Monday, April 17, 2017

The NewtCave Returns!

This June, posts will resume!

Thank you all for your continued patience!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

View Log: New Spider-Man Film

The latest Spider-Man film is the Spider-Man story we've been waiting for since Sam Raimi was making these. There's a snappy wit and a lot of love for the source material backed up by tremendous onscreen talent.

As for anything else... spoilers ahead!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Never the End

The NewtCave is going on hiatus for an undetermined period of time.

I will be using this time to focus on my health and wellbeing.

I'd like to thank all of my readers for reading and commenting over the past few years.

"One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."

-The Doctor

Monday, March 13, 2017

So What's Been Going On?

This past week or two, I had me a little bit of a health scare. For all our sakes, I'll avoid the TMI details and get down to brass tacks.

I'm fine. I've been checked out and am currently awaiting the results of the test they're running to double-check, but my doctor has given me the a-ok.

On top of that, the biggest weather-related blackout in Michigan has wrecked my internet speed.

So just in case, the NewtCave will continue its impromptu break until Monday. Just to make sure I can get things back on track.

Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March RE-Announcments

I hate to leave you all in the dark. But at the moment, the NewtCave will be going on a short break as I deal with real life.

Consider this an impromptu spring break.

A thousand apologies; I'll have an explanation within a week or so, and hopefully a schedule.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March Announcements

I'm feeling much better, but have fallen behind in a few things, blog included.

The NewtCave will be Mondays-only for the foreseeable future, and posts resume Monday.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ev'rybody Gettin' Sick

My girlfriend is sick. Her mom is sick. My cousin is sick. My aunt is sick. My grandma is sick. My grandpa is sick.

And yes, I am sick.

Apparently, most of the people on the above list got the flu a little over a week ago and ate only just now getting over it.

I just got it a couple days ago.

I'll keep you all updated.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Recap: Doctor Who "The Gunfighters" Episode 4: The O.K. Corral

Yes, with a title like that, it seems as though the fateful hour is inching closer. It's entirely the wrong hour, since the gunfight happened at a different time in real life, but why should the serial decide to suddenly get something correct?

The real Johnny Ringo would be pretty surprised to hear he was involved, too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: Teen Titans Go! "La Larva de Amor"

Definitivamente uno de los mejores episodios de la serie. No, en realidad no hablo español. Así que espero que Google esté traduciendo correctamente mi plátano.

Recap: Teen Titans Go! "La Larva de Amor"

I have not yet covered a show on this blog that doesn't have at least one episode I like, except perhaps The Super Hero Squad Show. Ultimate Spider-Man, Goosebumps, and even Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. have all managed to impress me once or twice.

And yes, readers, that means what you think it means.

I like this episode.

I wish it didn't take me this long to find an episode I truly like, but the first few episodes were still finding their footing.

The show will still be finding its footing for a bit, but that's neither here nor there.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: Goosebumps "The Girl Who Cried Monster"

Honestly, I don't need to analyze the plot to this episode. I probably should, for the sake of thoroughness, but I'll freely admit that doing so in detail would be a waste of time for us both. I've got laundry to do and you only have so much time to read this during your bathroom break.

Plot/Themes
It riffs on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," with the twist ending that the girl crying monster is also a monster.

Boom. Done.

You're smart. You get it. I shouldn't have to go into any more detail there if you actually read the Recap or watched the episode.

So now I can focus my efforts on an aspect of this episode that IS worth talking about in detail: The world-building.

Recap: Goosebumps "The Girl Who Cried Monster"

February is Black History Month, that time of year where we honor the brave men and women throughout history who have given their time, effort, and in some cases, lives, to end slavery, stand up for equal rights, and strive to break racism's grip on the world. The idea that all peoples on this Earth can coexist, united in the knowledge that we are all just as human as each other, is an important one.

Unfortunately, there are only 12 months in the year. February honors a lot of other things, too. Most of them being things that nobody cares about.

February is also National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Heart Month (because Valentine's Day, get it?), National Children's Dental Health Month, and many more, including National Library Lover's Month.

So on this, the spoopiest of all days, Monday the Thirteenth, I'll be looking at the only episode of Goosebumps, a staple of local libraries in the 1990s, to prominently feature a library. As well as one of my favorite female protagonists in the entire show, which is why I originally had this Recap reserved for Women's History Month before a certain library decided it would be a hoot to put anti-theft stickers on their DVDs that might break my DVD player, to say nothing of my computer’s disk drive.

"Not responsible,” my foot!
Yes, I realize that I’m observing Library Lovers Month in response to a library making things difficult for me.
I am well aware of the irony.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Recap: Dcotor Who "The Gunfighters" Episode 3: Johnny Ringo

When last we left off, the situation was grim. Or at the very least, dire. The Doctor was in the jailhouse, the Clantons still thought the time traveling old man was Doc Holliday, and now they've rounded up a mob to hang Steven unless the Doctor gives himself up.

The only way things could be worse is if they needed to hijack a train to power their time machine.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review: The Batman "The Man Who Would Be Bat"

According to the book that forms the basis for this episode's title, the wheel of the world swings through the same phases again and again. Indeed, each and every Batman cartoon finds itself using the same characters over and over and over.

The creators of Beware the Batman, quite aware of this, opted to focus on lesser-known characters to combat this. Man-Bat, incidentally, was one of them.

But years before Beware the Batman attempted to turn Man-Bat into a sympathetic, tragic character, The Batman stuck to his classic depiction as a mad scientist-turned-monster, for better and for worse. But mostly for "meh."

Recap: The Batman "The Man Who Would Be Bat"

Today, somebody tries to fulfill that oldest of adages in the most literal way.

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman."

Always be Batman.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Post Delayed to Tuesday

New internet cables have been going in nearby, which has been slowing down my alread-slow internet considerably.

Sorry for the inconvenience; I guess this is what I get for living in the middle of nowhere.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Doctor Who: "The Gunfighters" Episode 2: Don't Shoot the Pianist

When last we left off, the Doctor and company were in Tombstone, Arizona during the Old West. The Doctor had been mistaken for local troublemaker/dentist Doc Holliday by a man named Seth "Don't Call Me Snake-Eyes" Harper, who invited him to the saloon for a bit of "drinking" with the Clanton brothers, who just so happen to have a bone to pick with Holliday since he shot their other brother.

The Doctor's companions, mistaken for pals of "Holliday," are being forced to entertain the Clantons at gunpoint to ensure that they can't help "Holliday" get the drop on the Clantons.

And all because the Doctor insisted on getting a dentist to yank his tooth.

You think that's bad, though?
Troy ended up burning because the Doctor pretended he was Zeus and had a little idea anout a horse.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Site News: February 2017 Announcements

I know I usually post these on the first, but I had to make a couple last-second alterations to this month's schedule. But, uh, there's really nothing to announce. I'm healing up fine from the removal of my wisdom teeth, I'm back on solid foods, and I've been attempting to finish up my Reviews of Batman Returns as well as Ultimate Spider-Man Season 1. Expect those no later than March, depending on how scheduling works out. Possibly early April for the USM Review. It all depends on how the schedule works out; I'm still tweaking it.

Hey, speaking of Spider-Man, let me explain why I had to do some last-second alterations.  So, I'm at the mercy of my local library for a few of the things I cover on my blog. So when I thought it would be fun to do more Spectacular Spider-Man, I ordered the DVD through the library catalog. And it recently came in. And it had some kind of Jack Kirby-looking design on it. Like a sticker.This is anti-theft protection, which keeps people from snatching a DVD and running off with it.

Okay, I understand that preventing theft is a good thing that keeps libraries in business. But there's a problem with this system. They know what it is. And I know THEY know what the problem is because they put a sticker on the DVD telling me that playing the DVD they're letting me borrow runs the risk of damaging my DVD player.

So how about you don't put this thing on your DVDs that breaks DVD players, and I won't get mad at you for breaking my DVD player? I think that sounds like a fair deal.

If you got a sandwich from Subway and they told you that Subway is not responsible for any injury caused by the razors in the sandwich, I think you'd be pretty angry that they put razors in your sandwich.

To be fair, I understand that libraries need to ensure that people don't steal their stuff. But... seriously, can y'all find a better way to do it than by possibly breaking the DVD player of somebody who's playing by your rules?

Why not keep the DVD cases on display EMPTY and put the DVDs in after a customer takes it to the check-out counter? Like GameStop. As far as I know, there's only ONE LIBRARY in Michigan that uses this destructive method of anti-theft protection. I won't name names, but you know who you are.  I love you to death, library, but we're both going to need to work together to make this relationship strong.

Okay. Love you, library. I'm glad we could talk it out like this.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Recap: Doctor Who "The Gunfighters" Episode 1: A Holiday for the Doctor

Who doesn't love mixing Westerns with science fiction? The juxtaposition of the new and the old, the complex and the simple...

Okay, so it takes a bit more work than just tossing different elements together.
I mean, really, is it any wonder Firefly got the fan following it did?

So it's no wonder that Doctor Who has tried twice to make a Western episode catch on with audiences. Tried and failed both times, unfortunately. "A Town Called Mercy," though it certainly has its fans, seems to have left people thinking it should have had a bit more oomph to it, and "The Gunslingers" has often been called the worst serial of... ever.

Yeah, I'm diving right into the thick of Classic Doctor Who to start things off.

Intro: Doctor Who "The Gunfighters"

As my regular readers know, I recently had both of my wisdom teeth removed.

Here's the big bag of used gauze I've been creating to prove it.
Since I've been watching some Classic Doctor Who during my recovery (which helps take my mind of the fact that I can't really eat anything more complicated than sloppy joe meat, sans bun), I figure it's the perfect time to begin venturing forth into episodes that actually got made, as opposed to my earlier Recap/Review of the perpetually incomplete Fourth Doctor serial "Shada."

I will be doing this out of order, thanks to the difficulties with watching the series in its "proper" order. Attempting to watch Doctor Who in its broadcast order is a madness-inducing exercise in futility that puts many people off the Classic Series before they ever learn that they're not required to start at the beginning. The biggest obstacle in this respect, of course, being that some early episodes are either partially or completely missing, which I'll go into detail about in a future post.

As long as you know that the Doctor is an alien time-traveler who flies around in an oddly disguised time-ship alongside his often-human traveling companions... then you know all you need to know to start reading these Recaps. Heck, that single sentence was all you really need to begin watching the Classic Series, really.

But before we begin with today's story, "The Gunfighters," it's probably a good idea to go into why and how this story even exists. Especially since, as I'll later elaborate upon, there are plenty of people who wish that it never did exist.

And... well, I'll admit that I'd prefer this serial be one of the missing episodes rather than something like "Fury of the Deep" or "The Abominable Snowmen." But we can play the "What If?" game another time. Right now, it's time to play the "Why?" game.

And the "Who" game. Pun definitely intended.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Site News: Post-Wisdom Teeth Health Update

Today, I'll be posting something a little more personal than my usual fare, following the removal of my wisdom teeth.

First and foremost, I am fine. I just can't have solid foods the way I used to for a couple weeks.

The idea of having surgery performed on me was, I admit, very stressful, and it was one of the contributing factors to my many late updates for the last few months. I was utterly convinced that I was going to die for a while. As it turns out, I'm terrified of surgery. So really, this whole experience was one of self-discovery.

But all things considered, extraction of wisdom teeth is a relatively safe procedure, with even elevated risks being no big deal in the larger scheme of things.

So for those of you out there who might be either curious regarding the procedure, or might need some reassurance for your own procedure, or just what to hear what I was l like while hopped up on meds, this is the story of the removal of my wisdom teeth.

About a year ago, my dentist recommended that they should come out some time in mid-2016. They weren't impacted, or anything, but they had no sense of personal space. And even with my regular flossing routine, they could cause tiny food and drink particles to stick between my molars and weaken the enamel.

And... yeah, I didn't follow my dentist's advice. I was put off by the idea of surgery, and I instead opted to just try and floss and rinse really well. Which is why December saw me taking multiple trips to the dentist to fill in the worn-down parts between my molars.

Two trips to get fillings in my molars was enough. I decided those wisdom teeth were coming out.

Like most chronic worrywarts, I went online and found a plethora of frightening articles about "the risks they don't tell you about!" and so forth and suchlike. So that was a mistake.

I went to the recommended dental surgery guy, and he filled me in on all the risks, And actually, there were surprisingly few, and they were all comparatively minor, for surgery.

The big two possible problems are as follows.

1: The wisdom teeth have taken permanent root.
This applies to people past their mid-20s. So that worried me, even though all that does is make them a little harder to get out.

2: The wisdom tooth root has jammed itself into your sinus and actually acts like a plug, keeping fluid up in your sinuses.
This apparently occurs in about 1% of cases. And when it happens... well, it's no big deal. They grab some gum tissue, drag it over the hole, and sew it up. No big deal.

He also told me that I would be getting local anesthesia (no big deal there; not after my fillings) as well as sedation by IV drip, which is considered a safer alternative to general anesthesia.

And yet, I left the consultation still terrified. What if I had some negative reaction to the sedation? What if... well, I was basically worried that anything that I had no power over could go wrong. It's at times like this that I remember the words of Star Trek's Worf.

"Thinking about what you can't control only wastes energy. And creates its own energy."

As a chronic worrywort, this advice has actually gotten me through a lot of sleepless nights.

But as the days went by, I found myself unable to properly focus on the NewtCave, as I'm sure many of you noticed. It took me much longer than usual to get my posts up to a quality level I was happy with. That is, when I could even find the willpower to work on them.

And then, the fateful day came. January 20th. Which just so happened to also be Inauguration Day. As if that wasn't already bad enough.

I took my Valium at noon, one hour before my appointment. That kept me nice and loopy between watching Judge Dredd and paying at the front desk. Then they took me back, gave me an oxygen mask, hooked up the laughing gas, and left me for a bit.

I was not calm. Every once in a while, the machine monitoring my pulse would let loose a quick "beepbeepbeep" and flash a warning about my CO2 levels. Yeah, that calmed me down just fine. (As it turns out, they hadn't hooked up the thing it was trying to measure yet, causing the machine to freak out.)

But they all filed in to begin the job, talking about the inauguration and some of the funny things that people have been saying.

They found a vein in my hand and jammed in the IV the last thing I really remember is being told that the sedation would sneak up on me. And I guess it did, because the next thing I knew, my girlfriend was in the room and Peter Frampton's "Show Me the Way" was playing on speakers overhead.

Everything went as well as could be expected, with both my wisdom teeth out with a minimum of fuss. (My bottom wisdom teeth don't exist. I don't just mean they never came in, they do not exist and never have.) The procedure was actually done in around half an hour, which is also the amount of time I spent crying after the procedure.

Apparently, as they explained to my girlfriend, crying is one of the side effects of whatever drug they gave me. And I'm not afraid to tell you that I was bawling.

It was a very emotional moment for me, 50% because of the drug, but 50% because I was so glad to be alive. Except... I was convinced for the longest time that they hadn't actually done anything yet, since I didn't remember them doing it. So you can add confusion to my simultaneous depression and elation.

The first words I remember saying were "I like Peter Frampton." I also remember that when they unhooked me from the monitor, it started resuming its little beeping fit.

"Shut up, you don't know anything!" I said to the monitor.

I asked the nurse about my blood pressure, which I was apparently very concerned about, and then at some point, I told both my girlfriend and the nurse to stop patronizing me. I remember being aware enough to know that they were saying things like "Yeah," and "Uh-huh" like you would do to a child, or... well, somebody who was delirious. Which I was. I was also aware enough to realize that what I had said was rude, so I ended up apologizing and telling the nurse that she had a nice bedside manner.

Speaking of apologizing, I apparently did a lot of that, too. I don't exactly remember what for, though.

What I found most difficult, however, was getting up.

"Do you want to try standing up?" I was asked.

"I can't," I said. "I'm in a chair."

But miraculously, I found some way to my feet and was helped to the car by the wonderful nurse who must have put up with a lot of nonsense from me. She even helped me get my coat on.

I sobered up along the way to the pharmacy, where I mostly lamented being unable to eat anything from all the delicious restaurants we were passing. Sensing my frustration, my girlfriend reminded me that I had bought some nice applesauce the other day to eat during my recovery.

I was not as enthusiastic as she was and decided to swear at the idea of applesauce.

The trip to the pharmacy was uneventful, save for saying hi to a worker there I went to high school with. The trip home was just as uneventful, as were the various naps I took for a few hours.

I have to go back in a few days, and they'll take a look and see how my sockets are healing up... but yeah, I'm doin' fine.

In order to distract myself from the fact that I can't eat much more than soggy bread, broth, and room temperature yogurt for the time being... well, I have little to do but work on the NewtCave and sleep.

But to keep from overexerting myself in any way, I'll be taking the rest of this week off from new posts, although I will be using that time to finally sort the posts from the end of last year.

Really, I just don't want to rush myself and fall into the old trap of having to post things late.

Regular posts resume the 30th, and February 1st will feature a schedule update which, since I won't be wasting time worrying about by wisdom teeth, I might actually be able to keep for the first time in a while.

I know exactly what I'm posting the 30th, too. It's gonna be a bit of a "Me Day" for a while. And since I already covered "Me Day," I'll be looking at the Classic Doctor Who serial that I've been watching while I recover.

See you then!

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Farewell to Tooths

Okay, so by the time you read this, I will have had my wisdom teeth removed. I am probably currently enduring pain and/or some kind of delirium.

Insert cheap shot comparing the experience to watching Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. here.

On the bright side, hopefully this means I can eliminate "dental consultations" from my schedule for good. As much as I appreciate all the hard work my dentist has been doing to fix the damage caused by my wisdom teeth trying to get all buddy-buddy with the rest of my mouth, I definitely hope I won't be seeing him for a while.

Updates will be coming soon as to how I'm doing, as well as when I can finally get back to working on the blog. Expect a status update Monday... if I'm up to it. Certainly no later than Wednesday.

Thank you all for your understanding and (hopefully) support through this.

I eagerly await being able to consume solid foods again.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: Avengers Assemble "Downgraded"

You know, I think that may have been the most video game references I've ever made in a single Recap. And this episode had nothing to do with video games.

Chalk it up to the fact that I got my dad Skyrim for Christmas, I guess.

Recap: Avengers Assemble "Downgraded"

Well, the wayward Infinity Stones have been all accounted for. And since there's some time until the obligatory mid-season climax, Avengers Assemble is continuing its quest to make Hawkeye into more than a shallow snarker.

Hawkeye's hidden depths came up a couple of times in the first season, but became a semi-regular thing in Season 2 with episodes like "Head to Head" and "Beneath the Surface" demonstrating why he's an Avenger, despite his lack of "power."

Another thing Season 2 likes to do is justify Falcon's presence on the team with episodes like "Nighthawk." So it was only a matter of time before these two characters got a team-up episode.

Plus, they're both named after birds. Hey, if it was enough of a reason for Nighthawk to take an interest in Falcon....

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: Goosebumps "Piano Lessons Can Be Murder"

Aw, crap, I just realized that I didn't work in any Billy Joel references in the Recap.

Dang it, how did I miss the obvious one?

Recap: Goosebumps "Piano Lessons Can Be Murder"

Good ol' piano lessons. That most cliche of things that parents force their children to do against their will. Well, one of the most cliche things. See also: Homework and chores.

My sister and I both took piano lessons, though it never went anywhere for me. Or her, technically, but I was the one who went ahead and gave up. Not only am I incapable of reading sheet music, but my fingers are just short enough and wide enough to make piano playing an exercise in futility.

Anyway, let's see if either piano lessons or murder shows up. You might think that murder might be out of the question for a show rated Y7, but you'd be surprised how often murder happens in this show. In fact, I might have to start adding a murder counter to my Goosebumps Reviews. With separate tallies for murders committed by the protagonists and antagonists, respectively.

...I think we both know that this has to happen. I'll get right on adding that to the end of my previous Goosebumps Reviews ASAP.

Oh, great, another thing to juggle alongside increasingly-urgent real life things.
As if archiving every post since November wasn't enough.
Not to mention all those pictures I've spent nearly a whole year not fixing....

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: Superman: TAS "Fun and Games"

What is it about childlike, toy-obsessed men that we as a culture find so creepy?

Could it be the contradiction? That they seem to have simple, childlike minds, and yet they're capable of manipulating, and often creating, intricate examples of craftsmanship? That perhaps there is something within them able to manipulate US through their actions in the same way they would pull the strings of a marionette?

...I dunno. I'm just here to talk about this Superman episode.

Recap: Superman: TAS "Fun and Games"

Today, Superman gets to deal with his first colorful, gimmicky villain. Which is more than his film counterpart has done to date.

It's always Lex Luthor this, General Zod that...

Well, I guess Nuclear Man counts as colorful and gimmicky.

Though there are some who would declare "Nuclear Man never counts. For anything."

Monday, January 9, 2017

Recap/Review Delayed to Wednesday

Yeah, because THIS is how I wanted to start the year off.

Long story short, I accidentally deleted the review I was going to post, along with some notes for the Recap. I've been re-making it all day, but I'd rather not send out a rushed, unready review that I whipped up in a day.

So right now, I'm getting dinner. I'll continue work tomorrow and get it up by Wednesday.

On the bright side, I did manage to complete a Teen Titans Go! Recap/Review for later this month today, as well as a special Friday the 13th Recap/Review. (The actual day; nothing to do with the movie.)

Sorry about my continued struggles to get back on track. It was easier to derail my flow than it is to get it back.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Announcments/Apologies

Okay. So.

First and foremost, I'm sorry.

Basically, the holidays.

Seeing family members that I don't usually get to see, worrying about gifts and preparations, dental appointments... I got behind. And once I was behind, it was easy to stay behind. And just as easy to maintain radio silence. For the lack of communication, above all else, I apologize.

Unfortunately... Things are going to be a little hectic for a bit, thanks to an upcoming appointment to get some wisdom teeth removed. A new schedule for January is being formulated, and any and all delays will be addressed, rather than keeping you all in the dark.

But I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season; and I hope to be able to make up for December's sudden hiatus with a few special posts down the line.

Monday will feature the first of those, so I'll hopefully see you then!