Category Archives: Off-topic

Revisiting The X-Files – Deep Throat

Daylight. The episode opens on a group of military police surrounding a house. They take down the door, spreading out through the house. Looks of shock appear on their faces as they find a man, shaking and covered in burns, huddled in a corner. He’s going to need a doctor.

Scully sits at a bar, wearing some terrible 90s eyeglasses and flipping through notes. Mulder appears and it almost looks like he’s going in for a kiss, which is a little weird. He stops short and offers to buy her a drink. Scully, ever the professional, refuses to drink at 2pm. Mulder goes on to tell her about a military pilot of experimental aircraft who had a psychotic breakdown, was taken in for hospitalization and hasn’t been heard from in 4 months. I love the sly amusement in Scully’s face and voice whenever she questions what Mulder is telling her. She clearly thinks he’s nuts.

The X-Files s01e02 Deep Throat - Mulder sees Deep Throat for the first time

This is the episode in which we first meet Deep Throat (kinda obvious from the title), the man who will become the agents’ contact and giver of sometimes reliable information, who warns Mulder off the case. This is the first episode that really opens up the X-Files mythology. Conspiracy is afoot and Mulder’s interest in this case gets rewarded by someone having his phone tapped.

No one wants to talk to anyone. That seems to be a theme of this episode. Military refuse to talk to Mulder and Scully about the missing pilot. Another pilot’s wife refuses to say anything about the military, and admonishes the wife of the missing pilot for bringing in outside forces. It’s the ‘ufo nuts’ who end up being the source of the best (and only) information, directing the agents to Ellens Air Force base.

This episode is full of UFOs, which Mulder thinks have been created by reverse-engineering alien technology. When nearing the air force base at night, Mulder and Scully see two points of light in the sky, moving in ways aircraft couldn’t possibly maneuver. They also find a couple stoners, one of which is a very young Seth Green, who end up providing more information than anyone.

Besides possible alien technology, this episode introduces the idea that the military is able to wipe people’s memories or re-wire their brains. The missing pilot comes home but his wife calls the agents for help, insisting that this man isn’t really her husband. He doesn’t know things he should know, and he doesn’t remember where he’s been for the last months. After this, the chilly reception the agents received from the military gets downright hostile, as men in black accost them, destroying photographs they had taken and telling them to gtfo.

The X-Files s01e02 Deep Throat - Scully holds Air Force security at gunpoint

Mulder doesn’t like being told what to do so he lies to Scully and runs off to explore the air base in secret. Good move, hot shot. He sees a UFO (not necessarily alien, but definitely unidentifiable) up close and then is immediately captured, strapped to a gurney, and injected with drugs, while Scully has to go rescue him. It’s actually a nice reversal of what tends to happen in future episodes. Scully gets captured a lot in the coming seasons. Scully lays the smack down (shut up, it’s the 90s) on airforce security personnel, holds him at gunpoint, and demands he bring her to the base to find Mulder. Before they can get into the base, Mulder is sent out, looking like a lost, drugged up puppy. He doesn’t remember anything.

You’d think being federal agents would afford Scully and Mulder some degree of safety or respect but this episode makes it clear that if they keep pursuing the alien / government conspiracy thing, they will never be safe. At least Mulder gets thrown a bone at the end when Deep Throat visits him and confirms that “they (aliens) have been here for a long, long time.”

Revisiting The X-Files – Pilot

With the recent announcement that Scully and Mulder will be returning for a 6 episode stint in the 10th season of the X-Files, it seems like a great time to  rewatch the series. The show has had an important place in my life, with it becoming somewhat of an obsession of mine at the end of grade school when it was first on. It spawned many all night watching marathons, inspired me to draw its stylized X on pretty much anything from school desks to my jeans with magic marker, caused me to dye my hair red for the first time, and may have influenced me into sneaking around industrial parks once or twice, in search of government conspiracies.

So grab a cup of coffee, maybe some sunflower seeds or a mushroom pizza, and let’s revisit The X-Files together.


The opening shot is dark. Fade into the lush British Colombia woods, a sight we’ll become quite familiar with over the next 5 seasons. A young woman scrambles through the forest, afraid. Running from something. The wind picks up and an unnaturally bright light appears over the horizon, framing the shape of a man approaching her. She looks up at him as the light overtakes the shot. The next morning the woman is found dead with two marks on her back and identified as one of the members of the class of ’89. It’s happening again.

Dana Scully with the Cigarette Smoking Man in the background

Cut to Washington and we see the first star of the show, Gillian Anderson as Agent Dana Scully, here to lay down some science and set hearts aflutter. I even love her in shoulder pads. Scully’s first scene tells us a lot. She’s eager, informed, well-spoken, proud. She’s not afraid to crack some jokes in front of her stuffed suit superiors, including CSM (Cigarette Smoking Man) who lurks silently on the sidelines, smoking as always. At her first meeting with David Duchovny’s Mulder the chemistry is instantaneous. Though I find the scripted dialogue of their first encounter a bit stilted, there’s a wonderful tension between the two actors which only approves throughout the episode. Once the nature of each of the agents is established – Scully is a skeptic, Mulder an enthusiastic believer in the paranormal – they’re off to the very plausible state of Oregon to investigate a death and possible alien abduction.

The actual story of this episode isn’t what most appeals to me. As is common with network television, the pilot is usually one of the weaker episodes of the series because it has to spend so much time setting up what’s to come. There’s unexplained phenomena, possible alien abduction, lost time, and hints of conspiracy at both local and very high levels.

Dana Scully and Fox Mulder talking in a motel room

The best thing about the episode is how quickly yet naturally it develops the relationship between Scully and Mulder that will drive the entire series. There’s a point midway through the episode where Scully goes to Mulder’s room, concerned that she has marks on her back similar to those found on the dead girl. Though the decision to show Scully in her bra during the pilot episode was gratuitous, it leads to a delightful moment between her and Mulder. After Scully’s brief moment of vulnerability and the trust she places in her new partner, Mulder offers some vulnerability of his own and opens up about why the x-files mean so much to him. When he was a child his younger sister was abducted, unassumingly by aliens and he’s been chasing the truth ever since. It’s a great way to both deliver some exposition and show how quickly the two agents begin to trust either other despite their different perspectives on the job at hand. It’s a great relationship, and one which will remain platonic for quite a while, much to the chagrin of shippers everywhere. Though honestly I was always more likely to ship Scully and Skinner. Or Scully and me. Or Mulder and me.

Once the case is wrapped up, the only physical evidence of abduction (or of anything) that remains is an implant of unknown origins found in the sinus cavity of one of the victims. The last shot shows CSM storing it among thousands of hidden evidence boxes deep within the Pentagon. Likely beside the Ark of the Covenant. It seems this conspiracy rabbit hole runs deep.

The Continually Disappointing and Melodramatic Dead

Warning: This post contains ranting. Also, spoilers! So if you aren’t caught up on The Walking Dead or haven’t watched the season 5 premiere (and you still care), turn back now.

Ah, The Walking Dead. I never read the graphic novels, but when the television show started back in 2010, I was excited. I love apocalyptic fiction, and it’s not a genre that’s covered often, or well on television. The BBC series Survivors was enjoyable, but only lasted for 12 episodes, and I guess you could call BS:G post-apocalyptic, but that’s about it. The Walking Dead gave us the end of the world and gave us zombies, which hadn’t been quite so overdone as they are now.

The 6-episode first season was well done. The setup was good, personal relationships and conflicts were established. There was a clear goal of getting to the Atlanta CDC to see if there was hope for a cure.

Season 2 starts with some excitement (oh by the way, the CDC stuff from last season? A hopeless waste of time). Sophia is missing! Carl is shot! The apocalypse is clearly no place for children. The group finds a farm which seems safe enough, owned by a vet who moonlights as a doctor and they stay there. For the entire season. Just hanging out on the farm. The story stopped moving forward, and instead each episode centered on personal drama and all the characters yelling at each other without actually communicating.

Season 3 has the survivors camping out in a prison. We get introduced to the Governor, who’s a bit of a caricature of a villain and Michonne, who everyone loves, but her defining character trait at this point is that she has a sword. Rick goes crazy, but he’s such a boring character that nobody cares. A bunch of major characters die, and the survivors return to the prison. Oh, and now there’s a baby. Because that will end well.

Season 4 brought the Governor back, and this time tries to make us sympathize with him. He just wants a family to take care of, he’s not so bad. Oh, wait, he just decapitated a sweet old Hershel, never mind. Once the prison is left behind, things did pick up a bit. The group gets separated, new relationships form, Michonne develops into an actual character. And then there’s Terminus. Everyone starts heading toward this apparent sanctuary. There’s mystery! There’s intrigue! What is Terminus? Is it safe? Who are these people who run it? The season ends with most of the group locked in a shipping container. Apparently no, Terminus is not safe, but Rick and the others are determined to survive.

That brings us to season 5. I’m so mad I can’t even form proper paragraphs.

  • After all the Terminus build-up – who are these people? What are they going to do? Are they cannibals? Within 5 minutes of the season opener, all the questions are answered. Yup, they’re totally cannibals, and they’re going to kill Rick, Bob, Daryl, and Glenn RIGHT NOW.
  • The four merry men are knelt in front of a trough and we watch 4 redshirts get their throats slit like pigs. Then, it’s Glenn’s turn. Oh no! Not Glenn! He’s going to die!
  • Nevermind, we get Carol ex machina, who blows up part of Terminus just in time to save him!
  • Ugh, this whole situation is so dumb and lacks any kind of tension. We know they’re not going to kill off 4 leads in one scene at the very start of a season. Was anyone actually worried? And having them saved right before it’s Glenn’s turn to die is just lazy. Mix it up a bit. If Bob had been first in the kill line, I might be worried for him. But Glenn? Don’t waste my time.
  • So the whole five episode arc leading up to Terminus is just done, boom. Cannibals all dead, Rick and co. are free in the first half of the episode.
  • This episode also features Tyreese. He’s with Judith (Carol has gone off to be a hero), and watching over one of the people from Terminus. This character plot device tells Tyreese he and the baby are going to die because T won’t kill him. Tyreese is a good guy, he just wants everyone to get along, but he gets the message and eventually pounds the guy’s face into the dirt (though I’m kind of skeptical that he actually killed him since he wouldn’t let Carol go in and see the body).
  • Then, a happy ending! Rick and Carl are reunited with Judith! Tyreese is reunited with Sasha! Carol is reunited with Darryl! Beth’s still MIA, but who cares! There are tears of joy, maybe the rest of the season will be one big love-in.
  • We got two flashbacks at the beginning and end of the episode that showed the people running Terminus and how they had been captured and brutalized by others before, so that’s why they turned into butchers themselves. But there’s a pretty big discrepancy between killing your captors and protecting your own, vs. sending out broadcasts and putting up signs drawing people to you so you can capture, kill, and eat them. And they’re all dead now anyway, so the flashback at the end really did nothing. If you want to explore these characters, fine, but this was a really brief and lazy way of doing it.
  • TDW is very subtly trying to show us that our favourite characters are becoming the monsters they were trying to fight. Oh, did I say subtle? I meant they are using a sledgehammer to drive that point across.
  • The action scenes are starting to feel like they’re just showing off how good the make-up and effects departments have gotten at gore. And they are good. But now it just seems like the show is trying to gross us out rather that create horror in any literary way.
  • There are things that make me think I want to continue watching season 5 – another actor from The Wire, Morgan from way back in season 1 – but I also know I’ll continue to be disappointed. They’ll continue meeting and killing new people. Some big thing will get built up this season only to be resolved within an episode once they finally get there. Characters will yell at each other and question if they have become monsters. And on and on and on.

So that’s it. I obviously didn’t care for the episode, which is disappointing since the build up in season 4 actually made me excited for this premiere. I think I’m mostly just mad that I keep watching the show when it clearly gives me no joy.

Follow Friday and Other Baffling Twitter Phenomena

I’m feeling a little ranty today and I figured I’d take it out on social media since it can’t defend itself, and WoW has done nothing to provoke my ire lately. I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I love it more than hate it since I’ve ‘met’ so many awesome people on it who I like to chat with. But certain Twitter behavior can irritate me to no end, especially when I’m kind of grumpy in the first place. Here are the top offenders. They’re all related to filling my Twitter feed with a bunch of crap I’m not interested in seeing.

Follow Friday

Alright, I can understand this conceptually but, practically, most #ffs are duds. If I see:

#ff @Serrath_ @RunningTracy @ThunderRodent @WTSHeals @healiocentric @Therya_EJ @Rezznul @Restokin @Smmoke_ @SerrinneWoW @Kaleri_ @kurnmogh 

You know what the chances are that I’m going to follow any of these people? (Pretend that I don’t follow all of them already :P ) Zero. Why would I follow these people? Who are they? Why should I want to see what they have to say?

However, if I saw this:

#ff @Serrath_ because he’s taken over as the new healing lead of Apotheosis (sucker). He’s an awesome holy Priest, even though he plays a gnome.

Then I might actually follow, assuming I was interested in Apotheosis, healing, or Priests; and not too turned off by the gnome part.

If you really want to get someone some new followers, put in a little more effort. Otherwise, why bother?

The worst thing people do is when they post 12 big blocks of #ff tweets that list every single person they follow. Please, stop.

Thank you

I admit this is a strange one and I could possibly be the only person bothered by it. It’s especially odd considering I’m Canadian and all about being polite to strangers. However, it bugs the hell out of me when people say thank you for RTs. Yes, it’s great to be appreciative, but it’s also great to not clog your other followers feeds with 12 tweets that say “ty” to various people. That said, I do appreciate when people RT my blog posts! I just do it silently.

The worst Twitter thank you behaviour is related to Follow Friday. If someone mentions you in one of those big blocks of names in a #ff and you feel the need to thank them… for the love of god, just thank the person who wrote the #ff. Do not reply to everyone. Argh! (Reply All is a function that many, many people can not handle. Not just a Twitter problem.)

Auto Tweets

Worst thing. I seriously find these more annoying than DMs telling me about how you lost 10 lbs with Garcinia. So many sites do this auto posting BS – I find YouTube, FourSquare, and Raptr the worst offenders, and it’s the quickest way to make me unfollow someone. I don’t care that you liked a video on YouTube. I don’t care that you’re at the Tim Hortons on 4th and Main (and it’s kind of creepy that now everyone knows where you are). How twitchy my unfollow finger gets when I see these depends on my mood, but if I see more than one or two of these in a day from a person, I’m probably not following them anymore. It’s really annoying. There are a few people who I really want to follow so that I can see their actual thoughts on things, but then 25% of their feed is: “Played World of Warcraft (PC) in the last 24 hours. http://raptr.com/” and I don’t want to see that. I generally wind up following and unfollowing these people every couple of weeks.

PSA: Help control the auto-tweet population – check your settings on these websites and turn them off!

Alright, I think I’m done ranting. Oh wait – Get off my lawn! There, now I’m done.

Because I don’t like to write posts that are totally whiny, self-indulgent and negative, here’s a cool screenshot of Jasyla rocking her legendary cloak proc. Four wings are better than two.Dual-wing

PSA: Twitter, Communication and Manners

Imagine this…

Someone on the Internet has pissed you off (I know, I know, this is an outlandish situation I’m suggesting, but bear with me). Maybe they’ve disagreed with something you firmly believe in. Maybe last night in Dragon Soul they wouldn’t get out of the fire no matter how many chances they got and kept wiping the raid. Maybe they’ve just been an absolute jerk.

Despite common practice, the appropriate course of action is not to go on Twitter and snidely make vague, undirected comments about the situation. This doesn’t fool anyone. Anyone who has been privy to the situation will know exactly what you’re talking about. The person you’re making the snide comments about will know exactly what you’re talking about. I suppose that’s the point. However, acting this way is passive aggressive and tacky. At best it accomplishes nothing. Likely, it makes everyone involved more angry and draws more people into a situation they don’t really need to be involved in.

Try taking the high road. Directly tell the person in question that you’re upset with them and why. If you feel like being super mature about it, you could even do it in private rather than on Twitter. The situation has much better chance of being resolved this way.

Communication tends to work better when you say what you mean, to the person you want to hear it.

/soapbox

Overwhelmed

Disclaimer: This post is completely non WoW-related, highly self-indulgent and a little on the emo side. Feel free to skip right on by and go read something about the MoP beta. Actually, it’ll be easier to hit publish if I think no one is reading this.

It’s March 22nd and this is only the second post I’ve written this month. I feel bad that I’ve been ignoring my blog, but I just haven’t been in the right mindset to write (or even play WoW) most of the time.

I feel a little odd writing this post. I don’t really like to talk about personal stuff too much, but I feel like I need to say something – need a little catharsis.

I’ve been going through a lot in the last few months. I’m way over 300 on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale. I’ve gone through a break-up, sold my house, had to find a new place to live, moved to a much smaller place, lost a few friends, been gkicked, have been without my kitties for far too long, and in 8 days I’ll be unemployed. At times I feel like I could be the subject of a bad country song. I’m glad I don’t have a dog, because it probably would have died.

I’m trying not to feel too sorry for myself, as the responsibility for many of these things falls squarely on my shoulders. I’ve also had some really great things happen over the last while. But as someone who has never handled change very well, it has been overwhelming at times.

The worst part has been moving. I hate moving. Nothing makes me want to hide in a closet, curl into the fetal position and cry like packing my life into boxes and moving it some place else. I should have planned better. I should have just hired movers and got everything done in one fell swoop. But I didn’t. Instead I’ve drawn this process out over a couple of weeks, moving a few boxes at a time. I’ve made so many trips between my old house and my new loft, carting over whatever I could fit in my car – my dolly has become one of my best friends. At the end of each of these trips I’ve usually been an exhausted, emotional wreck.

Cleaning out my old house was stressful, as was getting rid of all the things I knew wouldn’t fit into my new place. I donated all my books to Goodwill. I loved the library I’ve built up over the last decade or so, but my new place really doesn’t have room for so many bookshelves. They’d just have to go into storage and then I’d have to move them again when my lease is up. So I got rid of them all, along with everything else I didn’t see an immediate need for.

The process of selling a house is funny. You put so much work into it – cleaning, touching up paint, decluttering, rearranging furniture and making it look good – then you leave and don’t get to enjoy any of it yourself.

On the bright side, it’ll be over soon. Last night I moved the last of my stuff out of my old place. The sale of my house closed today; my lawyer just called me to tell me that everything was done. I also got one of my kitties back this week, who happens to be the best at snuggling.

Momo snuggles
There is still lots to do. I need to unpack and finish furnishing my new place, but that’s not too stressful. I like the thought of putting everything in its proper spot (once I find it) and making the place my own. I’m looking forward to having people over to my new place for a housewarming party and lots of wine nights. I’ll also be writing a lot more cover letters (not my favourite thing to do) as I search for a job. To be honest though, I’m not in a huge hurry to get a new job, I could use some time off. I feel like I need about a month of sleep to clear my head and stop feeling so exhausted all the time.

It’s been an ordeal, but I’m looking forward to April.

My Favourite Blogs and Websites

This is Day 10 of the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.

(What happened to day 9? Shh…)

I think I’ve talked about my favourite WoW blogs enough. And most of them are in my blogroll, so you can see them there. So instead I will talk about the non-WoW sites and blogs that spend the most time reading.

First, I love to cook and eat, so I frequent a lot of food blogs.

Tiny Urban Kitchen is probably my favorite food blog. Jen does such amazing restaurant reviews that make me envious of all the great restaurants she gets to go to. I love her series of Las Vegas reviews (I <3 Vegas!), and all the reviews she’s done of her hometown of Boston makes that once of the places I really want to travel to.

 Joy the Baker has amazing recipes with great pictures to go along with them that have me salivating at my computer every time she posts a new one. Pickle friesrosemary lime cocktailssalted caramel cheesecake pie. Yum. Beware of reading this site on an empty stomach.

The Pioneer Woman‘s cooking section is amazing. So many great recipes that overuse ingredients like butter and heavy cream…mmm. This site is what first convinced me to make my own crème brûlée, for which I am forever thankful (though my own recipe is better than hers). In addition to making me hungry, this site makes me green with envy. This woman lives on a ranch full of horses and cowboys, she spends her days cooking, taking pictures and blogging. Can I have her life please? (minus the 4 kids).

Other sites I really like:

Television Without Pity – I have a confession to make. I am absolutely terrible at spoiling tv shows. If I PVR something to watch later (which is what I almost always do), I will look up spoilers for the episode before I watch it. I can’t help myself. TWOP is where I go for my spoilers and as a bonus the episode synopses are full of snark. I’ve ruined many a surprise for myself on this site.

Listverse – New lists every day! The lists are sometimes a bit hit-and-miss, but I particularly enjoy the ones about arts and entertainment. Best X-Files episodes, creepiest movie characters, most disturbing novels, doomed cinema romances…there’s a list for everything.

Script Shadow – This site reviews movie scripts and I can’t really explain why I like it so much. I’m not a writer, much less a screenwriter. I have no plans to write a screenplay at any time, but for some reason I really like reading script reviews and writing tips. Maybe it’s just a reflection on my love of movies. One of my favorite series of articles was about the Start Wars movies – it broke down exactly why Empire Strikes Back was completely awesome and Attack of the Clones was complete shit (and looked at the other movies as well).

What are your favourite sites? Have any recommendations for me?