As The Muppet Christmas Carol says, it feels like Christmas "in the giving of a gift to another." I saw these t-shirts and had to buy them for my brothers. They weren't expecting it, because we don't usually get each other presents, especially when money is tight. The best part was their laughter over the bonuses: a poem for one and a very short story for the other, both about the trials I endured in the search for their gifts.
A great shirt I wanted For cheap So a journey was started
Almost as soon as it began It ended With a knight who is dark
But Christmas is near I thought Would it give my brother cheer?
The game of chess he doesn't play Oh no And the color is wrong, light grey
Screw that, mine it will be I said If something better he sees
And merry will be the day
[And the Story Continues]
Then it dawned on me. I can't get one brother a Christmas present and leave the other with nothing, not again. So this arduous undertaking was once more...undertook.
For days I slogged through the darkest corners of a room filled with Webs of a sort that would terrify even the most stout-hearted of men. At turns I hacked and other turns slashed through the dense underbrush until I stumbled across a treasure that I was determined to keep.
But the sentry stationed there, the Geek of Thinking, asked of me, "Is this a gift?" And then my senses returned and I resolved to ne'er again be so selfishly tempted...at least for a small while.
And merrily we rejoice and be glad.
If you want one of these shirts for yourself, The Dark Knight can be found at Shirt.Woot and Shaun of the Dead's I Got Wood is at ThinkGeek.
Spoilers follow in the words and the videos. Don't watch if you're not finished with the most recent season.
David Tennant // The Doctor faces certain death by the Vashta Nerada in "Forest of the Dead" when he's left alone with one, defenseless. All he does is talk and it retreats.
Matt Smith // A tremendous scene in "A Good Man Goes to War." His angry and spiteful words to Colonel Manton, hereby known as Colonel Runaway, are chilling, and that I cheer. This is the point where Matt Smith finished filling the hole left by David Tennant, and that opinion was cemented with the line, "Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many."
So, where are all the Christmas movies? Seems like they're mostly nothing but low quality, badly acted Lifetime and ABC Family productions. All I've seen so far is The Muppet Christmas Carol, which is a yearly (sometimes seasonal) ritual, and Home Alone 2; and we DVR'd A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. Uh, Christmas Vacation, you're on for a month straight in the summer. Are you waiting now until Christmas Day? (Update: Nope, just until Christmas week) Why must A Christmas Story only be shown for 24 hours on one day of the year? Why does no one ever show Santa Clause: The Movie, with Dudley Moore and John Lithgow? I sometimes forget that The Grinch Who Stole Christmas even exists. White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life? All nowhere to be found. I guess that's why I never saw them in my life until last year, because they only get played on that one busy travel and family day. Halloween movies get the entire month of October and more, so why be so stingy with the Christmas movies? Come on people.
But if you watch only one Christmas movie this year, and for some reason you need a suggestion, I would say it has to be The Muppet Christmas Carol. I was going to write my own review about it, but I know of one that has done all the work for me. Robert Berg is an insightful reviewer that goes in-depth and catches things the average viewer misses. I still must say in my own words, though, that this is not only my favorite Christmas movie but one of my favorite movies period. I could watch it at any time of year and have. The Muppets are always funny (realized I'm wearing an Animal shirt right now), but the biggest draw for me is and always has been the incredible Michael Caine, who treats his fellow felt actors as flesh and blood. There isn't one moment where his performance seems insincere. Caine is whole-heartedly engaged in this world and brings a tear to your eye with no more than a tear in his.
If you buy the DVD and watch in widescreen, a song was cut from the Ghost of Christmas Past scene with Belle that was essential to breaking through to Scrooge and breaking him down. The performance of "When Love is Gone" is where we get to see the depth of Scrooge's pain after reliving his worst moment, but they cut it so drastically that he gets there with no effort whatsoever. It also has a companion piece at the end called "When Love is Found." Why they didn't show it, and still don't on TV, is a mystery to me.
Update: I have the old tape from 1992 that my family watches a number of times a year. The DVD has been out for years and I never bought it because the song was missing from the widescreen version. Although, it's included in the pan-and-scan on the same disc. I kept waiting for a new version, and now that Blu-ray exists there's still no sign of it. I'm doing some last minute shopping today, the 23rd of December, and I don't think I can hold out any longer. Have to get it. As soon as I do, that's when Disney will announce the Blu-ray, which you can watch for at the Blu-ray.com forum. You can watch the fan forum for the announcement. Coincidentally, I'm also going to see The Muppets today before it's out of theaters. It will be a day of Muppety goodness.
If you can't get enough of the adorable Mather Zickel, one of the hilarious guys from the criminally underappreciated and too quickly cancelled Man Up, then you're not alone. Read Miranda Doerfler's interview with Mather at The Saico Chronicles.
Man Up deserved much more than it got. ABC gave it only eight episodes to establish itself, which were all very funny and relatable. There was almost nothing in the way of promotion, and they used the least funny clips out of context. I wasn't going to watch, but I gave it a chance because nothing else was on. From the commercials, it seemed like just another generic, personality-free, belly laugh-light "comedy." I was wrong...so very wrong.
After this royal screw up, ABC didn't even consider trying Man Up in a different timeslot. This great new show could have had many more years. But now, like Better Off Ted and The Knights of Prosperity (two other ABC casualties), it will only be a fond memory and a frustrating "what if?" Adding insult to injury, its replacement is a Bosom Buddies remake...reimagining...rip-off...whatever. Doesn't matter one bit, because it looks absolutely awful. See Miranda's after cancellation thoughts at Cliffs Notes for TV.
I just found out that the last five episodes were burned off on December 13. I didn't know this, so now I have to watch them tomorrow. I will be laughing and crying. Man Up, you will be missed.
My Favorite Line: "You do not get a woman in the mood for sex by telling her that her son is a misbegotten land monster."
Damn my procrastination. I've had A Clash of Kings waiting on my bookshelf for about 10 years, and only now that I know season 2 is coming... Wait a second. Are they still calling it Game of Thrones or will the name be changed? I don't remember the series title, A Song of Ice and Fire, being used anywhere in season one. Anyway, it's coming in April and I haven't read the book yet. I just know that I'll end up waiting until right before it starts again and be only a couple steps ahead. Or I could start right after the book I'm reading now, Rose Madder. But I've also started five or so other books. No. Have to read it next. My mind is made up. I've waited too long.
Here's the trailer for the new season if you somehow haven't seen it already. I was going to post this ten days ago but got sidetracked.
I can't wait to see more of Peter Dinklage. I've loved him since I first randomly stopped on a channel that was showing The Station Agent a number of years ago. My father did the same thing on a different day that summer. We both will watch the movie every time it's on, which is a very rare occasion, even though it's not what normally grabs our attention. The Station Agent is so quiet and mostly uneventful and yet utterly charming. It's a testament to Dinklage's talent that he can hold my attention in this sparse little story of lonely people and turn it into a gem.
Of course I heard he won a very well deserved Emmy for Game of Thrones, but I never got to see it until tonight. Great quote: "I followed Martin Scorsese. Oh my God. My heart is pounding. You are a legend."
And because I love fan-made tributes and trailers, here's a good one just I stumbled upon for Game of Thrones. And now I say good night.
This tee features Doctor Who characters done in the style of Scott Pilgrim. If you're a fan of both then you will understand the awesomeness of this. Unfortunately, I have yet to see or read Scott Pilgrim, so I won't be buying it, but I love the look.
It's only available for the next 2 days 6 hours and 15 minutes at the incredible price of $10. After that you may still be able to get it from the artist's site, which is linked from TeeRaiders.
My favorite movie of all-time is The Princess Bride. So, the Best Shirt Ever award goes to the t-shirt I just recently bought from ThinkGeek. No, I'm not talking about Hello My Name is Inigo Montoya. It's also not Miracle Max's Pharmacy. You must buy Prepare to Die. There is no question. Do it now. If they ever make "Inconceivable," "Anybody want a peanut," and the Impressive Clergyman shirts I will need them all.
I almost put this on my Christmas list. Don't know how long I'd play with it. Maybe I'd get bored quick, but I think I would love one of these Air Swimmers. Hmm, shark or fish? It costs about as much as an average radio controlled car. Only ever had one of those, until my younger brothers broke it. I also think they lost my yellow lion from the Voltron I still can't find the heart to throw away. In fact, someone needs to get me a nice, expensive collectible metal Voltron as a replacement some day.
While I was looking for t-shirts recently I found them at ThinkGeek for $30, which is $10 off the normal price. Unfortunately, the clownfish is sold out and there is no estimate on when it will be back in stock.
You have just under 7 hours left today to buy Browncoat Whiskey, an alcohol- and Firefly-inspired shirt from RIPT Apparel. You know you want it. I wish I could afford it. Yeah, it's only $10, but I've been saying "it's only $10" for the last two months. That adds up to just a couple hundred dollars pretty fast. So, even though I absolutely love this, I have to say no. Anyway, I just bought the Wash playing with dinosaurs shirt from Shirt.Woot, so I'm kind of okay with that. You can still get Inevitable Betrayal until its day of reckoning (but it's in seventh place, so it has a while to go) for $15 and free shipping.
Just go to GoMediaZine for your chance to win a Drobo S worth $800. It has a 15 terabyte capacity over 5 drives, with dual disk redundancy in case of two drives failing. You have to supply your own drives, though. Start with one and expand as needed. And being only 7.3 inches high by 5.9 inches wide by 10.3 inches deep, you don't need a lot of physical space to back up every computer in the family, and all your music, photos, and videos. Find out more about the Drobo S here. The BeyondRAID section is recommended reading.
If you're a fan of Supernatural and Super Mario Bros then you need to own the Supernatural Bros t-shirt. It's only $10! Also available in a hoodie and kids' sizes from $15 to $38. But you have to snap this up right now, because the sale os over at the end of today. Unfortunately, I already spent way more on shirts than I intended to so close to Christmas, one of them being the Winchester Coat of Arms at TeeRaiders' 72-hour sale, which is still available at the artist's site. If I could afford every great shirt I've been finding lately then I'd need to build a walk-in closet.
You can get a great deal on t-shirts today through Friday. ThinkGeek is having a buy 2 get 1 free promotion. If I can find that extra money, I will be getting The Angels Have the Phone Box, Wanted: Bad Horse, and Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock. I wanted many others, too, such as Soft Kitty, Stark Industries, Called for Help, Bazinga, Winchester Tavern, and Abby Normal. Sadly, some of them were sold out, but at least that made the decision slightly easier.
What makes a purchase this week even more attractive is the coupon code MONKEYDAY, which takes an extra $10 off. I only wish shipping was also free, but the total for three shirts came out to just $36.77. I said I was done buying stuff for myself for a while, but since most of my clothes suck I'll probably make the excuse. And if they ever have a Voltron shirt, I wouldn't even care if it was my last $20.
I can hardly believe I actually got a useful Klout perk so soon. I joined not too long ago - sometime in the summer maybe - and connected my Twitter account. I never expected to get anything out of this, especially considering I'm fairly new to Twitter and don't have a ton of followers. In fact, the first perk I qualified for didn't pan out (see related post). But I guess it works after all, since I just got a copy of the A&E movie tie-in large paperback version of Bag of Bones. I love this book, and Stephen King, so suppose I'll read it again now that quite a bit of time has passed. As I type this, the second hour of the mini series is recording and playing very quietly on my TV.
For those unfamiliar with Klout, it calculates your influence across multiple social networks. You are then assigned a score and can get perks when you reach certain levels. Hope I can get to 50 some day, which can mean cooler stuff. Actually, I was there a month or so ago, but my number dropped before I got any perks and is currently holding steady at 43. A bit frustrating, but it's great to see that surprise email that says you can get something for free, and all you really had to do was sign up and chatter away like normal.
The fall finale of Fringe, "Wallflower," will always be remembered, but not for the reason I wish it would. I never thought I would only half pay attention to an episode of one of my all-time favorite shows. There really is a first time for everyhing. I've always put all else aside and devoted every bit of my attention when the delightful team of Noble, Torv, Jackson, and Nicole are lighting up the screen. But in this episode I missed some things that were happening and I remember even less now, except for the twisty last scene. This is through no fault of the writers or actors. My mind kept wandering back to my great uncle's wake, from which I had just returned, and ahead to his funeral the next day. I was also stuggling to stay awake from the physical and emotional drain of the day. At some point I will watch the episode again, but probably not any time soon. Thank you, Fringe, for always being there and trying to take my mind off a family loss for a little while. Rest in peace Uncle Bill.
Originally posted 11/24/11. I wanted a new title, but URLs can't be changed, so I reposted.
Speaking of Young Dubliners (see last post), I've had Red since I got it from SwapaCD quite a few months ago. But the Post Office cracked it with their oh so gentle handling of packages, the reason why only half of all my magazines come ruined. The crack is about an inch on the outside edge of the disc and didn't go through the label. I swear I tried it before telling them about the damage and getting my credit refunded, but maybe I just assumed it wouldn't work and didn't bother checking. This same thing happened with a brand-new copy of Rod Stewart's Human that I bought at Media Play back in '01, which stopped playing after a few seconds. That one turned out to have a crack all the way to the hub. It's typical that I would find the one broken CD with a pristine case in the entire store.
For some reason I kept Red all those months, maybe as a reminder that I still had to buy it. Maybe just because I can be a bit of a pack rat. I was about to throw it away during my weekly room cleaning ritual,(it never ends!), but for some reason I put it in my older CD drive, which seems give less errors, and it started playing. I was sure I'd hear a horrible noise before the song ended, but it played perfectly. The next song started and I was positive this time that it would not get through. Wrong again. iTunes was able to record the entire disc. The only time I heard a few small skips was on the track "Neverending (Instrumental)." Yay! I got to listen to songs I'd been waiting years to hear and save a few bucks. Awesome day for me. Yeah, I could have gone to YouTube, but it wasn't the highest priority, so I never thought about it when I was there. Too many things to do in a day...or 4,192 of them.
You can always rely on Young Dubliners for fun, up tempo, Irish-flavored rock, even while being personal or political. First saw them on Mike & Maty, a long gone daytime talk show, in the late '90s singing "Blink" from Alive, Alive 'O. Couldn't get them out of my mind after that and found the song on the internet. Sadly, I can't find that performance. Wish I saved the tape, so I could put it on YouTube.
From then I put them on wish lists, but they weren't always easy to come by. Finally got 2009's Saints and Sinners from SwapaCD this week. I still don't have all their music, so I guess I'd call them a fallback favorite. You can blame that on the other acts I loved first, who have released a lot over the years: Meat Loaf, Dave Matthews Band, Backstreet Boys, Duran Duran. And don't even get me started on the expensive, imported albums from Rammstein, Eisbrecher, In Extremo, Megaherz, Oomph!, Joachim Witt, Unheilig, Eisheilig, E Nomine, and more.
Here's the song that made me fall in love with them.
Thanks again to Two Paddocks, I fell in love with a new artist today, at least going by the one song I've heard so far. This doesn't happen as much as I'd like it to, mostly because I'm terrible at finding music that doesn't make me want to toss my headphones into the air and blast them to bits. I don't have a large reserve of patience, and I'm far more successful when someone is recommending or I hear it on TV.
Here he is. Such a lovely voice and a talent on the violin, too.
Did you love it, too? Then go get the album version from Amazon for free right now.
If you're also crap at finding music you like, or you're lazy, there are ten no-cost selections every week from the Two Paddocks Cru and celebrity guests, such as Liam Neeson, Tim Spall, and Willem Dafoe. The Dayglo Disco has been going strong for a while now and shows no signs of slowing.
While Fringe has taken over my life, I've also obsessed over Supernatural and Doctor Who. There are plenty of other shows I love, but let's leave it at these three for now. Here are the best sites I've found dedicated to them.
Screen captures and videos are copyright of their respective owners. All other images and content owned by Erin Bates and may not be reproduced or redistributed without prior written permission. If I have posted your content and you would like it taken down, please contact Reinbeast@gmail.com.