Entertainment

We’ve been watching Once Upon a Time since it premiered last year, and I’ve had so-so feelings about it all along. I think it’s a show that has a lot of potential, but it just hasn’t had enough forward movement to be truly engaging. It came back from its holiday break this week with a new episode. Ava is doing the official Fandomania reviews for this show, so I’m putting my own thoughts here instead of there. If you haven’t seen up through the newest episode (“Desperate Souls”), beware of spoilers beyond this point.

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Back in August when we went to Dragon*Con 2011, I recorded video of the Star Wars costume contest. I was super busy after we got home, and I completely forgot that I had the video. As such, I never had a chance to publish it or include it in the Fandomania Dragon*Con coverage. I was organizing some stuff in my office today and came across my Flip cam. That’s when I remembered the video and decided to toss it up onto YouTube, sight unseen. This is the entirety of the contest, including the judge intros (with an appearance by Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew), the mid-contest lightsaber demonstration, and the awards presentation at the end. There’s even a C-3PO flasher to be seen.

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A week ago I posted my list of movies I watched during 2011, reaching a total of 47 films for the year. I set a goal of 52 for 2012, which would raise me to an average of a movie a week. My tentative plan is to keep track of most of the movies I watch here. These won’t be full reviews like I write for Fandomania. Rather, they’ll just be some brief observations about the movies.
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The end of each year is a bonanza time for video gamers. The biggest and best games of the year tend to release in the final quarter, just in time to hit stores for Christmas, and older games released prior to that quarter usually see some pretty steep price cuts as holiday promotions. These price cuts usually happen on Black Friday, again on Cyber Monday, and then once more during the final week of the year, but in 2011 the bargain gaming deals ran all the way from Black Friday through the first day of 2012.

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The most recent half-season of Doctor Who and the Christmas special that followed left me pretty disappointed, to the point of questioning my faith in Steven Moffat. When Russell T. Davies was running the show, the episodes Steven Moffat wrote are some of my very favorites. The two parter with “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” has some genuinely creepy moments, and it introduces Jack Harkness, who would go on to be one of the best characters created by the revamp. “The Girl in the Fireplace” is a fantastically tragic time travel love story that plays with the problems and nuances of jumping through time and space. “Blink” probably is my all-time favorite Doctor Who episode and just might be the overall creepiest episode of any TV show I’ve ever watched. I even enjoyed the two parter that introduces River Song, “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead.” In those, River’s story is intriguing, and she’s a character I wanted to know more about.

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It’s the end of another year, and being the entertainment geek that I am, I always like to look back in December at all the media I’ve consumed over the course of the past twelve months. This year I didn’t go to the theater nearly as much as I did in 2010, and I watched more movies on Netflix and on DVD or Blu-ray than I did last year. That’s either a sign of the financial times or of my ever encroaching propensity toward being a hermit. Whatever the reason, here’s the rundown of all the movies I saw throughout 2011, in order of viewing.

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It’s been a pretty harrowing few days. You can read my original account of what started the craziness in full detail in my previous post, but I’ll recap it here for those just joining us. Someone stole my Xbox Live account on Saturday and charged up a bunch of Microsoft Points on my credit card, which they then used to buy downloadable content for their FIFA 12 soccer game. When I reported the theft to Microsoft, I was told that it would take them 25-30 days to investigate the matter, meaning that I’d be without access to my Xbox and without my stolen $125 during that time. This is the busiest video game release season of the year, so being out of gaming for most of November and December was most definitely not a cool prospect.

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Tron Costumes

I’m later in posting about this than I’d intended, but at the beginning of this month we made our annual trip up to Atlanta for Dragon*Con. That used to be my hometown convention when I lived in Georgia, and I’ve been going to it for more years that I can even remember. Even after moving to Florida, I’ve made a point to drive back up each year to get my dose of communal geekery. 2011 was Dragon*Con’s 25th anniversary, and excitement for the event was at an all time high. Before we even left home, we were seeing loads of our friends Tweeting that they were already at their con hotels on Wednesday, two full days before the official start of the con.

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George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire begins its TV adaptation this weekend with the first episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones. As a longtime fan and evangelist of the book series, I’m naturally excited about the TV show after seeing what appears to be a staunch faithfulness to the original material. Advance reviews have started showing up online, and one in particular has stirred up a hornet’s nest today.

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The last novel I read was The Well of Ascension, the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s fantastic Mistborn series. Since I’ve been reading a lot of chunky epic fantasy books, I decided to take a break and read something a little shorter and lighter. That lead me to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which did turn out to be shorter but definitely isn’t an emotionally light read.

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