Thursday, December 5, 2013

I love Jane Austen, but I Didn't Love Death at Pemberly.

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

And I wanted to love Death at Pemberly. It's Jane Austen! And a mystery! What's not to love? But I put off reading this novel because even though this is written by PD James, I've been absolutely horrified at the other P and P sequels I've read before. But thus far I've been pleasantly surprised. I found myself effortlessly slipping back into that world and even though I knew it was coming,  the introduction of the murder came as an abrupt surprise because I found myself so engrossed in the day to day life of the Darcys. Props to James because conveying that kind of surprise in a genre with such established conventions is not easy.

And then I read more of the book, and the more I read, the more disappointed I became. While James actually does a decent job at capturing the spirit of Austen's prose, the mystery itself, which started off with such promise, just falls flat. I won't say what happened in case you might actually want to read Death Comes to Pemberly, but I will say that the ending was a huge anti-climatic let down. In fact, it was so anti-climatic that I initially thought that it couldn't possibly be the ending, but sadly, it had an air of terribly written P and P fan fic.

Honestly, just go read Pride and Prejudice again. Or some of PD James's other novels. Just don't read Death at Pemberly.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Things I Have Done Tonight Instead of Grading

I have 10 million things that need grading like yesterday so of course I did everything I could to avoid grading this evening, like:

Reading this book:

Mr.Darcy. Rawr

Perusing the Sock Dreams website (so. many. plus size socks) and developing a burning desire to own these beauties:
You WILL be mine. As soon as I get paid. 

Playing Candy Crush. 

Who's on level 290? This gal!

Cuddling with this cat

Pepper loves to snuggle, and he doesn't take no for an answer

Watching Teen Titans
Cyborg is kicking butt in the year 3000 BC

Eating ice cream for dinner


I am a productive procrastinator. Who has SO MUCH GRADING to do tomorrow.

I'm going to have the same manic look in my eyes this time tomorrow evening.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Embrace My Inner Fan Girl.

So today today was geek Christmas, at least for this girl. The premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which I totally missed because I overslept) and the 50th anniversary Doctor Who special, which was magical and special and 1000% perfect even absolutely nothing happened like I thought it would.

When I was a kid Doctor Who was that weird show with the funny special effects that PBS showed when they weren't showing the things that young Barbi wanted to watch, like Reading Rainbow, The Electric Company, and Sesame Street. And at that young age, I hadn't yet learned that I could have more than one fandom, so Star Trek was it. And for years, nothing actually could compare to Star Trek. Until March 14, 2006 (yeah, I had to look that up). That was the day Sci Fi first aired the first episode of the new Doctor Who. One hour later, I was a Whovian. I tuned in eagerly every Friday night. I didn't have dvr back then. Or many friends. But I had Doctor Who (and my Deep Space Nine dvds of course). 

I loved Nine. I loved Rose. I loved their adventures. It was serious sci fi, but it was fun. The Doctor was sad and kind and goofy and happy. Although I always thought he was a bit mean to Mickey. That was a touch problematic. But he had depth. He had Deep Space Nine like depth, and coming from me that is a high complement. (My love for DS9 is everlasting). Rose was fun and enthusiastic and never ever seemed to do what the Doctor told her to do. And Captain Jack. Captain Jack was...Captain Jack. He was super duper extra full of amazingness, and dude could rock the hell out of trench coat. And suspenders.

Image comes from here:

My love for Doctor Who grew exponentially when David Tennant became the 10th doctor. I loved Ten. And I'll be honest. My love grew exponentially the first time I saw 10 put on his glasses in "The Girl in the Fireplace." That was the day I discovered that the Doctor was a sexy sexy Time Lord. That was the day I became a super Whovian.


But as much as I loved Ten (especially when he wore his glasses), I loved Ten and Rose together even more. I have watched the second series of Doctor Who umpteen million times because I love them so much. I cried hard when Rose was sucked off into the alternate universe. In fact, I've only ever been able to watch that particular episode a few times. It still hurts me to see them part ways.

And the day I got Netflix streaming was the day I discovered classic Who. Seriously, young Barbi was stupid not to watch Doctor Who back in the day because my discovery of Three was an amazing amazing day. I can't hate a man who rocks frilly shirts and opera capes and drives a jaunty yellow car with its own jaunty little theme song.

                                    Seriously, Three OWNS that cape. And the jaunty car.

And Five! He was just SO NICE. And kind hearted. And you can't hate a man who rocks celery as part of his ensemble. The more I watched, the more I realized that, though Ten is still my favorite, I love all of the Doctors. I love their adventures and the fact that even though the Doctor is a  nearly immortal Time Lord he always comes back to save Earth and take a few lucky humans (and a few aliens too) along with him on his adventures. And after I watched these earlier episodes, which take place before The Last Great Time War, I came to understand the magnitude of the loneliness that the Doctor experiences after all of his people have perished at his hands. I understood why Ten was so eager to save the Master even though he was a total asshole. And I understood why it was so hard for Ten to let Rose go. It wasn't just because he loved her, although that was definitely a huge part of it. It was because he had lost so many people throughout his 900 years of life. Five, for example, was so haunted by Adric's death that he sacrifices his own life to save Peri. Adric is the last word he says before he regenerates.

And because I myself was so lonely and so sad at that time, I began to identify with him even more because I understood what it was like to be lonely and friendless. And although I was very sad to see Ten go, I was glad that Eleven seemed to have finally found a small measure of peace because in the fifth series he seemed to take joy in life again.

But when the BBC announced that David Tennant and Billie Piper were coming back for the 50th anniversary special, there was a lot of nerd joy in my heart that day. I couldn't wait to see them together in the special. November 23rd could not get here soon enough.

                                                        Serious nerd excitement
                                                        Also: Ten. Rawr.
Image from:

And today, the day finally came. When it started, I had the beginnings of a migraine, but I took some headache remedy and told my head to cooperate, which it did (mostly). Absolutely nothing was going to stop me from watching the 50th anniversary special, not even a migraine. I won't post any spoilers because I wouldn't want to spoil the joy of seeing the special for the first time for anyone. All I'll say is that is was absolutely nothing like I expected, but that's fine because the special was perfect. By the end I was smiling (there's an extra special bit at the end btw!). And I'm glad I have dvr now because I have recorded the special so I can watch it again tomorrow.

And here comes the part where I reflect on how much I've changed since I discovered the glory that is Doctor Who:

So over the years, my interest in Doctor Who shifted from a really cool sci fi show to something that's become a part of me. And because life is always in a state of flux, I changed along with the Doctor. I'm no longer that lonely girl sitting at home on Friday (and Saturday) nights watching Doctor Who with her cat(s). I still watch Doctor Who alone on Saturday nights with my cats, but now that's because it's my choice and not my only option. I met people who helped me realize that I don't need to be ashamed or embarrassed by my love all things sci fi. Because of these people, I learned to be a proud nerdy fan girl because that's who I am, and I don't need to be ashamed of who I am.

And when I realized that, I came to love Doctor Who even more because I was able to be open and enthusiastic about my love and talk about it with other people who love it too. And that began to extend to other parts of my life. Among my friends, I've become known as the person who will insist that Deep Space Nine is not only the best Star Trek show, it's one of the best shows period. I do this frequently. I own my love of Ten and his glasses. I have absolutely no problem wearing my giant Rarity necklace when I teach. I am the proud human caretaker of three cats (yes. three!). I went to a Roxette concert alone last September in San Francisco, and it was a dream come true. I felt no shame or embarrassment in going by myself. I was thrilled to see a group I have loved since I was ten years old live in concert. I didn't need anyone's approval or support. I sport my Pride and Prejudice phone cover with pride, and I will be happy to tell you all about the glory that is Victorian sensation fiction of the mid-nineteenth century. And this Halloween, for the very first time, I cosplayed, dressing up as Fionna from Adventure Time. And living my life this way is freeing.

I'm not perfect by any means and neither is my life. It took time to learn these things and to own them. I still struggle with depression and anxiety a lot. I'm STILL in grad school. I'm not overly fond of the way I look. And even though I have no desire to be in a relationship, I'm way too concerned with being single and unmarried. But I'm learning (albeit very slowly) that these things aren't important because I've learned that it's okay to be a nerdy, geeky fan girl.

Thank you for reading. Now go watch some Doctor Who!