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!