Northern Ireland based geekery & nerdisms

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Oh. My. God.

This is one of, if not the, greatest episodes of Game Of Thrones so far. It had everything that a fan wants out of the show – intrigue, new characters and dragons. All three of them, at once! That, like, never happens.

I shall start my praise like I usually start – with a confirmation of my love for the Tyrells. Yet again, Margaery shows herself to be a genius little minx, leading Joffery around by with his own ego while his mother watches haplessly. Olenna, too, is well clued into the games that go on in King’s Landing, enough to even catch Varys off guard.

Sidenote: Varys’ revenge on the sorcerer who ‘cut’ him as a child was not in the books (at least, not to my recollection?), but I liked it! It made about a dozen points about his character – he’s powerful, patient and his arm stretches a very long way indeed.

And he’s from Ballycastle!

"There's a spider in the garden."

“There’s a spider in the garden.”

The episode starts with a bit of a recurring theme – pity for the bad guys. Both Jamie Lannister and Theon Greyjoy were main protagonists in seasons one and two (killing children does not really make for a hero, does it?) and now…well, comeuppance has never been so completely soul wrenching to watch. We’re meant to hate these guys, right? So why does seeing Jamie pushed in the dirt with his severed hand tied around his neck make me so very sad? And why isn’t watching Theon cling to misguided hope feel more satisfying?

Curse you, George R. R. Martin, you are causing me inner turmoil.

This week we finally, FINALLY, got a look at one of the new characters that I have been looking forward to the most. Berric Dondarrion, head of the Brotherhood Without Banners has finally got some screen time – I’ve been expecting him since episode two! He looks a little bit the worse for wear, which is not surprising considering…well, if you’ve read the books, you’ll know he’s had a tough time. He made a rousing little speech about the role the Brotherhood had to play in the war (justice!), and sentenced the captive Hound to trial by combat. Awesome.

I like the eye patch. I think I would suit something similar.

I like the eye patch. I think I would suit something similar.

I’m going to say something really weird, but give me a minute. Look at both those pictures. The details that go into the costumes and make up and accessories and…everything! These characters are perfectly constructed – Olenna could not be more like how I imagined her if I’d cast her myself. I did picture Berric as being younger and hotter but, well, that’s just me, I suppose.

Anyway, there were, in my opinion, two main scenes in this episode, an icy one and a fiery one. DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

While we got some nice new characters, we lost one. Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, was struck down in cold blood during a mutiny. Sniff. Poor, poor James Cosmo. He was at Heroes and Legends in W5 this year, y’know. He wasn’t there when I was, or else I would’ve given him a preemptive hug. Craster had his last moment as well, which was well deserved, obviously. During the ensuing fighting and killing and dying, Sam grabs Gilly and her son and slips off into the darkness.

Slightly different from the scene has they had it in the book, but as I has said before, this doesn’t really bother me, as long as everyone is still pointed in the right direction. On the other hand…aren’t we getting anymore white walkers this season?

Meanwhile in Astapor, Daenerys is kicking ass. The moment she was all like, “Yeah, I speak Valyrian, I AM DAENERYS STORMBORN, IT IS MY MOTHER TONGUE”, I screamed. Yes yes yes, I’ve read the books, but I sort of forgot that little detail. And it was so well done!

She’s definitely becoming a queen in her own right, I like how it’s been a gradual change too, and not a haphazard montage or something.

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The closing scene of the episode was literally the greatest scene in anything ever, and it goes without saying but I really can’t wait for next week. *

S.

*Next week, I shall be watching a recorded Game Of Thrones on Tuesday night, because I’ll be in Paris for a long weekend. It is a hard, hard life.

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A little while ago I mentioned that I got Sky TV. I won’t go back into my adoring prose, because I’m pretty sure everyone knows how much I love it by now. I also mentioned that there are a butt load of new shows starting at the moment, and that I would no doubt have a blog on what I do and do not like. So, well, yes, this is it.

I watch an awful lot of TV recently. Recently, if someone so much as sneezes within a two mile radius of my delicate self, I seem to get sick and have to spend a week on the sofa, so it gives me something to do at the very least.

Anyway, first up on awesome-Sky-TV night, I started to get caught up with Spartacus. Having only seen the first season and the prequel season, I’ve got a quite a bit to catch up with, given that the series just ended. I don’t know what put me off ever watching it after the prequel…I think the change in actors (unavoidable as it was) and my awful habit of moving house lots in the last few years (away from the safety of the parental nest and Sky box) had something to do with it, but I really am I very big fan. Sexy, violent, gory and clever, this is a must-watch show. Preferably not with your parents in the room, which is usually the sign of a great program, no?

Spartacus: Vengance is currently showing on Pick TV.

Also, look.

Also, look.

Next up, I took a gamble, and watched a show that I really did not like the look of. Da Vinci’s Demons is (yet another) fantastical historical drama, based around  the history and life of Leonardo Da Vinci. You know, that guy from that Dan Brown book. Anyway, when I say fantastical, I mean of the fantasy genre, I am most definitely not making a reference to the quality of this show.

Made by the same studio as the aforementioned Spartacus series, Da Vinci’s Demons is trying so very hard to replicate the popularity of it’s ancient peer, all the while attempting to cling to the back of the rollercoaster that is Game Of Thrones. It fails it both aspects. The story line is overly complex, the characters are the least engaging they possibly can be (especially ‘Leo’ himself. Playing him as flamboyantly camp yet troubled was a strange way to go, and the actor can’t quit pull it off) and I’m pretty sure there is some harsh racial stereotyping going on in there. There are at least three characters who are summed up completely by their nationality; and please don’t get me started on Da Vinci’s gormless manservant/boy toy. It’s not made entirely clear what that relationship is, but it is not healthy.

TOO groomed.

TOO groomed.

There are some saving graces – this is not a low budget production, so it is well shot and there is some interesting use of CGI in making Da Vinci’s ideas and doodles come to life. I’ve decided that I will watch at least two more episodes, in the hope that, maybe, the first episode was just aiming too high. Even then, I am anticipating that those will be two more hours of my life that I will never get back.

Finally (and this one will be brief, because my need to shower and eat meant that I only caught a little bit of the episode), there is Defiance. I know very little about this program, apparently there’s a game based on it? Or it’s based on a game? Or it is a game? I don’t know. Basically, there’s been some sort of event and now humans and a race of (very humanoid, but very pale) aliens have to live together. Either way, some very recognizable faces, an interesting concept and reasonable production value (if you ignore the crappy CGI, which I cannot), this is actually shaping up to have some potential. I might even be tempted to go back and watch the whole episode.

This is high praise indeed, coming from me.

Anyway, more shows are on their way, so I suppose more blogs are too. Both Banshee and Hannibal (as in, yes, Hannibal) look incredible and are starting in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out, yesyes?

S.


I have a confession to make – this was meant to be written and posted last week, but then I got horribly ill. Like, horribly. With screaming and crying and A&E.

That all aside, I had a lovely weekend, having spent a good deal of it (all day Friday, before the crippling plague struck me down) dandering around Belfast, eating and drinking. First up was a very lovely lunch in The Kitchen Bar, which is a real favourite of mine because the food is just so very good. And not overly expensive, like some places in and around Victoria Square tend to be. Unfortunately, on this particular visit I was not a happy bunny. While the food was fairly incredible, the staff were…well, they were meh. I get that it was busy and all, but I felt like they were looking rid of me, which sort of puts me off visiting again, obviously. I think there’s been a change in the staff or something? Don’t let me put you off, but be prepared to be in and out in twenty minutes, with someone wiping down your table before you’ve even left it.

That’s what she said?

On to the important part. After lunch and a decent wander around Victoria Square (the dome never fails to amuse me, although my boyfriend is less enthusiastic about acting like a tourist), we stumbled gloriously into Alley Cat for an afternoon of drinks and giggles.

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Alley Cat is very new on my radar, I went a few weeks ago for a friend’s birthday and had to stay sober (hangovers are best avoided when working with kids the next morning). I had to go back though – they have cocktails. IN TEAPOTS. Who doesn’t want to drink alcohol out of a teacup, poured from a freakin’ teapot?

In the interest of science, we felt it was only fair to try one of each flavour. I have listed the resulting league table, listing said cocktails in order of preference.

1. American Pie – tastes like cinnamon, which tastes like Christmas.

2. Cool Beans – pure sweetness and fizz.

3. London Tart – blackcurrant and lemon. Gin-based, sort of tastes like strong cordial.

4. Storm In A Teapot – Essentially, lime & rum & coke. Well nice.

5. Jacklope – SO MUCH STRAWBERRY.

You’re welcome.

The decor of the bar is awesome – giant paintings of Christian Bale (circa American Psycho), Blondie posters and kitty cats all over the place. Regardless of what my charming boy has to say, IT IS NOT A LESBIAN BAR! A few cat posters does not a lady bar make. Although one of the walls does have ‘Don’t just look at it, eat it’ sprayed across it…but that can be read a few ways, really.

The bar does food too, which I have yet to try, but after staring at other people eating their lunch/dinner (we were there for a while…), I would definitely go back to try a (slightly pricey) burger. A little while ago, I heard less than good things about their service, but hopefully that was just growing pains, because I saw no problems on either of my visits.

I only have two tiny problems with the place. When we first arrived, the reception was frosty and the atmosphere was non-existent – but this was rapidly remedied as more afternoon drinkers arrived, and when we found the Jenga and Connect 4. No really. Highlight of my life.

Secondly…now, don’t laugh…the toilet doors say ‘Pussy Cats’ and ‘Tom Cats’, and it took me a little while to figure out which one I am. I did tell you not to laugh.

All in all, well worth a visit. Get there early to claim a sofa and a board game.

S.


This is an important blog. Make yourself comfortable, get a cup of tea (or rum, depending on the time of day) and prepare to hear the good news. Not about Jesus; about Sky.

Now, if you already have Sky TV none of this will be news to you. You probably even take it for granted, because you haven’t had to put up with the complex and miserable alternatives (here’s looking at you, BT Vision). When I lived with my parents, who are very loyal Sky subscribers, all I did was channel flick between Kerrang! and Scuzz, which have both gone massively downhill – presumably because music is getting worse as I get older. Shut up, it is.

I rest my case.

I rest my case.

NOW though, now I am using Sky to further my appreciation of the wonders of the universe. I watched a documentary about the Zambezi river this morning. I don’t know why, but I’m sure it will come in useful at some point. And oh, the potential for procrastination is overwhelming.

My very lovely boyfriend even went and did a very lovely thing and expanded our shiny new package to include the extra documentary channels (National Geographic, y’all) and the freakin’ kids channels. Yesterday, I ate lots of cornflakes and watching Sonic Underground and Thundercats.  Yeah, so I haven’t really changed much since I was five, but this is entirely irrelevant, because those cartoons are awesome. All cartoons are awesome. Right now, I am watching Dora The Explorer and I’m not even drunk. I am, in fact, learning Spanish from a monkey.

...I think I look like a much, much paler Dora. I'm not sure how to feel about this.

…I think I look like a much, much paler Dora. I’m not sure how to feel about this.

This is quickly turning into an ode to Sky as written by a primary school child…

My name is Stacey and I like Sky because there are cartoons and I am allowed to watch as much TV as I want and I like Spanish monkeys.

…so let me get to the point. We got Sky mainly for all the amazing original programs that we can get through this TV service that we can’t get from anywhere else – Game Of Thrones (obviously), Defiance, Spartacus (just in time for it to end, typical), Revolution, Da Vinci’s Demons…the list goes on and it just gets better and better. That’s before I even mention movies or sit-coms (I can watch Friends again, via Comedy Central! Yay!)

I intend to spend tonight getting acquainted with some of this fabulous new programming. Blogs likely to follow. So many blogs.

S (is for Sky).


Look! A blog that isn’t about Game Of Thrones. Well, I’m going to mention it just the once, but you can ignore that if you want, because it’s not entirely relevant to the story.

So, there are some incredible movies set for this year, and while I am not quite as excited as I was in the run up to The Dark Knight Rises (but then again I have never been that excited ever, so that’s to be expected), I shall be counting down the days.

Man Of Steel

14th June

First up, Man Of Steel! I saw the new trailer for the first time during Game Of Thrones on Monday night (told you, but that’s the one mention, promise) and jumped right out of my seat.

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Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me embed videos in my blog, which is a shame, because I would totally do that all the time. Click the picture of General Zod to see the new viral trailer for Man Of Steel. Speaking of which, Michael Shannon is shaping up to be an amazing disgruntled Kryptonian! Look at that build! That snarl! The latest trailer (I gave you the link, go watch it) makes him sound awfully familiar…he definitely has a hint of Bane-ish-ness about him; he seems like a more modern, intimidating and intelligent villain, which is fantastic, because this is what Zod NEEDS to be! We need to be terrified of him, we need to believe he could exist.

Everyone is comparing Man Of Steel to Nolan’s Batman trilogy and of course they are. I am trying not to read TOO much about it, or study the trailers TOO closely. I have high hopes and expectations, and for once I think I would rather be surprised.

The Wolverine

25th July

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While there is no doubt in my mind that Man Of Steel will be awesome, I am not as sold on The Wolverine. Set after the events of The Last Stand (which is news to me, I thought it was a sequel to Origins, but there you go), Logan travels to Japan and confronts a mysterious figure from his past.

A mysterious figure from his past?! Gosh, no X-Men medium has attempted this EXACT thing before…

Lev_Sabertooth

LadyArtistsStrike

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Okay, so I’m being sort of harsh, the truth is this is shaping up to be huge. Based on one of the most popular story lines from the comic books, there are samurai, Yakuza crime gangs and Svetlana Khodchenkova. Gentlemen, you are going to want to Google her.

300: Rise Of An Empire

2nd August

300-rise-of-an-empire-poster

Now. If you know me at all (in real life, where there is grass and fresh air and real people), you might know that I have a degree in Ancient History and that I am slowly groping my way towards my Masters’. Given this brand new information, it should not surprise you that I CANNOT WAIT for this. The prequel to 300, this flick will focus on battles that happened at the same time as the ill-fated Battle Of Thermopylae, centering on the characters of Themistocles (Athenian politician who was popular with the rabble) and Artemisia (one of Xerxes lovers and queen of Caria). Best bit? Guess who’s playing Artemisia.

Yay!

Yay!

All in all, I am planning very little over the summer, except for sitting in a dark room with a sticky floor with strangers. And maybe going to the cinema, too.

S.


Season three, episode three already. Blimey, it feels like HBO only announced they were making Game Of Thrones yesterday, doesn’t it? Time flies when you’re having fun and getting old.

Anyway, obviously I thought the episode was fantastic, but this one stood out for me a little from the rest of the season so far, particularly the first half of the episode. It stood out for me because it was, well, funny. The scene with the small council meeting with Tywin for the first time was brilliant, as they all battle for position (albeit only around the table). It was a real insight into the politics of Kings Landing – petty, spiteful and self-serving. I have to admit though, I was disappointed by the lack of Tyrell in this episode (I’m not even picky now, Olenna and Margaery are equally fantastic).

As wonderful as the musical chairs were, this was not the only giggle I got from Walk Of Punishment – Podrick, urm, becoming a man, was hilarious. Especially the aftermath.

Observe - a legend.

Observe – a legend.

While a lot of the episode did have that wonderful humorous aspect, a lot of it most definitely did not. The episode started with a funeral (and the introduction of Brynden Blackfish, Catelyn’s awesome uncle), and while there were a few giggle moments, watching a woman who has lost nearly all of her children cry at the loss of her father was not pleasant. Most women would have gone mad by now, but Cat perseveres, albeit in a world of pain and misery.

New character alert! New old man crush, also.

New character alert! This scene was filmed in Tollymore, apparently. Could be anywhere, but once again, my father reassures me.

Speaking of pain and misery, oh Jamie, just when we were beginning to think you aren’t a complete tool. There is a whole lot of comeuppance going around at the minute, which is bizarre mixture of satisfying and horrifying. I mean really, how are you meant to hate characters that you also love?

HOW?

HOW?

Finally, in this waffle of a blog about a show that everyone has already watched, Daenerys is finally becoming majestic! If only she would learn some foreign languages, so that people couldn’t call her a tart right to her face. She’s building up her entourage nicely; she’s got Jorah, Barristan and a little interpreter with a ridiculous amount of side boob! Having read all the books, I am meant to be totally enlightened as to what her game plan is, but I read Storm Of Swords so long ago that I can’t really remember, which is great because I can still be hanging on the edge of my seat.

You get the best of both worlds, you do.

Season Three is shaping up nicely, although is it just me, or is it going just a little bit slowly? I found this with the last season, they take eight or nine episodes to build up sufficient levels of tension and frustration, before they explode all over the place in the last episode.

Goodness, I did not mean that to sound quite as sexual. Oh well, this is Game Of Thrones we are talking about.

S.


This post is a special post, because it is my 100th. Marvellous! I am devoted and I remember to write things. Good ol’ me. On that note, no Sunday review this week because I was ill. So ill. I didn’t forget though, that’s the important point that I’m trying to make.

Before I delve into the wonderful world of Etsy, I thought you might be interested to know that Fox recently took a little hissy fit, contacting a number of crafty darlings who sell via the sit with cease-and-desist orders. This particular number of fiddley dears were making Firefly themed merchandise. Although Fox cancelled the show after one season and a movie, they are apparently still well within their rights to be uppity about their ‘intellectual property’. Ewk. Big co-operations. Ewk. The law.

Anyway, you can read more about this whole clusterfork here.

Onwards, to the things that people are still allowed to sell…

(As ever, click on the pictures to buy buy buy. All locally sourced, of course).

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First up, a shiny new trinket from HearHoofBeatsThinkZebras (who incidentally fell victim to Fox’s ban on Firefly merchandise. Buy other things from her, so she feels better?). This deluxe Game Of Thrones charm bracelet is extremely thoughtfully made, by a real fan for other real fans. The House sigil can be changed depending on your own personal alliances. I, for example, have recently decided I am more of a Tyrell than a Greyjoy. My blood runs quite warm, you see. The other charms are equally adoring and meaningful – tiny castles, swords and dragons.

Also. Free shipping with the code FREEPOST until April 23rd. Don’t say I never help you.

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I hope you are laughing as hard as I laughed when I first saw this. Picard facepalm t-shirt. Is there a nicer three word phrase in the English language? I doubt it.

I only recently encountered Hallion Clothing, but they have some really brilliant t-shirts (and only £7.50!). You should go take a look.

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I am pretty sure I’ve babbled away about shoes pretty similar to these at least once before…but hell, look at how cute they are, they deserve all the babbling. Look at the little bows! The best thing about these particular shoes is that the lovely lady who makes them is willing to collaborate on the design. So you could have Batman shoes! Or Spider-Man! Or Thor! Or Batman!

Another bargain, only £20, but if you’re looking for something more glamorous, there are heeled versions available for £35.

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I seem to pop something from this Etsy store in every other blog, but I cannot help it. I like that everything is handmade, I like the little faces, I like the bright colours. I can’t help it, I am a girl and as such, I am easily led by woodland creatures.

Especially bunnies. Yesterday, I was in Pets At Home at Sprucefield, watching the cutest white baby bunny eat hay with his fat little paws. Then loads of French teenagers came in and started shouting ‘Oooo, LAPIN!’, which apparently means ‘rabbit’. Both an interesting anecdote and a learning experience. If a tad irrelevant.

Anyway, go forth and shop. If you buy anything beautiful and geeky, I want to know about it. I want to know very much.

S.