Category Archives: Television

Inspired

Foo FightersI recently gained access to HBO programming…brace yourselves. My first discovery? Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways. I’m completely addicted. If Dave Grohl didn’t already have “rock god” status, he attained it when he broke his leg during a show and still finished it…then created a Foo Fighters guitar version of the Iron Throne (Two guesses what I discovered next). Watching the Foo Fighters national tour of these music-rich cities to record their album inspires me to do…stuff.

The premise for the show intrigued me from the beginning. The idea that the albums released from artists are influenced by the city in which they’re recorded is interesting. I mean, no artist creates in a vacuum, right?  Our perceptions are constantly being filtered through all this…stuff, and the stuff we’re surrounded with just gets bigger and bigger when you throw in the Internet and social media. So in the midst of this barrage of stimuli, how much does the energy of a place even register?

Touring the country to create an album and pay homage to the musical history and traditions of the cities without losing the quintessential quality that makes them the Foo Fighters is a tricky thing.  There’s a fine line to walk, and they’ve done it well.  Lyrically, they reference the rich history of their locale and, they keep the sound their own.  You can still hear the influence of all the music they’ve been listening to in order to get ready for their arrival in each song

Before the Chicago episode, if you’d told me Cheap Trick was influenced by the blues…well, I don’t know if I’d believed you. Now, I can hear it in Rick Nielson’s guitar. I can hear the DC punk scene in The Beastie Boys and know they’d listened to Bad Brains, and it opens up a new level to the music I already loved. davegrohl

Watching the stories of the founding of Dischord Records, Inner Ear Studio, Rancho de la Luna, Steve Albini’s philosophy, and more…it is inspiring.  You do what you think is right. If you love it, and no one will help you get there…do it yourself. Keep true to your vision. Do what you love.

How could I not be inspired? As the credits were rolling on the DC episode, I grabbed my guitar…struggled through some truly awful sounding chord progressions (which I KNOW will never get better unless I practice), because I was inspired to create, to make something. After my hands got tired, and my lack of calluses made my fingertips scream, I got down to writing this. Maybe I struggle sometimes with balancing responsibility with the stuff I love, but if I stay inspired, or hell just open to inspiration, and climb out of the depths every time I get bogged down…shit gets done.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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Don’t Get Too Excited, Oh Who’re We Kidding

Sherlock Season 4 is filming! I know, I know.  You’ve seen Setlock pictures online.  You’ve seen Gatiss teasing us. (Did you expect him to resist?)

Now, I don’t have cable anymore, BBC doesn’t have a streaming service, and I’m not willing to wait until long after the internet has spoiled all the good stuff before I watch it.  I must discover a way to watch it as soon as it is released.  Fortunately, I have some time to figure this one out.  Fortunately?  Who am I kidding.  The Christmas Special just whetted or appetites.  I need more Sherlock!

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Hooked by Dragons…Again

game-of-thronesDid you ever want dragons to be real?  Just a little?  I did…well, do, mostly.  Practicality aside, it would be really great.  I’ve watched three seasons of Game of Thrones in like a week, mostly because of dragons.  Ridiculous, I know.  It’s made for an intense background as I worked on photo projects for class (which turned out really well, and I promise to share later).  Okay, I knew it was good.  I mean, I’d read the first two books on my Nook before I realized I do much better with paper novels than with e-books.  However, I quickly became addicted.

Really, I liked it just fine until the dragons.  A little to rapey for my taste though. (Seriously, can we go an entire season without someone getting raped or castrated?)  However, once the dragons hatched, it hooked me.

I’ve always had a soft spot for dragons.  I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series voraciously when I was young, and they’ve lived in my imagination ever since.  There’ve been other movies and television shows with good dragons, but none came near enough to what I imagined those dragons of Pern might be like.  So far, Game of Thrones fits.  Now, I’m mid fourth season, and they could ruin it all yet. (if they do, I’m not sure I want to know, to be honest).

I’ve survived losing all my initially favorite characters.  Despised characters who became new favorites, and then died.  Other unfavored characters are now cautiously enjoyed with an eye to Martin’s tendency to use murder to further his plot.  (Not a bad move, but a painful one.)  What will this get me?  Caught up.

I don’t think I’ll like being caught up.  I’ll have to wait for a new show once a week.  That will be rather painful.  On the other hand, my house will be cleaner, and I’ll make more art.  Hmmm…

Despite all the rape, murder and pillaging, this is a stunning production. Gorgeous sweeping landscapes, intricate well-detailed costumes, rich swelling music, and characters that are complex, interesting, and disturbingly prone to murder, lies, and sundry other sins.  That’s what makes them so fascinating.  Now excuse me, there’s a trial by combat coming up I need to watch.  For you, you get to watch the season 6 trailer.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Take A Deep Breath, The New Doctor Has Arrived

August 23, 2014 ushered in a new Doctor for the well-loved series, Doctor Who as Peter Capaldi takes over the role from Matt Smith.  Okay, as you know, I’m anti-spoilers here, so please email any spoiler-y comments or questions to me at ilovegeekology101@gmail.com.  There are a couple of spoilers for The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor (mostly discussing 11’s regeneration scene), but I’ll put a note before the paragraph with the big spoil-y pieces of information, and it is pretty far down, and in reality, unless you have completely avoided social media you already know about this stuff.

We knew going into this series that the new Doctor would be older and perhaps a little darker, and this first episode, Deep Breath, certainly enforces that.  The transitional episodes have been interesting ones.  My reaction to the new Doctor has always had a bit of the Doctor’s reaction when a regeneration redecorate the TARDIS, “I don’t like it.”  Of course, it didn’t take long until I adjusted to the new face and form and was ready to pick up my feet and run with the new guy.

I don’t think I could say that Who had become boring, but maybe a tad bit predictable.  Capaldi certainly has an opportunity to breathe new life into the series and take us in a direction we haven’t been since Eccleston revived things in 2005.

 

This time though, I didn’t feel the uncertainty of whether I would like the new Doctor, but then again, I think Capaldi’s doctor felt more like he was struggling through the memories of previous generations more than either Eccleston, Tennant or Smith.  They all had their moments of settling into their new faces and bodies, but the aspects of the Doctor’s personality they embodied were quick to shine through.  Capaldi’s Doctor takes longer to shrug off not just 11’s face and form but the others as well, and I think they’re playing up 11’s comment during his regeneration that he will never forget a moment of when the Doctor was me.  References to a lot of previous forms of the Doctor flowed through this first episode of Season 8, and I felt that 12 had to sort through who he had been to figure out who he is going to be.  He still has the wit and humor we expect from the Doctor, but there is an air of unpredictability and uncertainty after this first episode that hasn’t been there in a while.

Fans know that the circumstances of the regeneration play into who comes out the other side(look at Tennant’s comments to the meta-crisis doctor who went home with Rose), and 11’s focus at the end was remembering.  I have a sneaking suspicion that will impact 12’s doctor a lot. The lines on his face reflect the memories he tried so hard to hold onto when he regenerated, because a lot has happened.  Seriously, how old is the Doctor now?  Capaldi, as a fan of Doctor Who since childhood, has an opportunity to resurrect aspects of all the Doctors who’ve come before with this regeneration. We’ve already seen a bit of 10 & 11 for certain, and I’m not nearly as well versed in Classic Who to be certain about earlier Doctors.  Possibly a little 9 snuck his way in, but I’m not sure.  I know I saw a bit of Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor with the finger alongside his nose.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: SPOILERS FOR DAY OF THE DOCTOR AND TIME OF THE DOCTOR AHEAD

doctor-who season 8

11 began as the Doctor who wanted to forget, as revealed in The Day of the Doctor, but went into his regeneration as the Doctor who wants to remember.  That 50th anniversary episode exposed that insecure, wounded side of the Doctor, and events in that episode did quite a bit of healing.  Of course, in true Doctor Who fashion, some of those were ripped open, and began to heal again in The Time of the Doctor.  Really, he destroyed Gallifrey, he saved Gallifrey, the Time Lords nearly start another Time War to come back into the universe, but end up staying where they are and giving the Doctor another regeneration.  All because Clara tells them “if you love him, and you should, help him.”  However, he wasn’t there to hear this plea or recognize the gift was one of love, and that could be something that pops up later on.  Even for the stalwart Doctor this is a lot to take in.

Another thing that has been commented on is that this Doctor will be a little less empathetic, and it brings to mind Moffat and Gatiss’s other project, Sherlock.  Sherlock’s brain holds a lot of information, but he has to make room by “deleting” things.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what this Doctor has “deleted” in order to bring back all of these other memories. Somewhere, I got an idea that the Doctor read a book “Dealing with Humans 101” or something like that, and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like maybe this is some of the information that has been pushed out or  to the side to make room for the memories of his previous regenerations.

This paves the way beautifully for what should be a whirlwind ride this season.  As anyone who has gotten caught up memory can attest, it can be a beautiful trip down memory lane when you’re remembering the good stuff, but life ain’t all good.  The Doctor’s life especially, hasn’t been, and the weight of those darker memories…well, I see a lot of ups and downs in our future, but that just comes along with being a Whovian.

What do you think?  Please send me your theories too! What impressions have you gotten of the new Doctor?

‘Til next time,

Jessica


The New Doctor

Okay, so I’ve watched the new episode and the specials…twice, but I’m still letting it stew about in my brain a bit.  I have lots of unorganized thoughts.  Did any of you watch the new episode of Doctor Who?  What did you think?  Let me know.  I’ll have something going up in about this in a few days, but I want to hear what you guys thought.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Kelly Armstrong’s Series Moves to Television

 

A few years ago, I discovered Kelly Armstrong’s Otherworld series, and read as fast as my little brain could go. (although I’ve been seriously lax, because I found several books on her site that I hadn’t read yet!)  I really enjoy Elena, Jeremy, Clay and the others in this world, so when I saw there was a SyFy television show about them, I couldn’t pass it up.  Actually, I tried to pass it up, but wasn’t able to resist.  I’d gone one a long journey with these people, and I didn’t want to be disappointed by who Hollywood may or may not have turned them into.  Fortunately, I am far enough removed from reading the books that nothing bothered me too much.  I watched all fourteen episodes in a week. (Yeah, I know bingeing on anything whether it is television, food or booze is a bad idea.)

I felt like Elena was cast well, although she comes across a bit angrier in the show than I remember in the book.  She also doesn’t have the edge that I believe has to be inherent if you’re playing the only female werewolf in existence.  (They might also mention she’s the only female werewolf earlier, since it plays a huge role in the motivation of other characters.) Maybe that anger I see is meant to be her “edge” but, if so, they didn’t get it.

Clay tries to do “Southern” and fails spectacularly, but doesn’t do too badly with much of the rest of the character.  The books discuss the animalistic side of Clay quite a bit, but that doesn’t come across too well in the show.  Some lengthy looks and flashback scenes are providing the sense that Clay embraces the animal more than some of the others, and a creative writing teacher once told me that needing to use flashbacks is a sign of substandard writing.  This feels like they had to use the flashbacks because there was no other way.  While Armstrong doesn’t use a lot of flashback, if any, in the novels, she also has the ability to draw on that internal monologue that you can’t get across on the screen.  Truthfully, I think they would do better to have a character watching a documentary about wolves in the wild explaining all the posturing and complexity inherent in the pack system than using flashbacks to depict what’s going on with Clay and Elena. (Their history gets a bit…complicated.)

Jeremy was the one that bugged me the most.  The casting for this character is essential because Jeremy plays such a huge role and ties together other characters as well, and it isn’t that he’s terrible by any stretch of the imagination.  He just lacks the certain oomph (yes, that’s the technical term) that the alpha needs.  After a few episodes, I saw a bit more of what I think is needed, but it was a developed sense of his power and menace.  If this hadn’t been a Netflix viewing, I probably wouldn’t have watched another episode after that first one.

After watching the first season, I am inspired to re-read the series, and pick up the books I’ve missed.  The show was picked up for a second season, and will return to SyFy in 2015.  I’ll probably watch it…but only if it doesn’t conflict with a better show.  This may be a great for people new to this story, but for long-time fans like me…it didn’t live up to what I think could be done with this world and these characters.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Doctor Who – Into Darkness

Yesterday, the BBC released the first actual trailer for the new season of Doctor Who, premiering on August 23. So, what can we expect from Peter Capaldi’s first outing as The Doctor? Questions, Drama and Daleks, oh my!  Also, apparently a t-rex.

I know, like many of you, I have not-so-patiently been awaiting the return of my favorite time traveler. I have to say, I’m excited.  In Day of the Doctor, we learn that the 11th Doctor is the one who forgets, who is so damaged by pain and regret that he wants to block it all out.

This trailer shows us a man bent on redemption. My first impression is that he’s owning up to his past and wants to make amends.   He’s lived for over 2,000 years and made a lot of mistakes and “it’s time I did something about that,” he says.  When I think about this part of the trailer I think of healing, the five stages of grief and even the 12 step program for addicts, and isn’t that an interesting idea if applied to The Doctor.

The Doctor asks Clara if he’s a good man, and I really want to know what’s prompting this.  We saw the 10th Doctor’s struggle to determine what kind of man he was and deciding that he was “rude” and “still not ginger”.  Is this more of the same?  Possible, but I get the feeling that it is something more.  Also, why can’t Clara answer him?  What happens between the end of the 11th Doctor and this conversation that makes her question whether or not the Doctor is a good man?

Fans have seen Doctors fly by the seat of their pants, making things up as they go along and generally proceeding through each crisis with little to no plan at all, but I can’t remember a Doctor who truly doubted himself.  Is admitting to his mistakes putting a dent in that infamous confidence?  If so what consequences could it have?  One of the Doctor’s greatest weapons is his certainty that he is absolutely correct, and since in so many of his adventures the fate of the world/universe/all of time and space rest on his actions…well, if he’s not sure that could have a devastating effect.

What do you think?  You know if left to my own devices the theories and supposition will just get out of control.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Is Human Teleportation Really Possible?

Is Human Teleportation Really Possible?

Promotional photo of the cast of Star Trek dur...

Promotional photo of the cast of Star Trek during the third season (1968–1969). From left to right: James Doohan, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, Majel Barrett, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, and George Takei. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did Star Trek pave the way for a breakthrough in teleportation?  I couldn’t have picked a better way to kick off the week after my Star Trek week if I’d planned it that way (and really, I didn’t).  Today, I came across an article posted by George Takei (A.K.A. Sulu from the original series) on an announcement that they’ve actually teleported something.  Right now, they’re talking three small particles, but if that is possible and everything (including humans) is just made up of atoms, then why wouldn’t it be possible to transport a human across distances.

Here’s the deal, Dutch scientists successfully made something disappear and reappear 10-feet from its original location.  The Delft University team led by Professor Ronald Hanson coded information into sub-atomic particles and teleported them between two places.  This is the first time the test was 100 percent successful.  Hanson points out that there are no laws of physics that would prevent the teleportation of large objects, including humans.  However, it is physically impossible for anything to travel faster than light, the Irish Times reported.

If you believe we are nothing more than a collection of atoms strung together in a particular way, then in principle it should be possible to teleport ourselves from one place to another. – Professor Ronald Hanson, Delft University, Irish Times, Beam me up: scientists say human teleportation is ‘possible’, May 30, 2014

Hanson goes on to say that while it is “extremely unlikely” this will be put into practice it is “very dangerous” to say it would never work.

I would not rule it out because there’s no fundamental law of physics preventing it.  If it ever does happen it will be far in the future. – Professor Ronald Hanson, Delft University, Irish Times, Beam me up: scientists say human teleportation is ‘possible’, May 30, 2014

This project wasn’t developed with the intention of “beaming” people from one place to another, it is all about creating a network, like the internet, between ultra-fast quantum computers.  The speed of these quantum computers outstrip today’s supercomputers by miles.

“Entangled” particles acquire a merged identity.  No matter the distance between these “entangled” particles, the state of one instantly influences the other, and teleportation takes advantage of this strange quality.  This is a theory Einstein dismissed.  He said it was “spooky action at a distance”, but that hasn’t kept scientists from demonstrating this is a real phenomenon time and again.

Okay, and now for the sciency bits.  Professor Hanson’s experiment takes three entangled particles, a nitrogen atom locked in a diamond crystal and two electrons.  These particles then transferred spin information a distance of three meters.  The quantum equivalent of a digital “bit”, a “qubit”, held information on four possible states.  A “qubit” can represent more states than a “bit” in classical computer speak.  Only two values can be represented in a “bit”, usually a one or a zero, but a “qubit” can be a one, a zero or a “superposition” of both states at the same time.

The main application of quantum teleportation is a quantum version of the internet, extending a global network that we can use to send quantum information. – Professor Ronald Hanson, Delft University, Irish Times, Beam me up: scientists say human teleportation is ‘possible’, May 30, 2014

With this kind of information transfer, no one can intercept the data.  “In principle, it is 100 percent secure.”   Hackers of the world don’t have anything to worry about quite yet.  They’ve still got a ways to go.

Now that they’ve conquered 10-feet, the next attempt will be to transport information between buildings 1,300 meters apart.

I believe it will work.  But it’s a huge technical challenge – there’s a reason why nobody has done it yet. – Professor Ronald Hanson, Delft University, Irish Times, Beam me up: scientists say human teleportation is ‘possible’, May 30, 2014

Is this one more example of Star Trek predicting the future?  Maybe.  It certainly wouldn’t be the first time science fiction has given us a first look at the technology of the future.

‘Til next time,
Jessica

 

 

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Spock Smack Talk

I know.  I’ve seen this before too, but it doesn’t stop being awesome. Couldn’t your Monday do with a bit of Spock smack talk?  Bonus points for “Go Bilbo! and general sneakiness.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


A Tale of Two Spocks

I am making this Star Trek week…because. I won’t be able to do much blog posting this week, and this is what happens when you just keep clicking on YouTube’s videos they recommend based on the one you’re watching.  It just…went boom.

Aannywaay, I really enjoy watching Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto discuss Spock, Star Trek, and fans.  The J. J. Abrams movies have inspired me to go back and watch the rest of the Star Trek universe.  (That should keep me occupied for a while.)  It has been fun watching the friendships between crew members on the Enterprise develop, and seeing that translate to Spock from the original series and Spock from the new movies is just cool.

‘Til next time,

Jessica