JohnGreen on Twitter and he’s been posting updates and pictures from the set…awesomeness.

Today is not about that, however.  Today is about Mental Floss on YouTube.  You just get cool facts about all kind of things, and I am a fan of useless knowledge. (Is it really useless?  It makes you really good at trivia games if nothing else.)  Today…candy.  Halloween is less than a week away, after all.  Enjoy!

‘Til next time,

Jessica


EnergyGirl101 found a Different Kind of

EnergyGirl101 found a Different Kind of Crowdfunding Campaign, http://wp.me/p3Vp5O-3i


Ladies and Gentlemen….Amanda Palmer

English: Amanda Palmer Live 2008

English: Amanda Palmer Live 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amanda Palmer has quickly become a person I greatly admire, and one day, I really hope I’ll get to attend one of her shows maybe even get a hug.  The awesome part is, with the kind of person she is, all of that is a possibility, and how cool is that?  Who is Amanda Palmer?  She is a musician, and a seriously kickass one at that.  You should really check out her latest album Theatre is Evil.    It will make you weep and smile and dance.  The more I listen to her music, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, watch her Ted Talk the more I want to hear about her opinions and the way she thinks.

Now some of the people who know me may laugh, because they’ve heard me wax poetic about a few celebrities that I would love to sit down and have a drink with lately.  (Most of them, it is solely for their personalities, and not because they are amazingly attractive men…mostly for their personalities and not only because they are amazingly attractive men…their personalities are great too?  No really, it is because I think they would just be fun interesting people, the pretty part doesn’t hurt though.)  The whole idea that I could sit down and have a drink, a cup of coffee, or a conversation with these people, all started with Amanda.

She has this connection with her fans that I hadn’t seen before in individuals who enjoy (or are burdened) with that level of fame.  Now, given, I was introduced to her just about the same time that her Kickstarter  campaign was coming to a close (The info is still there.  I love the video!), and I am still kicking myself for not contributing to that while I had the chance.  (However, thanks to her, I know what crowdfunding is, and I’ve gotten the chance to back several other projects.) You may have heard of it.  She raised nearly $1.2 Million to fund her album.  You know,Theatre is Evil , the one I was talking about.  The campaign got a lot of attention, and not all of it was positive.  However, what the naysayers failed to realize is that this idea of asking her supporters for…well, for support is not something new for her.  Go to her site, and check it out.  Want music?  Pay what you can…yeah, that’s right.  If you can afford to pay the regular price of an album, do it.  If you can’t, pay whatever you can.  If you can’t afford anything, just enjoy the music.

Amanda Palmer's Ninja Beach Gathering

Amanda Palmer’s Ninja Beach Gathering (Photo credit: Burns!)

They couch surf when they travel.  If you’ve got some free space and are willing, there is a decent chance that you’ll have a band sleeping at your place.  She does “ninja gigs” all over the world, small, free, last minute shows, spread by word of mouth and social media.  They could be anywhere, in a park, on a street corner, empty theater at SXSW…wherever.  Sometimes her husband comes along too.  Wait, did I forget to mention him?  She’s married to Neil Gaiman.  (Yeah, now you figure out how I found her, huh?)  Her connection to her fans isn’t some ephemeral thing.  This is an enduring connection that she has to the people who love and support her, and it never fails to amaze and touch me.  Through her blog, the comments she receives, her tweets…all of it.

5563952_zps605a5261Amanda and Neil are also releasing An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer that looks absolutely amazing.  You can pre-order that too (and I have) here.  I cannot wait!  There’s Amanda singing, Neil reading, Neil & Amanda singing and then there’s stuff! (See picture: Left)  Oh my, I’m giddy with anticipation.  Anyway, back to the point(ish) things.

After the Kickstarter Amanda was asked to give a TED Talk.  You might have heard of TED, yeah?  No?  Definitely something you should check out.  She gave her talk on “The Art of Asking”.  As of September 3, 2013 it had 1,534,822 views on YouTube…and counting.

Asking is hard…I mean really hard.  Right?  Reading the comments, this isn’t just me.   I know I am a headstrong, stubborn independent woman who would rather fail abjectly than ask for help sometimes.  (It is all a pride thing, I know.  I’m working on it.)  It really isn’t easy, but the video helps.  Every single time I watch it, it helps more.  Don’t ask how many times I’ve gone back to this video, because I honestly can’t answer that question.  It isn’t just about asking though, for me, it is about communicating too.  People don’t suck as much as we all believe sometimes…most of the time.  They can be wonderfully generous people if you give them a chance, but you have to let them.  You have to open up and let them in, and holy cow is that a terrifying prospect.

At first, I asked myself, how does she do it?  How does Amanda Palmer open herself up to all these thousands and thousands of people, because that’s where the support came from, you know.  All these people she’s touched over the years in one way or another, when she needed them they showed up…in droves, with everything they could give…because she asked…because she gave.  I’m still wondering how she does it, because it is freaking scary!

She’s writing a book now, and I think that is fantastic.  I cannot wait to see what she gives us!  Pre-order?  Sure.  No question.  Not just so I can support, but because I want to know what she’s going to say!  She’s asking for those of us who read her blog for help/input/feedback/support…whatever.  The questions she’s asking on her blog “what’s the difference between asking and begging”  and “what do you wish you’d asked for”  are good questions.  They’re hard questions.  She’s reading the comments and using them in the book.  Amanda Palmer asked…as hard as the questions are, I’m commenting with answers…what can I say, she asked.

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica


Crowdfunding is Cool

Cover

Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I talked about a crowdfunded short film that I kicked in some money to support.  This was not the only project that I’ve contributed to, but it is the first one to be completed that I’ve been able to anticipate the release.  (Read: I didn’t forget about it after I gave them money.)  They sent out a few updates, but didn’t overwhelm my inbox.  There a lot of additional upcoming projects that are doing a great job of sending out updates as well.  This is just the first one that I’ll get to actually see.

Maybe it is a little strange coming from someone who has never had a campaign of their own, but I think crowdfunding is awesome.  Seriously, I love it.  I’ll troll Kickstarter and Indiegogo when I have a chance just to see what kind of cool stuff is out there, and there is always something cool out there.  It gives me the chance to tell someone that I believe in their idea too.

The light went on for me with Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter campaign.  I discovered it just before it closed, and started doing some research.  I really wanted to support someone who obviously had such passion about what they’re doing, but I was a bit skeptical at the same time.  How did this whole crowdfunding thing work? There were questions, and I needed answers.  Unfortunately, my wheels turned too slow for me to get in on the awesomeness, and it is something I really regret (they do say that you regret the things you don’t do.  They’re right.)  Since then, I’ve contributed to lots of projects.  If I’m honest, I can’t remember how many.  Sometimes, I’ll kick in something for a project and forget about it.  Then I get an email or a reward in the mail and I’m reminded about how amazing I think the project is all over again.  Probably not the smartest thing (Okay, I know it is definitely not the smartest thing, but nobody’s perfect.)

There are some amazing artists out there doing really incredible things, and I can help get them there.  Following your dreams is scary…especially when it requires an investment to even get your dream off the ground.  I like to think of it as funding someone’s dream.  The fact is, I’m not made of money, and I can’t contribute much.  I’ve never backed anybody for more than $100.  However, I figure if you have a bunch of people like me who can kick in like $25 each…it will get you a long way.

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

– Inception

Yesterday, one of my projects announced that you can pre-order the short film on iTunes.  It will be officially available on  on November 5, and it looks so awesome that there was no way I could keep it to myself.  I can’t remember for the life of me what my reward is supposed to be…again (this would be the second fourth time I’ve had to look it up.)  The short film is titled Little Favour and stars Benedict Cumberbatch & Nick Moran and was funded through Indiegogo  Yeah, I was fairly certain that it wouldn’t suck when I read the synopsis, but then I heard about the cast and was prepared to throw my money at them.

Here are some of the other projects that I’ve contributed to…there may be a couple of more, but I can’t remember if I got to them in time or not.  I guess I’ll find out when my reward arrives.

Adam Suzuki and The Method – Born Out of Mischief Album

Stephen Elliott – Happy Baby Movie based on the book of the same name by Stephen Elliott

Devil’s Panties/Jennie Breeden – Devil Girl & Angel Girl Plush Dolls based on the Devil’s Panties web comic

Jill Thompson – Scary Godmother Doll based on the Scary Godmother Comic Book series

Save the Coney Island Mermaid from Extinction – Parade

The album by Adam Suzuki and The Method.  This was a project that didn’t send out any updates, so, of course, I forgot about it.  Once they got the funds they got to work and made a kickass album.  Then I got an autographed copy of the CD in the mail.  Truly awesome music, I played it for at least two weeks straight.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2007

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next was the Mermaid Parade, my name was on a banner in a parade on Coney Island…that’s a long way from home and I’ve never even been anywhere near there. (except possibly an airport) However, they got hit hard by Sandy and I couldn’t stand to see such a cool tradition end because of the capriciousness of Mother Nature.  I’m from Oklahoma, and we know a bit about about storm devastation.  We also know all about community and pulling together to put things right again.  There were PDF’s of freak flags for me to fly and something that’s coming in the mail too, but I can’t remember what I picked.  It will be a surprise upon arrival. (Some days, opening the mailbox is like Christmas!) This came just after I finished writing this post.  Are you ready?  Temporary tattoos and buttons from parades from previous years!  Awesome!

Happy Baby is in post production now, and Stephen Elliott is great about sending updates.  It doesn’t hurt that I also subscribe to the Rumpus daily emails, and Letters in the Mail and…I’m just going to stop there.  I really love the community that The Rumpus has built, and as a passionate reader, exploring new authors is always a bit of a thrill.  A copy of the script is mine!

The dolls are new, but I look forward to my daily dose of the Devil’s Panties every morning.  Jennie Breeden’s comic never disappoints, and I spent many hours laughing my way through the archives to catch up after I’d gotten hooked.  To the point that I would have to make myself a deal.  I would get to read one for every project I finished, that way I would actually get stuff accomplished.  Why wouldn’t I jump on the chance to be part of bringing Devil Girl and Angel Girl into 3D?

Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother doll campaign was something I discovered through a tweet by Neil Gaiman.  She’d worked on Sandman with him, and while I haven’t read about the Godmother who helps kids not be so afraid of things, I think that is an awesome idea.  I love the artwork, and I can’t wait until my own set of postcards arrives.  I only wish I had enough money to contribute more because this doll is adorable!

Every time  I start browsing through the projects, I wish I had more money.  I would love to be able to fund so many more projects and kick in so much more money than I do now.  That’s what I think I would do if I won the lottery. I’d fund artists, just because I knew they could do amazing things if that one obstacle (which can be a big one) was removed.  Until then, I’ll just keep pitching in where I can and spreading that budget out every month.  (I do try to have a little self control….stop laughing…I said try!) Just looking through the projects, I am renewed and inspired by the talent and spirit of people all over again.  

What do you think about crowdfunding?  Have you ever contributed to a campaign?

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Dude, I Helped Fund This Movie!

I like pitching in money for cool crowdfunding…things.  This is the third project to be completed, and so far nothing has sucked.  I am so excited to watch this!  You can pre-order Little Favour on iTunes now.

Here’s the synopsis from the Indiegogo campaign.

Synopsis

LITTLE FAVOUR follows the story of WALLACE (Benedict Cumberbatch) when he is contacted by a former colleague to help him out with a deal gone wrong.

“Its been 7 years since he left Her Majesty’s service and 10 years since the American Counter part who became his friend, saved his life on a joint mission in Iraq. He’s migrated his skill set into a lucrative business while managing to keep his secret battle with PTSD under wraps. One day, while finally deciding to try his hand at a functional relationship, his old friend JAMES cashes in his chip and asks a LITTLE FAVOUR. How could he refuse when he owes the man his life?

It also stars Nick Moran from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2…and so many other things, Amazing Grace…okay, I’m stopping now.

Also, if you don’t know who Benedict Cumberbatch is…I…he…really?  I’ve lost track of how many movies this man has coming out just between October and the end of the year.  I’m not counting Sherlock because only God knows when we’ll actually get to see it.  (Thank you Mr. Cumberbatch for trying to get it shown in the US and the UK at the same time!)

Exciting, action filled plot…check.  Talented cast…check.   From what I can see so far, excellent cinematography…check…Ummm….what else do you need to know?  Officially, it comes out November 5th.

Do you know what that means?  Happy birthday to me.  (Sing it with me!)  Happy birthday to me.  Happy birthday to meeeeeeeee….Happy birthday to me.  (Okay it is six days before my birthday, but I’m counting it anyway.)  That is not the point.  The point is….Well, I don’t remember, but now, you know you want to watch it too. (and this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you don’t give Jessica caffeine in the afternoon…)

‘Til next time,

Jessica