September 30, 2013

Haiku Review: Gravity

Gravity (****)

Space is not empty
Explosions cause lots of junk
Sandra is alone

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. A couple of weeks ago, Colt and I had the chance to attend a free pre-release screening of Gravity. (It officially opens this Friday, Oct. 4.) I wasn't really thinking about seeing the movie in theaters—it looked good, but not need to see good—but came out of the theater really impressed. And—*gasp*—it was even in 3D!

Gravity is the story of an astronaut who gets caught in space after an explosion destroys her ride (the space shuttle), and she must use what she can find to make her way back to earth.

The movie is certainly epic, but it's hard not to be when set in space. It's also fast-paced and action-packed; there were very few moments when I wasn't on the edge of my seat because of what had happened or what was about to happen. Sandra Bullock does an amazing job of practically carrying the movie by herself, although George Clooney's character does add a bit of levity to a very tense two-plus hours. Even the 3D wasn't as distracting as it often is—there were a few points of things flying into your face, but for the most part it just made the movie feel "bigger." I think that helped the epic feel even more.

The film can be a bit predictable, however, and the science behind the issues Sandra's character faces seems a little iffy, but overall, the movie was really good. (Totally makes me have second thoughts about that whole wanting to be an astronaut thing, though.)

September 27, 2013

Beyond Premiere Week 2013 | Part 1 (Sept. 29–Oct. 3)

There are two shows premiering next week that I'll be checking out. (And two that I put on the calendar because I still might eventually catch up ...)

Premiering Sunday night:

Once Upon a Time | 7–8 p.m. (ABC)

I have been pleasantly surprised at how far the showrunners have been able to take this show, as I was really worried a couple of years ago that this wouldn't have far to go. I'm excited about the new direction the show was headed at the end of last season and can't wait to see Neverland! (Although, can Henry grow up already? His whining is so grating.)

And next Wednesday, Oct. 2:

Ironside | 9–10 p.m. (NBC) | Trailer

A tough, sexy but acerbic police detective using a wheelchair after a shooting is hardly limited by his disability as he pushes and prods his hand-picked team to solve the most difficult cases in the city. (via)
You all know that crime procedurals are my jam, and even though I know very little about this show other than what's stated above, I'm going to give it a go. There has been some controversy over this show, however, and the fact that Blair Underwood is playing a paraplegic when he can walk just fine IRL, but I hope that this show does more good for the disabled community than it does harm. (If it ends up being the reverse, I'll totally drop it like a hot potato!)

The Vampire Diaries and spinoff series The Originals are starting up a week from tonight. (Oct. 3). I've not watched TVD for at least a season and a half, so I probably wouldn't understand where The Originals comes in, but a part of me feels like I still want to eventually catch up. (When that will be, I have no idea ... but I'm holding on for now.)

With that ... we've reached the end of the week. Do you have any new favorite shows so far? Are you looking forward to anything I haven't covered yet? Let me know in the comments!

September 26, 2013

Premiere Week 2013 | Thursday

There's only one show premiering tonight, too.

Elementary | 9–10 p.m. (CBS)

I was definitely on the fence about this show when it first aired last season. I felt like it was going to be another case of America copying the Brits, and poorly. But to my surprise, I quickly fell for this version, too. The chemistry between Sherlock and Joan is wonderful, and the storylines have been unique and surprising. I love what they've done with the Holmes mythos, and I am so glad it's back for another season.

Check back tomorrow for the shows premiering next week!

September 25, 2013

Premiere Week 2013 | Wednesday

Only one show (that I'm interested in watching) is premiering tonight:

Criminal Minds | 8–9 p.m. (CBS)

This show is gritty, tragic and horribly graphic at times ... and yet, I still watch it. And enjoy it. The show fascinates me, and as much as they go through, the team always ends up getting the bad guy. I like the idea that humans can triumph over the more evil parts of our species.

We've reached the midway point of Premiere Week—how goes yours so far? Are you particularly enjoying anything new?

And yes, I did watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night. My initial feelings are positive. I can see it being a really fun show. And, regardless of what happens with the shady business surrounding Coulson's return—I'm just happy he's back. The fact that he's on the show, in my mind, means that he "lives."

September 24, 2013

Premiere Week 2013 | Tuesday

It's Tuesday, and Tuesday is a very exiting night for me: AGENT COULSON IS BACK!

Tonight's premieres include:

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. | 7–8 p.m. (ABC)

Agent Phil Coulson puts together a small team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases. Each case will test the team in cooperation and ingenuity as they try to work together figuring out newly emerging superhuman individuals in the world. (via)
I'm having a hard time not getting my hopes up for this show. First of all: Coulson is alive. I never truly believed that he was dead, but I had my moments of doubt. Second: I trust the combination of Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Third: I adore the Marvel (movie and now TV) universe. I'm a little worried that the show will have too different of a feel than the movies, and that Ming Na will be terrible (as usual) and will affect my feelings on the show. Regardless, I'm going to be watching at least the pilot with a big ol' smile on my face.

NCIS | 7–8 p.m. (CBS)

I continue to watch this show on the weekends, while I'm doing household chores, computer work, etc. The characters are fun and the storylines aren't so complex that I feel like I need to pay attention to every word.

NCIS: LA | 8–9 p.m.

Same as with NCIS, I don't feel the need to record this show nor watch it a.s.a.p. every week. I do enjoy the relationships between Deeks and Kensi—which I hope gets even cuter this next season—and Eric and Nell.

What will you be watching/recording tonight?

September 23, 2013

Premiere Week 2013 | Monday

Welcome to Premiere Week 2013! I hope you'll enjoy (or at least tolerate) this break from the normal C&CC schedule.

This year's week will be a bit different, as this fall's premieres seem to be more spread out than previous years. In order to not have the "Beyond Premiere Week 2013" post be enormous—verging on TL;DR territory—I'll do one post on Friday for shows that are premiering next week (Sept. 29–Oct. 3), one the week of Oct. 7 for what's coming that week and then one more the week of Oct. 14 with the stragglers.

I hope that makes sense? (If you want to check out the official Premiere Week 2013 calendar to see why I've created such a weird schedule, you can view it here.)

With that sorted, here's what's premiering tonight—and, as a reminder, all times are in CST:

How I Met Your Mother | 7–8 p.m. (CBS)

To be completely honest, I am so ready for this show to be over. I will continue watching this final season in the hopes that all the dangling plot points—particularly how "the mother" and Ted get together—will finally be resolved.

Castle | 9–10 p.m. (ABC)

Last season left us with quite the cliffhanger when it comes to Castle and Beckett's relationship. I have a fear that Beckett's answer won't make things happy between the two for a while, but do believe that Caskett (Beckle?) are meant to be, so eventually we'll see a happily ever after. I continue to love this show and the characters, so I'm so glad it's back for another season.

The Blacklist | 9–10 p.m. (NBC) | Trailer

Raymond "Red" Reddington, one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives, surrenders in person at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He claims that he and the FBI have the same interests: bringing down dangerous criminals and terrorists. Reddington will cooperate, but insists that he will speak only to Elizabeth Keen, a rookie FBI profiler. Keen questions Reddington's sudden interest in her, though he claims that Keen is very special. After the FBI brings down a terrorist he provided information on, Reddington reveals that the terrorist is only just the first of many. In the last two decades, he's made a list of criminals and terrorists he believes the FBI cannot find because they did not know they exist and that they matter the most. Reddington calls it "The Blacklist". (via)
I enjoy thrillery crime procedurals a lot (as you'll come to see over the rest of the week, and you already know if you've been around for previous Premiere Weeks), so the idea behind this show intrigues me. I don't, however, much enjoy James Spader, and Elizabeth Keen's hair (in the trailer) looks so weirdly fake, it's distracting. I'll give it at least a couple of episodes, however, to see if the story can win me over.

So, friends, will you be watching any of these shows? If not, what will you be watching tonight?

September 19, 2013

Nerd News: Mortal Kombat, new Supernatural gag reel, Voyager 1 and more

Hey friends! I hope you've had a great week so far! Big news of the week: iOS 7 is out. It's a bit of a weird combination of minimal and Lisa Frank. But I think I like it?

What else has been happening in the world of pop culture? Read on ... (And as always—do let me know if I've missed anything!)

In TV news:

Here's the first promo video for Toy Story of Terror:


I love Supernatural gag reels SO MUCH.


Was "Vincent and the Doctor" based on real life events? This newly discovered Van Gogh sure makes it seem possible.


September 18, 2013

A to Z Book Survey


How perfect is that sentiment? It's like Mr. Trollope took a peek through my windows on a Sunday morning. (Which would be doubly hard, considering we live on the third floor and, well, he's been dead for more than 130 years—WAIT. He totally ghost peeped. What a creeper.) My Sunday ritual consists of exactly these items: my sofa, a book and a cup (or two) of coffee. It's my time to recharge.

Last month, two blogger friends—Who've I've now met in real life! It's so fun to meet online friends.—Amanda of Dragonflight Dreams and Laura of Hello, Clementine! posted their answers to the A to Z Book Survey. (Amanda's | Laura's) I'm a little late in taking part, but I was re-inspired when I found the above quote on Pinterest. So, read on friends, and let me tell you about my books.

Author You’ve Read The Most Books From
Francine Pascal, thanks to the Fearless series being 36 books long.

Best Sequel Ever
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials trilogy) by Phillip Pullman

Currently Reading
Mara by Veronica Bane

Drink of Choice While Reading
Coffee, natch.

E-reader or physical book?
Physical book. There's something about actually holding a book in my hands that an e-reader just can't replicate. (I do understand the benefits of e-readers, however; I'm not against them or anything.)

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School
Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games)

Glad You Gave This Book a Chance
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Hidden Gem Book
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Planet X by Michael Jan Friedman (It's—no joke—a TNG/X-Men crossover.)

Important Moment in Your Reading Life
Reading Brave New World in high school. Because of that book, I fell in love with the dystopian genre.

Just Finished
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read
There aren't many, but ... erotica, probably? I've never really tried, but I feel like I'd get super uncomfortable reading that genre.

Longest Book You’ve Read
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Major Book Hangover Because of
The Hunger Games

Number of Bookcases You Own

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Preferred Place to Read

Quote That Inspires You
Other than the one above? "For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."—Vincent Van Gogh

Reading Regret
Not getting into graphic novels until after college.

(Complete) Series You Started and Need to Finish
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Unapologetic Fangirl For
Neil Gaiman

Very Excited for This Release More Than All the Others
Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Worst Bookish Habit
Not being able to part with books, even if they're terrible.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Your Latest Book Purchase
What's Left Of Me by Kat Zhang

ZZZ-Snatcher Book (last one that kept you up way too late)
More Than This by Patrick Ness

September 17, 2013

obsessed.: Welcome to Night Vale, Cookie Clicker and Pronunciation Book

So I'm not sure I'd exactly consider myself obsessed. with this, but I certainly am intrigued.

I'd been hearing chatter on Twitter lately about this new thing called "Welcome to Night Vale." What it was, I wasn't sure—I at first thought it might be a TV show or webseries. I was close; it's a podcast. A very strange podcast.


According to the series' official website:
WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
It's a bizarre mix of spooky and small town. The podcast currently has 31 episodes, but I'm only on episode 11. Here's the first episode, so you can get a taste:

I'm not really sure I get it ... but I'm going to keep listening.


And this week, from the Mister:

Colt has been "playing" this new "game" for about a week now. It's called Cookie Clicker, and the reason I use quotes in the previous sentence is because I use those terms loosely. The point of the whole thing is to "make" cookies—by clicking your cursor on a cookie located on screen and building up "achievements" in order to get the whole thing to auto run. (And I've just used up my allotted quotation marks for the whole week.)

This is what the starting screen looks like:

And this is what Colt's screen currently looks like.

Thank you (?) Shaun for introducing this into our lives.

And from TGG:

Pronunciation Book is a YouTube channel supposedly geared toward non-English speakers that, in 2010, started posting videos explaining how to pronounce English words. Earlier this year, the channel took a decidedly creepy turn when it started posting odd sentences, poems and short stories followed by the phrase "Something is going to happen in __ days." The number of days started at 77 and the channel has since been counting down each day—the coundown runs out Sept. 24. The creepiness factor is upped when you take into account that the static that plays at the end of each video, when cleaned up and stacked, show an image of a man pointing at a sign.

There are a lot of theories about the channel and what will happen come the end of the countdown, most of which you can find at the Pronunciation Book Conspiracy Wiki. Wes doesn't really care what it all means, but he enjoys the whole thing because of the "thrill of not knowing and making guesses."

Here's yesterday's video:


And on that bombshell (I was watching Top Gear while drafting this... ), what about you, friends? What's your obsession this week?

September 16, 2013

Lusting after ...

Autumn is my favorite season, in part because, growing up, it always meant back-to-school shopping and layering clothing. The combination of not being in school and living in Texas has sort-of lessened the amount to which I can partake in either of those autumnal traditions, but that doesn't mean a girl can't dream!

What have I been lusting after lately?

1 | Gold accents. (skull, studs)
2 | Work-appropriate, yet personality pleasing carry-alls. (laptop sleeve, bag)
3 | A little bit of whimsy.
4 | Fall colors. (nails, inc., Deborah Lippmann)
5 | Vintage-look notebooks.

6 | Sweet smoking loafers.
7 | Cozy outerwear. (blazer, cape, cardigan)
8 | Silver and studs. (oxfords, Docs, high-tops)
9 | Dorothy-inspired leggings.
10 | A little bit of badass.

And—just for fun:

11 | A punch of neon to wear somewhere fancy.

How about you? What's on your back-to-school/autumn wishlist?

September 13, 2013

30 Before 30 | September update

Another month down ... and I'm (surprisingly?) still pretty on board with turning the big 3-0.

Nothing more crossed off this month, sadly, but progress has been made on a few. (Some of these are definitely not getting done, but I'm OK with that.)

Here's the list:

1. Get another tattoo.—Appointment made! It's going to happen before Dec. 12.
2. Go to Disney World/Land.
3. Lose 10-15 more pounds/feel better in the skin I'm in.
4. Find an exercise plan/class and stick with it.—We've continued with AppleFit, but I still need to find something else to do.
5. Read at least 30 books.
6. Create (and stick to) a better savings plan.—A work in progress.
7. Try indoor skydiving.
8. Get my passport.
9. Get a gel manicure (and not ruin my nails by picking it off).
10. Reopen the Pants Design Etsy shop/increase sales on RedBubble.—I've been re-inspired recently, so I hope to create some new designs soon.
11. Eat at five new (to me) Austin-area restaurants.
12. Visit a new state.
13. Attend at least one con.
14. Cook at least three meals at home per month.—It's still happening, but could happen more frequently.
15. Hold at least six C&CC giveaways.—Four down! If you haven't already entered, there's still about a week left to enter the Diamond Candles giveaway.
16. Finish learning how to knit.
17. Complete the blanket I started as a first anniversary (i.e., 2011) present for Colt.
18. Re-watch three TV series.—Completed a re-watch of Young Americans. Continuing to re-watch Angel; I'm halfway through season 4.
19. Learn to better use CSS and HTML.—Still half-done.
20. Get an additional pet.
21. Start a 365 project.
22. Become a mentor (again).—I'll be attending a meeting on this later this month/early in October.
23. Go on 12 fancy date nights.—Um ...
24. Hold a fandom party.—This might end up being a fandom-themed birthday party.
25. Push myself out of my comfort zone.
26. Shoot a gun (at a range).
27. Get a new car.
28. Finish decorating the bedroom.—Got a new piece of art and figured out another piece, so this will happen soon, hopefully.
29. Partake in three anonymous Pay it Forwards.—1: July 26.
30. Find the perfect shade of lipstick (and learn how to apply it properly).

I continue to update the original post as I check things off. You can find it via the nav. bar at the top of the site (or here).

September 12, 2013

Nerd News: DC's issues, Legend of Korra, new Harry Potter movie (!!!) and more

Vol. 4, Issue 35

Hello friends!

I am ashamed to have not included The Legend of Korra in yesterday's Pre-Premiere Week post! The show's second season starts at 7/6 CST tomorrow (Sept. 13) on Nickelodeon. (Peep a new trailer below.)

In movie news:

Here is a trailer:

Robocop (Thanks, Colt!)


September 11, 2013

Pre-Premiere Week 2013

Premiere Week 2013 doesn't officially begin until Monday, Sept. 23, but a few shows are getting an early start on the season.

A little Premiere Week primer for those of you who might be new: In this post—and the posts during the week of 9/23—I'll include when the show airs (in the Central time zone), a brief synopsis and a link to show's trailer (if the show is new) and a few personal thoughts on why I'm going to be watching. (If you'd like to review the premiere calendar I made up so that you know what's airing when, check out this post.)

Coming up this week, on Friday, Sept. 13:

Haven | 9–10 p.m. (SyFy)

Some serious ... stuff ... went down on Haven's third season finale. I'm not exactly sure how the town—and people in it—will bounce back from it all, but I can't wait to find out. I really enjoy this show's understated humor, and the mysteries, while not completely shocking, are compelling.

(Torchwood: Miracle Day will also re-air on BBC America starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, in case you missed that when it aired on Starz.)

And then next week, on Monday, Sept. 16:

Sleepy Hollow | 8–9 p.m. (Fox) | Trailer

After Ichabod Crane "dies" during a mission for General George Washington in 1790, he awakens in Sleepy Hollow in 2013. But so does the Headless Horseman, whose head Ichabod lopped off before his perceived death. The horseman begins his nightly killing spree, and Ichabod must partner with newly appointed Sheriff Abbie Mills.

Abbie is made the new sheriff after the horseman killed the previous sheriff upon awakening. While hunting the Horseman, Abbie looks into the old case files her old partner (the former sheriff) was investigating and learns of two types of occult groups— one for good, the other evil—which may have summoned the horseman again. If the horseman is not stopped, dark supernatural forces will affect the Earth. (via)
I really like the idea of a cop drama that features paranormal aspects. (I just hope that the CG is better than Grimm's is ...) And the fish-out-of-water element should make for some interesting interactions between Ichabod and the modern-day characters.

On Tuesday, Sept. 17:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine | 7:30–8 p.m. (Fox) | Trailer

A laid-back NYPD detective is told he must grow up and "respect the badge" when his new boss is a strict, by-the-book type. (via)
Andy Samberg is funny. I'm not sure how well his funny will translate to the sitcom format, but I'm willing to give it a try to find out. (I'm not thinking this one will last long on the Series Record list, however.) But: Terry Crews! Terry Crews makes everything better.

New Girl | 8–8:30 p.m. (Fox)

The past season of New Girl really hit a great stride, with more time with the guys balancing out Jess's (sometimes obnoxious) crazy. I also totally ship Nick and Jess, so I am excited to see where they're relationship goes. Coach will be back for a few episodes, too, and I can see Winston being adorably neurotic because of him being there.

And on Friday, Sept. 20:

The Hollow Crown | 8–8:30 p.m. (PBS) | Trailer

The Hollow Crown is a series of four mini-film adaptations of the four plays in William Shakespeare's second historical tetralogy, the Henriad: Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V. (via)
I like Shakespeare. I like Tom Hiddleston. So it makes sense that I would doubly like Shakespeare with Tom Hiddleston. I've actually been looking forward to watching these since they aired last year as part of the celebration surrounding the 2012 London Olympics. I'm so glad PBS is bringing them to this side of the pond.

So, TV fans, which of these will you be watching? Did I miss anything coming up in the next week and a half?