Friday, December 30, 2011

Sick Day

I have a cold. I've had it for a few days now. So far I've sort of been ignoring it, I've been going around, seeing people, running errands, generally being normal. Today on the other hand I've taken as an actual sick day. Already I've watched a movie in bed and am about halfway through watching American Horror Story (I'm liking a lot more than I thought I would considering the title). What am I doing as I watch all of these? Making progress on the sweater I've been knitting since summer (to be fair I left the sweater yarn at home when I went to school and couldn't work on it for a few months).

I don't know if this is going to help with getting any better, but it's a nice change of pace.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe

Hello! It's Christmas and that mean the Doctor Who Christmas Special! Just a reminder, there will be spoilers.

I liked how the opening just threw us right into the action with no explanation of why this ship was going to blow up earth. Even if you'd seen the prequel, it's never really explained, but to be fair it doesn't really matter or have anything to do with the rest of the story. I liked the introduction to Mag and her family. I loved when Mag gave a whole big explanation of where she was going to Cyril, who simply told his dad that she was going "out". I've totally done that before.

Picking the phone box lock with a bobby pin. Oh, that was just great, especially that little moment of relief when we learn it's not actually the TARDIS. Hopefully that's not how she got him into the real one.

Skipping ahead, I can say, with full confidence, I want the Doctor to be my interior decorator. That house was amazing. I loved the kids' room. Mag's conversation with the Doctor about not wanting to tell her kids that their father died was amazing. In a lot of ways I feel like they've made the point that the previous two Doctors were very angsty about all the Time Lords dying and what they'd lost, but that this Doctor while still affected by it isn't letting it rule over him the way the previous Doctor's did. This scene seemed to serve as a reminder (for me at least) and I liked that he touched on his great losses without making it about him.

I liked Lily's comment when she walked into the Doctor's room as well as his follow up. "You lied about the panthers." "Famous last words." At first I wasn't sure whether she know Cyril was downstairs and was lying to help cover up that he was sneaking a peek, or if she was really unaware that he had sneaked off.

The tree was very cool. When the Doctor and Lily went in after Cyrill and he explained about time moving differently, my only thought was, "well duh, anyone who's read a Narnia book knows that time moves differently there," but still appreciated the reference.

I'd seen the initial clip with Mag and the three people where they thought she was armed because of the wool before, but it still held up. I really liked where that scene went. From the woman lowering her gun because of the visual to the reveal that Mag was wearing wool and was armed.

The tree people were cool. I saw it coming that Cyril and the Doctor were weak because they were male, but it was still as nice touch. Similarly, that Reg survived (every time I say Reg, I think of Reg Cattermole from Harry Potter) was something I saw coming, though the way they did it surprised me. I also loved Mag's speech to Cyril that she'd always told him not to open presents early so "this was to be expected."

Finally, the ending with Amy and Rory. "I have a water gun!" That is one way to get rid of carolers. I was surprised that they had it be two years in the future for Amy and Rory since this places them, well, two years in the future and they're coming back next season for a little bit at least but I'm sure there's a plan.

Overall, I liked this Christmas special. Since the next season doesn't start until fall, I really hope they do make an Easter special to tide us over, but as there hasn't been one announced I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I've Been Up To

So I got home on break a little while ago. Unfortunately, most of my friends from hoe have only just started getting home from break. As a result, I've needed to keep myself occupied. Occupation has come in the form of:

Watching Buffy on Hulu
Watching Firefly on Hulu
More reading
Going to the Post Office for my Mom
More  knitting
Volunteering/Helping out at my Temple
Going to the Post Office for Mom again
Playing Bridge with my Dad and Grandparents
Being Sick with a 24 bug

That last one hit yesterday.  Luckily I seem to be all better. Which is good because now I can hang out with all my friends who are back from school. After all, their families will still be here after January 1, but I won't. I go back to school before most of my friends. Isn't being on a quarter system fun?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Project For Awesome 2011

Today at noon the Project for Awesome begins. Technically speaking you're supposed to make a YouTube video about your favorite charity, but I have no knowledge of how to do that so I'm writing a blog instead because it still raises awareness. Please go to YouTube and like and comment on videos with the tag P4A because this is a day to decrease World Suck and make the world a better place.  More information can be found at the project for awesome website or at

Okay, now that I'm done introducing the Project for Awesome I can talk about my charity of choice.

I want to raise awareness for the Harry Potter Alliance. This charity was created in 2005 by Andrew Slack, who serves as Executive director, and Paul DeGeorge from Harry and the Potters. They have since grown adding more members. There are currently 60 chapters of HPA around the world. Essentially this is a real life Dumbledore's Army. Yearly events include the Accio Books campaign, where they collect books and money to buy books for underfunded or underprovided libraries around the world to help increase literacy for children and young adults. Last year my temple youth group held a book drive and donated hundreds of books towards this cause.

Other campaigns have included "Wrock the Vote" where the HPA along with Wizard Rockers have helped people register to vote, as well as "Wrock for Equality" which has taken an active role in getting and keeping same sex marriage legal. In anticipation of the final Harry Potter movie a Deathly Hallows campaign was started wit ha new issue every month, dealing with topics of bullying, self esteem and the climate.

An ongoing campaign from this is the "Not in Harry's Name" campaign, which asked Warner Brothers to use fair trade chocolate in their Harry Potter chocolate items. This campaign started November 1 2010 and Warner Brothers still has not made the switch, insisting that their chocolate complies with the ethical guidelines they have, but has produced no proof of these claims.

The HPA is giving Warner Brothers until New Years Day to provide proof or make the switch. If you wish to get involved you can send a cease and desist letter, create a Muggle Howler and even buy fair trade chocolate frogs being made by the HPA.

This charity is a great reminder of the power of books and reading and what can be accomplished when a group of people really work together towards something great. You can donate on their website. Even if you don't wish to donate, you should still go and look around to learn more about this great organization.

The Weapon We Have is Love. Happy Project for Awesome and DFTBA!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Next Few Days are Really Big

Just a reminder to everyone about the big events coming up in the next two days.

Tomorrow, December 15, the House Judiciary Committee will be voting on the Stop Online Piracy Act. This is not something that should pass. This bill will stifle creativity and hurt independent creators online. Please call or email your representatives and tell them not to support this bill. I'll put more information about how to help down below.

Friday is also a big day. December 16 is "Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day". This day was created in honor of Katie Goldman, who last year was bullied for having a Star Wars water bottle, because she's a girl. The original story can be found here. The idea behind this day is to celebrate geek pride, but also to encourage the breaking down of gender stereotyping. This is a cause I hold dear to my heart. While I have been fortunate in that those who bullied me never focused on my interest in things that are considered to be "boy things" (like Science, Karate, Math ect.) bullying of any kind is hurtful, but this type of gender stereotyping can be especially hurtful.

When I was coming home from school this weekend I stopped by the airport bookstore and overheard a mother talking to her daughter about the types of coloring books they had. The mom pointed out a Dora the Explorer book as well as a few other things, but what stopped me cold was when she said "They have Spiderman, but you're a girl, so you don't want that." It's one thing if another kid makes a comment like this but for a mother to say this to he daughter infuriates me. While I may prefer Batman to Spiderman, I get the feeling that to this woman both fall under the category of "boy things". Maybe this mother knew her daughter didn't like superheroes, but if that was the case, why not say "but you don't like that". Saying that her daughter shouldn't like something simply because she's a girl is only reinforcing an outdated cultural idea.

Please help celebrate "Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day" and put an end to gender stereotyping. For more information click here.

The final big event is the Project for Awesome, which begins Saturday at noon and last through Sunday as well. This is an event on YouTube where people are encouraged to make videos promoting their favorite charitable organizations, as well as viewing the videos made by others and liking, favoriting and commenting on them so that they are more likely to be put in the front page of YouTube. This is an annual event, and does a lot of good. Even if you can only look for a little bit, this is such a worthy cause. You may even find a new favorite charity. While I'm not making a video, I will be writing about some of my favorite charities on Saturday, as well as spending as much of the day as possible on YouTube liking, favoriting and commenting to help promote this great event. More information can be found on the project for awesome website, which will be getting updated more as we get closer to Saturday.

Here is more information about SOPA:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Music

Normally I would wait until tomorrow to post this, but I'll be traveling  home, so I'd rather just do this now and not have to worry about forgetting.

About a year ago I got the idea to put all the Christmas/Winter ect. music on my iPod into a playlist so that I could access it easily and put myself into the holiday spirit at this time of year. I never actually did it, but today the dining hall was playing Christmas music while I ate, so I decided to go ahead and do it. I found 16 songs that related to this season. If I find more I will add them to the playlist and this list, but for now this is my Christmas/Winter playlist:

Note: Songs can be played in any order, not just this one, though the songs from Nightmare Before Christmas are in the order in which they appear in the movie.

Another Note: I tried to find videos or streamed songs posted by the artists themselves. The only place where I couldn't do this were the songs from Nightmare Before Christmas. The Weird Al song might be pushing it as well. If for some reason any of the videos or songs are no longer available, let me know and I'll do my best to replace them.

1. Snow Day - ALL CAPS

2. Christmas Wish - ALL CAPS

3. Not Alone - ALL CAPS

4. Lumos Flies - ALL CAPS (Not technically a Christmas or winter song but it takes place at the Yule Ball so I'm counting it.)

5. Christmas is Almost Here - The Arrogant Worms (This is in the Christmas Turkey album.)

6. Santa's Gonna Kick Your A*s - The Arrogant Worms (This is in the Hindsight 20/20 album, and the Christmas Turkey album.)

7. WTFAMP (The Christmas Song) - Letters to Cleo (It starts about 8 seconds in.)

8. What's This - Danny Elfman (This and all the Nightmare Before Christmas Songs are the original ones that appeared in the movies. While I have cover versions of some of these on my iPod I decided not to have repeats and just stick with the original cast recordings.)

9. Town Meeting - Nightmare Before Christmas Cast

10. Jack's Obsession - Danny Elfman/Nightmare Before Christmas Cast

11. Making Christmas - Danny Elfman/Nightmare Before Christmas Cast

12. Kidnap the Sandy Claws - Catherine O'Hara, Danny Elfman & Paul Reubens

13. In the Absence of Christmas - Charlie McDonnell

14. Black Santas - Lauren Fairweather (On the CD version one line is changed to "and frankly I can't wait. You'll know which one I mean.)

15. The Night Santa Went Crazy - Weird Al Yankovic (Scroll down for the full music video.)

16. Jesus Gets Nothing for Christmas - Hank Green

I think the part of this list I find funniest is that I'm Jewish and don't have a single Hanukkah song on here. That and the fact that except for song 4 the most "normal" Christmas songs are by ALL CAPS.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Step Inside my Brain

It's finals week so here's a list of the various things currently on my mind.

1. I should be studying for math.
2. But I did so well on my midterms that I don't need to worry.
3. Except I know I need to review.
4. Maybe I'll watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special Preview again.
5. Now I want to see some Doctor Who fan vids on youtube.
6. Liisakee is really good. Why aren't all vidders as talented as her.
7. Right math.
8. I know how to do this stuff.
9. This one's a little trickier, but I can handle it.
10. Wait, why isn't that working?
11. Seriously, why isn't this working.
12. Maybe I should study a little more.
13. But first I'll write my blog post.
14. Thirteen thoughts? That could be the next YA book after 13 Little Blue Envelopes or 13 Reasons Why.
15. Except now it's more than 13.
16. Okay I will end this post, put a link on Facebook, then get back to studying.
17. Seriously, that's what's going to happen as soon as I put in the links above.
18. Okay I've done that, now I just need to do the labels, then I'll hit publish and post a link on Facebook.
19. Seriously, as soon as I figure out a title for this post.
20. I now have no ideas.
21. Wait yes I do.
22. I was going to do something about the number 21 but changed my mind.
23. Okay I have a title I like mostly because it makes me think about Inception and the new Pixar movie.
24. Okay I'm really done now.
25. Really, I just wanted to end on 25, it's so much more fulfilling than ending on 24, or 26.
26. See what I mean, wouldn't it be better if I just stopped at the last one?
27. This is getting out of hand.
28. Okay, I'm really going to hit publish now.
29. As soon as I get to 30.
30. kthnxbye

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thursday was a Good Day

On Thursday:
1. I only had one class.
2. The dining hall had curly fries.
3. The package from my parents containing my old cell phone arrived.
4. When I got to the phone store the employee I'd spoken to before was there, so I didn't have to explain my problem and get him to suggest the same solution of mailing in my warranty phone to get a new one again. I could just get the issue formally filed and the address to send it to.
5. The guy at the UPS store laughed when I explained that my email was "Madhatter, like the Alice in Wonderland character."
6. I went to Barnes and Noble.
7. I got to help the store employee recommend books for a woman to get for her daughter and she actually listened to my advice and got them.
8. She specifically didn't want to get her daughter anything like the Twilight books, because she wanted her daughter to branch out into other types of books.
9. Barnes and Noble had stacks of books that were listed as "Must Reads, Buy 2 get 1 free." I approved of many of the books they had, particularly Looking for Alaska, Anna and the French Kiss, and Thirteen Reason's Why.
10. I resisted the urge to purchase the above three books, even though I love them and don't own copies of them because I didn't want to carry them in my suitcase when I travel home in about a week.
11. I did however buy a new Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
12. Which I used both my parent's Barnes and Noble membership to get at a discount, then a gift card that I can still use for at least 2 more books, so I got it for free(ish).
13.The Salvation Army guy outside of the store wasn't just ringing a bell, he was dancing around to Christmas music.
14. When I called my mom to tell her the phone thing was resolved she told me to expect more mail within the next few days.
15. I got to have latkes and jelly doughnuts.
16. Two nice boys walked me back to my dorm since it was pretty late and dark.
17. When I got back to my dorm I found out that my mom's package had arrived.
18. It was full of candy and chocolate and other winter wonderfulness to help me get through finals next week.
19. It snowed a little. Not enough to gather, but still. I like snow.

If you're curious as to whether my good dayness continued on Friday, it didn't. I fell on the stairs on my way to my first class and different parts of my body keep hurting or being stiff intermittently.