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Michonne and Rick

Michonne and Rick

I have now officially caught up with The Walking Dead. Now, to begin with I was not really drawn to it, purely because I have begun to get fed up with standard zombies. I can only take so many Resident Evils et al.

However, The Walking Dead is in a purely different league to the films – which is why it works. It’s more based around the pure survival of an apocalypse, and the crazy shizz that goes down with that and how human beings just can’t cope with this… unless you’re Michonne or Daryl of course.

So, watching the programme I felt that it could teach us a few little lessons if the zombie apocalypse hit that fan – or just general survival tips. (These are purely a bit of fun and tongue-in-cheek, I thoroughly enjoyed The Walking Dead and these reasons in no way made me enjoy the show any less. They just make you think…)

1) Zombies don’t kill people. People kill people. I haven’t officially counted the deaths, but I reckon a significant portion of them are down to humans killing each other or their general stupidity getting somebody else killed or hurt. I could probably count on my fingers the amount of times someone was legitimately killed by a zombie they could not have avoided. For example – T-Dog gashing his arm open of his own accord during the first walker herd and then getting blood poisoning. When no walker was in the immediate vicinity.

2) Guns are noisy. The amount of times the team decide not to use them… and then get the guns back out when under attack. And don’t get me started on how easily they learn how to shoot the head every time.

3) Don’t be a mother or a strong independent woman. Lori turns into a useless character who either gets somebody else to do the dangerous work for her or crashes her car in her one rescue attempt. Andrea takes it too far the other way with her determination to have a gun, but then shoots Daryl by accident and suffers a massive mis-judgement of character with the Governor. The women characters are certainly written better as the series progresses, though.

4) Start learning how to use a crossbow or a katana asap.

5)  Don’t be a group leader. Rick ends up losing the faith of his camp for doing the right thing, and is now starting to lose his mind after the death of Lori. Shane, the wannabe leader, becomes psychotic and the Governor is a power-hungry controller. Just fly under the radar, like Glenn and Maggie, or become your own man like Daryl.

6) JUST TRUST PEOPLE SOMETIMES. Or, more precisely, make sure the very couple of people you do end up trusting are the right people. Michonne? She’s a good one. Axel and Oscar? Good ones. The Governor? Not a good one.

But I fully recommend The Walking Dead to anyone. You’ll find that there are some characters who grate on you, but that’s just life. There are also characters who become their own and blossom as the show progresses, and as we’re watching human survival this makes perfect sense. The Walking Dead, certainly in terms of characters, feels real. And that’s what counts.

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The best part of Christmas is the presents. But the second best part is Doctor Who. Aliens, time travel and lots of snow… the stuff of dreams.

At first, I felt the pang of nostalgia hit with the snazzy new title credits with a slightly different tune and effect – there are new title credits, which nicely revert back to the electronica sound and feel of the early series’, and a new TARDIS, which is made even better with the larger use of the Gallifreyan symbols. This really was the end of the Ponds. However, as it is Christmas, excitement won me over.

The episode features a Victorian fairy-tale escapade against some scary snowmen, and this was also the introduction of the new companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman), after we last saw her as Oswin the Dalek. Clara returned to the easy banter with the Doctor that won our hearts last time. She’s curious, confident, clever and witty – the perfect mix for any companion. By the time you get to the end of the episode the intrigue writer Steven Moffat has built around her has certainly fully peaked the excitement for the new season. I won’t spoil it but you end up with more questions than when you started the episode, which is saying a lot. Although that is classic Moffat Doctor Who.

The scenery of Victorian england is gorgeous, and fits the Christmas theme beautifully. The new look for the Doctor with his top hat and ragged coat is seamlessly perfect. I am so glad the series is back, and the moment Clara saw the TARDIS for the first time and the theme kicked in – you knew you were home.

There are a few niggles. The snowmen were suitably scary, but overall I felt they didn’t convince me in the larger plot, despite bringing back the Great Intelligence. The creepy Victorian presence of Richard E Grant as the main villain felt underused and could have really been utilised better. The plot also felt a bit too sugary and emotional to the point where it started to feel forced. Normally, this would amount to disappointment but all this I can easily overlook in the name of Christmas spirit – as that is exactly what it is there for.

The Doctor Who christmas special would not be the same without a family’s tears saving the day or the story being a little overlooked in favour of pulling on the heartstrings. And if the chemistry between Clara and the Doctor is anything to go by in this episode, feel free to pull on the heartstrings a bit more.

 

R2-D2 wishes you a Merry Christmas!

R2-D2 wishes you a Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL! This is my first Christmas here as a blogger and it’s all very exciting. Christmas is my favourite time of year and apart from the Carbon Monoxide alarm being set off at 6am it’s been a good day. So, the most important question, what wonderful geekery did everyone get from Santa this year?

I shall share a snippet of my geeky highlights. The main one being a wonderful Bishoujo Harley Quinn statuette, which is gorgeous. There’s also a Hermione string doll, Lego Lord of the Rings console game (which hasn’t arrived yet), an Anne Stokes calendar, 2 fabulous drawings off my brother and a Nintendo 3DS. Which I fully intend to get the latest Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts for.

My Harley Quinn and Hermione

My Harley Quinn and Hermione

And my mum painted me a Doctor Who painting, which she hasn’t finished yet. But here’s a snippet!

Amy Pond and Doctor Who by Michelle Szulc

Amy Pond and Doctor Who by Michelle Szulc

What geeky presents did you get this year? I’d love the hear from you, and probably cry with jealousy.

My presents!

The geeky side of my presents!

 

Instead of a geek fashion of the week, this bumper edition I decided to do a general Christmas presents list for that last dash of inspiration for all budgets! Whether all you need is a stocking-filler, or you haven’t even started your shopping yet, hopefully this post will inspire your winter spirit.

Christmas Day Outfits:
As this is a recurring fashion themed thing, lets start with planning what you need to have your Christmas day in style – or maybe you just fancy some new inspiration on the another-M&S-jumper-for-that-uncle.

Boba Fett dress from Black Milk Clothing. Approx £84.60

First of all, how about a treat for yourself, or the lady in your life? Black Milk Clothing have a wonderful range of Star Wars dresses and leggings which are stylish, unique AND sexy. I particularly love the R2-D2 and the stormtrooper dresses, but the ewok one is sure to be a hit too! There are also swimsuits which would look gorgeous tucked into a plain skirt. They are a tad expensive and bought in Australian Dollars, but it’s Christmas! Go treat yourself and flaunt that figure.

AT-AT Christmas Jumper! From ebay – £27.95

Now, we all know that one uncle that always gets jumpers. Nice, normally plain blue jumpers from Marks and Sparks. So how about we throw out the wild card and get him this beauty from ebay? It’s a lovely, snuggly Christmas jumper featuring AT-ATs. Now all he would need is a warm toasty fire and mulled wine. It also comes in a varied grey design, if you fancied doing His and Hers with your man – what could be snugglier on Christmas day?

Batman Robe from We Love Fine. Approx £27.16

When opening presents on Christmas morning, I like to do it cosy and in my pyjamas. What better way is there than to have this Batman robe from We Love Fine complete with bat-eared hood? You could pair it with this Batman nightshirt, or even provide a Christmas treat of a different variety with Batgirl and Wonderwoman corsets.

That Big Present
We all have to get at least one big present for at least one person. Here are some of the best, extravagant and slightly expensive presents I found to really show you care for that special person.

TARDIS system from Scan Computers. £935.99

First up we have the biggest splash of all – this glorious (and gloriously expensive) computer tower designed as the TARDIS. It is made from over 45 sheets of aluminium, which is painted in the TARDIS blue, so you know it’s a good quality casing. I especially love how the Police Box sign becomes the disc tray! It is also exclusively made in the UK and licensed by the BBC, so that’s where the money comes in. Now, it is VERY expensive and if I’m honest the specs don’t look brilliant considering that price. However, if you have that cash to spend, or you know someone savvy enough to put together your own tower in this quality, then here is the perfect inspiration.

Poison Ivy statuette. £279.90

This beauty is not released until 15 February 2013, but the Poison Ivy statuette is sure to be something any fan could wait for. If I had the funds, I would not hesitate to purchase this as personally I think it is the best Poison Ivy statue I have seen. The posing and the detailing of the face are an impressive and gorgeous combination. She is hand-painted and stands at 21 inches tall, making her very much worth the money. Or if you fancy something different, I also adore this Batman vs Bane statue as from the Dark Knight Rises film. The detail on it is purely beautiful, and the posing again makes this piece stand out and is sure to be a talking point. This one is £292.46 and stands at 16.5 inches tall.

Star Trek Insignia engagement ring from Etsy. Approx £315.70

Finally, if there are any guys out there who are planning a very special Christmas surprise for that Trekkie girlfriend, then here is a perfect solution. Handmade by VaLaJewellery on Etsy, this ring of the Star Trek insignia contains a white sapphire in 14k white gold and sterling silver. VaLaJewellery also have these beautiful Imperial insignia and Stargate SG-1 inspired designs.

Stocking Fillers:
Now that you have hopefully been inspired a bit more, here are a couple of things from Forbidden Planet to fill in the wee gaps in your present buying, or if you fancy a nice treat for yourself.

Game of Thrones Stein. £12.99

What house are you? There are an excellent range of Game of Thrones steins and mugs featuring the house insignias, this one being the Targaryen insignia. Each design contains the image and the house motto – perfect for laying down the house law on Christmas day, or sorting out house dominance whilst the whole family are gathered.

An interesting alternative is to introduce your present receiver to Magic the Gathering with these intro packs – the wonderful classic card game, or maybe boost up the decks they already have. At that cheap price you could buy yourself a pack and spend Christmas day playing games in style. I will probably post about Magic again at some point, because I absolutely adore this game and everyone should learn it now! Especially girls.

Hope you enjoyed this special edition! Have a merry present hunting, and remember to send in those suggestions and requests!

I have just watched The Hobbit, and it is epic, gorgeous and sheer fun.

Yes, there have been some bad reviews, but I really cannot see why. Peter Jackson has directed a stunning piece, and his masterful story-telling is as engaging and beautiful as always.

Maybe he has tried to stretch out the storyline so it can justify three films – like adding in cameos not in the book and underlying everything with a darker feel – but for me it works. The extra undertone linking to the Necromancer does not majorly detract from the main storyline at any time, and I believe it brings another side to The Hobbit that maybe was missing in the book. Just what did Gandalf get up to most of the time?

There was also the added aspect of the white Orc, but I felt that it was an added extra that worked in tying all the events of the film together in a way that made visual sense, and something I thought was quite a clever device.

The main glory was the characters. Each and every character was perfectly acted and the characters were spot on. In particular Martin Freeman as the bumbling Bilbo, who effortlessly captured the nervousness and twitching aspects that bring Bilbo to life. My favourite line being when Thorin asks him about his fighting history and he replies “I won a game of conkers once”. Genius.

Sir Ian McKellen is once again an effortless Gandalf, and although Thorin was not as I pictured him from the book (I always saw a more quiet but guiding presence) Richard Armitage brought him to life without crossing that annoying arrogant line you so often get in those types of leader characters. The rest of the dwarves react off each other wonderfully and bring their own individual touch to each character. The scene in Bilbo’s house to introduce them really reflects this beautifully.

I do have to address (as with all reviewers) the frame rate. The frame rate is double what is normal for a film, and is said to provide more detail and stunning visuals. I think it worked. At first I was unsure, as in the battle of Erebor my eyes just could not keep up with the movement, although I am not sure if that was down to the frame rate or the 3D. Eventually my eyes must have  got used to it because it never bothered me after that. One thing I will say is the 3D didn’t work for me, but I am overall not a fan of 3D anyway. The film felt less ‘real’ to me because of the added sense of layers and the scenery would have blended together better without it in my opinion.

But despite that, Peter Jackson has done it again. His level of story-telling is beyond most other directors and he has effortlessly weaved the jolly tale of a hobbit on an adventure into something that is a sheer pleasure to watch. He doesn’t need bundles of action going on in the storyline to be able to hook you in and keep you there for nearly three hours – his use of characters, dialogue and cinematography does it for him. The music is also gorgeous, especially the ‘Misty Mountain’ song that sent shivers down my spine. The little hints of the original Lord of the Rings theme was also a nice touch.

The stand out scene to me was the Riddles in the Dark scene with Gollum. It was hilarious, scary and riveting all at once and you found yourself truly feeling sorry for Gollum by the end of it. “I wasn’t talking to you”.

I thoroughly loved every second of it, and the guy sat next to me even clapped at the end of it. That says it all, really.

Oooo it’s 12/12/12 for this edition of Fashion of the Week! And because it is (as mentioned before) Hobbit Week this edition will be inspired by all things Middle Earth! (I do apologize if you’re not a Hobbit fan, it’ll end soon…) And although I unfortunately can’t offer goodies like this gorgeous Middle Earth map dress cosplayed at DragonCon (below) and found on Flickr, I can try my hardest to bring you other lovely nuggets to purchase.

Taken by Matt & Kristy on Flickr

Epic Beards t-shirt from ThinkGeek. Starting at $19.99.

First up we have this t-shirt from ThinkGeek, featuring the beards of the dwarves! Although it is American, they do ship to the UK and at $19.99 that would be approx £12.40 (excluding posting and customs charges). This t-shirt would be worth it though – even if it is just to keep track of which dwarf is which during the film, maybe adding post-it notes to their faces. Or you could casually admire the different styles to grow your own beard into one of these masterpieces…

Dwarven Beard hat! From ThinkGeek, $44.99.

…Or if you find it hard to grow that beard, or don’t have the patience, here is an alternative! These dwarven beard hats, again from ThinkGeek, at approximately £27.89. Perfect for those men who can’t grow their beards to dwarfish goodness, or for women who fancy a new look. I wouldn’t recommend this as an everyday piece, but it would certainly keep you warm through the midnight screening.

Lord of the Rings pullover from Etsy. Approx £28.65

Now we head over to Etsy for this Lord of the Rings pullover, featuring the characters of the fellowship. I love the simplicity of this, and it shows your love for all things Middle Earth without making it so obvious. I could see this in a larger size paired with coloured leggings and boots for casual style. I would wear this myself as it makes a geek statement but still maintaining that style.

Evenstar bracelet from Forbidden Planet. £206.99.

Finally, how about some Christmas sparkle and a bit of bling? Here is a beautiful Evenstar bracelet from Forbidden Planet, where you can also find separate pendant and earrings to go with it (unfortunately that latter two are currently sold out). The bracelet will be released on 30 January 2013, and is made of sterling silver and set with genuine crystals. It is extremely expensive, but for that stand out piece of jewellery for the Christmas period, it would make a subtle but gorgeous geek statement at any party. And what better time of year to buy some bling?

The Hobbit fun will continue with a review of the film later in the week, so keep tuned in for that! After that, it’ll be back to normal – I promise. Remember, if you have any requests or recommendations for the Fashion of the Week, drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you.

This momentous week, beginning on the mighty 10th December, has now been dubbed Hobbit Week. On Thursday, December 13th, The Hobbit hits UK cinemas – and my ticket is already booked for 7pm and has been for about a fortnight. I already have plans to arrive there at LEAST half an hour early just to get a good seat… I refuse to watch the ground-breaking 48FPS with children kicking my chair or instead leaving the cinema with a permanent neck jarr.

Alas, I am no big time blogger. Therefore I cannot give you an early review and revel together… you’ll just have to wait for thursday with me.

Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo Baggins

But what I can (and will) do is do a nice review of the book! As, I am ashamed to admit, I finished it last night. Now, my mum did read it to me when I was a wee thing, but because I was a wee thing I don’t remember much (basically any) of it. My memory is truly awful with books as I’ve read far too many of them in my 20 years. I was determined to read it before the film, however, because that is always the best way to enjoy film adaptions, and I adore Lord of the Rings. Plus I never got that chance with LotR, so here is my turn!

The book, as most people have decided before me, is a right charm. It is a shiny gem in Gollum’s cave and as adoringly bumbling as Bilbo. Unlike books for kids such as Harry Potter, you are constantly reminded it is for children, but that is why it works so well.

The simplicity of it is where I believe the genius lies – it is quite literally there and back again. The random events along the way help to flesh it out and give the story some depth, but it is purely for story’s sake. It is a book full of chance encounters that give J.R.R Tolkien a chance to fascinate us with more people of his world.

Which is what gives the book its richness – its characters. Despite the dwarves blending into one entity (apart from Thorin Oakenshield) you love each and every one of them separately. Bilbo is such a good piece of characterisation, who epitomizes Hobbit’s and the less adventurous of us all. There is definitely something decidedly British about him as well. The way he becomes a name unto himself, especially after the chapter with Gollum, makes you root for him more and more. Gandalf is… well, Gandalf, which is all we need to say. Even driven Thorin melts your heart a little as the adventure goes on.

It’s like revisiting your favourite Disney films – clearly for children but that’s why you love it so much.

Although, for this reason I have become a teensy bit apprehensive towards the film. I know it is in perfectly good hands with Peter Jackson, but stretching it across one film (let alone a trilogy) will be interesting to see. Fitting in the extra folklore to tie it with the LotR is another thing I can’t wait to see how they tackle, as The Hobbit is far from a back-story tale. It just doesn’t need the extra information.

Adapting the storyline, the chance encounters and wonderfully random adventures, for the film screen is certainly something I am looking forward to seeing, plus whether they will include the more sinister side to the ring, and whether they pull it off only time will tell.

 

Where on earth did Angry Birds come from? One day I was a happy 14-year-old playing Bloons on Bebo… and then something else came along and stole the internet game throne. In case you’ve been kidnapped by green pigs for the last few years, Angry Birds – at its basic – is levels of firing (angry) birds of different varieties at structures and barricades made by green pigs. The aim is to basically hit the pigs and destroy them, whilst making as much destruction as possible to gain more points.

It’s a very strange game concept, but is now so huge there is now a Star Wars version out. Which I am currently addicted to. I downloaded mine for Windows 8 for £3.49, but can be found cheaper on most other platforms (although I think at lower prices extra levels are paid for later at additional cost).

Han Solo and Chewbacca feature in the game

I had my doubts, but the game is actually worth the price. It feels well thought out and the game is in depth and will certainly take up your time. What works best for the theme is the added extras to give it the Star Wars edge. All the birds have particular moves to fit their character that mainly are not featured on other versions – such as a lightsaber attack from Luke, use of the Force from Obi Wan and Han Solo with a laser gun. Oh, and the piggies have guns too. You gain extra characters as you progress further, and R2-D2 and C3PO start off in the bonus levels.

But what makes the game interesting, and decidedly harder, is the level formats. Mainly the introduction of orbits in space. This is where you fire you bird and it enters an orbit, circling around until either gravity or an obstacle forces it to crash into the middle. Some of these orbit levels have very particular tactics that need working out, and if you just can’t get that line of fire right then you are stuck…! There is also the Darth Vader pigs, which add a further element through having to destroy Vader to deactivate his force and release hovering items, most of the time landing on explosive boxes (which is handy). These levels do not make it easy to get to Darth Vader most of time, and require a lot of trial and error to find the perfect strategy.

Overall, the game is addictive and as light-hearted as the rest of them, but I really enjoyed the added Star Wars features. One niggly thing is the lack of zooming out, which I like to do, and Luke makes an annoying noise when you fire him – but apart from that the gameplay is great. The trickier levels make the game last its worth and time, whilst the easier levels don’t make you lose faith in the game. Hopefully the upgrades will continue to bring out more sets of levels, which will add to the lasting appeal overall. The extra thought and detail to bring the Star Wars elements in fully fill out the game and the gameplay experience. The theme has been considered and not just thrown in for the cash-in, which I really like.

I would recommend this game, even if it’s just to waste time on a train journey – I couldn’t think of a better way to waste it than firing an R2-D2 shaped bird and electrocuting some smirking pigs.

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