Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review catch-up

It's been a really long time since I've done tele reviews (or at least it seems like it), so I'm gonna try to do a catch-up and do a bunch of mini reviews!

But before I start the actual reviews, I should warn you that most of the shows and storylines that I really go for are the "will they or won't they" type romantic entanglements (and just about every show has at least one of those type couples in it). Usually though, when the characters finally do get together, the show dies and ends up being cancelled. I've never understood why that happens because that's my favorite part...the happy ending and the bliss that follows! You can blame the Disney influence, but honestly, I'm totally OK with being a "happily ever after" kind of girl! And I know I probably sound like a broken record, but for me, TV is supposed to be escapism, I don't want to be reminded how crappy or lonely life can be (and is most of the time)...I just want to see the girl get the perfect guy for her and live happily ever after...just because I don't have a "perfect" guy, doesn't mean I want to brood about it and not wish it for others, be they fictional characters or real people (OK, so maybe I'd prefer it more with the fictionals...real people finding love just reminds me that it actually is possible, and that sucks!).

But, as per usual, I've managed to get way off the beaten path! So, first up - Peak Practice series 1-6:
At the time I started ordering these, I didn't realize the complete series wasn't out on DVD (and apparently never will be). That's a rare occurrence for me, I'm usually pretty careful researching a show before I buy (which is probably why I like pretty much love all the shows I get). I think the fact that Jamie Bamber was in this series is what had me jumping the gun, but it also caused a massive catch 22, the DVD's don't go up as high as the episodes he's in. So bloody typical! But after the first couple of series, I was OK with only having part of the them (and no Jamie) because each series ended without a cliffhanger...or so I thought! Of course series 6 just HAD to end on a cliffhanger and it made me furious! I usually get attached to characters a lot more than the storylines, and this series definitely offered up it's fair share of great ones, probably none more so than Dr. Andrew Atwood (played by Gary Mavers). His character grew so much through the series, from one I didn't particularly care for, to a totally hunky sweetheart of a guy, and I really hated how series 6 ended for him...UGH! But, crappy-cliffhanger-ending of series 6 aside, I still highly recommend this entire series, which starts with Morse/Lewis star Kevin Whatley and the original pathologist from Silent Witness, Amanda Burton (whose characters do get their happy ending!).

Now on to Call The Midwife:
Normally, I don't really care for period pieces from this era (around the 1950's), or from any era for that matter. About the only period pieces I go for are regency, Austen-type stuff. But I really like Miranda Hart, so I was ready to give it a shot (even though this role was completely off the beaten path for her, not an ounce of comedy, and she pulled it off brilliantly!). My good friend Kate recorded this show for me, but accidentally didn't record the last episode, so I decided not to watch it until I bought it (just in case I did really like it - but honestly I wasn't expecting to). Kate beat me to it though and bought it for me (yep...she's pretty darn cool that way!), and I must say, good call! It's based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, a nurse who moved to East London to become a midwife. The series centers around young midwifes who live in a convent in the heart of East London along with a group of mainly elderly nuns who supervise and teach them their trade (one of whom is Jenny Agutter, obviously not elderly, and if you can buy her as a nun, then the show must be good!). The young women mature and grow the more they learn to deal with true poverty and even the realization that love comes in many forms and to all classes of people. The nuns change as well as they deal with getting older and even questioning their faith. Surprisingly, I absolutely can not wait until series 2...go figure! Kate knows me pretty well, apparently, better than I know myself. Well done!

A couple of shows I've watched lately have been the newest series of show that I've been watching for a while - one of which is Not Going Out series 5.
For those that don't know, Not Going Out is a show about Lee, a pretty lazy Northener, who shares a flat in London with his best friend's sister, Sally, who he also happens to be absolutely in love with! Add Tim, the best friend, Tim's completely mad girlfriend, Daisy, their respective parents, and what's not to love about this show! A lot of the time, I'll find myself head over heels for the lead male in a show, even if he may not be what would normally be considered "hot" by the general population (and other times if he's hot, I'll overlook his bad points - see Dr. Atwood above, hey, I am human!). Lee Mack is one of those "not your typical hottie"-type guys and I absolutely adore him, not to mention, he's hilariously funny as well, which is NEVER a bad fault in a guy. It takes a LOT to make me laugh and I can't think of one episode hasn't at least made me giggle dozens of times, not just in series 5, but the entire group of them! One day Lee will get Sally to admit she loves him too and then it will really get good. I can't wait!

Another one of my regular series, also in series 5 release (although they are re-releases), is Dalziel & Pascoe.
It's a detective show with a pretty much all Mancunian cast as well as being centered in and around Manchester (boy, do I have a think for those Mancunians!). Andy Dalziel (pronounced "D.L." for the non-Gaelic out there) is an alcoholic, chain-smoking, gluttonous, misogynistic prick who you can't help but love. This series showed a much "nicer" Dalziel, and I have to say, I really didn't care for him near as much. He's always been the perfect opposite for Peter Pascoe's borderline posh/OCD personality, which is what makes them a good team (and also makes for good drama). But in this series the roles reversed pretty dramatically since Andy's cleaned up his act (as much as he can anyway), while Peter takes on the jerk role since his bee-och of a wife left him (good riddance) and took their daughter. I do have to say though, I think Peter's a lot more attractive when he's angry than when he's being sweet, and I rarely ever find anger attractive. Series 6 is due out soon, and hopefully Peter can move on and find a good woman and Andy can go back to being the slob he was before!

Series 14 of Midsomer Murders saw a change in the cast line up, with a new DCI Barnaby (the old one's cousin), but I don't think it affected the series as much as the negative reviews on Amazon claim it does.
This is one of the few shows where the story is way better than the characters anyway, so it didn't make that much of a difference for me, although, seriously, can't they give Ben a proper girl? For a while I thought he was gonna end up with John (the original) Barnaby's daughter, but then she went off and married somebody else (but I also thought the same thing about her and Sgt. Troy, the first Ben, so what do I know?). And seriously? I'm surprised those tiny little English villages in Midsomer have any villagers left since they all just love killing each other en masse (and sometimes in quite ingenious ways!). The British version of Peyton Place, that is!

Series 13 and 14 of Silent Witness saw the "will they or won't they" storyline between Harry and Nikki getting closer to the "they will" side of things, but not quite yet, and I'm afraid they may have actually gone past the magic point (which would be awful - those two need to be together!).
There were some serious cliffhanger episodes and some really had me on edge (and some made me mad as well). But, in the end, it didn't leave me hanging too much while I wait for series 15 to come out (and since Amazon has already pulled it from the lineup, I figure I'll have to wait until they release 15 and 16 in one package, like they've done with all the other series - ugh...it's almost like waiting for an American series, you have to wait at least a year for the package to come out!). Silent Witness is a show about three academic forensic pathologists (well, technically two paths and a forensic anthropologist, but why split hairs?) and their search for the answers behind the numerous deaths that occur during each episode. As someone who works for pathologists (although not in the forensic capacity), this show is pretty realistic from the gore standpoint, except for when they do bowels...those are almost laughable!

And finally, I did finish Wire In The Blood as well and it was yet another case an absolutely amazing show!
Robson Green...yum yum! I loved him from Touching Evil (and his brief stint on Being Human), so I knew this show was going to be good (if not a bit too close to home since he's an Asper with a meningioma, although the clinical psychologist who helps the police solve crimes by getting inside the mind of the killer part was off base from me). The ending wasn't a series, but a movie, and it didn't really finish the storylines very well from the show since it put Tony in America by himself without the other cast (especially his "will they or won't they" partner Alex). You got the sense that "they did" because he does have several phone conversations with Alex's answering machine and hints at a possible relationship, so who knows...I just did what I usually do and let my imagination run wild which means they are madly in love and shall never be parted! I was a bit skeptical about this show since Hermione Norris was the original D.I. that Tony worked with (and I've made my feelings known about her, even though she always seems to be in shows that I love...Spooks anyone?), but before her exit, I did find myself hoping her and Tony's "will they or won't they" moment would happen, although it never did.

And that's about it for now (I also watched series 2 of Sherlock, but I think I'll save that for another day). I'll try not to let the reviews pile up so much (even if my series stash does - the front of my TV stand looks like an isle in a video shop). If the Brits do create bad television, I haven't found it yet, but hey, there is always a chance in the next review!

I've got the 6th series of Lewis, Treasure Island (with not only Rupert Penry-Jones but Eddie Izzard), Downton Abby series 2, series 1-4 of Merlin, I still have the 7th series of Doctor Who to go (god, I miss David Tennant), New Tricks 1-8, Bad Girls 1-9, Robin Hood 1-3 (although I've seen 1 and parts of 2, I'm really not looking forward to this one since I know what happens), Psychoville 2, North Square (Rupert again!), Stephen Fry In America, Heartbeat 1-7, and the one American show (which stars a British actor), House season 6, waiting in the wings. Plus, I have Bedlam 2, Silk 2 (Rupert yet again!), True Love series 1 (finally some David Tennant!), and Wallander 3 on pre-order...good thing I don't have a life!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stitch update and Brave review

Considering the work stress I've been under, the fact that I was at the beauty shop for 4 hours Saturday and went and saw Brave on Sunday, I'm pretty surprised I got any stitching done this weekend, but I did! I planned on starting Sleepy Hollow this weekend, but I got so far with my little Highland girl, I just couldn't stop on her (and she kind of resembles a zombie right now with the missing eye).

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On to Brave - I've been anticipating this movie for a really, really long time, ever since they were having director troubles. I've already got my Animator's Collection doll and the Merida Disney doll for my collection and the thought of the pins at Disney World had me all excited. I've been really trying hard not to get the three plush triplet bears. But the most important thing is the fact that Disney finally has a Scottish princess and I was just completely over the moon about it!

I've discussed my art past, my feelings about the second and third generation Disney movies, and how long it took me to come around to the CG side (which, in my mind, used to be comparable to the Dark side). And, as far as Pixar movies go, I'm still a bit on the fence about them...the CG is so "pungent", that it pollutes the amazing storylines and I just haven't been able to get past it. At least with Disney CG, they still meld in a bit of actual hand-drawn appeal. Take Tangled for instance, it has become one of my favorite movies of all time! It really is a gorgeous piece of art (and for ME to say that about CG, the sky MUST be falling!).

The funny thing about anticipation, you build something up so great in your mind, by the time it actually happens, you find yourself a bit disappointed. Granted, I did really like Brave, but I didn't LOVE it. My problem is, I get too distracted by the surrounding art, even the backgrounds, and if the story isn't strong enough or the characters aren't appealing enough, the CG starts to distract me. They did spend a lot of time on character animation and it showed, but I think that the fast moving horse-riding was meant more as a distraction from the fact that the backgrounds were absolute crap.

I really wanted to absolutely love Merida, but I just couldn't. Her little brothers were the highlight of the movie and they had very little screen time. I also kept having flashbacks to Brother Bear through the entire movie. Don't get me wrong, there were some absolutely hilarious moments, and seeing naked animated butts was as funny as it was shocking. I can't say I've ever seen a naked animated butt! There was a definite call for the PG rating!

The soundtrack, on the other hand, was really amazing! The music was gorgeous and I found myself listening more to the music than to the characters. The soundtrack is a definite MUST have!

Once it comes out on Blu-Ray, I'll definitely get it (as I do with every Disney/Pixar movie), and I will actually watch it again to make sure how I feel about it, but I won't pay the $8 to see it in 3D again. But, don't take my word for it, judge for yourself (but you might want to forgo the 3D price).

I think I'll watch Tangled (yet again). I need to be reminded that CG can be good, even if it will never match the perfection that is the classic hand-drawn - the TRUE art form of animation, even if it is lost forever. If CG will continue to strive for the hand-drawn appeal, like Tangled did, then maybe there is hope for CG yet!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

IHSW results

I had a really good stitch weekend (for a change), but now I'm totally nackered. It was definitely a short weekend.
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Hope everyone else got along OK.

Friday, June 15, 2012

EPIC MICKEY COMPLETED!!

With my absolutely maddening week this week, I haven't been able to announce yet that I have finished Epic Mickey! It took everything I had not to restart it immediately, because now I know I could do so much better (plus, supposedly there are different endings for the different ways you play). But, I know that restarting means another week of my life will disappear and considering the IHSW this weekend, probably not a good idea!

For those considering getting Epic Mickey, do it! It really was a good game and I'm really looking forward to Epic Mickey 2 where the characters actually talk!

I also wanted to wish everyone good luck for the IHSW! I haven't made any new progress on any stitching since my last update, and since I didn't manage to get all the thread I needed for the new one, I won't be starting it just yet.

I have made an executive decision about another project that I did, the Breast Cancer project. I did actually break down and call a framer this week and got some rates, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that now that I can use other materials other than aida, I need to redo it the way it was supposed to be done. I'm kind of embarrassed by it now! It looks like a five year old did it! Luckily, I was able to find both the material and the silk thread for the piece, and I ordered it as well. Hopefully it will only take a week like it did before when I was using the aida! I think my stitching ability has grown more in the past year than it has in the 25 years I've been stitching (thanks to the internet and all my stitch blogging friends!). I have learned more than I ever thought I needed to know!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Soundtrack of my life

My wonderful friend Kate took on this challenge and asked for others to join in, so how could I not!

Put your MP3 player (or Media Player) on Shuffle. Then, as the songs play write in the song and artist that corresponds with the following list. Finally, post your list in the comments for us to see. Most of all have fun with it! Oh, and no cheating. :)

I'm at work now, but I should be at my desk long enough to get through these! Of course my ipod is very neatly divided up into dozens of playlists and I've got over 9200 songs (I don't have a lot of music on it, more music videos than anything) but if I do a general shuffle, there is no telling how this is gonna end up because my music variety is pretty vast!

Here are my results:

Opening Credits: What's Up Lonely - Kelly Clarkson (funny my first and Kate's first were the same artist!)

Waking Up: Pray (live in Berlin) - Take That (funny because waking up involves a lot of praying to be able to stay in bed and NOT get up!)

First Day of School: Dirty Mind - Prince (I don't even know how to respond to that one!)

Falling in Love: This Is The Life - Hannah Montana (yeah, right!! More like this is the hell!)

Fight Song: Which Witch Is Which - The Disney Characters (the one fight I had, this does apply!)

Prom: Hungry Like The Wolf - Duran Duran (I didn't even go to my prom and there would be no way they would play Duran Duran at my school...and HLTW is my LEAST favorite Duran song, so of course it would come up!)

Life: S.O.S. - The Jonas Brothers (so apropos!)

Mental Breakdown: Drifting Falling - The Ocean Blue (It really came up that way!)

Driving: Confusion - New Order (yep, pretty much...confusion as to who gave all these idiots driving licenses!)

Flashback: Poor Fool He Makes Me Laugh/Il Muto - Phantom Of The Opera (the London cast not the movie, but this definitely applies to my ex-husband!!)

Getting Back Together: Nothing That You Are - Mandy Moore (Yep...my favorite FU song because there is no way I'm getting back together with my ex)

Wedding: Never Let Me Down Again - Depeche Mode (have to be Prince Charming to make me marry again, so song fits!)

Birth of Child: That's When I'll Stop Loving You - 'N Sync (me with a child...Muhwah! Besides, I didn't even know I had 'N Sync on my ipod!)

Final Battle: How To Build A Time Machine - Darren Hayes (I was gonna be pissed if I didn't manage at least one Darren song in this, but I don't know how it fits here)

Death Scene: Egmont Op 84 Overture - Ludwig Van Beethoven (bit too perky, but I'm sure there are a few people that will be happy at my demise!)

End Credits: Call My Name - Cheryl Cole (hmmm...)

Believe it or not, even random I managed a Duran Duran, Take That and Darren Hayes! Does my ipod know me or what!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

HAED and their bloody sales!

OK, so this HAED sale is not that grand (plus it celebrates Father's Day, a sore spot with me), and I had been avoiding it like a good Disney saver should do (is it just me or do they have more sales than JCPenney?), but I always check their new additions out of habit (OK, honesty here...repetition of my routine), and low and behold:
Sleepy Hollow Mural
This is the first time I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO HAVE a chart RIGHT NOW (and in true Keebs fashion, I purchased it quicker than you can say, "charge it!").

I am a total sucker for all things Headless Horseman (and I believe I have mentioned that my favorite Disney toon of all time is The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow), so how in the world could I NOT get this one! And worse yet, I want to start it right away, the other WIP's be damned! Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago I was saying how much doing more than one WIP was doing my head in?

For those of you that don't just work on more than one WIP, but actually on more than one HAED, how do you do it? These things will take years just to finish one...how do you deal with the pressure and how do you not loose interest? Oh why can't I win the lottery so I could sit at home all day and stitch?

Gotta go...too late tonight to go to Hobby Lobby, but I need to map out and gear up for my thread shopping trip to get ready for this puppy (oh, and somewhere in there I need to finish working, since I am still AT work...but why dwell on the fine points!).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Diet troubles & IHSW

Yep, I had a really bad food week and gained almost half the weight back I lost. But back on track now, so hopefully results will appear once again. Always hopeful, but eternally realistic..that's me!

I am on the last stage of Epic Mickey!! I can't believe it (but then again, considering I've had 4 hours sleep all weekend, maybe it's not that far of a stretch). My Mother's destiny may be safe for now (see previous blog where I tell the tale of how I bargained her life that I wouldn't be getting a new PS2 until I finished Epic Mickey, but did anyway, her saving grace is the fact that it's backordered until 6-21). OCD is a powerful force...when I want something, I usually find a way to get it! In this case, I dipped into my Disney fund. Bad Keebs!). But I must get the final levels of the game finished THIS week because this weekend is...you guessed it....

Yeah!! I haven't been stitching (at all) due to Mickey's interference, so this might be what I need to get moving again.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I am still alive (or at least that's what they tell me)

I haven't given up blogging (for those that are worried...and I know there are hundreds, HA!)...I've just been living in headache-land this week. I haven't even turned my home computer on in three days and that's almost unheard of for me. This new diet just ain't workin'...I got no energy for anything other than sitting in the chair. Me and the doc are having another discussion tomorrow!!

I did make a decision about the video gaming issue...I decided NOT to get a PS2 until I finished Epic Mickey, swore on my Mother's life it wasn't happening! Well, sorry for my Mother's life, but it lasted all of two days! The promise may not be entirely broken yet because the PS2 is backordered until 6-21, so I have until then to beat Epic Mickey and save my Mother's life! I re-started the game last night from the beginning and it took me no time to get back into the "groove". I made it through the first couple of lands, so yeah me! Half a million more to go!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stitching and gaming

I've turned back into a stitching maniac!!
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And to top it off, I finished a quickie project that has taken me most of the year so far! This is my fourth of these...I have a ton more in stash and I usually do one after every major project, and this one started out the same, but I was so excited to start my little Highland girl, I couldn't wait. And despite their appearance, these little buggers take forever!
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On another front, I have been craving to finish Epic Mickey, but it's been so long since I've played, I'm gonna have to start the game all over again. OCD and gaming are a scary combination and I'm the poster child! That is why I don't game that much, because I have serious complications...lack of sleep, lack of food, and lack of general hygiene...I just play solid through until I HAVE to stop.

For those that don't know what Epic Mickey is, here is the opening sequence:


The upcoming release of Epic Mickey 2 is what has got me in a gaming tizz. Then again, I absolutely HAD to have Disney Universe the second it came out, and the bloody thing is still in the wrapping! But in my defense, I know that the PS3 and XBox versions of the game have downloadable skins and the Wii doesn't. I have a Wii (thanks Am!) because it was the only format for Epic Mickey (then again, I also have a Nintendo 64 still connected, so what does that say about me? I'm more of a cute game gamer than a graphics gamer...give me Mario any day). Epic Mickey 2, however, will be for all formats...which brings my obsession with game playing back in the forefront again because I WILL have to have it the second it comes out and it brings up the question whether I wanna get it for Wii or another format.

Here's the new trailer for EM2:


I've always wanted a PS2 so that I could play the Kingdom Hearts series (are you noticing a Disney pattern here?), but if I get a PS3, it will play Blu-Rays (but not the old PS2 games). Then again, I could get an XBox (which also has the Disneyland Adventure game) and just buy a separate Blu-Ray player. I've been putting off the Blu-Ray change-over simply because I have just finished replacing all my VHS Disney movies with DVD's...I sure as heck don't wanna start replacing again...by the time I finished for the second time, there will be another format and I'll have to start again...it's a never ending cycle aimed at robbing me blind and I keep getting suckered in. I have made a deal with myself though that I'm not buying any new game system until I finish Epic Mickey...so of course I have to finish it immediately because I can't wait to get a new system! Yep, I'm compulsive shopper...shock.

Here is the Disney Universe trailer (or one of them, there are several):


And here is the Disneyland Adventures trailer (I can't help but think it's a matter of time before we get a Disney World one):


I also always buy the game guide to go with the game, just to make sure that I play to the fullest and don't miss anything, but I got told by someone recently that game guides are cheating. Granted, this person runs through a game just to finish it, which I think is just wasteful game playing...what's the use of playing a game unless you can experience all the cool details? It's like going to an art museum just to use the bathroom! Or maybe I'm looking at it wrong.

So my question to you is this...if you are a gamer, what do you think of game guides? Cheating or invaluable directionsl tool?