Cristiano and Alper pointed out to me that I hadn’t written a review yet about Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Now I kind of assumed people would know I loved, loved, loved it. Anyhow just like with The Dark Knight I’m not going to do a real review about it, just some random thoughts about it all. I’ll try to keep it a bit more general here, leaving the spoilers for after the image (with a big BEWARE above it) in the case you haven’t seen it yet.

For starters, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It’s still available to watch for free on Hulu (see below). Alternatively you can download it from iTunes for a small fee (although it’s not available yet in every country).

The characters are perfectly cast. Neil Patrick Harris is superb as Billy aka Dr Horrible. I’d expected to see him the whole time as Barney from How I Met Your Mother, but from that first scene on he WAS Dr Horrible. And his singing! Before this I didn’t know he had a musical background, but now I’d love to see him one time on Broadway. Nathan Fillion‘s Captain Hammer is spot on; he’s cheesy, smarmy and so obnoxious, you can’t help but hate him. Felicia Day finishes the triangle as sweet Penny. I’d love to see more of her; I’ve just finished watching The Guild and it’s brilliant. Someone give her a TV show already!

Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is truly a sing-along. The songs are catchy, staying in your head for a couple of days after watching it all. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite; they’re all so great! Somehow I just know that given some time I’ll know the lyrics by heart and be able to fully sing-along with it. The soundtrack should be coming out sometime in the next couple of weeks and I know I for one am going to buy and download it straightaway. I also can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD of this, especially because we’ve been promised a musical commentary and a gag reel.  

After the image: beware spoilers!

Argh! Here Be Spoilers!

Knowing Joss Whedon, I should have anticipated that ending. However, even when Penny died and Dr Horrible was carrying her away, I had the hope that somehow it still would all turn out fine. I find it amazing how gut-wrenching those final minutes are, when you realize she really is dead and that Dr Horrible now has everything he thought he wanted. Even on a second viewing it remains gut-wrenching.

Don’t you just love that Bad Horse is actually a horse? All the members of the Evil League of Evil looked interesting (here’s a cool blog post matching the names up with what we saw) and I love that almost all of them are cameos from Buffy verse people. And did anyone else notice that the news anchors were David Fury and Marni Noxon? 

I want more Dr Horrible! In his new shiny red lab coat. As part of the Evil League of Evil (btw, they’re not accepting applications at the moment… not yet at least). Doesn’t this all feel like a great set-up for more? I’ll be happy if they leave with this, but I’d be thrilled if they have more sing-alongy goodness. I’m not sure though where it would go from here; I wouldn’t want them introducing another love interest. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Whedon and co have planned for us.  

Episode 73: “I will never say anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing I say”

I don’t really listen to classical music. It’s not that I don’t like it; some of it I do. I just have never taken the time to figure out which ones I exactly like. This TED talk about classical music is enough to convince me I should find the time:

To continue with the touristy activities from the past couple of days, yesterday I also went to see Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I wasn’t that much into Any Dream Will Do (I watched it, but couldn’t really care less who won), but my mother and sister were, so I had gotten them tickets. We had front row seats on the Upper Circle, certainly not the best, but still not too shabby.

Photograph by Tristram Kenton © The Really Useful Group Ltd 2007

“Wow”. That’s how I came out of this musical. Not a “Wow! That was a great!”, but more of a “Wow. That was… weird.” I’m completely convinced now that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this musical when he was high; Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is just a bizarre jumble of musical styles strung together as a musical.

I wasn’t familiar with Joseph at all. I kind of know the biblical story and I knew the two main songs from Any Dream Will Do, but for the rest I had never seen or heard anything about it. Those two songs (‘Any Dream Will Do’ and ‘Close Every Door’) I actually like, but the rest just felt weird. Let’s put it this way: there’s one song that’s a sort of country & western “yee-ha” song. There’s another song sung with a french accent. Then there’s a Jamaican blues-like song. Another song is sung by a camel and a snake (no, I am not kidding). Then the Pharaoh is literally The King, as in: Elvis. It’s just a strange mix of all different genres. 

Photographs by Tristram Kenton © The Really Useful Group Ltd 2007

And then there’s Lee Mead. For the non-UKers, Lee Mead was the winner of Any Dream Will Do, an American Idol-like tv talent show in search for a new star for on the West End. He plays the titular character Joseph, but unlike the previous talent show winner of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? (Connie Fisher) he doesn’t have to carry the whole musical on his shoulders. The two songs from the tv show are the two songs he gets to sing. Oh, he sings along a little bit in three or four other songs, but it’s not a lot. The narrator for me is the real star of Joseph; she (or in some productions he) sings and act/dances in practically every scene and vocally has the most difficult parts. To be fair though, Lee Mead was great as Joseph and he sang the songs perfectly. I’m just a tad disappointed he didn’t get to do more. 

I am a musical lover, but Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat just didn’t work for me. This is the first Andrew Lloyd Webber musical I’ve been to, so maybe it’s just his musicals that don’t do it for me (although I do like The Phantom of The Opera songs, even though I’ve never seen an actual production of it).  Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy myself, especially during the after-finale megamix. It’s just… typically when I like a musical the songs get stuck in my head and I yearn to back in the audience again, seeing and hearing all the songs all over again. Here though that didn’t happen and apart from those two great songs the rest of Joseph is just a bizarre, weird show.

Tags: Musicals

A couple of months ago I told you all about Joss Whedon’s during the strike created web show called Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Well, now it’s almost about to be launched!

Dr Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) is a super villain, just not that good a one. His arch nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) keeps beating him up and he’s too shy to talk to the cute girl from the laundromat (Felicia Day). It’s a comedy and it’s a musical, so it’s going to be silly, funny and oh so sing-alongable.

I loved Buffy’s musical episode Once More With Feeling (I’m not ashamed to admit I know all the lyrics of those songs), so I have high hopes for Dr Horrible. The casting of Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion to me is just a great added bonus. Even if they weren’t in it I would have adored this, but with both of them it just makes it a bit more special. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, check it out:

Teaser from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo

The idea is to have three acts (episodes) of about 15 minutes debut online on in the next couple of days. Act 1 will be launched tomorrow (Tuesday July 15th), Act 2 on Thursday (July 17th) and Act 3 on Saturday (July 19th). All three acts will be available for free online till Sunday midnight (July 20th). After that they’ll be downloadable for a small fee and eventually also released on DVD.

There’s also a mini comic book story that serves as a preview called Captain Hammer: Be Like Me!. It’s not that important to the story, but it’s a great little extra marketing. I so hope this whole setup is going to work, but if there’s one guy out there who can make it happen it’s Joss Whedon. 

So don’t forgot! Tomorrow is the first installment of Dr Horrible. Will you come along to see evil take over the world?

Trip To Stonehenge

June 16th, 2008

Sorry, for not posting the last couple of weeks. Since BarCamp I’ve been sick as anything, spending most days in bed and only last Thursday I finally was out and about again. Enough about that though, yesterday I went to Stonehenge!

Stonehenge Trip

Trish had some Dutch/Danish friends coming over for a few days and had the great idea to hire a car for the whole day to visit Stonehenge. Strangely, the only car rental hire big enough to fit six people and which didn’t close at 1pm, was the Sheraton Hotel near Heathrow. Ehm, why? Wouldn’t it just make sense that people would want to hire a car for trips for the entire Saturday? Anyhow, traveling to Heathrow, taking the (expensive) bus to the hotel and filling in all the paperwork took a bit longer than expected, so we only really left London around 11:30. Then we got slighty lost detoured along the way, so we arrived at Stonehenge at about 1.

Stonehenge and Bath

I’m still trying to rack my brain about what to actually say about Stonehenge. It’s pretty impressive, but, well, they’re just a bunch of giant rocks. Cool to see and to experience, but that’s all there is to it. Big rocks in practically the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by lots and lots of grass. That being said, Stonehenge is one of those places you have to have been to yourself. It’s just part of The List (you know the one with the Colosseum and the Pyramids of Gizeh) and now I can finally cross it off. Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t only go there for the sake of going there. It’s a brilliant piece of ancient creativity and the awe and mystery that still surround it have always intrigued me.

Stonehenge Trip

After admiring Stonehenge (including a short sunbath), we decided we should drive to Bath in an attempt to see the Roman baths. Because of road works and a detour, halfway there we stumbled on a small quaint village and stopped to have lunch/dinner there. It was a beautiful little town with a small canal winding through it and (although I say so myself) I made some pretty nice photos there. It might have been a bit too relaxing there, cause by the time we were ready to continue our journey it was already 5 o’clock.

Stonehenge Trip

Which of course meant that we only arrived in Bath around 6 (including driving around the center trying to find a place to park). And of course all the museums and the Roman baths were already closed. So I can say I’ve been to Bath, but I haven’t actually seen that much of it yet. It’s definitely worth another (proper) visit, but I’ll make sure I’ll do my research first and actually check out the closing times etc.

Stonehenge and Bath

All in all, it was a great day out. And I’ve finally seen something of the UK outside of London, which wasn’t a BarCamp. I’ll have to figure out what our next trip is (I think Bath), but if anybody has any ideas I’m open to suggestions. I’ve got more photos up on Flickr and Cristiano’s got photos and this funny little video of our trip:

How Green Are You?

May 13th, 2008

I’ve been tagged by Cristiano with this green meme. The idea? This:

… to write about the ways (I currently picked 5, but you could pick less or more) you think you purposely handle things “the green way”, and then write about the things you know you should handle better.

Okay, how green am I? First off, my good points (I’m cheating a bit and stealing some of Cristiano’s stuff):

1. I don’t have a car.

I still haven’t been bothered to get a drivers license. Why should I? In the Netherlands I had a student travel card (free public transport throughout the week, major discounts in the weekend) and here in London a car is only more trouble.

2. I try to avoid using a hairdryer.

Since my new haircut 3 months ago, I’ve used my hairdryer once. The reason I stopped isn’t actually because it’s greener, but that is a nice side effect. I’ve noticed it’s healthier for my hair if I let it dry naturally; it doesn’t get that static, dried out and greasy. Plus with the way it’s cut now, I can easily put my wet hair up without it looking too “wet-looky”.

3. I buy long-lasting milk.

Again the main reason is not because it’s greener. Normal milk tends to go bad quicker than we can finish a pack, especially the milk sold downstairs here. By the way, long lasting milk tastes just like normal milk nowadays.

4. I use candles and water bottles.

I’m not sure if this is actually “greener”, but during the early stages winter I try not to turn the central heating on that often, instead using candles and water bottles. Mainly the latter is quite useful, because typically I’m cold and shivering, but Cristiano isn’t. Using a water bottle keeps me nice and warm, while not unnecessarily turning up the heater.

5. I don’t overuse plastic grocery bags.

In the Netherlands you have to pay for every plastic grocery bag, so almost everybody brings their own bags or crates with them (I don’t see anybody here in the UK with folding crates in their car; is that something Dutch?). So even here in the UK, I still bring my own bags with me and try to fit as much in them as possible.

My bad points?

1. I leave chargers in the wall.

I’m really bad with this. I almost always leave my phone and laptop charger plugged in, even if those gadgets aren’t connected. I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes I’m plain lazy. Shouldn’t chargers though be more smartly designed to realize when there’s no gadget hanging on them? The technology should be far enough to do something like that, right?

2. I throw batteries away in the normal trash.

Like Cristiano, I have no idea here where I should throw my batteries away. Back in Holland every supermarket has a special separated chemical waste bin; you just bring your batteries in a small plstic bag and throw it there away. Here, though? No idea.

3. I take long showers.

I think this may be my major transgression: my showers are way too long. Even if I try to hurry up, I’m still in there for at least 10 minutes. Shampoo, conditioner, scrub, soap, (etc) it all takes up more time than I want (but I do need it, otherwise my hair becomes a bat nest, Amy Winehouse, anyone?).

4. I don’t use a bike.

While I don’t have a car, I do use public transport a lot. Not that much of a bad thing, but for some distances using a bike would be easier and greener. I’m thinking of bringing my old bike over from the Netherlands. It’s already 8 years old, but still looks better than most bikes here.

5. I don’t reuse the water from my water bottle.

Pretty obvious, but I still don’t do it. Every time I want to fill up my water bottle, I fill the kettle with water from the tap and turn it on. Then when that’s hot, I realize I have to empty the water bottle and “throw away” the water. I’m at least thinking about it, but I know I should change this.

So those are my good and bad green issues. I’m tagging Too Sexy For My Books, Geek Chic, Geek Girl Friday, Geeks Are Sexy and A Consuming Experience.

I’ve read a couple of these ‘8 Things’ posts now with the writers tagging anybody who wanted (Patricia Hanrahan, Rosie Sherry, Rachel Clarke), so I finally thought why not give it a go. It’s turned out a bit longer than I expected, but then I didn’t want to say one fact and not explain a bit about it. Anyhow, here it goes:

1. I don’t like whipped cream, yoghurt, licorice and milk products mixed with fruit.

Besides the yoghurt, I’m not really disgusted or so by these foods. It’s just that I don’t appreciate their tastes and I don’t see them as “yummy” as most people do. Why bother with whipped cream on my ice cream? It’s not as if it’s going be more tasty because of it, it barely has a taste, it’s like you’re eating air. Yoghurt on the other hand… blegh. I cannot even stand the smell of yoghurt, let alone having to eat it (although as a kid, I obediently did).

2. I’m a collector.

If I was born in a previous generation, I think I would have ended up as someone collecting stamps. Or elephants. Or something tangible like that. Living in this media world though, I’ve got other resources to satisfy my collecting habits: video games. Specifically: Final Fantasy and Pokemon. Both are just perfect games where you have to find and gather certain items with the goal of completing your collection. I always have to find every single item, before I deem a game “finished”.

3. I hate umbrellas.

Okay, I don’t really hate umbrellas. I hate getting hit in the head by umbrellas carried by stupid people who act as if because they have an umbrella that gives them the right not to pay attention to where they’re walking (and where their umbrella is attacking people). Half of the time, it’s not even raining that heavily. Seriously, a little rain doesn’t hurt! Then again I’m one of those people who love walking in the rain (as long as it’s not too cold); there’s something oddly peaceful in it.

4. I’m not a girly girl and have no idea how to use most make-up and styling products.

Apart from a little lipgloss, I don’t wear any make-up. Mainly because the times I had, I only ended up looking worse or more fake than I was without it. It always looks weirdly clumsy. If I could pull off the natural make-up look, that looks as if you’re not wearing anything, I might give it a go, but so far I have no idea how to do that. Besides that I’ve never used a curling iron or a straightener in my life.

5. I draw lines and shapes in my mind.

Eh, yeah, I should explain this and I’m hoping you don’t find me crazy after I do. Whenever I’m looking at something in front of a uniform background, my mind keeps dividing the background into geometrical shapes. Most of the time I’m not even conscious of doing it, until I catch myself at it again. It even happens when I’m watching stuff on TV, when there’s a face close-up of a character. Or when I can’t sleep at night, I do the same with my ceiling, even though the ceiling never changes and my mind comes up with the same solutions every time. And yes, I say solutions, cause it’s not just cutting it all up into shapes. I’m always trying to figure out what the most efficient solution is for a certain problem, like using the least amount of lines possible, or using only squares or triangles. It’s like my mind is constantly processing these problems for no apparent reason. Okay, should I go hide in a corner now?

6. I’ve attempted to learn morse code, hieroglyphics and Elvish.

Besides being bilingual (English and Dutch), in high school I’ve had three years of German, four years of Latin and French and 5 years of Ancient Greek. Weirdly enough though, I’ve never had a real affinity with languages, so even after those years I still can’t speak French or German. But give me a text in some language and a dictionary… I think I could pretty quickly decipher it for you. I like codes and trying to crack them, which I think is again related to why I like programming and why (I think) I’m pretty good in jumping from one programming language to another. Anyhow, before all that, back in high school I attempted to learn the above mentioned “languages”. Never got so far to actually be able to do anything, but it wasn’t about being able to speak or understand the language: it was the thrill of cracking it and figuring out how it worked.

7. I’m named after a A-Team character and Jane Fonda.

Sort of. My given name is “Melinda Jayne”. The “Melinda” comes from Melinda Culea, who played Amy in The A-Team. My mother liked the name after seeing it for the first time and then wanted to change it to Belinda to make it a bit different. It changed back to Melinda, when another girl was born who they had named Belinda. The Jayne comes from Jane Fonda, but with the added y to make it more “special”.

8. One of my first memories is of the Care Bears movie.

I have no idea how old I was, but I remember seeing this movie in the cinema (the second was Snow White). I think I was about 3 or 4. Other memories around that time was: me walking in the rain, holding on to my brothers pram. And a weird dream in which the walls of an elevator turned into bricks. I’ve got a very vivid memory and can remember a lot of events in detail. Almost every period in my life has a certain smell and feeling to it, and both I can call to mind almost instantaneously.

I again am not going to tag anyone. Anyone who reads this and is inspired to a list like this themselves too, go ahead. I look forward to see what your 8 things are going to be.

Episode 46: “It’s a deeply intense moment in our lives.”

I came across this video while searching for more info on the new Joss Whedon internet musical Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. To my surprise, there’s already a fan site up and running: Doctor Horrible (then again I shouldn’t really be surprised, should I? I’ve even fallen in love with series without having seen anything of it yet). On their site they had this little gem of a video. It’s a clip from the Megan Mullaly Show of an interview of the cast members of How I Met Your Mother, where Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal sing one of the songs from Les Mis.

Happy Birthday To Moi

February 23rd, 2008

Sometimes I’m not the brightest. For some weird insane thinking I thought it would be okay to schedule the second wisdom tooth removal 1 week before my birthday. True, I booked it only minutes after I had done the first one, not fully realizing how long it would take to get better (last time it was also “only” 11 days before Christmas). But you would think I could have maybe thought it through a bit more better. Sigh. So here I am, drowsy as anything with a sore cheek/mouth/jaw and barely able to eat on my birthday. Yes, sometimes I’m not the brightest.

As far as birthday’s go though, it been pretty okay. Lots of best wishes and birthday cards, be it virtually or physically (what’s the correct opposite of “virtual”? I’ve been racking my brain over this, but I can’t come op with the right word) and a great bunch of birthday presents (I’ll blog about this later). I’ve stayed most of the day on the couch (what else can I do?) watching dvds: No Country For Old Men, Blades of Glory, 1408 and the new Knightrider pilot. Being the movie geek I am though, what more can a geeky girl wish for?

Tags: Personal

Tooth Hurty 3

February 23rd, 2008

I haven’t blogged in almost a week, but then again it hasn’t been exactly my perfect week. Last Monday I got my second wisdom tooth removed (both bottom teeth were impacted) and, believe it or not, the surgery itself was even worse than for the first tooth. The aftermath though seems to be a whole lot smoother, so thank god for that.

With the previous tooth, the surgeon first drilled through the tooth and then sawed through it, eventually breaking it into two and pulling both parts (the top and the root) out. This time around it felt as though the surgeon literally was attacking the tooth. He would drill a bit, break a bit off, drill again, break again a bit off and so on. Plus unlike the other nice surgeon that explained every single thing to me, this guy barely spoke to me and when he did it felt very condescending.

It somehow also felt way rougher than last time. I even got a bit of bruising around my left mouth corner, where he kept pulling my mouth open. Also the way he put the stitches in wasn’t that pleasant. I think, I got at least four stitches now. I’m not really sure; the guy didn’t tell me and I also can’t really see in my mouth how many there are. They also put a iodine soaked gauze into the wound, hoping that it would prevent an infection such as last time. It will be taken out next Monday; let’s hope it did it’s job.

As expected after such a rough procedure, it also hurt a lot more when I came out of it. The anesthetic hadn’t even worn off yet and I was already in pain. It swelled up in a different manner than on my right side and it hurt right down to my collarbone. Hooray, for painkillers though! I only get so drowsy from that stuff; I’ve slept most of the last 6 days.

So what’s my status now? The good news is the swelling is almost gone and I’ve barely had any real bruising. It hurts, but with painkillers it’s bearable. The bad news? I still haven’t got any feeling in half of my bottom lip and chin. I think they hit a nerve, which depending on the damage can take days, weeks or months to heal. I’m hoping it will be sooner rather than later. I’ve also got no way to know if it’s gotten infected or not. I’ve kept it clean, but then again I did so last time and it also got infected then.

Monday morning I’ll be going to the hospital to get that gauze removed. Fingers crossed that all goes well. I’ll still have to get my top wisdom teeth removed, but luckily they’re not impacted, so it shouldn’t be such a hassle as with these bottom ones.

Tags: Personal