Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Raining Free Books!

I work in the public education system (cue ominous music). Lately there's been a workplace-wide rash of midsummer office clean-outs, resulting in boxes full of books marked "Free to good home" mysteriously popping up.

Two weeks ago, right before I went on vacation, I came across one such box in the building where the English classes are taught. To go to the snack bar in the foyer. For iced tea, honest! Since I'm applying to go back to school for literature/creative writing, I thought that this might be a positive sign! I walked away with a copy of a creative writing textbook. A Free Professional Copy, mind.

Yesterday I was in the building where the art classes are taught. To go to the vending machines. To get bottled water, honest! Sitting on the floor was yet another box stuffed full of old books. When I went over to check it out, I discovered it was full of old books on needlepoint! I was pretty excited because I do needlepoint, and I love buying old (1950-1980s) books on needlepoint. These were all in excellent condition, except for one book by needlepoint designer Erica Wilson, which had water damage. The whole book had its pages all stuck together. I selected three books on cross stitch and needlepoint. There were at least 10 others still in the box. To be honest, this box didn't have a sign on it that said Free to good home," so I may have just swiped a bunch of books from someone who might be coming back for them. I'll have to go down and get some Fritos later on and check to see if the box is still there.

What I'm wondering is, where did the needlepoint books come from? The English texts i can understand being cleared out by faculty members. Someone must have cleaned out at home and brought a box in. Whatever the case, I've scored some free books that I would have paid, oh, three, four dollars apiece for at a used bookstore!

Gripes du jour:

Someone keeps interfering with the Emily the Strange and skeleton boy and girl from The Corpse Bride action figures on my desk. The little pieces like the cat and stuff are missing, presumably knocked behind the desk, only I can't see them on the floor. It's a tight fit to get behind there. Also, my short story got rejected by the literary magazine I submitted it to. As a potential English grad student, let me just say, Bummer.

Doctor Who? Getting better, slowly. I have since pronounced the William Shakespeare episode unwatchable. The (new) New New York episode? Slightly better. My favorite part? Martha's Oh S*** moment when she realizes she doesn't even know the Doctor, really. Well, who does, eh?

Martha: I don't even know who he is (or something like that)
Carjacker/kidnapper girl: So that means our only hope is--
Me: A casual acquaintance?!
Carjacker/kidnapper girl: a total stranger? That's no good.

Ah, but it is good, kidnapper girl. It's very good, indeed.

Tomorrow: the Daleks take over the Chrystler Building. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Space Rhinos, Bad Extras, & Questionable Science

Last Friday was the (finally!) double header season premiere of Dr. Who in the U.S. More David Tennant hotness, some Catherine Tate wackiness, and some Freema Argeman, uh, newness!
This opinionated post will contain spoilers. These are my thoughts on the first two episodes. And, please, spare me any "it's only a tv show" comments, if you don't mind. Just picture my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. So I will dutifully insert a spoiler space. But I'm pretty sure anyone on either side of the Atlantic who wanted to watch Dr. Who at all has probably seen it by now. Nevertheless...
The Runaway Bride was pretty cool. I like the Dr. Who Christmas specials, and this year David Tennant didn't spend most of the episode in a coma so that was a definite plus. Donna was incredibly irritating and yes, I have to say it, a little thick. So let's review: The Doctor wants Donna to travel with him, but only wants to take Martha along for one ride?

Lance: Even though the Doctor looks at Donna like she's being too cruel, yes, in my opinion, Lance did deserve what he got for betraying her. Hello? He was also sacrificing the entire human race to the mean giant spider lady?!

Racnoss (??) Empress: Mean giant spider lady funny. Maybe it was intentional. most of the aliens in Dr. Who's entire history have been unintentionally funny, so I'm not sure. Whatever the case, she made me laugh. She was waaay over the top, freaky as all get-out, and I loved the 10-packs-a-day raspiness of her voice. I like Sarah Parrish. The portrayal probably wasn't meant to be intentionally funny, but either way, you can tell she definitely had a blast.

Smith and Jones was pretty cool. I love when the aliens are weird/spooky looking. That's why I like the Cybermen better than the salt shakers-I mean Daleks. The heavily armored Judoon were creepy cool in their heavy black spacesuits and 6-inch high Creepers. At first.

There are three things about this episode that I couldn't quite get over. Hint: See title of post.

1) Rhino aliens. Why rhinos? Are they aware they resemble non-sentient earth animals?! Would they flock to all of Earth's zoos in order to free their bretheren, then blast the entire zookeeping staff because "justice is swift?" Would they find Doc Martens more comfortable than Creepers?

2) Bad extras. OK people, imagine you're sitting in a lounge one minute, the next minute, Oh my God, the entire hospital is on the moon! You look out the window. You react. Okayyyy and....ACTION!

The extras reaction to being on the moon made me laugh. I don't know, I just thought they were funny. And Martha? I'll suspend my belief and just accept that she didn't freak out. Cos I can tell Martha is going to kick a**. Girl, you went to the moon and back in a day, yet you're together enough to make it to your brother's birthday party on time? Rock.

3) The Doctor's Revival and Other Scientific Oddities. Now, I'm not a doctor, but if someone dies from a loss of blood, would CPR really be enough to revive them? Wouldn't they need a transfusion? And don't get me started on how the hospital's power supply was still working on the moon. The entire building's removal left a giant crater. So at some point wouldn't all the underground plumbing and electrical lines, etc., have been severed? I'm sure everyone would say, "yes, but the bubble the Judoon created to keep the air in also enabled all the systems to keep functioning." Fine.

I can't wait to meet William Shakespeare!